Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cosmic Theory, Vomit and Good Friends

I have this theory about husbands and sick kids. It came to me about six years ago, when I was awash in toddler stomach content and fecal matter as the mister was jetting across Europe and I was entrenched in roto virus.

It goes like this: As soon as my husband shuts the front door to begin a long business trip, a cosmic switch flicks somewhere in the recesses of the dark and unknown universe, sending out an ethereal message that zooms through the stratosphere, gaining velocity as it catapults down to earth, zeroing in on my house, eventually striking, entering through my chimney, bringing illness and/or broken major appliances in its wake.

More simply put, immediately after that door shuts, one of my kids spikes a fever, projectile vomits, falls down a flight of stairs (maybe all three and maybe all three simultaneously) and the washing machine quits.

I say 'theory' but it is actually a documented fact.

As the mister walked out the door this past week, I was battening the proverbial hatches, waiting for the storm to bear down upon us. What would it be this time? Chicken pox? Stomach virus? Febrile seizures? I pictured myself a baseball catcher, squatting behind home plate, glove in one hand, punching my fist into it, as if to say, “game ON!”.

Monday and Tuesday nights passed without incident. When Wednesday rolled by just as innocuously, I began to wonder, ‘was it possible that we could escape calamity this time?’

Of course not, silly!

Thursday dinner: I had just made an awesome looking Szechuan shrimp and scallop stir fry. In a spicy brown sauce, loads of fresh veg, plump shrimp and sweet scallops with a side of basmati rice and just a drip soy sauce. It was Heaven on a plate. The four girls and I sat down to eat (the little ones had sausages, peas and carrot sticks rather than our peppery Asian delight). Halfway through our yummy meal and pleasant conversation, Mimi projectile vomited on me (strategically also hitting my beautiful plate of Szechuan shrimp and scallops.)

Then the race began. Get her hosed off, myself wiped down, the plates scrapped and at least rinsed in the sink, the big girls washed up, the lights off and house closed up, my bed laid with dozens of towels and lined with barf bowls, and all of us up into bed before Mimi blew again. We were in for a llllllonnnnnnggggggg night.

I won’t go into the details, except to say that at one point, half asleep and trying to guide the direction of Mimi’s projection, I was caught with a mouthful and an eyeful of barf and woke up the next morning with a nasty case of pink eye.

To date, this was the grossest mothering experience I have had.

Even though it took me 12 hours to get through all the washing of towels, pyjamas, sheets, duvet covers and pillows and even though Mimi continued to hurl well into the next day, the part that I was most unhappy about was that I would miss a much anticipated luncheon at my friend Fusako’s house.

Fusako is without question, the most gracious, generous hostess and friend. An invitation to lunch at her house means an all-out Japanese feast: hand made sushi, homemade water dumplings, fresh salads, delicious noodle dishes, special rice dishes, beautiful fruits, sparkling waters and tasty wines.

Her luncheons are cherished experiences and I was seriously bummed about missing this one.

So I can not convey to you, my joy when at about two in the afternoon, the doorbell rang and there stood Fancy. Fancy is also an incredibly gracious friend. She, Fusako and I have known each other since our children were in nursery together five years ago. There stood petite Fancy (the mister aptly named her that because she is one of those women who is always perfectly put together-- not overdone, very tasteful and understated-- but always looking ever-so nice). Anyway, Fancy was holding a huge bag. She handed it to me and said, “Dinner on a tray! We knew that you would miss the food at Fusakos and wanted to bring it to you. How‘s Mimi feeling?”

I almost cried. Not because of this overwhelming act of kindness (and to be sure, it was unbelievable), but because I would get to gorge myself on Fusako’s cooking after all! Within the huge bag that Fancy held, was packed: Five types of sushi, three types of tiny, gorgeous sandwiches, pesto chicken and tomato salad, fabulously fresh fruit salad and ginger-squash soup.

Between my oldest daughter, Claire and I, it was gone within a matter of hours.

So, when the mister is away, let the figurative and literal barf rain down upon me (it will regardless)-- if after it all subsides I can dry off in the warmth of true friendship and enjoy an exquisite meal made by Fusako.

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