Anne Squared

Life filtered through the lens of an INTJ, Mom, and healthcare professional.

Germ Warfare 2 (or Twisted Sisters)

I am especially sensitive to good health hygiene after working in the medicine and public health. I’ve swabbed, sampled, cultured, grew and studied many pathogens in class and for work. I have also studied, worked and planned for real and potential epidemics. At work I am driven to distraction when co-workers insist on coming into work during the contagious cycle of an illness, do not properly cover a cough or sneeze, follow protocol for hand-cleansing, etc., etc. While I freely dispense sound advice to go home or see their doctor, they freely ignore me. So I quote statistics at them about what new epidemic is breaking in which remote country. Sweet revenge. 🙂

But I am not a “germaphobe”. (Is that even a word?) I raised my children with the “5 second rule” for food. I believed that television and video games were more harmful than anything they would be exposed to from playing outside (statistically speaking.) I still think that soap and warm water (for an ample amount of time) is much better than those alcohol based hand rubs. I even use to play “Who gets to lick the baby?” after dinner with the dogs. My son loved it and so did the dogs – nothing like bonding time. 🙂

If you read the link to the article in the first Germ Warfare article in my blog series, you know that the human body has all sorts of bacteria that lives on and in it as a protective mechanism (in a nutshell.) That must be why all 8 of us “sibs” are alive today. The two youngest (males) refer to the rest of us as the “Twisted Sisters.” I think it is because of a nice chardonnay wine we enjoyed at the last family reunion, but David insists the term of endearment predates the event by a decade or two. What the …? Only 12 years between 8 of us! The things I knew and what they meant –

I have one sister that hid her toothbrush – I learned she would, when angry at another, take their toothbrush, and scrub the floor, sink, or toilet, depending on her level of anger. She hid her toothbrush because she thought someone would do the same to her…seems logical now. (Ewww!) Another sister had a booger collection. (lmao) This was revealed when she went to college and her room was given to one of the boys – the furniture was rearranged and an 18 year collection was revealed. (She may have a doctorate, but as a Twisted Sister, she is not living this one down. Talk about germs!) One more example from “the boys” was a favorite game of everyone’s, for boring, rainy, cold weekends: one person “concocts” a potion and another has to drink it. The ingredients were limited to edibles in the kitchen, no meds or chemicals, and if the person drank it, the drinker could then make a “potion” for the original chemist, who would then have to drink it.

Aha – secret ingredients. No wonder David loves spicy foods, Liz always put the hottest spices in his potions. But at the tender age of 2, the hiccups and brilliantly red fat cheeks only brought the T.S. into fits of laughter. What David didn’t reveal until the aforementioned reunion with the everyone drinking (wine) Twisted Sisters, was that he added a few deposits from his diaper into Liz’s potion. But it was well blended and sweetened with honey as he recalled; the man has an amazing memory. (Mayo is proud to have him.)

These are just a few examples of what siblings will do as kids. They will also bite and scratch, breaking that precious barrier of skin that protects our body from germs (but is also covered with germs that help protect it.) But there are other lines of defense.

My kids? One is an electron, the other a proton. They do not get near each other. No physical altercations. Ever. Once I had two, I wanted a houseful of kids, would have had it by way of adoption, but there is no thing as an “accidental” adoption. “Oops, sorry honey, I guess you forgot to cap your pen and signed these papers in front of a notary.” Not that I planned on having kids, but since I gave up my career and was staying home,  I might as well have 8 since I knew how to cook for 10. (How INTJ is that?)

Post Script – while we do have a fair share of nuts in the fruitcake, I want to give credit where credit is due. My parents, alive and in their almost 80’s, have several college degrees and have raised 8 children. They emphasized education as a way to move ahead, may have hinted at choices (not really, until AFTER a degree was complete and not of their liking) but did see 8 children through BA and/or BS degrees. 5 have completed advance degrees though 2 chose to be stay at home moms. I give my parents a great deal of credit for instilling in us, from a very young age that college was a given – an expectation.

Pink elephants, sibling rivalry, family pathology – I will give credit where it is due. And to my maternal grandmother, a woman born in 1901, a college graduate, a professional, world-traveled, business-owner – I give the most credit. I will save Grandma for another day. She is priceless. She was a true teacher, in every sense of the word. (And it was her daughter that gave birth to the “Twisted Sisters” (and the 2 guys.) I love you, I miss you, you are in my heart and my work. I drink a toast to you – T.S. 🙂ts



Categories: Lions, Tigers and Catholics, Oh my.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I’m also one of 8 Siblings, raised Catholics, but we all had a diaspora, we include a Phd, a few masters degree teachers, a few tough guys, and a painter. The parents are gone now, and only noticed what the males accomplished to didn’t. Us females got to become ourselves all by ourselves, a sweet thing I am ever grateful for. Growing up in a horde is an amazing feat. I have no ideas what the others did secretly, they all kept them to themselves. It never occurred to me to do anything devious to anyone, and I have always been the outsider there, but not here where I live without them all.

  2. Yeah, rather limited. My restrictions were: Catholic, Catholic and/or Catholic. (The “J and J scholarship fund” had simple but strict restrictions. None of the schools I wanted to attend were Catholic, so I chose by “Where do I want to live?” (Not a lot of career/college guidance given at the high school or home. The typical answer I was given was “You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.”) As long as the grades and ACT’s were high, and I was “good”, I was on my own. I just wanted to get out of the Midwest – and so I did!
    This was my legal way out of the house at sixteen – finishing high school early.

  3. My dad has a trophy wall — mugs from the college each of his ten children graduated. If you go to his house, it’s the first thing you have to admire.

    • Wow, one of ten! And all through college-an accomplishment. I cannot tell if your comment is tongue-in-cheek… (My brain…) All my dad did was put pictures of our mugs on the entry wall.

      • Nope. The literal truth — there is a glass-fronted trophy cabinet on his living room wall with a mug from each university (plus several grad school add-ons). His pride and joy. Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t as if we ever thought going to college was optional. As I recall, the only choices we had were whether to go to Notre Dame or some (obviously inferior) institution.

  4. So many potential responses, Carrie… 🙂 I’ll just thank you for reading my ramblings.

  5. I’m suddenly very tempted to hide my toothbrush…

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