Three weeks ago our vacuum cleaner broke. I was about to chuck it all and pick out a new one, and Craig floored and amazed me by taking it apart, ordering the necessary belts off amazon, and getting it back in new working order for a grand total of $6. Flush with the heady thrill of saving money, I i began to do what I do best: spend it mentally. With white carpet, kids, and pets, I thought it time to acquire the ability to wet clean our own carpet messes. Craig agreed. After all, he reasoned, just one bad tummy bug could ruin a whole houseful of clean, white carpets, and we'd had a luckily well year. It was only a matter of time. We shuddered inwardly as first one of us, then the other uttered the dreaded V-WORD, taking time to contemplate the collateral damage to the house that would be done if three kids who don't excel at taking aim got sick.
Three days later the steamer was sitting in a box in our garage. Ten days after that, Carrie got sick in the car on the way to Bible Study. The result was even more bodily fluids, as Mommy's tears leaked out profusely as she dropped Devon off at preschool, drove away from the parking lot while watching all our friends file into church, and headed home for a long day of nursing sick children while cleaning a car that had to be functional again by 3pm.
Holding a child while they are violently ill is such a spectacularly useless feeling! I never know what to do. Lacking a better plan, I stay still, rub their backs, and shout encouragement over the ugly sounds.
"Good job! Good job! Keep it up! You're going to feel so much better in just a minute!" I exult in a concerningly cheerful voice. It seems like the right thing to do at the time. This time, though, I couldn't help but shed a few more tears because MOPS kickoff was set for the morning and I couldn't go. Luckily, this time Craig telecommuted to give me a much-needed morning off after a very intense night.
Monday I opened the box and broke out the carpet steamer. Then I opened the pantry to make a list of the week's groceries, only to find that we didn't need to buy any. Between Carrie and Melina eating very little, Devon eating very plainly because I was expecting him to get sick any minute, and Mommy and Daddy being put off food in general because of the sights and smells of our house, nobody ate last week's groceries.
So we had sparkly clean white carpets and food to cook without a shopping trip last week. Bliss!!
I'm not sure what the protocol for this is, either. Unless it's screaming AAAAAHHHHHHH! PUT IT DOWN PUT IT DOWN PUT IT DOWN ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY!!!! and then scooping it onto a piece of junk mail for a hasty burial in the trash can and a hand sanitizer bath for everyone involved in the incident.
To cap off a summary of icky subjects (sorry, but you were warned), I'll post something that Craig wrote for me to document an afternoon he spent with the girls while they were sick and Devon and I were away.....
It was 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon. Carrie and Melina, 3 year old girls, were sitting at the kitchen table eating Ritz crackers with apple juice. They wore matching pink tank tops that said “little lady” and featured a smiling lady bug. Carrier wore blue jeans, but Melina wore a jeans skirt because she had dirtied up her pants that morning crawling on the blacktop, lunging forward on her knees, in the driveway pretending to be a kitty, so I had changed them after we got inside.
Earlier the door to the mudroom had been left open while the kids were loaded into the van. As it turned out, we had a flat tire, right rear, and Krista drove to Firestone with Devon and I watched the girls. We played outside kicking the soccer ball. I showed them the yucky toadstools not to touch in the shade of the pine trees. We went to the black cherry tree, and they had protein bar snack outside.
I had finished a lunch of shepherd pie and had a cup of coffee ice cream (Turkey Hill). In the morning I had noticed several flies around the house, so the fly swatter was ready perched on top of the hutch in the dining room.
I saw the fly land on the chair beside Melina. I went for the swatter and came back and held it high, looking at the empty spot where the fly had been, hoping it was still there. Melina looked up at me holding the fly swatter high, ready to swing.
“You can’t swat us because we’re not a fly,” Melina said. I lowered the fly swatter.
The fly buzzed around the room.
“There he is,” said Carrie, pointing.
“Swat him,” said Melina.
“Do you see the fly?” I asked, still not seeing it.
“I don’t see him. He might be somewhere. Daddy can you give me some crackers and then I will go find the fly?” said Carrie.
“The fly is way up there,” said Melina, pointing up toward the stairwell going up to the second floor.
“The fly is high up in the sky,” said Carrie. “I saw the fly on the table. It flew by. It flew by again.
I scanned the room, searching for the fly and raised the swatter ready again.
“I saw it right there on the couch,” Carrie said, pointing behind her.
I walked over to the couch and looked but did not see it.
“Now it’s gone,” said Carrie.
Then she suddenly said, “I see it,” and she was looking at the table in front of her. I saw the fly resting on the table between Carrie and Melina.
“I see it,” I said and approached quickly and stealthily raised the pink fly swatter that had a little chunk missing from a previous swat. “Watch out,” I said.
I swung the swatter hard. You have to want to kill the fly, I’ve always thought, so I swing as hard as I can. No wimpy swings. The swatter went smack and left the fly motionless on its back on the table. “I got it!” I said.
“Did you smash it?” Carrie asked.
“You did smash it,” Melina said. “I’ll look for another shoo fly and you can smash it.”
I had been carrying around the cup of ice cream in my hand to protect it from a landing fly. I relaxed and put down the swatter and had a few bites, leaving the dead fly to rest, feeling satisfied.
“Daddy, there’s another fly. Swat it!” said Melina.
I looked around the room but saw nothing.
“Excuse me, I saw another fly,” said Melina, looking up at me.
Melina got up from her seat and came over to look at the dead one. She stared up close at the motionless fly, her head a foot away.
Carrie looked at the dead fly from across the table and pointed. There’s a fly.
“No, that’s the dead one,” I said.
“Can we touch it?” said Melina, still staring at the dead fly.
“Can we touch it, daddy?” said Carrie.
“No, it’s dead,” I said.
“I like it dead,” said Carrie.
Melina went back to sit down.
I heard a buzz and looked and saw another fly. “There’s another one,” I said. I watched as the fly landed on the top back of the Windsor chair. I raised the pink swatter. I aimed and swung with all my strength at the top of the chair. The swatter head went smack. The head of the swatter flew up over the table and over Melina’s head where she sat and landed behind her on the floor. The fly rebounded and fell to the floor where it lay motionless. I held the wire handle in my hand. Only a small chunk of pink plastic remained attached.
“It’s broken,” said Melina. “Maybe we can get another one for you.”
My cell phone rang, and I picked it up.
“Just wanted to give you an update,” Krista said. She told me about fixing the flat tire.
“Where are you going next?” I asked.
“Wal-Mart. Need anything?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. I just shattered my last fly swatter.”
“You didn’t!” she said. “Now,” she said laughing, “if you break things we will have no money for Chik-fil-A.” That’s what we tell the kids when they break things.
“Can you buy another one? Something sturdy?”
“I wonder if they sell disposable ones,” she said and hung up.