Cathy Hamilton: Welcome warm weather with antihistamine cocktail |

Cathy Hamilton: Welcome warm weather with antihistamine cocktail

Cathy Hamilton

Of all life’s ironies, perhaps the cruelest is seasonal allergies.

Finally, winter turns to spring. Brown grass morphs into green. Flowers sprout where none stood before. Tiny sparrow beaks peek out of nests. Shrubbery bursts forth with blooms. Pasty white humans emerge from our dark houses, stretch out under the warm sun on musty chaise lounge cushions and inhale deeply …


Twenty minutes later, hay fever sufferers are back inside, heads under the covers, wheezing, sniffling and sneezing a windstorm. For the next three months, we’ll be too sick to enjoy our absolute favorite season of the year.

Forget about rain on your wedding day, Alanis. That, my dear, is ironic.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from some kind of allergies. We’re a miserable lot, my friends.

In order to get by – because one does have to expose oneself to the elements when one has, say, a job or grocery shopping to do in order for one to, you know, live – we resort to medication. Our handbags start to resemble the “Cold/Allergy” aisle at CVS: tablets and capsules, saline and steroid spray, eye drops, nasal swabs and throat lozenges. (If we could get our Neti pots in there without water spilling all over the place, we’d include them, too.)

Some days, we get lucky and medicate ourselves with the perfect antihistamine cocktail so our eyes itch only slightly, our noses survive an entire meeting without running all over the agenda, and we avoid falling asleep on the boss’ lap.

Other days, the elements get the best of us, and we are forced to retreat inside – windows shut, air conditioning blasting, white flag of surrender blowing in the pollen-filled wind.

Such was the case last Saturday when, after foolishly spending a delightful evening in the great, albeit breezy, outdoors, I woke up with puffy, bloodshot eyes, swollen sinus cavities (think Quasimodo without the hunchback), pounding headache and an all-over itch that couldn’t be scratched (at least, not simultaneously with two hands).

A day of gardening was out of the question, so I hunkered down in the living room, flipped on the boob tube and subjected myself to the ultimate irony: “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

(Yes, of course, it’s mortifying for me to admit this in print. And, sure, I expect to be mocked for it. But I was vulnerable that day, dear readers. And, it was a marathon, for heaven’s sake. The only marathon in life I had any hope of completing. Who are you to deny me my dream?!)

That said, here’s what’s ironic about “The Real Housewives”:

First of all, they’re far from real. There is more silicone, Restylane, collagen, artificial hair color, false eyelashes, fake tans and faux sincerity going on in those women than in the Barbie division at Mattel.

Secondly, they’re not housewives. A housewife is defined as “a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs and doing housework.” Heck, half of these women are single. The married ones have domestic help to manage their household affairs. And, with those nails, there ain’t nobody doin’ any housework, girlfriend!

This is reality?

After I forgave the gross misnomer (realizing a more accurate title like “The Artificially Enhanced Shrews of The Big Apple” probably wouldn’t sell), I found myself getting sucked into “housewives” drama:

Will Alex and Simon’s home renovation get finished in time for the big reveal party? (And was the interior designer responsible for that fat mess run out of Brooklyn on a rail?) Would the reluctant Bethenny hit it off with her blind date, the hunky male model with half a brain? Can Ramona squeeze in one more “touch up” procedure at her plastic surgeon’s office before the commercial break?

The intrigue continued in the next episode: Would Bethenny and Kelly’s feud ruin Jill’s big charity event? Will Countess LuAnn ever learn how to boil water? Could Jill and Ramona have a catfight right there at the gala? Was there enough two-sided tape in the world to keep Kelly’s breasts in that dress?

By the time “The Reunion Show” came on, the Benadryl kicked in. I watched the screaming, crying, finger pointing and shameless book-promoting through a drowsy haze.

“Six women, cameras on them 24/7, and we never see even one of them sneeze,” I thought, as I drifted to sleep. “Not exactly ironic, but it sure isn’t real.”

Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at

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