Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Making Up For Lost Time

Dear Blog,

It’s been so long since we’ve spoken! It’s been a heck of a week, and since I do most of my unloading here, let me tell you about what I’ve been up to.

On Wednesday the 11th, I got up early, got all my ducks in a row to take Spawn to have his wisdom teeth removed at 8 am. Then I checked my calendar and found I was a day ahead of myself, so I sat down, utterly disgusted with myself and wasted an hour or two in self-flagellation. Why does that word always make me think of an amoeba attempting to find food or entertainment? Anyway, as penance for being absent-minded, I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, which the three kids and I use. The dog uses it, too – he hides in the tub during thunderstorms. I’m not sure which family member sheds the most, but it’s all clean now.

On Thursday, the 12th, I overslept myself, rushed Spawn to the oral surgeon, handed over a check bigger than his tuition for two semesters, and did some knitting on the Sideways Sock that I’m still sure I’m not going to like finishing, but I do like the yarn. It doesn’t take long to extract teeth these days, I guess, so 40 minutes later the nurse set me in a chair next to Spawn’s recovery bed, where he was sitting partially reclined, and proceeded to give me rapid fire instructions on post-op care. When she got to the part about him not using straws, Spawn’s head came up and he bellowed, “STRAWS! I’m addicted to them!” He pointed his finger at me, about ¼ inch from the bridge of my nose, and said, “You’d better HIDE them!” I agreed to do so, and the nurse and I shared a snicker while he lapsed back into a drowse. Then the surgeon came in to check on him and Spawn pointed again. “YOU!” he said accusingly, “did you take STUFF out of my FACE?” “Stuff?” queried the surgeon. “Teeth,” I whispered. “Yes, I took teeth out of your mouth,” he responded humorlessly. Spawn enthusiastically grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously, “Thanks,” he said, “I didn’t feel a thing” and then he collapsed back onto the bed.

After a couple more humorous remarks, I had Spawn in the car, dropped off his prescription for Tylenol 3 at the pharmacy and got him home and settled on the couch. We swapped out his gauze and I got him an ice bag, then got Bunny up to watch over him while I went shopping for squishy, slurpable foods and his Rx. By the time I got back, he was in need of the Tylenol, and he slept like a rock on the couch. The surgeon’s office called to make sure he was OK, and I spent the rest of the day walking him to and from the bathroom, where he nearly had a fainting spell, and forcing calories down his throat. Unbeknownst to me, while I was out shopping, he had conned Bunny into letting him make phone calls, so later that evening three of his friends showed up to look in his mouth and talk to him in his altered state. We were all highly amused, but I made them go home at 9 pm.

Friday, the 13th, I spent shoving more squishy calories into Spawn and explaining that he could not go to work, no matter how good he felt, and that straws were still off limits. He insisted that it would be a good day to watch “Groundhog Day” as an assignment from his anger management therapist, and, after checking my husband’s extensive library of VHS tapes and DVDs, I realized I’d have to go rent it. I also remembered that Doodle was heading off to Math Camp, and I needed to make sure he had enough reasonable clothes to wear.

It turned out that Doodle has been growing so fast that he had only one pair of strangely shiny green shorts that still fit him, and a pair of hand-me-down swim trunks that weren’t embarrassing, so, once again I put Bunny in charge of keeping Spawn from careening into things around the house, and took Doodle shopping. We got him some pants and shorts, a couple of new shirts and some bedding, and some electronic equipment, and then I picked up more squishy food for the tooth-lesser one. I had a small anxiety attack at the checkout counter when the total was rung up and spent the ride to the video store wondering how much I could claim as deductible for educational and/or medical expenses.

I can’t stand the movie “Groundhog Day”, mainly because of Bill Murray’s not-funny meanness and an antipathy for Andie MacDowell. Somewhere in the superstitious bowels of my subconscious, I am convinced that if I avoid watching her movies, she will be suitably chastened and stop making them. I have yet to be proven correct. Anyway, I washed the newness out of Doodle’s camp duds and shoveled soup and pudding at Spawn.

By Saturday the 14th Spawn was well enough, in his opinion, and sober enough in mine, to try going in to work for a short spell, so I spend the day cleaning Doodle’s heinous room with him. We hauled two loads of mystery laundry to the laundry room – “mystery laundry” in terms of “what the hell is this and when was the last time you wore it” and “you mean to tell me you haven’t cleaned out from under here in that long?” Which, of course meant the whole room needed cleaning, which we did. It is much more sanitary now, although I am still wetting and scrubbing two large dark blobs of something that Doodle refused to identify, even as we speak. We got him packed, and, since I never miss a chance to instruct people on good packing, that took a while, but the Doodle was gracious enough to look interested and not drool.

Spawn came home aching and in need of another Tylenol, but everyone had been nice to him at work and let him sit down a lot, which was OK. Bunny spent the day communing over the Internet and phone with her long-distance boyfriend, and hubs watched a race and washed and waxed his car.

Sunday dawned bright and early, which is how days frequently behave, to find me cooking a hearty breakfast for the camper and his parents. Bunny was sleeping late because she had found a way to piggyback on someone’s unsecured wireless net and stayed up all night i.m. ing, and Spawn decided to go to church and pray for no more swelling in his jaw. He came home early because it was boring, which is teen boy code for “there were no cute girls there”. He then ate most of the bacon, which made his tooth holes hurt, so he lay down with an ice bag, another Tylenol 3, and a grumpy mood. We got Doodle and his gear loaded into the car, drove for an hour and a half, and got him checked into his dorm room. As we crossed the parking lot to go to the parent/camper orientation meeting, I got hit with an allergic reaction to some recent petrochemical spraying of some sort and had to stop and wheeze for 10 minutes, which annoyed both my partners and scared the hell out of me. We got oriented, smiled, shook hands, hugged the Dood, and drove another 90 minutes home, where I finally quit wheezing once and for all.

Monday the 16th, started earlier than usual with a 5 am call from Dad’s nursing home, telling me that he was having acute chest pains and they were sending him to the hospital. I made coffee and waited for the hospital call, which came about 30 minutes later, letting me know they hadn’t found anything but were checking him in anyway. Then the billing office called for a verbal OK, since I’ve got Dad’s POA, and then my husband got up and asked why there wasn’t more coffee. I filled him in, he left for work, and a thunderstorm blew up, which put the dog in a quandary. Should he shiver in the bathtub or follow me around, plopping himself on my feet every time I stopped moving? He went for option two. The hospital called again, this time to let me know there was paperwork I needed to sign, so I woke up the remaining children to let them know where I’d be, loaded errand stuff in the car and went to the hospital to stand around waiting while they tried, very cheerfully, to figure out why I was there. Eventually the paperwork was located and signed, and Dad got wheeled back to his room after a test, where he cheerfully told the aide that, of course he could walk to the bed himself. I shook my head at the aide behind him, and I, also cheerfully, reminded Dad that he hadn’t walked in 5 years and he needed the assistance. I stayed with him for about a half an hour until he fell asleep, then rounded up the charge nurse and put a bed alert order in place, in case Dad was having one of his dangerous daffy spells and tried walking on his own again.

I got my errands run, and three hours after I had left, returned home to find that Bunny was suffering Internet withdrawal, as I had disconnected the home access, and the weather was interfering with her piggybacking. We had a discussion about ethics, which she agreed to, and I logged her back on. Spawn was raging around like a wounded buffalo, upset that he couldn’t find his Hamburger Helper in the refrigerator and accusing everyone up to and including the parrot, of having eaten it while he was sleeping. I pointed out that it had been cleverly hidden on the top shelf of the refrigerator, right in the front. Then I hid the remaining Tylenol 3 tablets.

Dad called from the hospital after his nap, wondering why he was there, so I reassured him that it was for some tests and did laundry and started dinner. Spawn, whose chore is hanging up clean clothes and distributing them, let out a roar from the basement, ran up the stairs and pointed at me. “The shelf fell down” he announced, “and everything on it flew all over the floor.” “Did anything break?” I asked, knowing that we keep our tornado survival supplies there. “No,” he said, “But it’s all everywhere”. “Well, get the hung clothing put away before it gets nasty, and stand everything upright,” I told him.

Later that evening the dishwasher tossed its spray arm, which melted onto the heating element, and I wound up doing all the dishes by hand.

And yesterday, I had a dental checkup first thing in the morning, which yielded good news – no changes, and came home to wash pots and pans. As I was doing so, Hawthorne decided to play Spanish Inquisitor:

H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Washing pots
H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Scrubbing the same pot
H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Scrubbing the same pot

He and I repeated this exchange about 8 more times, then

H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Looking up recipes for Nosy Parrot Stew
H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Slicing onions for Nosy Parrot Stew
H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Scraping carrots for Nosy Parrot Stew

Meanwhile, Bunny was giggling and chortling in her bedroom a few feet away.

H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Picking out seasonings for Nosy Parrot Stew
H: Whatcha doin’?
Me: AAAAAAAARGH. Checking Ebay to see how much I can get for a Nosy Parrot!
H: AAAWWWWWK! Birdie wants a kiss.
Me: Doesn’t that figure.

I got the pots and pans scrubbed, and it was time for “How Clean is Your House” with my two favorite middle-aged ladies. I lollygagged on the couch watching them smell things and screech over mega messes, then Bunny left to go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with a friend. I decided that I would tackle my most dreaded cleaning job while the house was empty, and went to face… … My husband’s bathroom.

I should probably admit that I occasionally brush my teeth there, while reading so I don’t have to look at the rest of it. In middle-of-the-night emergencies, I have been known to avail myself of the necessary as well, but about 2 years ago I gave up cleaning it, other than the bits I use. It’s just grim, and he doesn’t clean up after himself. He doesn’t admit that he knows where clean towels are stored, even though the closet, 3 feet from the door, is so full of clean towels that the edge of one is stuck in the door, sticking out in plain view. But, no, somewhere in his head, cleaning up his own bathroom and putting fresh towels in it goes against the Code of Real Manhood so severely that he showers in a stall that would be condemned if it were in a public park. I figured that in honor of Kim and Aggie, I’d put my principles aside and have a go at it, lovey, as it were.

An hour and a half later, I had clogged up the sink drain, not that it needed much help, with debris rinsed out of the wiping cloths, which I was using to clean up and wipe off the KABOOM with which I was having to repeatedly scrub the talcum-powder-plus-godonlyknowswhat which was covering ½ the floor in a huge, dark, hideous, hard mass. The toilet was clean, inside and out, and the floor around it clean, and I had faced down some very territorial spiders by expediently KABOOMing them as well. Turns out they don’t like that, which I had hoped for, and they died, which I had also hoped for. I had switched to rinsing the scrub brush and cloths in the bathtub while the sink slowly dribbled water into the drain.

When I say ½ the floor was cleaned of its, er talcum plating, I don’t mean that that was the only place it was covered in hardened muck. I peeled back, yes, peeled back the bathmat and found more of the same, plus a layer of hard water lime, soap scum, and a lost, used washcloth, lacquered to the floor with muck. I was sweating, breathing heavy, and fed up, so I took a break.

Hubs came home, came upstairs and said, “Are you alright?” I glared at him and told him what I had been doing and why I needed a rest. He didn’t look nearly abashed enough, so I asked him to clear the drain and take the trash from the bathroom out, which he did. I decided to just take on the bathroom in parts, over days, so I tidied up my work stuff and came downstairs to do dinner. I did suggest to him that it was scary in there and that he needed to clean up after himself better. I fell asleep on the couch somewhere between “Dirty Jobs” (HA!) and “The Daily Show”.

So, this morning, thinking I’d be able to go to group and make more progress on the Devil’s Bathroom, I made coffee and settled down with a cup. Hubs showed up, poured himself some coffee, and said, “Well, it looks like I disturbed some (insert plumbing word) while I was emptying out the U joint, and the cabinet under the sink filled up with water. I put a towel on the floor where it was starting to make a lake.” I took a deep breath. “Did you turn off the leak?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” he said, “but we sacrificed four rolls of toilet paper to the flood.” “Ah,” I said.

When I went up to check, there was indeed a towel on the floor. The cabinet, however, was still full of stuff, including the sodden toilet paper, and still full of water, which was soaking into the wood and possibly causing it to warp. I took everything out and threw in a couple of my husband’s favorite towels to soak up the water, and I’ll be spraying it later to prevent mold.

If the rest of this week goes like the last seven days, I’ll need corneal transplants by Friday, and on Saturday we’ll develop a roof leak, which I’ll have to handle by myself because Spawn will be on a date, Bunny will be online, and Doodle will be out trying to find the dog, who will have run away because the bathtub is full of sponges and it’s raining.


Brigitte said...

Poor Spawn, his tooth extraction seems to have hit him especially hard - I remember I was lucky as far as pain, and never needed drugs or to be careful about what I ate . . but I DID look like a chipmunk for about 3 weeks.

Ulp! I think that bathroom would make me barf, and I thought I was a slob. Don't you wish you could just send in some animated Dow scrubbing bubbles and let them do it?

Anonymous said...

Well, at least now I feel better about my husband's bathroom. ;-!

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