The time I painted my room with Frosted Flakes and bile

One random night in second grade, I was lying in my bed watching TV. I was on the tail end of the flu, and my dad was sitting on the couch in my room to make sure I was ok. I know it sounds like my second grade bedroom was all pimped out because I had a TV and a couch, but this was a hand-me-down black and white we got from a relative, and the couch was the one we had for ages before getting new furniture. I also know I don't have to justify my childhood socio-economic status with you. I just do these things anyway.

As the night wore on, the queasiness in my stomach gave way to hunger.

"Dad, I'm hungry. I want Frosted Flakes."

"No, too heavy."

"But dad, I want some!"

"Ok, ok."

My dad sure was the best.

Few things ever tasted as good as that bowl of Frosted Flakes, each heaping spoonful a mouthplosion of sugary, crunchy, just-enough-soggy corn goodness followed by a cold, creamy, sugary whole milk chaser. I polished off that bowl before the weatherman could finish his 3-day forecast (I also watched news as a youngster because I had to keep up on the Iranian Hostage Crisis. I know I don't have to justify my childhood media preferences with you. I just do these things anyway). With hunger pangs abated, I settled into the inevitable slumber that would follow. My body, however, wasn't intent on the world "settle." In fact, the opposite happened.



"I don't feel well..."

"I told y---"

Then this happened:

Dramatic re-creation from actual eventsI learned a few things that day:

1) If you put your hand to your mouth to block puke, the puke always wins.

2) When you decrease the space from which liquid is expelled with something like a hand, you increase its exit pressure, and therefore its velocity and trajectory. This works to your advantage with garden hoses. This works to your disadvantage when you are trying not to paint your bedroom walls with vomit.

3) When you've reached the point of no return, don't move your head from side to side in a desperate attempt to find something to puke in. It only results in more wall, furniture, bookshelf, desk and old black and white television set coverage.

4) My dad was the nicest dad ever. He just got up, got a roll of paper towels, and cleaned up my Frosted Flake room motif. And we never spoke of it again.

5) Listen to your dad.

As a member of the Vicks Blogger Brigade, my job is to entertain and enlighten you with my personal stories related to being sick (and getting better), and conceptually tie them in with the awesomeness of Vicks. I really hope Vicks appreciates that I have now forever tied Frosted Flake puke with NyQuil in your mind. Turns out, the awesomeness is me.

To make up for it, I will try to give you something back. How about a Vicks Cool Moisture Humidifier and a "Feel Better Kit" that includes VapoRub, DayQuil, NyQuil, and a mess of Vicks Nature Fusion products? I'll even make it easy for you. Just go to the Vicks Facebook page and answer the question that's on their wall:

"Fill in the blank: I know I’m getting better when I can finally smell ______."

Then come back here and let me know you did it. Just don't write "Frosted Flakes puke" as your answer. Well, you can if you want. That might be kind of amusing. Either way, I'll pick a winner on March 16 at 5pm PST.

What to drink when you're sick

We all do it. We all have that one indicator we've designated as the DMZ between the Republic of Healthy Happy and the Commernist Socialist Crappiarchy of Sick. Perhaps it's dry eyes for you, or maybe it's that itch at the back of your throat. Whatever it is, once you cross it, you're in enemy territory, wallowing in a jail cell made of crumpled wads of tissue.

For me, it's the sick sneeze. The sick sneeze isn't like other sneezes. A healthy sneeze hits you hard and quick. It's over and done with, and you go your separate ways. The sick sneeze taunts you all day. First, as a twinge in the dark recesses of your nostrils, then, as the day wears on, it advances to a full-on itch with some heat behind it. This is when my fight begins. If I can fend off the sick sneeze for a full day, I won't get sick. If I give in and sneeze, the rest of my immune system bounces like dominoes in an Ice Cube video.

I truly believe that I have defeated many a cold, simply by holding off the dreaded sick sneeze. It ain't pretty, but it works.

But despite my best efforts and contortions, sometimes Ice Cube yells "Domino!"and it's not a good day.

When that happens, my first line of defense is booze. Alcohol kills germs, and that's all the science I need. Which reminds me. Way back in the day, an old Japanese kickboxing coach of mine gave me this recipe for a cold:

  • Some Sake
  • A raw egg
  • Some sugar

I think the raw egg protein helps to strengthen your immune system while the sugar kick starts it. The sake helps you not care that it doesn't work.

I did some Googling today, and it turns out the above is really a legit traditional Japanese natural cold remedy called Tamagozake. While some of you may run and try it because, hey, an excuse to drink (don't tell me I don't know you guys), some of you may dig the natural aspect of it, but not the complications from salmonella. For that, may I suggest the best of both worlds:

Nature Fusion is a line on Vicks products that combines good stuff from nature, like honey, with the stuff in medicine that you can't pronounce but works like a charm to get you back on your feet. Nature Fusion products also contain no alcohol (I like mine on the side anyway) and no gluten (if you must have your gluten, you can always dip some foccacia in it). I like this concept a lot, because it's like the Robocop of over-the-counter cold remedies. Nature and science, rolled into one badass cure for all evils. 

In the spirit of disclosure, I must tell you that I haven't yet tried it, so I cannot vouch for how well it works. However, I do have some sitting in the medicine cabinet for the next time I lose the sick sneeze battle, which won't be for a while. I love being on the Vicks Blogger Brigade and all, but I love not being sick more. Plus, I've been working on new faces.

Coughing all the way

The first year I moved to California, my entire family went on vacation to Hong Kong for the holidays. Because of my work schedule, I couldn't go with them. Luckily, I appreciate solitude, and since I was a newly independent single guy, the prospect of spending the holidays by myself in LA didn't seem as sad as it did on paper. But then I got the flu. All by myself. With no one to take care of me. Worst Christmas ever!

This is why I keep a mental checklist to make sure that everyone in my family gets sick before the holidays. Ok, so it's not like I cough in their faces or lick the doorknobs come November or anything. It's more of a peace of mind kind of list. If someone gets sick close enough to the holidays, I know I won't have to worry about them being under the weather once the festivities begin.

So far so good, this year.

My wife is sick right now. She took a sick day yesterday and went to work today, which means she'll be fine by Christmas Eve.

Lessi had the flu in November, and has been sniffly and coughy for a little while. Nothing too intense, which is good. I hate it when babies are miserable. Right now, she is all happy and giggly, but shoots a mean snot rocket every so often. Lisa bought one of those Vicks vaporizer machines for her room. That thing rules. I'll walk in during the course of the night, stand over it and take a deep inhale. Yes, I inhaled. Lessi also likes to take hits off the Vicks minty stick thing (my apologies: I am a Vicks Blogger Brigade member and I'm making up names for their products). In the spirit of disclosure, I did NOT receive any of my Vicks products for free. We went and bought all that with money, so I guess it's ok if I name them myself. Moving on...

Fury got some nasty stomach flu that took him down for a few days earlier this month. Poor kid. Glad that's over with. I noticed today that he sounded a bit nasally, so I'm a little worried. But he's on Winter Break right now, so his "fun fun fun!" gland is probably working overtime, and that has cold-fighting effects, I've heard. He's playing video games right now. I just walked up behind him and slathered some Vicks Vapo Rub on his throat. Why? Because I'm a Vicks ambassador, that's why!

As for me? I have some weird ailment going on. Everything feels sprained. Not sore, but actually sprained. I've had body aches from the flu before, and these aren't those. It literally feels like I fell on each and every one of my fingers and it hurts to move them. Same with my neck and my back and my knees. Even my tongue. I'm afraid to get on WebMD. I'm also coughing so much it wakes me up at night. I'm sure glad I have a tub of VapoRub. And a butter knife.

But you know what would make me really feel better? If you went to Vicks' Facebook page and and sent me a Vicks "Feel Better Friend" virtual giftbox. Because I can't send one to myself. I tried. Shut up, I'm covering up emotional scars. Psychotherapeutics aside, "Feel Better Friend" is free and really cool. In fact, you can send one to all your friends who are feeling craptacular. The page scans your friends' updates and tells you who's sick based on their updates. Then you can swoop in and look like the hero. Win-win. Cough... cough...whimper...

SAHD for a day

I love being a working dad because, as much as I enjoy spending time with the kids, at least I can handle everything my boss throws at me. That eight hours a day of perceived control does wonders. It's really amazing what Microsoft Office has been able to achieve in the area of sanity preservation. Of course, the real world cannot be parsed into spreadsheet cells and Powerpoint slides, and sometimes it throws you a curve by handing you a feverish baby. Oh well, at least you can spend all day in your PJs:

Now I may be on the Vicks Blogger Brigade, and I might know a thing or two about making fluey sick babies feel better, but no I won't make house calls to watch Yo Gabba Gabba with you if you're feeling under the weather. What I will do, however, is go to Vick's "Feel Better Friend" Facebook app to make you a nice giftbox. I'll give you a virtual teddy bear, embed funny videos of me doing ridiculous things and write you a nice "get well" message -- all from the comfort of my germ-free office. It's simple to do, and will make your sick friends feel better (the coolest thing about this app is that it actually finds your sick friends for you). Sharing (on Facebook) is caring, people.

Vapo Rub Loves Dads

At least they love me, and by association, other dads, I'm assuming. And I really love breaking up sentences with commas. How did I come to this conclusion? I use a lot of commas. As for the other thing, they are actually paying me to tell you about my experiences, advice and thoughts related to getting sick and feeling better. They aren't putting me in the spotlight to mock the infamous "man cold," or to poke fun at a man's inability to wipe kid snot. Man colds are a serious affliction, and that would be a foolhardy PR move.

What they are doing is making me a member of the Vicks Blogger Brigade. Last year, it was all moms. This year, they needed some dad representation. Not only because today's dad knows a little something about taking care of sick kids, but their ad campaign will feature their first ever "VapoDad." He's a celebrity who also happens to be a great dad (well that narrows it down quite a bit, actually). If famous dads taking care of their little ones does it for you, you might want to check out Vick's Facebook page on October 25 when they reveal who it is.

If unfamous dads taking care of their little ones is more your thing, stay tuned here for the next 6 months, as I chronicle the snot, sweats and tears of cold and flu season, armed with a laptop and a tub of Vapo Rub.

Believe me, I have the street cred for this gig. Did you know I once quit a job over Fury getting sick? A few years ago, I took a sick day from work so that I could stay home with Fury when he had the flu. The next day, my boss called me into his office and reamed me for it. How could I take a sick day when I wasn't even sick? If the other employees found out that they could take sick days for their sick kids, then no one would ever come to work! Then he said he would let it go this time, but I had to make alternate arrangements the next time. My alternate arrangement was to walk out and never come back.

I apply sideways

Don't tell me I'm not gangsta when it comes to taking care of my sick kids.

VapoRub. Represent.