It's Not Always The Idyll We Expect...
ELLENVILLE – When I waved a last farewell to the school bus, collected my children and welcomed summer, I had some simple yet definite plans for the break. We would tackle the kitchen update and get the house on the market. We would put the boat in the water. We would do some camping, some fishing and some lazing around — all well-deserved after a year of pushing ourselves nearly constantly.
That was Thursday, June 22. By Saturday, June 24 we had to bring our youngest, Sammie, to the doctor for a case of pink eye. Within a day it spread to both eyes and I was left almost sitting on my five-year-old to administer eye drops every four hours. Which all went okay... until Tuesday.
On June 27, I decided to attempt a phone interview while my husband mowed the lawn and weed wacked. I went upstairs, closed the window to make my phone call, and then went to open the window again.
I'm not entirely sure how it all happened but somehow during the process of opening said window it came crashing down on the underside of my right hand middle finger. Awesome. For a moment, I stared in complete disbelief at the situation before screaming in agonizing pain. Mind you, I've been through labor and delivery twice... but the pain and sheer panic that I would remain stuck in this position forever was far worse.
I screamed again at the top of my lungs for Tom, who I could clearly see on the lawn below with earmuffs on. I simultaneously attempted again to get the window off my right hand, using my left hand. Eventually I managed to get it up and off and scrambled to the stairs, and then on to Ellenville Regional Hospital.
Adding to the cosmic comedy unfolding (this was all happening as my newspaper deadlines were approaching for the week) I found my friend and fellow writer Lisa stretched out on the gurney next to me. It turns out a dog bit her right hand while she was on her way to an interview and she needed stitches and was sentenced to days of rest, like me.
Bandaged up, we were sent on our way... unable to write or work.
And yet I still needed to put drops in my kid's eyes. And do laundry and dishes, all in the middle of renovating our downstairs bathroom and kitchen.
On Friday, our 12-year-old cat Ellie grew sick and was not acting herself. I bundled her up and rushed her to Rondout Valley Veterinary Associates only to find out that she had bad bladder stones and would likely need an expensive surgery or face being euthanized. Can you imagine discussing those options with a five and seven year old? At the start of summer vacation? I spent the afternoon explaining what I could of the situation and consoling my kiddos while Ellie underwent a smaller surgery to attempt to rectify the current problem — urethra blockage — and buy us time.
A return visit to the vet for another suspected blockage on Saturday came out on a more positive note. We were told a specific diet and time should keep the stones at bay. And the vet added that if we could keep her going for the next week without problems, we would be out of the woods. I only had to keep a record of her peeing and administer a syringe of oral medicine every 12 hours. And, funny thing, apparently administering cat medicine to a cat that clearly doesn't want it with a bandaged hand is one of my specialties.
In the faith I practice, bad s**t usually happens in threes. Once they happen, the universe gives you a reprieve and it's all sunshine and butterflies for awhile. So we took advantage of the break in bad luck, threw the kids in the car and spent Sunday afternoon fishing at Lippman Park, along with a picnic and playing.
I've noticed that there's an online blogger and reporter getting a lot of flak for not planning out a high energy, super-scheduled summer for her children. Naysayers claim it will instill laziness in them but so far, the first week of summer for us has been nonstop and my kids seem, for lack of a better word, pissed off. They want to go to the park. They want to toss around a Frisbee. They'd like to snuggle down with Ellie for their bedtime story. And I would like to stop chicken pecking the keyboard to write.
Summer isn't exactly off to the start I imagined, but there's still the chance for camping and more fishing... and fixing up this old house if it doesn't kill me first.