I don’t want to get caught up in a heated theological debate here or anything, but I’m starting to get the impression that God hates me. Oh sure, I know he’s all benevolent and everything, and I’m not saying it wouldn’t be warranted, but lately it seems like there’s been a whole lot of Old-Testament-style plague and pestilence floating around the house, and if it doesn’t end soon, I’m going to seriously consider sacrificing a lamb to help get things back to normal. (It still counts if you have a butcher do it and then enjoy the delicious chops in a garlic-rosemary sauce, right?) To fully grasp my plight, we need to go back about a week to the place where this series of ruthless celestial groin kicks began. It all started last Thursday; I woke at the usual horrid time, a little tired but not unreasonably so, grabbed breakfast and hit the road. I had a big day of meetings at the office, but it was interrupted by a call from my wife, who sounded quite flustered:
“The daycare just called; Alex is throwing up!”
“Ugh – okay…”
“What should I do? This never happened to Marcus – I don’t know what to do?!”
“You should probably pick him up…”
“I KNOW I have to pick him up! Should I call the doctor? Do you think he needs to go in? Do you think it’s the FLU?! What do I do?!”
“Actually, that’s a common misconception – ‘the flu’ is really more of a respiratory ailment associated with fatigue, body aches, and chills, and not stomach or intestinal issues. He might have a ‘stomach flu’, but that’s actually kind of a misnomer too…”
“What?! I don’t…WHATEVER…I don’t care what you call it, what do you think I should DO?!”
That went on for a while – quite frantically from her end, and eventually resulted in (SURPRISE!) her bringing the child home. That was groin kick number one (OOOOOFF!) but the saga had just begun. As if leaving work early to bring home a pukey child weren’t bad enough, my wife realized upon arriving home that she didn’t have her purse. After hunting through the car she started making calls – including one to me asking the same question as before, “What do I DO?!” – to try to locate it. Her coworkers scoured the office, checking everywhere including the refrigerator, but to no avail. A similar search of the daycare came up empty-handed as well. The whole time, the specter of theft loomed in the back of our minds, but “No,” we thought, “surely not at the DAYCARE of all places!” But as it turns out, there are actually quite a few thieves – for whom there is a special place in Hell – that skulk around daycare centers, counting on that exact attitude to line their pockets – and a purse left on the front seat of an unlocked car is a pretty easy target. As the evening progressed and search options dwindled, we eventually resigned ourselves to the fact that the purse had been stolen. Groin kick number 2. (EEEEERRRRRRRRGG!!) In the meantime, a horrible and malicious bug had been looming – not unlike the purse snatchers – around the office, and had made its way into my system, immediately going to work to destroy my health. There’s still some debate as to whether it was spread by the hacking RUBE a couple rows over that spent the day before attempting to eject his lungs through his throat, or by the dirty little mouse that our crack facilities team can’t seem to get rid of, but refuses to poison, but regardless, it was clear as the night wore on that I would not be showing up for work the next day. Groin kick number three. (WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!) Sickness or not, I leapt into action, cancelling cards and accounts as quickly as possible as my wife lamented the loss of not only the credit cards, insurance info, check blanks, license, and – even worse – her LIBRARY card (GASP!), but also her Christmas gift cards, which stung more than any of the others. MEANWHILE, the baby was still throwing up, and becoming increasingly dehydrated, so we needed to get to Walgreens to buy some Pedialite, but were too busy frantically cancelling every payment method we had available to cover such a purchase. We made that realization only after I had spent an HOUR-AND-A-HALF on the phone with Bank of America to cancel and reinstate our accounts – which, by the way, screwed up several auto bills, both of our direct deposits, Paypal, Amazon, and several pending payments which ended up getting denied or returned. DOUBLE GROIN KICK! (OH! THE HUMANITY!) Even the Playstation Network account needed to be updated! It just wouldn’t end. Also, the backup credit card that never gets used apparently hadn’t been updated with our new address, so the replacement was sent to our previous address, because why not at this point?
The next two days were a dark comedy of shuffling around the house like octogenarians at a nursing home, not feeling good enough to eat, but not feeling bad enough to chuck. My wife and older son had succumbed to the sickness by then too, though ironically, the baby seemed to feel fine, judging from his unreasonable screaming and refusal to sleep. The police even called on Saturday to say that someone had flagged them down after finding a purse in the ditch very close to the daycare. Everything had been pulled out of the wallet, but all the cards were there – including that library card, thank GOD! – with the exception of the gift cards. The bastard also made off with roughly 40 cents in loose change, which I would really like to have back, so that I might combine it – in a sock – with $15 in quarters, and then use said sock to beat the thief within an inch of their worthless life once they’re caught. I say “once they’re caught” because you basic thieves have the IQ of used chewing gum, and this person was no exception. Upon inspection of her purse, my wife found that a new gift card had taken the place of the stolen ones, and the accompanying receipt places the criminal at a local Steak N Shake only two hours before the crime. They had three burgers, and it was during the day when kids would’ve been at school, so my guess is that we’re looking for a fat, jobless, slob of a human being with greasy fingers and a face full of pimples who waddled out of the trailer park between daytime talk shows. The police were visibly excited by this lead, indicating that Steak N Shake would have cameras. I can only assume that means there will be wanted posters up within a week, and that the criminal will be apprehended, tried, and executed by the end of the month; their head placed on a pole outside the suburban police station as a warning to other would-be law-breakers. WOOOOOOO – MISSOURI! At least that’s my hope…though I do run a little angry when I’m sick. With the purse and all our cancelled cards back in hand, we started to think that the worst may have been over, and said as much out loud with foolish nonchalance as we slid into bed at 8:30 Sunday night, praying for sleep…unfortunately, the universe wasn’t finished with us yet, and at 10:30 threw us one last curveball in the form of ANOTHER puking child. FINISHING GROIN KICK! (Tell my wife…I loved her…) Sickness and fever meant he didn’t spend a full day at daycare until mid-week, when things finally started to look up.
So now here we sit, halfway through Wednesday; everyone is still run down, but we’re back to eating again, and – like the rainbow after the flood – the lady ahead of me at Starbucks paid for my coffee before driving off into the distance, in what can only be construed as a sign that God is back on my side. Things seem to be normalizing, though loathe to end our suffering prematurely, the universe made sure that we were out of toaster waffles this morning, which will surely have set off the three year old. I made tracks for the airport immediately after finding out so as not to be around when he came downstairs. Hell hath no fury like a toddler who can’t have his morning waffles…or who doesn’t get to pull his own waffle out of the box…or who doesn’t get his “tiny knife” to mangle the waffle ALL BY HIMSELF before eating it. I pity my wife. And if anyone is selling, I’m in the market for a sheep.