Sickies, Survival, and a Teen for Sale

Categorized as 03/03/08 Goshen News article

Gratefully, I can report to you that your prayers really worked. Overall, we crossed the finish line looking strong, bringing it in with a sideways skid, having no more than a ding or two on the quarter panel, so to speak. This really is amazing, considering that we started out the week with a gimpy tire, a two-hour delay, and one sickie.

Monday morning found me limping up to the tire store, praying like mad that the tire wouldn’t blow. Riding a rim and throwing sparks while lurching up to a local storefront isn’t the kind of entrance I prefer. Happily, we arrived with far less drama and no catastrophes.

With a sickie in the house, the backup in Indy, and a full work week looming, I was immediately faced with the eternal feminine question – what to wear? As I just couldn’t afford to get sick, a Haz Mat suit seemed like a good idea. However, they’re not very girlie (I couldn’t find one in pink) and they looked like they would be really hot. This would lead to copious sweating, possibly followed by a prickly heat rash, and I just couldn’t get excited about that. The prospect of maneuvering a spaghetti grabber around in a bulky suit to hit all the hard-to-reach itchy spots just seemed daunting. Instead, I spent 30 minutes Googling Florence Nightingale suits and ended up ordering one that came with a big hypodermic prominently displayed in a front pocket to go along with my new motto, “Speak softly and carry a big syringe.”

Tuesday found the sickie still home with sore throat and fever, begging for juice and running intermittent checks (raspy trills and fa-la-la’s) to see if his voice was returning. When I talked to his father by phone, he recommended gargling with vinegar. After some very smooth oratory, he reluctantly agreed to try it. Judging by the amount of hawking, gagging, and retching that followed, it appeared that I had confused the vinegar with battery acid. A couple of pointed glances at my big syringe helped him regain his equilibrium.

As the invalid was unable to feed and walk his dog, who was still with us at the time, his little brother cheerfully agreed to fill in. With his “yeller” out of commission, the invalid then conjured up a creative method of signaling to the helper when it was time to come in. This, I discovered later, involved a match, a firecracker, and a quick toss out the back window.

You know, I have no clue how the male mind works. I just live here. Some things simply defy explanation.

It soon became obvious that the boys had picked this week to conduct some sort of diabolical experiment to see how little sleep a mom really needs in order to remain upright. The toddler did his part by waking up twice in the same night with fever. Up and down I went, schlepping drinks and Motrin to a sick little boy.

It was the senior, however, who won that contest hands down. The night the toddler got sick, I went to bed worried because Jordan was late coming home. Just after 11 he called, waking me up to stay he was working late. Relieved, I fell asleep again. When he got home, he trotted into my room, waking me again to see if I wanted to share a midnight snack with him. When I declined, he bounded upstairs. Just when I thought it was safe to fall asleep again, he reappeared once more, turning on the light and demanding that I check out his new haircut.

It was about here that I got out my double-barreled “encourager” and through gritted teeth “encouraged” him to remain overhead. I would be happy to check out his new ‘do in the morning, I said, but if he woke me up one more time…

Looking pale, he disappeared, this time for good.

On Thursday I ended up taking the two sickies to the doctor. Thankfully, it was only a virus and not pneumonia as I had feared. I knew that life was returning the day I heard sounds of an enthusiastic scuffle in another room and found that the former invalid had handcuffed his brother to the crib. Yup – he was definitely back.

Yes, we did survive our week of “suffering,” both at the hotel and here in the teepee. I have decided, however, to put the senior up for sale, so if you see an ad for a loud teenager on Ebay, please bid and bid high. That villa’s gonna cost me, you know.

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