Fevers and Flakes

RebeccaUncategorized5 Comments

grinch-2

Okay, so maybe you’re asking yourself, “what happened to the Christmas Acts of Kindness?” Yeah, well, that’s really a long story, but let’s just say that someone kinda… well..

And that’s all I’m going to say on that for now.  Yup.  We’ll come back to it when I can dig out the graceful part of my soul that wasn’t shredded.  If I can find it. But don’t you worry, the kids and I are still doing the acts, we’re just not telling anyone about them.  =D
Any-who…  
I think during every deployment, there is a day that nearly breaks us.  The first deployment, it was when Jason was wounded.  The second?  When I fell down the stairs and fractured my ankle in three places.  Last deployment?  When we simultaneously moved into this house while having Brody MRI’d for a brain tumor.  Now, nothing that bad has happened this deployment (knock on wood).  But I had THAT day this weekend.  Oh yes, and I’d like to tell you about it.  
It starts… Wednesday night when Chase spiked a fever, the same sickness that took out about 1/2 his first grade class, and it went down hill from there.  102 temp, sore throat, hacking cough, puke.. you name it, this virus has it all.
We kept it pretty well contained… until, well, we didn’t.
1:30 a.m Saturday morning? Brody walks into my bedroom, and before I can turn the light on, vomits all over the carpet.
Every mom loves the middle-of-the-night clean up at the foot of her bed, right?  Yeah.  So now Chase has it, Brody has it, and with a quick swipe of the thermometer, yup, mom has it too. 
Oh, it’s about to get sporty around here.
Enter Sunday, aka: Day from Hell.
Waking up to the sound of a snow plow just sets the tone for the day right:
Yup, a quick peek outside shows there’s more snow.  And then there’s the fact that my temp is raging, I can’t breathe through my nose, I feel like warmed over dog poo, and the kids generally hate each other in their sickness as well.  We have 3 hockey practices between the two teams, but honestly?
Right.  Self-imposed snow/sick/I-hate-everyone kind of day.  So Jason hops online to Skype, which is nice because I don’t really get to see him much anymore, and talks to the kids while I prep Princess Pumpkin’s pre-nap-breakfast. After all, if she’s asleep for 90 minutes, I can get the driveway and sidewalks cleared from these last 6 inches of snow. Something tells me the snow on the ground is the kind that stays until March.  Sigh.
So as I pop open the massive deep freeze to pull out baby food (that’s right, I’ve gone all hippy mama with Princess Pumpkin), I notice – it’s dark in the freezer.  I do the whole open door / shut door thing, like that’s going to change the fact that it’s not ON.  
So I step to the side, and open our giant (6 kids, remember) refrigerator, and it’s not on either.  It’s plugged in, but not on… and all I can think, is that the day is about to go to hell in a hand basket.
So I stick my face in the computer screen and ask Jason which fuse the frig/freezer are on, and then set out to the basement with Aidan.  Why Aidan?  Because in the 133 year-old cellar, well, Aaron is kind of like:
So yeah, we leave him upstairs and Aidan and I turn over every fuse labeled “kitchen.”  None of the others appear blown, so we head upstairs… and they still don’t work.  So I’m sick, and I’m really exhausted, and there’s snow to blow, and now our food is going to go bad?  Jason says, “just pull it out from the wall.”
There’s maybe 4 inches between the fridge, the wall, and the upright deep freeze.  And this thing is massive.  How the hell am I supposed to pull it out?  I’m wiggling it inch by inch, doing this truffle-shuffle while Jason is on Skype, and I just lose it.
Come on.  We’re almost 8 months into this deployment and I’m DONE. Add that to the fact that I’ve been up all night with Brody, holding his head and cleaning up puke, and well, I’m not in my best frame of mind. Jason’s all calm and what-not, and I just want him to be as upset as I am.  I want him to see everything crumbling here, and really understand the general insanity I’m trying to hold together.  I want him to value the amount of work, and tears, and loss of sleep I’ve endured for this deployment.  Well, shit.  I also want him to think I’m superwoman and can handle it all.  Those two don’t exactly walk hand in hand.  
So I wiggle the freezer, then go wiggle the fridge, walking them both out inch by precious inch until they get to the end of their cords, and there’s no where else to go, and I just want to yell at him that he’s not here, and he’s supposed to be.  And my emotions run amok, overboard, into the generally insane side where I’m wondering why it is we’ve chosen a life where I’m pulling my hair out, sobbing from sheer exhaustion, and he’s telling me he’s bored because he has three days off.  

That’s so not true.  Of course I care.  I want him rested, and capable, you know, so he can hunt bad guys and handle himself while being shot at.  I’m well aware that he has it worse than I do.  Totally.  But at this moment?  Surrounded by puking kids and snow while I’m sick?  Yeah.  I’m all woe-is-me.  And him giving me directions via-skype on pulling out this andre-the-giant-sized refrigerator?  Yeah, I’m kinda like:
So we wiggle it out  to about a 9 inch gap, and Aidan volunteers to slip between them and unplug them so we can at least get them hooked on an extension cord.  But as he steps back there, what does he see?  
A dead freaking mouse.
I’m guessing that’s why no amount of scrubbing out the refrigerator was killing the “something isn’t right” smell. Of course I can’t fit back there, and Aidan already IS back there, so he suggests a shovel.  Operation “remove dead mouse” ensues, and it’s bagged up.  You know what I hate?  Mice.  You know what I hate more? Dead mice.  UGH.  So we run all these cords to the frig/freezer, and call it good until we can figure this out.
So I walk into the music room on my way to the living room and I notice my scentsy warmer isn’t working.  Yeah, folks, that’s right, it’s the scentsy warmer that tips me off.  We’d flipped all the WRONG fuses.  It’s the flippin’ music room.  Why on earth is all that stuff on that circuit?    
So, okay, back down to the basement, flip the switch, and we’re good to go.  Well, except the part where we move the frig and freezer BACK out, send Aidan back behind to unplug them from the extension cord from the plug and get them back into the wall where they belong.  
I’m now sweating (fever, remember), my hands hurt from gripping the sides to wiggle, there’s a dead mouse in a bag on my kitchen floor, and I feel like an utter moron because I didn’t just flip every freaking fuse the first time.  
I feel so freaking stupid.
Right.  So Jason can see that I’m at my limit… which could have something to do with the way I flipped my lid and told him that this was our last deployment.  Yeah, like we have a choice in that, right?  Well, that doesn’t stop my logic-less tirade in which I inform him that I’m done.  D-O-N-E.  Done.  
Right.  Okay, I’ll admit, I don’t handle being sick well.  But any mom on the planet can tell you that if you’re sick – there’s no respite, no time to rest, no chance to sleep it off.  Oh no, when mom’s are sick, chances are it’s because we have been nursing our tiny humans back to health, which means we’re not sick alone.  But sick or not, we still have to be able to get out of our driveway, so now it’s time for…
Right.  So Princess Pumpkin is down for her nap, so the Bigs and I head out to shovel the driveway/sidewalks. I figure they’re 9 and 10, right?  That’s totally old enough to help mom clear some snow. But they’re not all about it.  Oh no, they’re whining, and cranky, and for every time they complain, it just hardens my resolve to make them help.  I’m terrified of raising little, spoiled, entitled boys who grow up to be spoiled, entitled men, so yes, they will shovel, even if all they do is clear a 4X4 section. So whine away boys, it’s not going to change the amount of work that has to be done. Only problem is, while I’m snowblowing?  They’re throwing snow by the shovel-full at each other…  onto the driveway I’ve already cleared.  And now it’s covered again.  And maybe I’m wondering if it’s considered child-slavery if I make them shovel it all up again.
So I’m snapping at them, because the whole, “work ethic” lesson is basically blowing up in my face, and I’m sure the neighbors think I need a straight jacket and all.  And Aidan has to pull a jerk card. “Fine!  I won’t throw snow at Aaron!  I’m just going to go inside!”
Awh, HECK no.  You will not be going inside, because I’m not manipulated that easily.  As a matter of fact, I’m about to give your butt a smaller shovel, so THERE.  
Did I mention that I’m super graceful when I’m sick?
Right.  So after they make a bigger mess for another 1/2 hour, I finally just send them to the back yard, and ask them to clear a path from the back porch to the garage. I figure if they’re back there throwing snow at each other and making a bigger mess, well, then at least I can’t SEE it.  
45 minutes later, we’re in the clear.  So we head inside, and my head is throbbing, my temp is back up, and I’m all sweaty and icky from the massive amount of shoveling / snowblowing, because what?  I didn’t get the deck put on the riding snowblower, so all I have is the itty bitty walk-behind.  But we’re done, and all I want to do is basically:
And I have these visions, like if Jason were here, it would be all:

But, yeah, right.  If there’s one thing that being married to Jason these last almost-dozen years has taught me?  Well, when it comes to deployment:

Totally.  But for today?  Yeah, I’m totally going with the whiny option and lamenting the fact that I’m all alone.  Well, kind of.  I mean, there are 5 kids living here, so I’m never really alone, you know?  So I pour everyone some cider, we make some lunch, and an hour later, Aaron walks in with a 102 fever.

That’s kid number three down for the count.
So I medicate him, and get him put to rest, and by now, it’s time for Princess Pumpkin to wake up from her 2nd nap of the day, and wait for it…. 
Yup.  She’s spiking a temp too.
Okay, so now the only healthy kid is Aidan, who is still in jerk-mode.  And thus the afternoon goes, keeping track of who got medicated when, who is throwing up where, and trying to basically not die, because I’m just as sick as they are.
But alas, the day comes to an end.  THANK GOD.  And amid the hacking, coughing, temperatures and vomit, I get all of them put to bed.
So I go back to toss a load of laundry in (remember, vomit, people, VOMIT), and what?  The M’er F’ing pipes are frozen to the washer.  No big deal, it’s only happened dozens of times since we bought this house.  I use our totally classy method of taking my hair dryer to it for a minute, then walk away, then repeat twice more.  I hear the water flow, and we’re ready to rock and roll.  Just an annoyance, right?  Right.  Laundry in, bad day is coming to a close.
A little bit later, Jason wakes up in Afghanland and hops on Skype to check on me.  Let me just say, for a guy who hasn’t been skyping so often, can a girl get a warning?  I look like absolute crap, and I’d like him to want to come home, as opposed to running the opposite direction from the hot mess I look right now.  So anyway, I’m telling (or yelling, whatever) him about how the day has gone, and I ask him to hold up a second so I can toss another load of laundry in.
I go back to the washing machine, and I can still hear water running.  But the washer is off.  Huh.  Odd.  So I toss another load in, and press start, and it goes, but I can hear the water is running from behind it?  Wait. Huh?  Why is there steam coming out of the little plumbing hole thing?
Wait…
I burst the fucking pipe.  Pardon the actual F’bomb drop, but really?  At this point?  Dropping the F’bomb on the blog is pretty much my least worry.

Right, so I come back in, and I ask Jason “sooo, if I burst the pipe, the washer wouldn’t still work would it?” And we both think, nawh it wouldn’t.  But it’s working, so now I’m confused.  So Jason tells me that I need to go down to the basement, check it out, and maybe trace the lines and shut off whichever one I might have just burst.  That’s right, the super creepy 133 year-old basement with spiders and shit, at midnight.
Sooooo, flashlight in-hand, down to the basement I go.  Yup, I can see the water running in the five inch space where I can see the pipes behind the crawlspace.
It’s the hot water.  How do I know?  Because it’s actually steaming.  So I stick my hands up through the spider webs, cringing, I promise, and shut off the valve, and the water mercifully stops running.  Score, at least we can avoid a midnight call to a plumber, because that sounds like SOOOOO much fun the week before Christmas.
You know that straw that broke the camel’s back?  Yeah, there’s no more camel, it’s lost in a freaking haybale. I’m at max capacity for… crap.
So I come back upstairs, and Jason is trying his best to keep a level head, telling me that it’s going to be okay, and at this point, well, I’m just not very nice, and I’m more like:

And basically this too:

Right. This is just like…  I can’t even figure it out.  Maybe it’s the cost of the beautiful things going on in our life? Maybe it’s just normal life, but I feel so much less able to cope with it because I’m missing Jason.  Who knows.  It just sucks.  All I can think, is that I haven’t seen my husband in 8 months, and I’m just… 
Tired.
I’m exhausted.  I’m waking up more exhausted at 6 am to get Aaron on the bus, because I’m struggling to get everything done work/house/kids wise during the normal waking hours.  I’m lonely.  I’m stressed. I’m incredibly jealous of the girls who live close to family, whose in-laws come up, or parents come over, and it’s a ridiculous, illogical emotion for me to be having.  It’s Christmas, we’re stuck here without Jason, and I want to go home to my parents and my sister. I would kill for more than 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I want Jason home.  I’m done.  So done. But the problem is, during a deployment, “done” really isn’t an option.  You don’t get to call up the Army and be like, “it’s been fun, but I think our little experiment is finished now.”  
Nope.  We endure, because these men we love, they’re worth it.  Well.  I think so.  I don’t really remember what it’s like to have him here dependably, but I have these vague memories of a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Right?  
So I finish my totally wenchy tirade, which basically ends like:
And poor Jason is like:
But we both know there’s absolutely nothing he can do.

So I take a breath.

It’s not his fault, and I know it… when I’m being logical.  He would much rather be here, dealing with a busted pipe, than being shot at by terrorists.  I’m being totally unfair, and giving into an emotional reaction. But the day has just been so… bad.

We’re so close to this being over.  Close – like I can see the date he’s coming home on our 2 month calendar system.  We just have to hold on.  Well, I need to hold on.  He just needs to get here faster. 😉

So you know the good thing about bad days?  They come to an end.  I dry my tears, make a list, hang up with Jason and head up to bed.  I stop in and kiss each of our 5 kiddos here, and revel in the fact that they are happy, semi-healthy, warm, and no one has thrown up in the last five hours.  I thank God I got the water stopped, and that the cold water still works to the washer, so it’s not that big of an issue in the immediate sense. I’m thankful for my friends here, who immediately hop up to say, “let us come help,” even though I’d rather die than infect them with the plague that’s taken us down.  In the midst of all this insanity, I’m simply… thankful.  You know, when I’m not being incredibly ridiculous and cranky.

Well, at least until the next semi-crisis comes along, right?  Until then, I sleep, and tomorrow will be better.

Well, kind of.  It’s now Friday, and yes, it’s taken me four days to write this blog…. doh!  And what?  Aidan is curled up next to me, because our lone hold-out against this virus has given in, and has been throwing up since 3 a.m..  The good news?  The other kids are healthy again.  
The better news?
Mama’s not sick anymore, which means I can give him the care he needs.  
Hurry home, Jason, and kick the deployment gnome out…. pretty please?

5 Comments on “Fevers and Flakes”

  1. Lia Wright

    I do not really remember what it's like to have him here dependably, but I have these vague memories of a warm, fuzzy feeling. Yes!!! I feel so much less able to cope with it because I'm missing Jason.Regards,Luxury Hair extensions

  2. Joe Casadonte

    Your strength amazes me. Merry Christmas to you and yours, and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year!

    1. Rebecca

      Right back at you! Have a fabulous New Year, and thank you very much! (It's really not strength, more like… desperation). 😉

  3. Patti Bacher Clifford

    As I read your post I went back and forth between laughter and buying a plane ticket to come and help. (I probably wouldn't be much help in the creepy basement though.) You're doing a great job with the boys and the little princess. I'm glad Jason will be home soon. You are an entertaining writer – thanks for taking time to post. Blessings to you and your family. 🙂

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