My first weekend to relax in my new home

So today was a long and awful day.

Dowlan left yesterday afternoon to hand keys over to the renter, sign contracts and get the rest of the stuff in the shed loaded. Since it was a Saturday morning and the morning person was two hundred miles away, of course the kids were all awake by 6:30. Considering they've been dragged out of bed at increasingly late intervals this week, it was all the more irksome that their eyes popped cheerfully open before the dawnzer-lee light.

Fortunately for me, there were cartoons on the Tivo and I just had to stir long enough to push the button every 14 minutes or so.

At about 9, I realize that it is raining and call the woman in charge of the homecoming parade to see if it is delayed or canceled, as the girls were supposed to be there at 10:30 and ride on a float.

She's quite adamant, "Don't come out in this weather! I don't have any word, but, whatever you do, do not come out! I have no way to shelter the children out there."

I only have a few moments to consider this overkill before I hear the tornado siren. Oops. Turn on the local news to find that there was a tornado spotted south of town and that the flash flooding is considered serious. I send the kids into the most secure spot in the house, happy that it's made of stone and not going anywhere, and begin to shut doors, turn off lights and unplug things before joining them.

Oh, dear. That is one wild Charlie.

I turn off the lights in the room we are in, thinking that flickering and going out is going to scare the kids, and am immediately grateful that I did, as they stop running off and snuggle in once it is dark. To alleviate the boredom, I tell them a few scary stories. The golden arm, the viper, etc. every tiny noise they make brings sharp pain to my head, so I will do anything to keep them quiet. Even the sound of the rain hurts.

By 10 o'clock, the tornado watch has ended, but it is still flash flooding outside. I let them go back into the rest of the house to play for a bit and go sleep on the couch. I don't know that I have ever slept while alone with awake children, but I could do nothing else. I kept waking up to seek out things to blow my nose on, as there were no kleenex in the house. The wipes were too soggy, the tissue too harsh. The tortillas seemed like they might be cool and soft, but I grabbed an outgrown pajama shirt of Charlie's instead.

(At Wal-Mart last night, I got so desperate that, after eliminating my shirt sleeve as a possibility because it didn't reach, I dug into my pockets. The receipt was too short and the wrong texture. Muttering my apologies to George, I opted for the $1 instead of the $10 and blew away. Still, I did not think to actually PURCHASE any Kleenex, as they weren't on the list.)

At about 11, I realized that I was not ever going to get better. Monday seemed far to long away and, since I have no doctor here, I knew it was doubtful that I could get an appointment then, even if I did live that long. So I had the children get shoes on and went to urgent care.

At urgent care, there is no children's area in the waiting room. Not even a highlight's magazine. Just sixteen chairs in odd arrangements, a TV showing football and about 30 magazines. To one side of the television is an odd sunken area about 5x5 feet, enclosed by walls on three sides and with a 9 inch carpeted rise the width of a balance beam along the perimeter.

An hour into the wait, the kids discovered the area and used it as an imaginary hot tub. That lasted for twenty minutes, and then they were officially out of ideas. I mean, they'd been pretty good, considering I was wholly unable to do anything beyond keeping them from running out the door, a trick that had been tried more than once. As we waited, I noticed that the office was the opposite of the Hotel California . . . in the first 90 minutes, about a dozen people left the back area, but only one person was ever called back.

Having noticed large signs announcing, "You may not leave once you are registered without losing your place in line!" I felt fairly stuck. Since the office staff was back from the pizza break in the back (the delivery guy arrived about half an hour after I did) and now at the important task of gathering around one woman's iPhone to look at her pictures, I braved it and asked how much longer my wait would be. "Oh, at least an hour."

"Can I please take my children to go eat?" I implored. Two of them opened their mouths, clearly about to iterate policy, hesitated, looked at one another and said, "Yes."


We went to McDonald's and got happy meals, hoping for the double whammy of food AND toys but the current toy is a trick or treat pail. Having exhausted the waiting room's supply of Kleenex, I went to Walgreen's for another box and grabbed a 9.99 farm toy set as well before heading back.

Once in, I sent them to the 'hot tub' area and told them the toys had to stay in there.

About thirty minutes later, they came out and called a name. And again. And again. No dice. They called the next name three times. The nurse disappeared into the back for a minute, before she returned to call me back. We picked up toys and went back. After being weighed, I realized I was short one boy, so I went back front for him. The nurse seemed a bit alarmed that I'd forgotten a child.

She gets me in the patient room and asks me questions that I am coughing too hard to answer. The doc comes back and looks me over. Gives me an air flow meter to huff and puff pathetically into.

It appears I have two infected ears, a sinus infection, bronchitis and have developed asthma from having such horrible allergies. A nurse comes in to give me a shot in the but, much to my children's amusement, and we head out the door to return to Walgreens. On the way, Charlie was shouting, "I shoot you in da butt!"

We get to the pharmacy drive-thru to learn that we have beat my prescription there. Glad I didn't get out of the car for this, I head home. By God's infinite mercy, Charlie has fallen asleep and stays that way for the next four hours. No more piercing screams or fear that he will decide to go play in traffic while I am incapacitated.

Still, that leaves a problem: I still have low blood oxygen and no medication.

After about an hour's nap, I call my only friend here to come watch the girls while I go to the pharmacy. (After, naturally, she chides me a bit for not calling sooner.) I grab toilet paper, Kleenex, chocolate, milk, Advil Cold and Sinus and head back for my meds. While she is ringing me up, I raccoon my way into the package containing the inhaler and use it while she bags things up. Then, I go to the other window, where the pharmacist explains to me how to use it and gives me the run down on the antibiotics.

I come home only to sleep for a few more hours. Dowlan calls, he is on his way home. I am feeling much better, save for the intense pain in my face from my stupid sinuses.

Tomorrow, he gets up with the kids.

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