A Dear John letter to my immune system

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Dear Immune System,

I’m sorry to have to write you this letter.

It’s Andrea. Your partner - or landlady - whichever designation makes you happy.

Because, immune system, I do want you to be happy. Really, truly deep-in-the-gut happy.

This is why for years, I’ve guzzled a green drink. Every. Single. Morning.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that - if given the choice - I would select chocolate covered coffee beans and Doritos for breakfast over liquefied spinach, celery and cucumber (let’s not forget the flax seed).

Liquefied vegetables. That’s how much I care about you.

And, nothing says I love you like yogurt. Real yogurt. You know, the homemade 24 hour stuff. You do realize that we’re talking about fermented milk, right? FERMENTED. I don’t think I need to bring up the vitamin pills. Or the sleep. Or the exercise. Or the kelp.

I did it all for you.

Up to now, we’ve had a pretty good relationship. I gave you the best I had and you returned the favor by drop kicking and sucker punching the invaders that came my way.


I mean, there was that time, during that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris. You remember,  when you invited that foreign bronchial infection to squat firmly in my lungs? And who can forget the Christmas Eve strep throat incident of 2007 or the Norwalk episode of 2009? What a memory maker...  the timing was awesome. Nursing a newborn, while puking my guts out. Oh, how we laughed over that silly prank.

Still, I never held a grudge and we always managed to make our peace and work things out - you and I. So, I suppose, the reason I’m writing this letter is to ask you now…


Forty-seven consecutive days of snot. Seriously? 47 days? You’ve outdone yourself this time, immune system old friend. Do I have the flu? Is it a cold? Pneumonia? The plague? Dengue fever? One thing’s for certain, whatever it is; it’s been hanging on like a lollipop sticks to hair. And I’m tired of it. Tired of the mysterious rashes, the puffy eyelids, the sandpaper in my throat and the coughing fits that result in me wetting myself repeatedly (not in a good way).

And now my family is starting to suffer due to my unhealthy relationship with you. My kid, my mother, my husband, me – we all sound like Kathleen Turner after an all-night bender. In Mexico.

You prick.

It’s no use. I’m going to start seeing other immune systems. I need one with lymphocytes that don’t turn to dust at the first sign of a sneeze droplet.

I'll be honest, I've had my eye on a lamprey eel. Those prehistoric stone-licking buggers never get sick. And they know how to tell a girl she looks pretty, even when phlegm is flying from her nose.

You look marvelous, darling.

So goodbye immune system, we had a good run. But as of now, it’s over.

It’s not me. It’s you.


No, really.

(Lamprey eels photo: http://spleguymph.blogspot.ca/2009/06/ask-any-student-of-immunology-about.html)

Four years (things my father taught me)

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I was a weird kid. I liked my parents. Although, things did get iffy when I was thirteen and both of them went through a non-stop polyester-pants-wearing phase.

But I liked them before that. And after, you know, once they were introduced to denim.

When I was in my early twenties, I declared that even if I weren’t related to my mom and dad, I’d still choose to hang out with them. I didn’t find out until years later that this statement made my father so proud, he shared it with damn near everyone he met.

It’s been four years since my dad passed away. Unexpected loss. Four years of sliding headfirst into a new normal. Four years of mom, Geoff and I getting used to it.

My dad was a tall, handsome, witty and thoughtful man who made an instant impact on everyone he met. He was a teacher – not by trade, but by behavior. He always seemed as though he would have been right at home in ancient Greece, wearing robes and flip-flops as he engaged in discussions with others wearing robes and flip-flops. Not only did he look the part of a philosopher, he was a thinker.

And, he did love sandals.

I can’t begin to understand even half of what my father had filed away in his brain. Still, he did manage to impart some lifelong wisdom on me during the 37 years I knew him.

These are the things my father taught me. They are truly words to live by.

And so, I do.

No, really.

This post has been edited and republished on Erica Ehm's Yummy Mummy Club with the title: 37 Important Things My Father Taught Me that You Should Know Too 

This can't be good for tourism

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Geoff and I were passing through the safe streets of a small town near the rural area where we live. That’s when it hit me.

“If we lived in Los Angeles, we’d be dead by now.” 

Geoff nodded at me from his position in the driver’s seat. He knew immediately what I was talking about.

“Or we’d be kidnapped.” I continued, “Or someone would be plotting an invasion of our house. At the very least we’d have a dead body in the trunk.” 

Geoff laughed. “If we lived in LA, I’d be the dead body in the trunk – and - I’d still be driving.”

Here’s the thing. We’ve been watching a lot of back-to-back crime dramas on Netflix, the majority of which are set in LA. And, if our calculations are correct – going by the approximately 13,214 minutes of footage we’ve seen over the past several months – there are only 4 people still breathing in the city of angels... and two of them are buried alive. In North Hollywood.

Another one bites the dust.

Meanwhile, don’t even get me started on the goings-on in San Francisco, where it would appear everyone is eventually mugged, kidnapped or blackmailed, because they've witnessed a mugging or a kidnapping.

Ok, so maybe I’ve become a little paranoid. I mean, I haven’t slept in 14 months. But, between shows like Leverage, Numb3rs, 24 and Monk, I’m convinced that if you dare go to The Golden State, you don’t come back alive. That is, unless you're a corrupt cop, or have really great skin and work for the FBI or the CTU or, I don’t know, the FML.

This can’t be good for tourism, California.

Nor is it great for my state of mind.

Me: Geoff! Geoff! What’s that noise?

Geoff: It’s the fireplace. What time is it?

Me: It’s 2am.

Geoff: Mmrrph.

Me: Geoff! Geoff! What’s THAT noise?

Geoff: It’s the icemaker. What time is it?

Me: 3:15am.

Geoff: Shmoorg.


Geoff: That was me. I was SNORING.

You see? Thanks to the likes of Don Eppes, Adrian Monk and Jack Bauer, I’m on guard, all night (and day) long.

Exactly how I feel. Jack, you "get" me.
Case in point…

Yesterday, after our drive around, Geoff let me off at our local post office while he waited in the car. As I walked down the steps, mail in hand, I looked up to see my husband, helping a woman up off the sidewalk. Blood was everywhere. The poor dear had tripped on uneven cobblestones and fallen face first onto the ground. But, do you know what my first thought was?


And so, I think it may be time for me to step away from stress-inducing shows, at least for a while. I wonder how happy Geoff will be to hear we’re going to start watching Knight Rider, the original. Again. At least with that series, the only things to be afraid of are hairspray, really tight pants and belt buckles the size of Cuba.

I’ll take big man hair over big hairy assassins any day of the week. And, like my friend Sharon says, when you watch Michael and Kit, you can distract yourself from any danger by counting the number of "as ifs" you utter per episode.

As if.

Oh and by the way, the lady on the sidewalk was ok. Not great, but not as bad as she could have been. After some medical attention inside the post office, paramedics took her to the hospital where doctors set her broken nose.

No gun shot wounds were found.

No, really.