There is a standing rule in our house for the boys…call when you get home from school. In a minor but important variation, the call today was, “Dad, we’re home. And I threw up.” That is a “stop everything” moment…sort of like the phone ringing in the middle of the night…insta-focus. In this case, windows in the laptop were closed and I was on the move like Jack Bauer bolting out of CTU (24 is returning in January…am really pulling for the non-superhero Jack this time around. I mean, can anyone really fly a Predator drone while surviving a WMD?). The ride home I was regretting my last words, “Don’t worry, I will clean it up.”
As I pulled into the garage, I was thinking about how long it had been since I had the Reuben sandwich at lunch. Actually I was wondering if it had been fully digested and was considering how the Sprite was going to taste coming out through in the inbox in case this was worse than I imagined. What I walked into was a house awash in the tang of Old Spice Body spray and silence. I yelled for the boys and they bounded down from their room. “Hmm,” I thought, “so far, not what I was expecting.”
The story at this point may be best retold in a linear manner…from the facts as presented by two twelve year olds.
1. Boys come home.
2. Boys see that Zeke the dog has, well, shit in the house. (In Zeke’s defense, he is 14 and sometimes just can’t hold it.)
3. To their credit, boys decide to clean up said shit.
4. Chris, baby B in neo-natal terms gets a whiff, becomes nauseous and bolts for the bathroom…makes it in the door before puking (which is my mess to clean, though his lunch is largely digested…Thank you God!)
5. Boys decide the best counter insurgency move is to get rid of the smell…by spraying down the house with Old Spice body spray as if they were fighting a California wildfire.
Tragedy mostly avoided. No sick kid. No juggling work schedules. Dad didn’t puke. We shared a good laugh and I got something to write about…just as I was getting writer’s block. Good things come in liquid packages!
(Author’s note: One of Bonnie’s favorite stories is the time I came back from a night of drinking…shared with a very potent cigar. I crawled into bed…she rolled over and in a very breathy voice I said “Hey honey” with the breath of a hibernating bear who didn’t brush after last year’s salmon dinner. She had a similar reaction that Chris did. What I do to a woman!)