My first time hosting Thanksgiving and my plans were quickly going down the toilet. A month before, I receive a jury summons. (I was not called the entire week. I am done for the year. Yay!) The Monday before Turkey Day, Lily comes down with the stomach flu. She complains of nausea at a friend's house, and when we return home, she has diarrhea. Instead of lying in her bed, she stays on the floor. She hasn't been there long when she leaps up and races toward the bathroom. She hits the hallway, which is only maybe five feet away, and I hear that dreaded sound: she's vomiting.
Okay. It's okay. It's best to get it out, but she doesn't make it to the toilet. She doesn't even make it to the tile floor. There, in the shag carpet-covered hallway, is the vomit, and all I can think is: "Shit! Shit! Shit! How the hell am I going to get that out of the carpet? People will be here in a few days. ARGH!" Part of my brain says this is completely inappropriate to think this while she's sick. The other part knows I will be the one cleaning it up... as usual. She apologizes for vomiting in the hallway. I tell her that it's okay, not to worry about it.
I put that aside because Lily's now lying on the floor and distraught. (Not surprising. Vomiting is never pleasant.)
"It's okay, honey."
"But I didn't make it to the bathroom," she repeats.
"That's okay, too. I'll clean it up."
It's after ten at night. I'm already exhausted and not thinking straight. So, I pull a couple of old towels out of the linen closet to try to sop up the mess. O.o After a few passes, I realize using towels means I will have to take them outside and spray them off before washing them (our pipes are old and clog easily--the last thing I need is to have to call the plumber too). I can't count the number of times I've had to do something similar with the bedding. So, I come up with another plan: paper towels. I try to to pull the white chunks of partially digested cheese out of the shag with the paper towels. It doesn't help. I scrub at it trying to get the cheese out only to make smaller pieces of cheese and work it deeper into the carpet. UGH! (You can thank me for that visual another time. Grin) Not to mention the fact that being on my knees with my nose that close to something that smells this disgusting could result in me adding my own dinner to the floor.
I sit back on my heels and survey the mess. The only way it's coming out is with a professional shop vac. (sigh) This means going to the store immediately because leaving that stench in our carpet in the hallway overnight just isn't an option.
This whole time, Charlie is nowhere to be seen. Apparently, he's in the back bathroom and "indisposed." I hear the toilet flush. I hear it flush again. Our bedroom sliding glass door opens and a few choice words meet my ears.
I look down the hallway to our bedroom. He passes by the open door in his underwear. I ask, "What's going on?"
"I have to plunge the toilet," he says.
Great. "Well, when you are done, can you watch Lily while I go to the store? I need to get a Rug Doctor."
I'm a bit peeved with him. As usual, I am left to take care of everything (from clean up to her) when she's sick. Other women tell me this is typical. I don't care. I don't like it. If he says, "No," about watching her, I'm thinking of things I can do with that plunger. He doesn't say "no." Lucky him. (grin)
Thankfully, I'm still dressed. I run down to Ralph's for the rug cleaner. It takes a bit to gather. I muscle it into my car. (Thank goodness I work out.) When I get home, I muscle it out of the car and roll it into the house. As I enter, the cats see it and stare big-eyed at me. They recognize the machine as the monster that makes a lot of noise and scares the shit out of them. I can see them thinking, "Will she try to suck me up with that thing?" Then they scatter.
Okay. Well, I need to figure this thing out, but first I check on Lily. She's lying on the hallway floor looking very pale, the poor mite. Charlie is just standing there looking at her. No surprise there.
Am I the only one whose husband becomes almost completely useless when their child gets sick? Seriously, when Lily gets sick, it's as if Hannibal Lecter came in, removed Charlie's brain, and ate it for dinner because he will just stand there and watch as I do everything. As if his legs and arms don't work. However, his mouth does, and he's always full of suggestions/questions that serve to irritate me. He'll say things like: "Well, maybe if you tried this... Or I have found..." In his vast experience of watching me take care of her, he has found... what? That I don't know what I'm doing so I need his advice?
Breathing. Breathing. Just read the instructions, Marci. Vacuum the vomit up and go to bed because, at this point, I am wiped out.
I read the instructions and proceed to pour the water into the container that says, "Do not pour the water in here." Doh! It's past midnight now, so I have an excuse, right?
Finally, I figure it out and am ready to vacuum. I open the door to the hallway and I can't access the spot as Lily is still lying in the hallway. I look at Charlie and say, "We need to move her into her bedroom."
I squat, get my arms under her, and stagger to my feet. (She weighs over 50 pounds now.) Her eyes widen as I continue to struggle to find my balance and her head misses the doorjamb by a few inches. She refuses to lie on her bed, so I set her down on the floor and return to the hall.
In a fit of helpfulness, Charlie closes her door. I maneuver the Rug Doctor into the hallway and start to vacuum. It's very loud, but she is so tired she sleeps through it. When I am done, the vomit is gone. Yay!
Charlie retreats to the bedroom, lays down and falls asleep while I go outside to spray down the towels and PJs. In case you didn't know, sodden towels weigh a ton. I manage to get them into the wash and can finally collapse on our bed. I check to see if the baby monitor is on. (We keep it on just in case.) The hubby is snoring away, but I can't sleep. I am hopeful that was it, but somehow, I know it's not. Every sound she makes, my eyes pop open. And as she starts gnashing her teeth, I know it's going to be a long night.
Unfortunately, my prediction came true. It was a long night. I slept almost not at all. And around 4 am, I wake up to Mother Nature's call. Apparently, I've needed to use the bathroom since before going to bed, but I've been so worried about Lily that it didn't register. At 4 am, my body said, "Go now or explode." Lily had thrown up maybe half hour before, so I figure I have time.
Of course not. o.O
In the middle of heeding Mother Nature's call, Lily starts screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" Then I hear the sound of her retching.
I am yelling, "I'll be there as soon as I can. I just have to finish up."
While all of this racket is going on, Charlie is still in bed. Frustrated, I yell at him, "Can't you get your ass out of bed and help her?" However, by the time he does, I have finished, washed my hands, and rushed past our bed just as he is climbing out of it.
But it gets better. I have spent the entire night up and down with next to no sleep. He strolls in and sees me holding her hair back so vomit doesn't get in it. As he stands there, he proceeds to give me advice on how to help her. o.O Yeah, that goes over well.
By 5:30 am, it's all done. At least the throw up, anyway. The fever begins. (sigh)
At the end of it, Charlie says, "Thanks for doing such a great job taking care of her."
You know, while his gratitude is appreciated, I'm thinking, "If you are really grateful, stay home so I can get some sleep now." Neither happens, but I survive.
So, Thanksgiving Day will arrive tomorrow. I'm already exhausted, but the girl child is on the mend. :)
As I sit here typing this, I realize that I don't do all of this for my husband's gratitude, or the sweet hugs from my daughter, or the bags under my eyes, the worry, because I like to clean up vomit, or because I like the adrenaline rush. No, I do it because I'm a mom, and somewhere during pregnancy, Mother Nature flipped a switch in me that made me slightly insane.
It's the only explanation.