On Monday, after years of trying to make a decision, I finally bought a bike. I haven't owned a bike since I was seven, and haven't ridden one since Dan's and my first anniversary. I rode it home from the bike shop, exhilarated by the feeling of the wind and light rain on my face, enjoying finding new muscles in my legs. I parked it in the garage and Dan and I talked about securing it better this weekend. I hoped to ride it during the week but didn't have time, and planned to ride on Saturday morning.
On Friday afternoon, I discovered it was gone. We think the back door of the garage was left open overnight and that the easy access tempted a thief. I'm heartbroken.
I beat myself up a lot on Friday and Saturday and many friends shared their own bike loss stories. Bikes lost immediately after buying them, three or four bikes stolen from the same home on different occasions, bikes borrowed from friends for a single day that were stolen, bikes stolen two minutes after putting them away, locks sawed, cars broken into, etc. I feel less stupid but still saddened.
The police haven't called me back yet (I'm supposed to wait for an officer to call me to get more info for the report). I'll bug them tomorrow and hopefully we can file a claim with our homeowner's insurance. If I'm lucky, the deductible will be low. If I'm not lucky, I'll have to wait quite a while for a replacement.
We tried the "look, Griff is wearing the mask, too!" approach. FAIL. Xander thrashed and screamed and ultimately I ended up holding the vaporous and fearful device to his face while trying to distract him with videos on totlol. I owe a major love-note to Nicolas Deveaux for his short clip of an elephant bouncing on a trampoline. We must have watched it twenty times today across three different breathing treatments. Thanks, Nic. Here's the transfixed patient inhaling his meds:
(lousy pics because they were taken with a 50mm lens at arm's length while my other hand held the mask to his face)
One ceftriaxone shot, three albuterol treatments, and one dose of omnicef later, and he doesn't sound cruddy when he breathes. All day his temperature was 99 degrees at most and while he was tantrumy this morning, he was pretty perky this evening. Dan noted that he hadn't heard him cough. Excellent progress, crisis averted!
Snow day #2 for Richmond Public Schools and Sabot, and we're all a little stir crazy, especially since we can't do much with Xander, who is sicker instead of better. 102.5 temperature today, his cough is junkier, and he was acting alternately whiny and listless. Fortunately, Dan had the afternoon off, so one parent took the older boys out for shopping and a treat while the other took Xander to the doctor. Griff and I needed something "chocolatey" for our word of the day, so I got the shopping team. Dan and Xander returned from their trip to the doc with a pneumonia diagnosis, sore bum (Ceftriaxone shot - Xander, not Dan), antibiotic prescription, nebulizer mask, and vials of albuterol. I'm glad we made the call when we did, because it looks like we could easily have repeated last year's ER visit.
Now I just have to figure out how to get a two-year-old to cooperate with nebulizer treatments. I hope that's the most of my worries in the next few days.
H1N1 is here, or so we believe. Some awful germ has swept through Griff's class. On Monday the 19th, ten kids were out sick in his class alone, thirty in the whole first grade. Goodness knows what the school total was. Dan and I felt like we could do nothing but break out the hand sanitizer (we're not usually big germaphobes), pack vitamins into everybody, make chicken soup, and wait.
Griff was acting cranky on Friday the 23rd but had a normal temperature and no real symptoms to speak of, so I sent him to school. After school I hustled all three kids to the doc for the seasonal flu vaccine (mist). With two kids who have gotten pneumonia, a physician father, and a mother with a tendency to get wiped out for a month at a time by post-illness sinus infections, you bet we think the cost-benefit analysis is in favor of the vaccine. We had planned on the H1N1 vaccine but our pediatrician didn't have it yet. None available for me or Dan. Munford mass-vaxxed kids but I'm not a fan of sending my kid off to school to get a shot. So anyway, doc's office, Friday afternoon, Griff totally melts down and hides behind a chair because there's a new nurse. WTF? Far from the easy time we had last year, I pretty much had to pin everybody down. Nice.
Then one hour exactly after the doc's office, Griff spikes a 102 fever. Too soon and too high for a vax reaction. Crap, the kid has swine flu. Cancel all plans for the weekend.
Dan was sick by Sunday. Xander started coughing Monday. Reese and I started the decline on Tuesday. (Same day: Griff went back to school fever-free for 48 hours, then ran a temp and looked like death and the nurse called me to pick him up. Ugh.) So by Wednesday I have three kids that can't go to school or playdates. I can't even take them with a clear conscience to the grocery store.
I think that was the day that we had a pirate ship in the living room and Xander did yoga while doodling with a pen held in his mouth. The rest is pretty much a blur. I had some ideas about taking a tour through a bunch of drive-throughs (car wash, lunch, donuts...) but by then Xander's cough was sounding bad so the only place we went in a stretch of 5 days was back to the doc's office. (He's sick, but no pneumonia. Yet.) He tested positive for Influenza A, which is pretty much the same as saying he has H1N1, according to the CDC stats (100% of subtypeable Flu A reported was H1N1). Since we all had the same progression and similar symptoms, I think it's safe to say that the swine flu got us.
Looks like there will be no birthday parties or other get-togethers for us. The doc OK-ed anybody who is feeling well (Dan, Griff, Reese) to go trick-or-treating but all other weekend plans are a wash. Nothing where we might be in direct contact with other people. :( Here's hoping we get healthy soon!
Age 82, of Wilmington, DE, formerly of Dover, died Tuesday, July 14, 2009.
was a long-standing supporter of the school lunch program and worked as
a cafeteria manager in both Dover and Wilmington. Grace and Frank
enjoyed many happy retirement years traveling in their motor home to
visit family and friends, exploring the United States and Canada, and
enjoying the company of the Telephone Pioneer Family Campers in many of
Grace was preceded in death by her husband of 61
years, Frank A. Lucia. She is survived by her children and their
spouses, Robert and Marianne Lucia of Albuquerque, NM; William and Mary
Ann Lucia of Charlottesville, VA; Constance and Harold Bischoff of
Jackson, MI; 5 grandchildren, Jessica Lucia, Kyle Lucia, Sean Lucia,
Todd Lucia and Caitlin Lucia; 5 great-grandchildren, Griffin Hardy,
Reese Hardy, Brody Lucia, Caeden Lucia, and Alexander Hardy and her
sister, Eleanore Wall of Dover.
Family and friends are invited to
visit Sunday July 19, from 5-7 pm, at CHANDLER FUNERAL HOME, 2506
Concord Pike, Wilmington with a memorial service at 6 pm. Committal
will take place at 10 am, on Monday July 20, at the Delaware Veterans
Memorial Cemetery, Bear, DE.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Meals on Wheels Delaware, 100 West 10th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
* Days washer out of commission: 6
* Days mildewy smell emanating from locked machine full of wet laundry: 4 * Loads of laundry we need to do: 10
* Repair appointments lost by Sears computer: 1
* Days until supposed new appointment: 5
* Loads done at laundromat today: 5
* Percentage of machines out of order at laundromat: 50%
* Years since last coin-op laundry experience: 10
* Kid-free hours spent blissfully reading a book, listening to iPod, and sipping a latte: 2.5
So. Six months on the market, and it's still here. I'd feel more foolish about that if not for the fact that we DID have a contract on it after only about a week on the market, and we SHOULD have closed on it in November, before the first payment on the new house was due, with the effect that we'd never have a month of double mortgages.
BUT we lost that buyer, six days before closing, three days before our move, because she bought a car. In her defense, she bought it in August, before receiving her pre-approval in September, so she put in the contract on our house in good faith. Thing is, that August purchase didn't hit her credit report until after September, and by November, with the economy in tatters, her bank said NO GO to more debt, and she had to walk.
I really, really, really hope that she desperately needed that car, because if it was a *want* instead of a *need*, I gotta whole lotta bones to pick with her. Not that I'll ever get to do it. 'Cause here we sit, having paid to keep the heat on in that place for months, having paid double mortgages for the last four months (not sustainable, putting us in debt, yay), getting few to no nibbles. And now we're going to have to pay to have it painted, and staged, and to replace flooring to make it more competitive. and mowed, 'cause you've got to maintain the place. Let me tell you how fun it is to spend a Sunday afternoon on your knees, weeding the yard of a house you don't live in, in a neighborhood you don't like, when you'd much rather be spending that time in the beautiful back yard of the house you love, planting a spring garden with your dirt-happy kids.
So, in the hopes that the investment will pay off with a SALE SALE SALE, we're paying for the improvements, and having open houses on the weekends, and crossing our fingers. It needs to sell NOW. Oh, I can't wait to be free of this thing hanging around my neck!
(All grousing aside, it's actually a very nice home in very good
condition. If you know somebody who wants a suburban lifestyle and
loves "transitional" homes, especially one with beautiful big windows
and lots of light and a super open first floor that's great for hosting
gatherings, and big bedrooms, and walk in closets and 2nd floor laundry
and all that good stuff...please send them this way!)
It's mostly a good week. Mostly. But at this moment (at the breakfast table, after pretty much having to fight my children just to fill my own need for food and caffeine in the morning) I'm focusing more on the little yucks lurking, like...
* I'm so far behind on taking care of the mail and email that I feel like I'll never catch up
* I opened a bottle of wine that a friend gave me, and it was wonderful, but it gave me a horrible headache that night and the next morning...and did the same the next night when I tried again...and now I'm worried that I'll never get to enjoy red wine ever again, pain-free. Plus I won't get to finish the bottle of wine unless I use it for pot roast or something.
* Griff told me earlier this week that my tummy looks like I'm growing a baby. I'm not, by the way. I'm totally not upset with him, it didn't even hurt, and he's right, I'm poochy! I mostly like my body right now, but I feel guilty for not doing the ab rehab that I've meant to get to since Xander was born, and I wonder if I'll ever look less...mom-like...in my clothing.
* Xander sleeps so horribly that I wonder if there's something wrong with him. Not like a cold or teething, but something really wrong, like neurologically wrong.
* I'm less than halfway through the book for the book group this weekend. The one for which I've hired a sitter because Dan is working. Which means I can't pull an all-nighter or anything.
Today was day 10 of a 12-day work stretch for Dan. It was day 22 of illness in our family. It was day 2 of Xander's reaction to penicillin, and of Griff's new virus. It was day 3 out of school for Reese, who is still trying to shake the illness he kicked off for us three weeks ago, and that's just this week - he and Griff have been home a TON in the last two weeks. Today was day I-don't-even-know of quarantine-related social isolation for me (aside from a sunny break over the weekend when I *thought* we were healthy and we got to hang with three different families).
The morning was awful and involved chapstick smeared on a wall by a feverish six-year old, wallpaper picked and peeled by a bored three-year-old, lots of crying from an itchy one-year-old, and some crying from a thirty-three-year-old, too. And then I saw the link that a friend had posted, to this:
It's a new day. It certainly is. (Can't embed the video, go watch it, really!)
I bought it and updated my iPod while nursing X, who was recovering his sense of humor. I put it on the stereo downstairs while finding the rice bin for R, who played happily in it on the porch with X. I recovered my sense of calm while the music played and they played and feverish G watched TV upstairs. Then I baked cookies, much to everyone's delight. (dough in the fridge) And sat on the porch with the kids. And finished bagging the leaves I piled up last week. My sister-in-law called to perk me up, and it worked. Then I finished leaf-blowing the whole back yard. Griff came out and worked on his "fort" under the porch. Together we cleared the old tomato plants and such from the garden.
We were in the back yard, on a beautiful windy day, for 4 or 5 hours. The whole yard is clear. My mind is clear.
The kids were filthy, covered in melted chocolate chips and dirt. The porch was filthy, covered in spilled rice and mud tracked in on shoes. We neatly put away everything and then took baths.
I finally cut Xander's hair, in the bathtub.
Dan brought my favorite coffee drink (1/2 caf grande 2 pump caramel macchiato) and the new antibiotics for Reese, and we put kids to bed, and I washed the kitchen floor.
Xander woke up this morning covered in a rash, which got worse as the morning progressed. The doc's verdict? Penicillin allergy. On the last day of his meds for pneumonia. Oh, for goodness sake! That's two kids allergic to penicillin, plus X is also allergic to Bactrim. What's interesting to me is that he and Griff (the other penicillin-allergic guy) have similar coloring and features, and both seem sensitive to upper respiratory infections. Guess that package of genes go together. You're welcome, boys.
Dan and I both still have a cough and we think there might be something bacterial going on. Mild, but still there. My throat has been sore the last two mornings.
Griff woke up with a sore throat and fever. I kept him home and he tagged along to the doc. Diagnosis: new virus. Yay. Home until fever-free for 24 hours. Double yay.
Reese still has residual yuck, too. Lest he catch the new virus and end up with pneumonia like his brothers, or spread his yuck to his brothers who just finishd antibiotics, he is now on amoxicillin. And now he can taunt both G and R about it. Nyah, nyah, I can have cillins and you can't!
I'm quarantining Reese until further notice so that he doesn't take our germs to school and school doesn't send their germs to us. Dan and I are starting antibiotics tonight (oh, and fun for me, I get to take Cipro, which is a gut-blaster, because I can't have amox due to nursing toddler's allergy). We need to get rid of the pneumococcus or whatever it is we have so that our stressed-to-the-max immune systems can get back on their feet long enough to NOT catch the next bug that goes around.
This is really getting ridiculous. The whole preschool community has been bowled over by this stuff. Somebody needs to invent some kind of bug-bomb for cold viruses and respiratory bacteria. Set it on the coffee table, pull the trigger, fumigate the whole house. Geez.
I feel sheepish even posting these, because it seems beyond bizarre to take photos of your child in the middle of a health crisis. BUT (she defensively says), while waiting and waiting in our ER exam room, I discovered that we had a camera in the diaper bag, and since there were two parents available for Xander and nothing to do but wait, documenting the occasion seemed acceptable. Due to all of our illness, it took me another four days to get the pics off the camera.
So here's Xander last Wednesday night, looking sick and tired and scared, with his parents, who were only slightly less sick, tired, and scared than he was.
They brought this teeny tiny gown for him. There is something about a hospital gown that small that makes your breath stop for a moment.
The gown says "tired little tiger" and has sleepy tigers all over it. As if your heart weren't being tugged on enough.
After gowning up they had to do some bloodwork, which required swaddling him with one arm out. One nurse held him on the bed while another got blood samples. I had expected Xander to freak out, tantrum, cry...instead he looked terrified and called "ma-MA! ma-MA! over and over again, for the entire time (5 minutes? 30 minutes? eternity?) that it took. He only stopped once, to switch to "da-DA! da-DA!" and then back to my name. I tried to soothe him the whole time. I would really, really like never to have to repeat this experience ever again.
Afterward I held him and we both cried. I don't remember Dan taking these photos. Guess I can no longer complain that there are no pics of me with the kids. :P
Once he was calm I called home to check how Sarah and the older boys were doing.
Xander seemed so much older just in the span of an hour.
Sarah asked how they get a baby to keep an IV line in. Here's how: they put a hep-lock in as soon as they're done taking blood, and then they use a mile of tape to cover it up and bind his arm to a splint. He seemed briefly annoyed by it, then pointed to the hep-lock and asked "that?" Then he seemed to forget it.
Ages later, they finally hooked him up to the IV for 30 minutes of antibiotics. Ok, it wouldn't have been so long, except that they wanted to start the drip before actually checking the labs and x-ray. Sorry, no. If we're going to give my baby IV meds, we're making sure he has nasty bacteria in there, ok? He does? Fire away. We nixxed the IV fluids. Kiddo had been drinking tons all day and his labs showed that he was hydrated just fine,thankyouverymuch.
Hep-lock, IV pump, and sleeping Xander after the meds.
No more sick babies, please. He was a trooper but I never want another child to have to go through this.
Xander's temp is at 98.3, without Tylenol. His white count is down to 1400 from 2400. He and Griff and I spent the day on my bed. (Reese had a playdate. Thanks, Adam!) I haven't heard Griff cough in a while. Dan is on his way home. It is Friday. (Correction: Dan is home.) All will be well.
I've fallen behind on the daily grace and so many other things around here this week (hello, dust bunnies) for very good reason: we're all sick. Really sick. Well, Reese and Dan escaped the worst of it, they just had runny noses for a week, but Griff, Xander, and I have each taken that virus and tucked it into our own unique especially-susceptible respiratory tracts and used it to grow amazing bacteria.
Xander ended up in the ER on Wednesday night. You know I'm one of the least-paranoid parents around when it comes to kids and illness, I rarely take a sick kid in to the doc because, frankly, there's nothing they can do for your average cold. But when X was glassy-eyed on Wednesday afternoon, and then breathing too rapidly, and had a fever of 103.4 (higher than I'd ever seen in any of the kids), and was alternately irritable and listless, and was shaking when he lifted his cup...it was time to phone the doc. The pediatrician on call sent us to the ER, where poor Xander was subjected to blood draws and flu/RSV testing and x-rays and finally a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia and half an hour of IV antibiotics. He saw the pediatrician yesterday and today, had another shot of antibiotics today, and while he's still a pretty sick baby, he's a million times better than he was two days ago.
Griffin's cough was sounding worse on Thursday, and with his history of respiratory illness and his brother's pneumonia, I wasn't taking any chances - kept him home, took him to the doc. He's on antibiotics and home again today but getting better. We've decided to cancel/postpone his party, which was a sad and difficult decision, but it's the responsible thing to do.
I've been fending off a sinus infection and ear infection since early in the week. Tending sick kids and getting home late from the hospital and such hasn't left a lot of time for things like resting and recouperating. The neti pot is great but only if I can take 10-20 minutes to use it! Sudafed works but only when my head isn't too preoccupied and fuzzy to remember to swallow it.
So, at any rate, there has been precious little space for noticing the "small things" this week. We are very focused on the big picture. The *big things* I'm grateful for right now:
my baby is ok
the rest of us will get better soon
we have amazing, amazing friends who have entertained and fed my older children, picked Reese up from school and delivered him home so that I didn't have to drive sick kids around, dropped everything to tuck Griff and Reese in to bed and waited patiently for Dan and I to return from the hospital late at night
Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. I am grateful for modern Western medicine with its fast lab techniques and IV pumps and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Good friends are an equally wonderful thing. Having somebody who you know will gladly care for your children on a moment's notice is such a blessing. Knowing that they will find a truthful but not scary way to talk to your older children about their brother, knowing that they know you well enough to substitute-parent them in a way that jives with your family, is comforting during a crisis.
This has been a week during which we have focused on loving and being loved, caring and being cared for, and that is no small thing.