Cabin Fever

I know most parents and teachers use FB to rejoice over a snow day…or, in this case, an ice day.  And maybe I would too if I haven’t had a perfect storm here for the past eleven days.

Last Friday (the 18th) was a half-day at the elementary school.  In the morning I took the twins to their ballet class and then rushed home to make a snack for the other two.  It was lovely.  A wonderful weekend full of plans and laughs.  The six of us — husband and four kids and me — ran about the house, up and down the stairs singing from “The Sound of Music” (no we didn’t) and making artistic masterpieces (watercoloring Tinkerbell and her newly-discovered sister Periwinkle) and watching a family movie (The Mummy, which WAS as entertaining as I remembered, but entirely inappropriate for five-year-olds.  Oops. I tried hiding their eyes in the cushions, but based on later questions about scarab beetles, don’t think I was entirely successful.)  By Sunday night it was feeling like time to get back to our regularly scheduled program.  My mind was making a new to-do list of clearing off my desk, maybe balancing my checkbook, and then brainstorming my next writing project (Yes!).  But…

The cold happened.  And stayed.  Numbers that didn’t even seem right like 16 and 11 and, if we were lucky, 19.  So, it was not fun to go outside, certainly not for more than twenty minutes. 

Sickness happened.  We didn’t travel to my sister’s house because they had the tired/coughing/low fever/runny nose thing.  No problem.  We got the local version.  I think Sylvia actually picked up a couple of different viruses.  She’s a mess.

No school happened.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of no school.  The twins were supposed to go because they attend a private preschool and the other two are old enough that they don’t need my constant supervision, so I could still run to the grocery store and do laundry.  Couldn’t write, but I could go through mail.  No, I couldn’t.  Fever hit.  Picked up Sylvia from preschool on Tuesday morning.  Got her set-up with Kleenex and chewable Tylenol. 

Committments happened.  A friend’s daughter spent the night because her father was having surgery the next day.  I ran back and forth between the rooms where she and Diana were, where Chance was hanging out with his mini-ipad (he hides in various places so I don’t *know* how much screen time he’s using.  I do know.)  and Sylvia’s bedroom.  Sylvia uses the very corner of a new Kleenex and then drops it to the floor.  Nice. Got the older girls to go outside briefly.  They came back with a third friend to play JustDance4.  Chance went outside.  I was happy at the technology break. He came back in sick.  Sent him up to bedroom.

Sent one friend home, drove the other girl home, picked up Evelyn from school.  It was Wednesday evening.  Sylvia was still sick, but the other 3 could go to school the next day.  (wipe forehead).  I packed lunches.  The 3 had fevers by midnight.

Thursday, only Evelyn went to school.  Part of her post-chemotherapy is that she takes six doses of an anti-pneumonia every week.  I considered sharing her meds with the rest of the family (I didn’t).  I did, however, employ vitamin C cough drops, gummy vitamins, hot tea, honey, Tylenol, NyQuil, benadryl, emergen-Cee, etc.    The kids were grumpy, tired of being indoors, couldn’t finish a simple board game without accusations of cheating.  I turned on the tv and didn’t care about rotting their brains.  I was done.  I wanted them out of my house so I could wash the snot out of everything.  I’m serious.  The snot bombs had flown like we were London in World War II.

Friday, I sent the older two to school.  They didn’t feel great, but they didn’t have a fever.  I stripped the beds.  Then, I went to the ballet recictal, was five minutes late, but the teacher waited when she saw me rushing in.  Sylvia sat with me in the audience, but at least I got video of Evelyn doing her twirls and such. 

As I’m leaving, one of the other parents groans.  “School is getting out early today.”  I look at my watch and I seriously think I’m going to lose it.

I put the sheets back on the beds, the older kids get home.  The regular laundry is overflowing, I need to run the dishwasher (which has been run every day because of five people in the house), and I’m so sick of hearing “MoOOm, I can’t find…/MOMMY, I want…/ or HE’s looking – touching -eating-being-in-the-same-square-as-me…” that I’m actually feeling violent. 

“You’re hurting me,” I answer.  “I can only do one thing at a time.  Please, leave me alone!”
“Ewwww,” Diana says.  “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the coral.”
“That’s not even a line,” I say. “It’s not in ‘The Little Mermaid.”
“It is.”
“It isn’t.”

It’s official.  We have Cabin Fever.  I think we might be about to turn into the Donner Party.  Then Chance falls asleep in the lounge chair.  Sylvia falls asleep on the couch.  Diana plays Dragonvale on her ipad and mutters happily to herself about the pseudo-science of breeding dragons.  Evelyn watches “Phineas and Ferb.”  And I just lay there.  I’m so mentally stomped on.

And then, 7:05 pm on Friday evening, Mike comes home.  He’s brought dinner!  And flowers for me!  He makes dinner.  No one eats because we’re all sick.  But, now it’s in the fridge tomorrow.  He’s there the next day when Sylvia, who is completely OCD about blowing her nose, gets an inter-nasal cut and wakes up with bloody snot all over the sheets, her face, her clothing.  Shocking.  (The next morning when it happened again, different nostril, I was much calmer). 

We limped through Saturday and Sunday. Liberal application of vasoline to everyone’s chapped lips and nostrils.  Sunday night we had a babysitter, even though we were both home, just so we could get through the laundry, baths, dishes, making lunches, preschool homework, and be ready for Monday.  Ready to put this episode behind us.  I ran out to meet my friend Stacie and then to the grocery store.  Was fun just to be out of the house.  And the 30 degrees felt downright balmy.

So.  No.  I will not celebrate that there is no school today.  But I will give a massive shout-out to military moms and single moms and married moms who feel like single moms.  This stuff is TOUGH.  This is hard work.  I almost lost it this week.  Maybe I did lose it.  I allowed too much screen time and approved a bowl of croutons as a side to breakfast.  I’ve been dragging the stupid hedgehog all over the house to wherever I think is warmest.  I’ve learned the when sheepskins go in the wash  because of your daughter’s nosebleed (stop.  They just shouldn’t GO in the washing machine) that you will have fur everywhere.  And then chunks will fall out like your poor sheep has mange.  That if your children tell you not to come into a room because they are working on a project, DO go into the room.  If you don’t then, don’t yell, the clay they are putting on the pellet stove to warm it up and make it more malleable, will come off with windex.  Also, turn OFF the pellet stove first or you WILL burn yourself.  Just saying.
Can’t even proofread this ’cause Evelyn is putting my eyeliner pencil in the pencil sharpner.  Gotta go.  Can’t make this s*&t up.

Much love,


Happy New Year

So, I mailed out my last Christmas cards today.  Yesterday I ran all the exchange/return errands.  The day before that, our tree finally was de-lighted and is now sitting in the yard thinking how it will soon be turned to mulch.  The ornaments are packed in a bin sitting at the top of my basement stairs, ready to either trip me or be packed away the next time I head downstairs.

But my wishes for a wonderful 2013 are no less sincere for it being two weeks into January.  2012 was just a rough one for us, and for many people I know.  2013 is beginning splendidly.

Here’s how the Woosleys waved goodbye and hello.
December 10th — Evelyn finished her chemotherapy after 2.5 years.
December 14th — Evelyn had her port-a-cath removed from her chest (that’s her showing if off.)
December 20th — I drove Evelyn to the ER.  It was the night before the world was supposed to end and  –while I didn’t believe that was going to happen — it was creepy driving through the rain storm in the dark with the streets so shiny you couldn’t see the traffic lines.  The sky was a curious purple-gray color.  Evelyn was admitted.  She had a bacterial blood infection.  We missed the kids’ school parties and all of our planned activities, but my neighbors rallied.  They wrapped all the Christmas presents so that, no matter what happened, Christmas would come.  
December 24th — Evelyn and I were sent home with oral meds!  It snowed.  We went to Christmas Eve service as a family.
December 25 — Christmas!  
December 31 — Evelyn and her twin sister turn 5.  Our friends come over to have cake and play, very low-key.
January 2nd — My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  11 years.
The kids went back to school, basketball games on the weekend resumed, the Ravens played ball.  Evelyn went to clinic on Monday while Little Nana watched Sylvia.  It all started up again with homework and making lunches and baths and “Did you take your floride?”  And I was working on projects I’d started in 2012, projects that were taking a long time.  They involved drinking lots of coffee and lots of praying and lots of aerobics classes and dusting off my resume.  I’ll tell you about it when anything becomes official.
But this week.  This week I didn’t have any coffee.  I balanced my checkbook and scheduled a Purple Heart pick-up for the clothes my children keep growing out of.  I ate ice cream for lunch. I took a nap.  I ran several loads of dishes. I went to a yoga class for the first time since mid-December.  In yoga, you work really hard and then you rest.  Then you do it again.
How do you recover from periods of hard work?  Do you enjoy the lead-up to the holiday season, or are you someone who likes the peace when it’s over?