Happy Friday! I have a child with strep–or at least they think it is strep because of the white goop in her throat–but they couldn’t get a good enough culture to really test her. But as the doctor said, “It smells like strep.” And…..gross.
What this means for us and our blogisode today is that I am writing while on nurse duty. Currently my patient looks like this:
so I can write until she is awake.
For those of you keeping track of Beatrix’s illnesses on your score card, this is illness #3,724 of the year. All of them involve a high fever. All of them involve her throat. You may remember (I can’t remember if I put this on my Facebook page or in this blog), but I’d taken Beaz to see an ENT who decided she needed her tonsils and adenoids out. We scheduled the surgery for early February, and then guided by our pediatrician and our gut, we canceled it because she seemed too young. This is a decision I feel good about. Until…cut to yesterday when the doc took one look in her throat and said, “Maybe we shouldn’t have canceled that surgery. Her tonsils are huge.”
Ugh. Guilt. Uncertainty. Welcome to parenting.
Guided by a friend, I am going to pursue some homeopathic suggestions to boost her immune system and keep these infections at bay. I will keep you posted.
By the way, my patient just woke up long enough to look at the TV, point at the commercial, and say, “I want that for my birthday.” And now she’s asleep again. When I ask her what she wants for her birthday she says, “The purple iPad Santa forgot to bring.”
That’s right, Santa did not get Beatrix’s number one toy request, because we happen to have 2 REAL iPads (a terrific perk from my husband’s job) and the word on the street is if a kid is used to a real iPad, this is a pale comparison. It is expensive and hard to get, so Santa didn’t bring it. Bad Santa. It’s all she’s talked about. I finally told her Santa might bring it for her birthday, which Rob doesn’t know, but seriously? I can’t stand it. I can’t be bad Santa. I’m ordering it. (Sorry Rob.)
My patient woke up, had a temp of 103.5 and is now asleep again. Updated photo:
I mean…..poor little kid. She’s burning up, so I have a cool cloth on her head. I don’t know if it helps, but she seemed happy to have it. I’m worried. Rather than doing my trademark worry-cleaning (which, given the state of this apartment/infirmary, I really should do), I will worry-blog. Which means: I blog, but also insert updates and pictures of my sick kid, so you have to worry with me.
Let’s jump back to another time when I was a worried parent: June of 2005. You may remember that just as I was deciding the move to Vegas was the worst possible idea for Charlotte–who in the world moves their child to VEGAS? Is there a less family friendly town than New York City? Why yes! It’s Vegas! I could just hear Charlotte now, “My Mommy works on the strip! No, she doesn’t get naked…well….she sort of does…she plays with puppets who are naked and curse a lot.” This was a TERRIBLE IDEA. And. My phone rang. Avalon Artists Group. My agent. I looked at the clock, and it was almost 9pm. Whose agent calls at 9pm?
Mine. He’s based out of LA. I answered.
Craig Holzberg has been my agent for a million years. Actually, there was a period of time when he wasn’t my agent, but we rekindled our show biz romance and are together again. We’re like the Liz Taylor and Richard Burton of the actress/agent set. I like him because he puts up with me and somehow thinks I’m funny. That is pretty much all I require, but you would not believe how hard that is to find. Craig had recently left NYC and started an office in LA, so this is what he said as soon as I said hello. By the way, I was so nervous, I was ill. I was fine for my callback, but shaking like a leaf during this phone call. Anyway, this is what he said:
“I can not believe that it took me moving thousands of miles away for you to finally book this gig. Thank God I’ll be able to come see it when you open in Vegas. Congratulations.”
I let out a whoop, signaled Rob and Charlotte by doing a “Rocky” lap in the hall, and got down to the nitty gritty with Craig while they celebrated in the living room. Quickly Craig caught me up on the details of the contract. Okay–now I am sitting here debating the ethics of going into detail about this contract. I mean…it’s fun to know things….but how much is too much? Can I really tell you the intimate details of what I asked for and what I got without setting off some alarm in a producer’s office? Is this fun to know? Is it interesting?
During this morality delay, I will report that my patient has turned over, ripped off her wet washcloth and is now lying silently with her eyes open. The cat is snuggled in, happy as a clam. Let me go check on her and I will be back with a decision. I’m back. She’s awake, but won’t drink. Ugh. I keep trying to explain all the reasons she needs to drink–her poor little lips are so chapped–but her throat hurts, so she won’t. I’ll give it a few minutes and try again.
Okay, I will just tell you because it’s not that big of a deal and is most likely stuff you could figure out on the Internet. Besides, I don’t really remember every detail anyway.
I remember that we couldn’t get them to budge on money. The offer was the minimum amount allowed by the Actors Union, and that was that. Apparently one thing that was said was that I was the last person hired, so there wasn’t money left to negotiate. Hmmmm…..anyway…moving on to the rest of the negotiations…..if you can’t get cash, go for perks.
Before I started to talk particulars, I walked into the living room to check on Rob and Charlotte. I wanted to make
sure they absolutely wanted to go before I gave any indication that it might be a yes to my agent by starting negotiations. When I walked in they were huddled around Rob’s laptop, which he turned around so I could see the screen, saying, “Okay, I want to go.” It was a 360 degree video taken at the top of a mountain nearby Las Vegas. It was stunning. Charlotte then toggled over to her page which was a giant swimming pool at a casino. All worries about missing her friends from P.S. 9 were washed away with pictures of highly chlorinated water, palm trees and sunshine.
With my family possibly more on board for this venture than even I was, I went into our office to start negotiations.
1) They had to fly Charlotte with me. I think I may have ended up paying for her flight, but they had to book her to sit with me.
2) I needed a 2 bedroom apartment.
3) I needed a $5000 advance to get my life together.
Let me explain point #3, because I sure had to explain it to them.
Rob and I had made a decision to get out of town during the summer, and we’d sublet our apartment. I can not remember WHERE we were going–we usually have some kind of work in the summer–but nothing is popping into my mind. Maybe he’d been offered work somewhere and Charlotte and I were going along? I can’t remember. Anyhoo, the point is, rehearsals started in 10 days in New York (we rehearsed in NYC rather than in Vegas), so I needed a place to live–which is an expensive proposition in Manhattan. We were under contract with a sublettor, so we couldn’t break that contract, we simply had to vacate by July 1st and find someplace new for the several weeks we rehearsed in New York. This meant subletting someone ELSE’S apartment, while people lived in ours, which is absolutely crazy if you think about it. We also decided that we couldn’t take our car to Nevada (it had about 190,000 miles on it), and we would have to buy a car, which Rob would drive across country along with the cat. More about this later, but here is some foreshadowing. “Meow.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
So I had some needs and $5000 would cover it until I was making a salary and could pay it back.
We packed up the apartment, allowed Charlotte one giant box for her toys, brought Rob’s hiking shoes and backpack, found an expensive solution for housing during rehearsals, and headed out of town so the sublettors could move in. We spent a week on vacation in Maine, and then a week at Rob’s parents’ house in Pennsylvania, where we bought a car. I spent every waking moment writing like a mad woman, because I HAD to finish this book before rehearsals started.
It was fast and fun and furious.
It was about to get nuts.
I e-mailed the first draft of my book, and headed off for the first day of my new job, as second hander in the new Las Vegas production of Avenue Q. The first week of rehearsal was scheduled to be a puppet intensive with Rick Lyon, original cast member of the Broadway Company, professional puppeteer and creator of the puppets. He, along with John Tartaglia, who had been nominated for a Tony for his role in Avenue Q were joining the cast in Las Vegas. Keep in mind that there were two casts hired, and no one knew which cast was which, but I think we all hoped to be in John and Rick’s cast, which seemed like the cast that would get all of the attention.
Who was in cast “A” and who was in cast “B” was, according to all the paperwork, TBA.
One final update on my patient. We’ve moved to my bedroom where she is managing to swallow tiny drinks of apple juice (laced with Advil….shhhhhhhhh). She is starting to get sweaty (a good sign that the giant temp might be breaking) and she looks like this:
But as soon as I took that picture she begged me to take this picture:
(To read the next post in this series, go here)