Friday, July 4, 2008

The Road to Paradise...Is Filled with Potholes…Chapter II

I was up quite a bit during the night, as my adorable nephew John (my cousin’s son, 6 years old) had a tough time sleeping in a new place without his Mom (he came up with my sister Pam). Since his room is right next to mine, I had the honors of consoling him each time he woke up – “I don’t know where I am…I can’t see anything, it’s too dark…” Can’t get mad at a kid as cute as him, but it looks like I might be in for a nap before the weekend is over! And I begin to understand why my sister and her husband like to sleep in the bunkhouse out back!

And so a new day begins… I am pleased to announce that no one woke up this morning with Bat Bug bites! We find happiness in the little things! It’s finally time to put this chapter behind us, start relaxing (didn’t I say that yesterday?) and start having fun!

Now where to begin? Samantha (Pam’s daughter, 18 years old) hadn’t been feeling well since she arrived. Upon waking up and complaining of a sore throat, I make her the “open your mouth, and say Aaaah” thing. Lovely little swollen glands with all the signs of strep (I won’t go into the gory details, but you have kids that have ever had strep, you know what I mean). Everyone sitting in her vicinity starts backing away for fear that they’ll end up with it too, and my sister Pam takes this opportunity to tell her that it’s probably a result of her getting her belly button secretly pierced (the day after she turned 18)! Even if they’re sick, you got to take advantage of any chance to teach them a lesson! But it will still be off the ER for Pete (her Dad) and Samantha for antibiotics…

I walk into the other room to find Paul sitting on one couch, scratching all around his belly – Lord now what? A quick check and he has some kind of rash all around his belt line. A layer of Sarna Lotion applied, and hopefully he’s good as new.

But wait, there’s little John on the other couch, complaining of a stomach and headache. Grab a thermometer, and watch it go up – a temperature of 101.2. Time for a call to his Mom – Someone’s going to have to pick up a sick kid! But wait! Pete's already headed out in the boat with Samantha - there's no way to get John to shore! Looks like he's here for a while - so it's dose of Tylenol for him until we can make other plans.

Pam and I have already prepped the ingredients for Watermelon martinis. And we haven’t even had breakfast yet! Forget the long weekend, how much longer until I can go back to work?!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Road to Paradise...Is Filled with Potholes…Chapter I

We couldn’t wait for the long Fourth of July weekend to get up to our own little version of Paradise – my family cottage on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. I had Thursday off from work, so I could pack the family up and head up before all the festivities (and traffic) started. Michael opted to stay home and enjoy a little solitude – and to work on his never ending wall. Christopher decided he’d keep Dad company (and be close to his friends – he’s truly a teenager).

By the time I had everyone else packed and the bags loaded in the car, it was noon. We piled into the car and I give Michael one last phone call to let him know we were heading out. He informed me that he had just had an accident at work – fell off a wall and a piece of wood had come down after him and landed on his back. He was debating on whether or not he had to head to the ER. I am not about to leave for NH until I know if he is okay, so already looks like there’s a kink in my master plan.. After some discussion, he decides he’s going to make a go of it – and I’m told it’s safe to hit the road (with just a little apprehension on my side – I so need to get away).

I think we timed it just right – traffic was light for the start of a holiday weekend and we made it up in time to a little outlet shopping before hitting town and having Dad come pick us up in the boat (it’s the only way to get to the cottage) to begin our 4 days of rest and relaxation…

As I’m walking up the steps to camp, I notice bedspreads and sheets hanging all over the place – Someone was on a cleaning frenzy! And the fun begins…

My sister, Pam, had arrived with her family a day earlier – she awoke from her first night’s stay (she slept in “my” bed – we’ve each had our assigned rooms since we were kids) with some kind of bites on her neck – she pulled back the sheets to find some kind of bugs in the bed – Bed bugs?! She smushed a few as evidence and headed down to my Mom. After some web searching, it turns out they were Bat Bugs – no one had ever heard of such a thing, although bats have been long time residents in several cottages on the island. So – how the heck did they get in the bed? Move some furniture around and - Just Ducky - there’s a dead bat under the bed! Once the bat died, the darn little buggers must have gone on a search for a new host and ended up in the bed! Well, every bed in every room (4 bedrooms, 7 beds) had to be stripped and washed, and the entire upstairs had to be closed off and “bombed”.

At least I timed my arrival just right to miss this excitement – all we’d have to do now is clean up, make the beds, and start relaxing - and most liking toss and turn as we climb into bed each night for the rest of the weekend!

Thanks Pam for taking one for the team! I appreciate it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Stitch in Time...Leads to Wet Floors

We spent most of this past weekend out in the back yard having a great time. Michael worked on his never ending wall, and the kids and I were planting flowers pilfered (with permission) from Nana Biggio's yard...But obviously, someone felt our weekend needed to end with a "Bang"!

As we were picking up to head in the house Sunday evening, Paul (my baby - 8 years old) headed up the side (stone) stairway to shut off the hose. He was on his way back down, when lo and behold, he tripped over the hose, and proceeded to go head first into the corner of one of the stones! He let out a blood curdling scream, I turned around, snatched him up, and ran for the house and Michael...

Cut to the chase...4 hours in the ER and 3 stitches on the right side of his forehead later, we were back at home. I ended up stopping to get McDonald's on the way home - there was no way I could think about putting together a meal after that. Weird thing was that Paul kept complaining that his food "tasted funny" - even the water he was drinking. I kind of chalked it up to another of Paul's little (lovable) idiosyncracies...

So now, it's Tuesday and I'm in the office trying to concentrate at work, but daydreaming about my upcoming 4 day weekend for the 4th of July...My cell phone's Paul..."Mom, I think I'm sick." What do you mean, Paul - what do you feel like? "My face is all red and I have funny spots on it."

Paul, can you please carry the phone up to Christopher (the oldest - 15 years old) and stay with him so he can look at you and let me know what's going on? Sure thing!

Christopher, can you please take a look at Paul's face and let me know what you see? "Mom, he looks like Two-Face from Batman, one side of his face is normal, and the other looks like he was mauled by a bear!"

Oh yeah, I can stay calm after hearing that! I can nonchalantly pack up my things and let folks know that I have to head home immediately because my baby boy looks like Two-Face!

So that's just what I did. I was able to get a little more info out of Christopher - It seemed like Paul was having some kind of allergic reaction - maybe to his stitches. But I'd never heard of such a thing, and it's already been two days since he got them, I'd have expected something to have happened before now...But...wait a minute... was that why he was saying things tasted funny?? Had I ignored a sign of an allergic reaction 48 hours earlier?

I decided to wait and not call the pediatrician until I could witness the symptoms myself, and yes, something was definitely going on - his right eye was swollen and purple, and what looks like hives were all over only the right side of his face! Time to make the phone call! "Bring him right in" I was told.

Of course, it's a posse of us heading over to the doctor's office. One thing I must say about my kids, one of them is sick, everyone gets concerned and wants to be with them (of course, when they're all well, they're trying to kill each other). Abby opted to stay home this time, as she had the pleasure of coming with me for the ER adventure on Sunday. So, it was Christopher, Meredith, Paul and I heading for Medford.

All ended well - it was not an allergic reaction. He was diagnosed with "some type of skin infection secondary to the cut on his forehead". I guess in layman's terms there was something nasty on the rock that has caused my baby to have red bumps all over one side of his face. 7 days of antibiotics will cure it and he'll be good as new. Still didn't explain the funny tasting symptom, though - the doc checked for Strep just to be sure, but it was negative. Guess maybe it really was just another one of Paul's little quirks. :)

So we're back at home. No sense going back to the office. I'll work from home for the rest of the day. And maybe I'll catch up on some laundry. I answer emails, and call into a couple of meetings. I have some things that need to be bleached, so I throw them in the kitchen sink with some bleach and start running the water. It will take a little while to fill, so I go back and check my email again - want to make sure I'm accessible. My phone rings. I'm chatting away with Cass from the office and IM Christopher (who is upstairs) to come down and get some money to pick up the lunch I had ordered from down the street).

Next thing I know all heck breaks lose. Christopher comes running outside - "Mom, were you filling up the kitchen sink and forgot about it??" Oh my God. There is 2-3 inches of water all over my kitchen! My hardwood floors are under water! Now all five of us (me, Christopher, Abigail, Meredith and Paul) are scrambling around the house grabbing every towel in sight! I scream, "Not the clean ones! Only dirty towels! I have too much laundry to do already!" Not a problem (not sure if that's a good thing or not), as we were still able to come up with about 20 dirty bath towels to soak up most of the water!

Catastrophe averted - I start picking up the soaked towels and Meredith heads back downstairs to play. "Mommy, theres water leaking from the lights in the playroom." Just Ducky! Don't turn on the lights, baby, it should stop shortly now that we have the water cleaned up up here. Which it did, thank goodness.

So back to a few more meetings before I can call it a day - and a lot more laundry to get done tonight! Lord, when is that 4 day weekend gonna get here?!


If I couldn't laugh about it, I swear I'd be living in a padded cell somewhere :)

By Popular Demand....A Blog is Born! here's the deal...My life is surreal.

If it wasn't really happening to me, I'd swear someone was spinning me one heck of a tall tale, or that I was watching a lost episode from the National Lampoon movie franchise!

As my friends and family listen to me recount my many - sometimes daily - (mis)adventures, I am told over and over again that I need to start a blog. Well, I think I have finally reached the point where I can't help but agree with them...So here we go -

Why start this blog?

  • If nothing else, I hope to one day look back on my writings and be able to laugh at and amaze myself with all I have persevered through.

  • Maybe some day my kids will look through my musings and rejoice in having survived growing up in our loving, but ever chaotic, family.

  • I hope that those who choose that read my postings will find amusement - as well as a reminder that no matter how bad things seem at the time, we will endure and carry on! Or at least you'll have a laugh or two at my expense!

So, here we go! Get ready - hold on - we're in for a bumpy ride!