You always hear that life turns on a dime. Or maybe you don’t always hear that. Maybe it’s just me. And maybe when you account for inflation and the economy and such, life now turns on a quarter. Or a silver dollar. I don’t know.
The point is that I spent Friday in Chicago. Sophie and I had a day of meetings at Tyndale where we discussed various book business and future books and writer’s block and all manner of things like that. I suggested, based on my recent research of bestselling books at Barnes & Noble, that perhaps my next book should be entitled “Barley & Me: The Story of A Dog Who Fought in World War II, Died, Went to Heaven and Lived to Tell About it”.
(No one seemed to feel like this was the best idea.)
Then at 3:30 on Friday afternoon, a car picked me up and delivered me to the airport. I called P once I arrived and confirmed that my flight was scheduled to leave on time since he and Caroline were planning to pick me up once I arrived home in San Antonio.
I had about an hour before my flight boarded so I bought a parfait at Red Mango because I love their yogurt and granola and have been despondent since the one here in town suddenly went out of business. And I called Gulley and texted with Sophie until it was time to get in my position as Boarding Group B. Thankfully, I was B5. There was a time that being in Boarding Group B felt like defeat but now Southwest Airlines has gotten so tricky with all their upgrades that I’ve accepted it’s basically impossible to be in the A Boarding Group without spending an extra $12.50 and I refuse to do that on a matter of principle.
Anyway, as I was boarding the plane I texted P to ask where he and Caroline decided to eat dinner because I wanted to live vicariously through their Friday night Mexican food experience since my dinner was going to be the aforementioned Red Mango parfait and a tiny bag of peanuts. All of a sudden my phone rang and it was P calling to inform me that Caroline had just thrown up, but they weren’t sure if it was a bug or maybe just a one time thing.
And with that limited information, I had to turn off my phone and spend the next two and a half hours wondering what fresh hell might be waiting for me at home. The upside was I had downloaded the entire first season of The Mindy Project to watch on the plane ride and it kept me thoroughly entertained. I have no idea why I’d never watched it before considering my love of Mindy Kaling, but I’m glad it’s now in my life.
As soon as the plane landed, I turned on my phone and texted P who confirmed that Caroline was indeed in the throes of a bad stomach bug and had thrown up multiple times. So I called Bops and he came to pick me up from the airport and drove me to make a quick stop at Walgreens to pick up Gatorade and Sprite.
When I walked in the back door, Caroline was sitting on the couch next to P and looking fairly pitiful. I checked to see if she was okay for the time being and decided to take a quick shower to wash the plane off me. By the time I got out, she had thrown up again and gotten it all over her. This led to a flurry of bleach wipes and running to the laundry room and shuttling her to the shower.
And so it was that life turned on a dime. One minute I’m in Chicago at a business meeting eating Sour Patch Kids (Yes, I requested that they have Sour Patch Kids on hand because I felt that it conveys an unspoken message that I am both fancy and sophisticated.) and the next think I know I’m cleaning throw up off my child and the bathroom tile.
Thus was our vomitous weekend. Caroline was sick on and off until 4 a.m. Saturday morning. She ended up missing a soccer game and, more devastatingly, her best friend’s birthday party. There were tears and sorrow and a lot of questioning why she couldn’t have gotten sick on a Wednesday. P and I did our best to console her but there’s just not a bright side when you’re ten and missing a party you’ve looked forward to for the last month.
She seemed to be a little better by Saturday evening, but then got sick again on Sunday morning. And as of this writing, P and I are sitting here on the couch both feeling a little bit like bombs that might go off at any time. In fact, I didn’t feel that hungry for dinner and was tempted to eat a bowl of Cheerios but opted not to because I don’t want Cheerios to be dead to me in the case they might be the last thing I eat before the stomach bug sets in. But it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s in our head after all the trauma we’ve experienced over the last 48 hours.
Tick tock. Tick tock.