A billion McDonoughs, a blogger's convention and more thoughts on the Food Network

Last weekend J and I flew to Connecticut to attend his cousin's wedding. It was a McDonough affair, meaning his J's father, J's father's twelve million brothers and sisters, and their children were in attendance. In other words, the night was a hysterical and joyous celebration that included wild dancing to "Come on Eileen" as well as late night hastily-concocted drinks whilst swaying to Frank Sinatra. But I'll get to that later. Upon landing that morning J and I went to meet his parents for the drive back to Orange when I felt an all-too familiar sensation grip my insides like some vile devil. A urinary tract infection. In times like these - times when I get a urinary tract infection immediately upon landing in Connecticut, where we're staying for only one night to attend such a lovely occasion as a wedding and I'd really like to be comfortable, if not having fun - I try and remember the worst experience of this sort, that plane ride back from London, where I'd spent a semester my junior year. The one where I felt the pangs of horrid pain the minute the plane had taken off and I was forced to endure the entire seven-hour flight having to pee every two seconds knowing there was nothing I could do. The worst part? I had antibiotics the doctor had prescribed for just such a situation. In my luggage that had been stored safely in the luggage compartment far below and out of my reach. The point is, when I feel I've been dealt a particularly unfair hand, I remember that plane ride and how whatever I am dealing with is just simply not that bad.

Luckily, the women in J's family get urinary tract infections just as often as I do and when I shared my news his mother responded with amazing speed. She had a prescription from the doctor, just in case she needed it, and she, so very graciously, filled it for me. After an afternoon lying in bed, drinking water and holding emergency conferences with J's mother and his sister Megan, during which we commiserated about how there is nothing worse - support that, of course, made me feel so much better - I was able to get up and into my dress. With the help of various medicines attacking the infection and the pain I was ready to begin an evening of wild debauchery.

After the ceremony, held in an charming, historic church we went on to the reception, where we met up with the above mentioned brothers and sisters, including J's Uncle Bobby. Uncle Bobby has a highly entertaining blog, and he, J and I quickly got down to the business of holding our first ever blogger's convention (you can read Uncle Bobby's account here) at the table where we talked about the importance of getting more people to read our blogs. Meeting adjourned. I would think that our incredible dance moves (at least Bobby, his family, and I along with other McDonoughs...J can't be counted on to dance even at weddings lest you slip him something mighty strong) might have been reason enough for all those in attendance to quickly look us up online and become avid readers. People who dance like us can obviously write an awesome blog.

Once the reception was over, and since J's parent's house was nearby, it seemed obvious that everyone was coming over. When we arrived, Megan's boyfriend Matt and I got busy making everybody drinks, including a shot of vodka and cranberry juice that we served up in tiny espresso glasses. Those were a kind of hard sell, but nonetheless I found several takers and everybody cheered to whatever. Frank Sinatra was playing and soon people were dancing and I was passing out on the couch. It was great, as I told my father the next day when he was driving us home from BWI, and he promptly stated, "It sounds like your mother's family when they get together. Those Irish."

Nearly a week later I'm spending the afternoon at home flushing my body with gallons of water again. The doctor I saw this morning determined that the wonderful gift of medicine I'd received from my mother in law hadn't quite knocked out the infection and I'm now on something new. I'd normally get pretty bummed about a situation such as this, especially since my parents are coming to visit tonight. But I'm staying positive. I've been watching the Food Network for a couple hours, the Mecca of all that is frivolous, and therefore, ultimately comforting. While I'm on the subject, I'd kind of like to know where these cold-hearted individuals who can't get enough of making fun of Rachael Ray are when Paula Deen is on? God love the woman, but come on.

The more important thing keeping me happy though is the memory of all the help I got last week when dealing with this annoying and persistent ordeal from J's family. Even his grandmother, another fellow sufferer, encouraged me to stay strong. When you aren't feeling well, the one thing that can make you feel better, and not alone, are people who have been there. And believe me - if you haven't been there you DON'T KNOW.

J and my kids are screwed, I realize. They'll be born blind and in immediate need of some Cipro, but they'll have a support system in the form of laughter, understanding and late night Irish-jam sessions, and they'll be just fine.