Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

So, depending on where you left off, you may or may not be aware that my beautiful grandchildren have been staying with me for a little over a week.

And you may or may not be aware that however cute and innocent they might look, Caleb (the LITTLE one!) managed to land me in the hospital on Friday night with a concussion. It wasn't an accident, either: I was flat on my back on the couch with a bad case of the flu, and he picked up a hard plastic toy and swung it like a baseball bat, cracking right across the top of my head so hard that my daughter heard it from across the room.

So that was fun.

Saturday I was back down, this time resting for 24 hours on doctor's orders, and by Sunday my absolutely amazing super-hero mom-stand-in daughter was a little frayed and I had a serious backlog of work to get done. Oh, and there were a lot of dishes in the sink.

But guess what? That's all just background--I haven't started the story I sat down here to tell yet. Kind of long-winded? Blame the concussion. Or brain damage from the gas.

Yes, that's where today's saga begins. I left the house to do some laundry and hadn't been gone for fifteen minutes--I had actually just unloaded my laundry at the laundromat--when my daughter called me to tell me that the house smelled like gas, and not just a little. In a matter of minutes, the smell had spread from one corner of the kitchen throughout the lower level of the house.

I told her to get the kids out of the house and that I'd be right home. Because I live in this lovely little midwestern town, I left my laundry right where I'd unloaded it and hopped back in the car. (Well, probably I would have done that anyway, but since I live where I live, I did it without concern for our clothes.) On my way home, I realized that I hadn't said, "And the dog" and considered calling my daughter back to make sure she got him, but you're not really supposed to use a cell phone in a house full of gas, so I decided to just hurry home instead.

Turns out that she'd figured out that we didn't want the dog to blow up all by herself. He was happily on his leash. Andrew (3) was running in circles around the Whoville tree in an oversized t-shirt, his jacket and a pair of snow boots. Caleb (18 months) was sitting on a lawn chair in a similar t-shirt and his winter coat wearing only socks on his feet. Tori was also in her pajamas, and had had the wisdom not to stop and brush her hair.

I took a deep breath and popped back inside to grab Caleb's shoes and a blanket for him, and then we waited around outside for NICOR to come and tell us everything was fine. Because that's what they do, right? I mean, I've called the gas company because I smelled gas before. They come in with their little machines and run them around your house and then either tell you that a pilot light is out and fix it in half a second or tell you there was never any gas to begin with, and you go on with your life.

Except today. Today they said, "Your furnace is leaking."

Fortunately, they were able to just shut down the furnace, which meant we could all go back inside and everyone could get dressed. Unfortunately, they shut down the furnace, and it was 39 degrees today. Oh, and I had my doors propped open the whole time we waited for the gas company, trying to clear the gas out of the house.

Hey, at least I rent. That furnace was someone else's problem. So...the morning was a hassle, but it's all over now, right?


While we were waiting outside, Jake had some sort of...ummm...stomach malfunction. Because he has his long winter coat on and we were a little preoccupied as it happened and didn't address it immediately, he ended up with his own disgustingly mushy waste all tangled up in his fur.

My still-heroic daughter volunteered to bathe him while I dropped by the property management company with the threatening notice from the gas company. But Jake had had all the trauma he could take for one day, and he escaped, dripping and smearing everything he was trailing across the bathroom floor and then running for downstairs. So then she had to wash not only the dog but also the tub, his leash and harness, and the bathroom floor. She opted to just throw away the towel he'd rolled on.

As soon as I came in from the rental office (which turned out to have closed for lunch 4 minutes before I arrived), she called me upstairs to tell her this story. While I was upstairs, Andrew called up that he needed to use the bathroom and I told him to use the one downstairs (since the one upstairs wasn't fit for humans). He said okay, but a moment later let out a wail that had me down the stairs at a dead run.

He was standing in front of the toilet, but his clothing was soaked and there was a puddle on the floor to rival what the dog had left behind upstairs (though this round, thankfully, was just urine). "Me pee everywhere," he sobbed. And he had. I think with all the chaos, he'd waited just a bit too long and then barely made it in the bathroom door before it let loose. It took me some time to convince him that it wasn't the end of the world and we could just wipe it up and wipe him up and get him into some clean clothes. Or so I thought.

While I wiped up the floor, Tori sat him down for lunch and he told her he'd been bad and peed on everything. ("Really?" I'm thinking. "You still think you're bad? After I picked you up and hugged your naked little urine-soaked self? That accomplished NOTHING other than creating a need for me to change my clothes?") So we all had a talk about how accidents weren't bad ("Oh! Okay.") and then I looked around and decided enough was enough. The temperature was dropping, someone would be working on the furnace, the bathtub needed a good scrubbing and we were all so far past the ends of our ropes that we didn't remember having them.

So I'm writing this from a hotel, where everyone had a nice swim and we had pizza delivered for dinner and it doesn't smell like gas and no one had to clean anything.

Well, almost nothing. Earlier this evening, a little voice called out from the bathroom, "Tori's mom! Me peed everywhere again!"

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