Out of pocket

Wrote this last night, but saved it in draft form, as I was too spacey to know whether I was making any sense:

Here’s why I haven’t posted today, and probably won’t tomorrow…

Things have been crazy at our house later because we’ve been trying to get our house ready to go on the market (anybody want to buy a house, by the way?). In the midst of all that, my wife — who’s been working on this project pretty much around the clock (around her job), with me trailing along in her wake being occasionally helpful — got some kind of horrible stomach bug last week. Not the flu, but it might as well have been. Wiped her out for most of a week, but she kept going.

Over the weekend, one of the twins got a mild case of it, but quickly recovered. Then yesterday, the other twin got it, and so did her mother, my daughter. My wife went over to try to help with all that last night, leaving me alone to work on a list of things to get ready for the fact that today, a Realtor was planning to show our house.

So I put some stuff on the stove to cook for my dinner, and went upstairs to do some of the things on my punch list. Then, I drifted over to the laptop and started a long response to some of y’all’s comments, and then… the smoke alarm went off downstairs. I had totally lost track of time, and hadn’t heard the kitchen timer go off, and a pot of field peas had run out of water.

The house was immediately, before I could get downstairs and get the pot out into the yard, saturated with smoke. I spent the next three or four hours with the attic fan on and all the doors open, wiping down every surface in the kitchen and cleaning out the hood vent, trying to get rid of the smell. My wife, who had planned to spend the night at my daughter’s house to look after sick folk, came home to help me deal with the mess. I was feeling pretty sheepish by then, I can tell you.

Right after she got home — well after 10 — my son-in-law called to say my daughter had gotten so much sicker that he was going to take her to the hospital. (I won’t go into detail, but she really needed some fluids by IV, and other complications addressed.) He woke up their big sister to watch the twins until I could get there. He ended up spending the night at the hospital and so did my wife. The staff was badly overwhelmed, so the smart thing was for a healthy family member or two to be there.

I spent the night on the couch at the twins’ house. They were fine, although I didn’t sleep much. Then today, I took care of them all day except for a couple of hours in which I grabbed a late breakfast, did some last-minute work on the house, noted with satisfaction that most of the smoke smell was gone, and just to be on the safe side put a frozen apple pie in the oven to get a pleasant smell going (crafty, huh?). And yes, I turned off the oven when it was done.

Then I went back to take care of the twins until about an hour ago, then came home and put some dinner on the stove. It’s cooking now. And yes, this time, I have the laptop in the kitchen. My wife’s spending the night in the hospital with my daughter (who still isn’t in a regular room), my son-in-law is with the babies, and I’m going to cop some Zs at home before going back to take care of the babies in the morning.

It’s 11:12 p.m. My dinner is ready.

Don’t expect me to post tomorrow.

To the most important point: My daughter is better, just not better enough to go home. She was really, really sick.

Since I wrote the above, the night has passed without incident — except that my youngest daughter, the ballet dancer, injured her foot last night and it looks like she might not be able to perform Saturday, which we were looking forward to. Her big sister is still in the hospital, the twins are in the care of my son-in-law, and I’m going to try to get some freelance work done this afternoon. Still probably won’t post before tonight, if then…

38 thoughts on “Out of pocket

  1. Brad Warthen

    By the way, have you or any of yours had this really nasty stomach bug that has ripped through my family? When my wife got it last week, I thought she had the swine flu. Only there was no fever, just horrific gastro effects accompanied by terrible cramping in her legs and back. I almost took her to the hospital, and as I told you, my daughter is currently hospitalized with complications from the same illness.

    It wasn’t swine flu, but a reminder that there are plenty of other nasty things to catch out there, things that aren’t making headlines. Anyway, I ask again, has anyone else had this one? I hope not, for your sake…

  2. Todd

    I am happy for you that it appears everyone is going to be okay in the long run. Great post. It’s good to read such articles about you being human. One of my favorite quotes is that Comedy is often just Tragedy plus time. I am confident that you will laugh about the past 48 hours someday. Probably not today, but someday. Good luck.

  3. Karen McLeod

    So sorry to hear about all this. I hope your family members feel better soon, and I hope no one else will come down with it. Prayers.

  4. Anne

    Oh my! You have had a time. I know it wasn’t funny, but you do have a way with words and I laughed out loud more than once.

    Hope everyone is better soon!

  5. Brad Warthen

    Yep, they do multiply.

    A word to the wise. When things are going badly, never say to yourself, “Well, THAT was the worst thing that could have happened under the circumstances.” That’s an invitation for something worse to happen.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    Wow—that was some pot of burnin’ peas you had!
    Tip for food/smoke smells–shallow dishes/saucers of white vinegar placed around the place for a good while. Then remove them before the showing, replacing them with dishes of ground coffee–discreetly placed….
    I have had a troubled tummy the last few days as has my husband, but not on your family’s level.Keep up the handwashing!!
    Good luck on all counts!

  7. KP

    I did the very same thing with boiled peanuts one time. I do it often, in fact, which prompted my daughter to note, “You’re not a good cook, but it’s always an adventure when you do it.”

    We haven’t had the stomach flu here, but I never miss it if it’s around. You obviously don’t have OCD — we would NEVER say that things can’t get worse. They always can.

  8. Brad Warthen

    I like that, Burl — as in, “the Japanese really burned a pot of peas when they attacked Pearl Harbor,” or “the Bay of Pigs was a pot of peas that Ike left on the burner for JFK…”

    And KP, speaking of things getting worse:
    I THINK I’M GETTING IT. Or something unpleasant. Might even be the swine thing. And while I still feel up to typing, I want to say that I am not enjoying this… (see those ellipses as a trailing mark left by a pen as the writer collapses…)

  9. Brad Warthen

    Oboyohboyohboyohboy… CAN’T. STOP. SHAKING. I’ve had chills before, but this is ridiculous…

    Hey, y’all, do me a favor here, will you (he said, echoing Chuck Yeager asking Ridley, “Make another note here, would you?” as the X-1 threatened to shake to pieces near Mach 1 — “Man,” they’ll say, “That Brad was a cool customer right to the last…”)… hang onto these notes so that medical researchers can study them and find a cure for this before it wipes… out… Mankind…

  10. Herb B.

    I tend to read stuff much to hurriedly, and read something about Brad and “pot,” and started worrying. Well, it obviously wasn’t what I thought it was, but after slowing down a bit and reading properly–you sound like Job! I mean, you’ve already got enough troubles with your own health, and the job loss–I hope things improve real soon! You’re in my prayers! “Lord, enough is enough!”

  11. Herb B.

    Brad, with all the medication you take–well, be careful with this bug. I take a lot of stuff too (mainly Neurontin, a whole lot of it), and having a stomach bug is the worse thing possible–almost.

  12. Brad Warthen

    Getting that ache in the latissimus dorsi that I associate with flu, although I realize there’s not a perfect correlation…

    Be sure to share that observation with the medicos. It will impress them. They’ll say, “Higher cognitive functions remain even as the crisis sets in. He’s actually retained those hard lessons from Mrs. Kinney’s Latin classes in Bennettsville in 1967-68…”

    Little do they know I actually learned the term from a trainer who worked at a health club I belonged to in Jackson, Tennessee, in the early 80s. He’d always come around uttering quirky words of encouragement, such as, “There’s ol’ Brad, workin’ like a Trojan…” Which cracked me up. Because, you know, the Trojans didn’t SPEAK Latin…

  13. Brad Warthen

    Thanks, Herb. And Burl — I’m on the Blackberry now; can’t make it upstairs to the computer.

    Enjoying a brief respite after calling “Roark” on the big white phone for 3rd time, at about 3:30 a.m. local… Before that, I was watching a show about Hotel Street in WWII — Burl will know what I’m talking about…
    OK, I’m going to collapse again now…

  14. bud

    When my twins were babies we always boiled the baby bottle nipples to steralize. One afternoon I feel asleep from exhaustion while they were on the stove. After about an hour the water had boiled away and then the nipples. The smell of melting latex baby bottle nipples is something to behold. This occurred in a very expensive salad master pot. Stuff happens.

    Brad, hope everything is back to normal. So far no stomach ailment in the “bud” family.

  15. Claudia

    Geezlouise, Brad, sorry you’re having such a rough time… and all at once! Hope you and yours all feel better soon and life the universe and everything starts improving. Heartthoughts to you…

  16. Kathryn Fenner

    Society Jazz Band Leader Dick Goodwin does a spiel about how when he first came to SC, a guy asked him to play “Just a Bowl of Butter Beans,” which turned out to be “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” when the guy hummed a few bars so Dick could fake it. I have had “Just a Pot of Burne’d Peas” running through my head.

    Sorry about the technicolor yawns. This, too, shall pass. Gatorade. Pedialyte. Bananas, Applesauce, Rice and Toast.

  17. Brad Warthen

    Ginger ale. It’s the only substance I can imagine consuming.

    Do you have any idea how many commercials on television are about FOOD when you’re trapped in front of it? Really gross food, too…

  18. Kathryn Fenner

    Headstone will say–

    “He died at his BlackBerry. Send”

    Sorry—he sold out….

    and a BlackBerry is food, too.

    Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

  19. Kathryn Fenner

    Wow–you are really sick. Do consider seeking medical attention!

    It just occurred to me that you can get Blenheim Ginger Ale at Four Oaks Farm on Route One at I-20 near Lexington. I don’t know if they’re open on Sunday.

    Blenheim’s is made here in SC, near Dillon, and it got my friend through 6 months of really bad morning sickness and my mom through chemo. I highly recommend it–it has a lot more ginger in it than Schweppes!

  20. Brad Warthen

    I’m better, thanks. Not 100 percent, but much better. I haven’t clawed out from under the pile of stuff that didn’t get done while I was sick to the point that I can blog yet, though.

  21. Kathryn Fenner

    They do indeed issue a COEXIST bumper sticker at closing when you buy a Shandon house. Do you get the Confederate flag one when you buy your house in Lexington County or does that cost extra?


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