Should I Stay or Should I Go?
August 17, 2009
Thank you for all your valiant correspondence in recent days. I don’t really want to dwell on it, but all that pretty stuff you’re doing is called “quilting,” not knitting. I think it all looks great, but I just had to point that out because it may have escaped your notice that it’s a sewing machine you’re using now, not knitting needles.
I’m happy to report that I am BACK, after successfully covering six countries in eight days, returning home with a pocketful of kroner, kroonies, euros, some other kind of kroner, and rubles. It was a Grundy County-to-the-Baltic sort of headspinning journey, with an unscheduled road trip to northern Michigan along the way.
The Michigan part added an exciting randomness to the week leading up to the departure date for this trip. Once the phone call came from the infirmary at David’s camp, it quickly became apparent that we were not going to be able to fly David home with his friend as planned–what airline would take a befevered, hacking-cough-ridden, Kleenex-trailing boy? Fedex was not an option, it turned out.
So I flew up, rented a car in Grand Rapids, drove through every town named for a General Motors product, and tired of Madame NeverLost telling me where to go. I found my fella in the Boy’s Infirmary, along with at least a dozen other rheumy waifs, looking like a character from a Dickens novel. I would like to say that I was a stalwart supermom when I arrived–all business and hand sanitizer–but when he limply handed me the little copper crab he had made in metals class, and showed me the way the pincers opened and closed, and said it was for me, I cried and cried until he quietly said, “It’s not THAT great, Mom.”
The Boy’s Infirmary was absolutely competent, but I had to get him out of there. They kept moving him from bed to bed as new victims arrived, and when they announced that a batch of girls was going to take over the room he was sharing, I scraped him up and ditched out.
I was totally fatalistic about everything: I knew I would get the flu from David, I knew our dreamy cruise was not going to happen. But none of that mattered. I was consumed with a ferocious love for my slim 13-year-old boy, and I knew that I would have driven to the North Pole to retrieve him.
Of the sanitizers I used, I found that Purell had a nice, no-nonsense fragrance. Stay away from the Walgreen’s store brand, whatever you do. You smell like you’ve rubbed Jolly Ranchers all over yourself. We made the trip in 13 hours, windows down to suck out the virus, and I’m pretty sure I hallucinated all the way through Kentucky. There is no state as wide as Kentucky. When we finally got home, I discovered that we had made a stop at an outlet mall, where I apparently landed some awesome J. Crew t-shirts.
The next days passed in a schizophrenic Florence Nightingale/Eugene Fodor mix of nursing and packing for a cruise. Which way would it go? To paraphrase the Clash: Should we stay or should we go? If we go there would be trouble; if we stay it would be double.
His fever broke, just in time. I debated stocking up on Tamiflu for the rest of us, but our doctors weren’t too interested in pre-dosing us for something that we didn’t actually have. We concluded that we would just see what happened. Once I decided that I absolutely was going to get this flu, I had a peace of mind about it that meant, of course, that I never actually got it. None of us did.
Here’s a note to you I started on the day we left:
I’m sitting here in Atlanta, on a very hot Delta flight to Copenhagen, with David and Clif in tow [Hubbo was to meet us the following day], waiting to take off, and I’m thinking to myself, Man, what a good-looking set of passengers. Who are all these tanned and fabulous mothers toting these white-headed babies, these people wearing clothes that you can’t get at the Gap? Everybody looks like Sting. One kid has jeans that bunch up at the ankles. Denim harem pants! OMG! I’m going to take more of these flights! Nobody looks tired! SCANDINAVIA, here we come!
To be continued, needless to say. There is knitting to come, and yarn, and the secret to feeling YOUNG!
PS Guess where I am in the photo above. YES! The quilter’s Valhalla: the world headquarters of Fiskars! Do you know where that is?