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Mon, 13 Mar 2006

My Long Week

Last week was a Long Week... and the story is pretty funny, so I thought I'd share it. However, be forewarned... this story is not for those with a weak stomach. :)

Last weekend I was in St. Louis on my first NFJS conference of the year. I called my wife Sunday morning to say good morning and she was in tears. She had gone to a fund raiser for our daughter's school and caught a stomach bug. She was throwing up all night long. At this point she didn't know if she was going to be sick all day while the kids were awake. I hate it when my wife or kids are sick and I can't be there! Also, our three year old had a fever. Turns out that Debra's stomach was done for the day and things went a little smoother after that.

My flight that evening didn't get me home until after 11 pm. By the time I collected luggage and drove home it was late and I didn't get unpacked and into bed until 1:30 in the morning... but this turns out to be one of the better evenings of my week.

Monday went okay... Debra didn't feel well and was still running a fever, but no-one else had gotten sick, so we thought it was "only" food poisining at this point.

Tuesday... Elisabeth (our 2 year old) was very fussy. In fact, she was up, on and off, until 3 am. She had "horses in her tummy", but she never actually got sick. We're beginning to wonder if Debra had food poisining or caught a stomach bug.

Wednesday comes... today is Debra's birthday and she finally feels human again. We went out to Red Dragon, a Chinese restaurant that we've loved for years, but it only had a location in downtown Raleigh. They've opened a new location a few miles from our house! We're excited, the food is great... it's a good evening!

Finally, the kids are in bed. Debra and I have crashed in front of the television. At 11 pm, just as we were shutting down for the night our seven year old Hannah comes downstairs to announce that she has "sneezed out her rice". I wisely clean up my daughter and send Debra upstairs to investigate the bed. Hannah has thrown up in her sleep, something I've never heard of before, but apparently can actually happen. With her younger sister (Elisabeth) sleeping just a few feet away Hannah appears to have deposited a ~lot~ of Chinese food on the sheets. Ewww! Debra just pulled the sheets off the bed and puts them in the garage. We decide that Debra didn't have food poisining last weekend. Food poisining isn't contaigious.

As a quick aside, Hannah announces several times that she's never going to eat that restaurant again. (sigh) Debra and I have been eating at this restaurant (in it's Raleigh location) longer than Hannah's been alive, but when you've gotten sick after eating a certain food it can ruin it for you for years. We realize that we've probably lost our latest favorite eating spot after a single wonderful meal. Whimper.

Since Debra's been sick and I've been out of town, we're out of the groceries that sick people need, like Gatorade, Sprite, Ginger Ale, and crackers. So, at nearly midnight, I head out to the grocery store.

When I return, I put the groceries in the kitchen, including a cardboard box containing twelve cans of Sprite. It's the type of can that you can put on a shelf in the refrigerator and just grab one can at a time. Debra started to open the box when Hannah called for a trash can in a way that you don't ignore if you like clean carpet... so Debra grabbed the trash can and ran to Hannah.

As Hannah threw up into the trash can I heard a different sound from the kitchen.

Roll-roll-roll-clunk-slpooosh! Roll-roll-roll-clunk-splooosh! Roll-roll-roll-clunk-slpooosh! Roll-roll-roll-clunk-splooosh!

You get the idea. Debra opened the Sprite box slightly more than she intended to and the cans were rolling to the floor, where most of them detonated. I dashed into the kitchen in time to save four.

Out of a twelve pack of sodas, only four were usable. Of the others, four were completely empty and the others were dented beyond opening. Some were leaking, some were not... I just couldn't tell. It was a pile of bubbling might-have-been soda goodness in the middle of the kitchen floor.

So, at some point between midnight and one am, I start mopping up soda from the kitchen floor while Debra sits with Hannah through another round. Soda is sticky on linoleum. It's sticky on cabinents and dish washers too.

Debra and I start doing the math on the timing of Hannah getting sick. We realize that Saturday to Thursday is four days. That means I could get sick on the following Saturday or Sunday. That would put me in the middle of speaking at a conference in Boston. Things are looking grim. I have visions of getting sick on a two hour commuter flight with a single bathroom on it. Not a happy thought.

I finally finish cleaning up, putting groceries away and I go to bed at two am. Debra and Hannah were up until five.

Thursday was a better day. Hannah has a fever, but is feeling better. Debra is feeling great. Even Elisabeth, the tempermental two year old is having a great day. We all got into bed at a decent time. Things were finally looking up.

At 3:27 am, I awake to the breif squeal of a fire alarm. Fortunately, it wakes no-one in the house but me, so I investigate. We have three alarms at the top of the stairs. One is a fire alarm wired to the house electricity, one is battery powered and one is a CO2 alarm. Since I don't know which alarm woke me, I assume that the battery powered unit was just letting us know it's battery was low. I pulled the battery and return to bed.

At 4:07 am, I awake to the same squeal. This time, I unplug the fire alarm that's on house power.

To be fair, we're paranoid about fire alarms and CO2 alarms. We have an additional fire alarm downstairs, one in my office, and another CO2 alarm downstairs. Since only unit is chirping, I felt pretty good about ignoring it. :)

At about 5:15 am, the alarm comes back on and stays on this time. It turns out to be the CO2 alarm at the top of the stairs. It wakes up Debra, but not the girls. I finally realize that pulling the unit apart makes the sound stop. :) Good.

I open a few windows (just in case), but since we don't have a gas stove, our hot water heater and furnace are outside the house, and the gas fireplace doesn't even have a pilot light running, we go back to bed. (The downstairs CO2 unit never alarmed, so we weren't being completely stupid.)

We realize the next day that the replacement battery/CO2 detection unit that we bought on eBay had expired last year. That was probably what caused the problem.

Finally on Friday I was packing my clothes and leaned over Debra while she stood up. Her forehead smacked my face and busted my lip. It was a good one too... bled quite a bit. :) I sit on the sofa for an hour with ice packs so I don't look too goofy for the conference in Boston. :)

It was a long week, but it seems to be behind me, but if you came to the conference in Boston (Danvers, technically), and I seemed a little tired, or had trouble remembering your name, it wasn't you.

I just had a long week.


posted at: 21:58 | path: | permanent link to this entry