Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

no vacation goes unpunished

I try to be witty about these things sometimes. I try to be a good writer and spin a great tale, but I do my best if I start my stories at the beginning and just tell them out as they have happened. I’m a chronological writer. The problem with this story is there are a few intermingling ones that begin to spin up together, making up a perfect storm as they whirlpooled into Monday, so bear with me as we hammer all this stuff out together.

Also, the story’s not over yet.

Six weeks ago after Steven had put in many extra hours for a project at work we made a spontaneous decision to go on a vacation this summer. It would be the first time in four years (and two kids later) since we had embarked on any vacation. Vacation! Awesome! Yay! We made the plans and booked a condo for four nights in the middle of June, right in between the kids’ birthdays. We anticipated it with relish as the summer temperatures here in Birmingham quickly shot up into the upper 90s.

Birmingham wasn’t the only one whose temperature was rising. Last week, Sam began to run a fever and be rather ill, so off to the doctor we went, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection. We had danced this dance before, so Steven nor I thought much of it and began to dose Sam up with the prescribed antibiotic. We were just thankful that he had gotten sick the week before vacation instead while we were down there.

As Wednesday turned into Thursday and then Friday, Sam showed no signs of getting better at all. He was running a consistent fever between 101 and 102 degrees and he slept constantly, only getting up for a few hours each day to drink a bit of juice. On Saturday I made my way with a still feverish Sam back to the doctor’s office where we saw another pediatrician at the practice. Sam’s ears were still infected so this doctor changed up his medication to augmentin. Now, this doctor and I had a five minute conversation about how Sam cannot take amoxicillin — he has reacted to it before, this is noted on his chart, yet it always seems to throw doctors off. This doctor tells me that this medication is augmentin, not amoxicillin, and we’re good to go to the beach the next day. Huzzah.

The next day was Sunday and we left that morning to drive down to the beach. Now, you remember those hot summer temperatures I mentioned? We’ve been breaking some daily heat records in Birmingham during the last three weeks, so I tried not to get too concerned when it seemed like our air conditioning system in the house was having a bit of trouble keeping up with cooling the house. After all, 99 degrees day after day would suck for me too if I was an air conditioning unit. But as we made our final preparations on Sunday morning, it became obvious to Steven and I that the air conditioning unit just might have quit on us. We noticed the temperature climb to 79, then 80 and 81 as the kids and I climbed into the car. Last-minute plans were made for Steven’s parents to meet an HVAC specialist while we were out of town.

The part of the trip that I had dreaded the most — a six hour drive with two young kids — went just absolutely splendidly. Lydia amused herself with beeping toys and books Poor Sam, still slightly feverish, mainly slept. Though the GPS system tried to steer us toward Pensacola, we made fairly good time and found ourselves in our very lovely condo with enough time for Steven and Lydia to hit the beach that afternoon.

Lydia just continues to surprise me. I expected for her to be more of a sandcastles kind of girl this trip, but instead she had Steven out in the ocean pronto. When waves smacked her in the face, it didn’t faze her a bit. She wanted Steven to let go of her but sometimes she forgets she is still a little thing. I tried to get some pictures but they were only from the balcony, as Sam had crashed in the pack-n-play as soon as we arrived. He slept the rest of the night.

The next morning, the four of us journeyed down to the beach. Sam promptly conked out on Steven while I swam with Lydia out in the ocean, then in the pool. Poor Sam quickly began to break out in a rash all over his body so we got him back inside. We decided that going out on the beach was going to have to be a tag-team effort between us, taking turns between who was on the beach with Lydia and who was inside with Sam. Our strategy changed to rigorous man-on-man defensive parenting.

At lunchtime, we got a call from Steven’s parents, who had just finished meeting up with the HVAC people about our air conditioning. It was not pleasant news. They had got the unit to function again (the temperature in the house had climbed to 89), but said it was temporary and it could die within weeks. They said our unit, which is two months out of its five year warranty, is not big enough for the house and that is why it has worn out. So our options are to pay a lot of money to have the unit replaced with same, pay a hell of a lot of money to have the correctly-sized unit installed, or pay an astronomical amount of money to do it the most completely right way possible. So just how far would you like to bend over?

Here we are on the first full day of vacation; it’s the most money we’ve ever spent in one big chunk since I don’t know when, and suddenly we’re sitting down over a lunch of hamburgers with the waves crashing in the background discussing what kind of financing options we might be able to come up with for an air conditioning unit.

That evening, we decided to try our luck with eating out to dinner, hoping it would push the air conditioning business out of our mind. It’s a vacation, for heaven’s sake, we’re going to enjoy it! We gather up Sleepy Sam and Sandy Lydia to go for some seafood. Dinner itself went fairly well. Lydia ate some french fries and Sam saved his blowout diaper for the end of the meal. I got to partake of some crab claws.

As we’re heading back from dinner, Sam makes a little noise that all parents know. You know the noise — that wet, choke-like cough sound, the here-it-comes-I’m-about-to-barf-all-over-the-backseat noise. I quickly unbuckled my seatbelt and got to the backseat as Sam began to projectile vomit all over himself, his carseat, the backseat, and he even managed to hit the back of Lydia’s carseat. He began to cry as a second wave hit him. Lydia’s asking, “What’s wrong with Sam? What’s wrong with Sam?” while I’m trying to reassure them both and mop Sam up as best I can.

Thankfully the condo was not too far away and we poured out of vomity Elliott and worked our way inside, where Sam was to have two more rounds of barfing before he passed out asleep.

We knew it was the antibiotic. Between the throwing up and the rash and the horrible diarrhea, there was no other culprit but that. That night I was so wound up. I was completely livid at that doctor who was either willfully ignorant or thought I was one of those spastic mothers who thinks their kid is allergic to everything. LIVID. I did not sleep well that night and the next morning I left a strongly-worded message at our pediatrician’s nurses station.

By the time the nurse called me back, I had done some research into our travel insurance (hey, sometimes there are hurricanes in June) and found out we would not lose out on everything if we had to leave early due to sickness. So, though the nurse suggested we should give Sam one more day since stopping the amoxicillin would make everything better, we made the decision to come on home. Sam was miserable, which in turn made me miserable and extremely stressed out, so it was just time to call it.

So home we came.

Sam still is not feeling well but this afternoon I finally saw the first glimpses of a turnaround for him. He slept all day yesterday and most of the day today but this afternoon there were two intervals where he was up for two hours each. He also ate a ton of chicken nuggets. Compared to how he has been over the past week, this is HUGE. His rash is slowly ebbing away as well. I am more concerned about him than anything else; I am so very ready for Sam to be his old self again.

The air conditioning is functioning in a kinda sorta way. We’re not pushing it too hard so it was about 80 degrees in here during the day. We’ll see if we can push it down to 76 or so for tonight. We’re going to get another company out here for a second opinion since astronomical amounts of money is quite a chunk of change.

And of course, other things just keep piling up. Steven came up from the basement today to inform me his car is leaking transmission fluid. I’m just not even going to worry about that until, like, Saturday or something. You know, after we fix the water pressure regulator that has been giving us fits.

*title is a quote by Karl Hakkarainen