This year’s trek to the frozen tundra and back was blurry at best. Half the family got sick at one point or another, which really got in the way of the celebrating. Please, people! Enough with the hacking cough! I’m trying to watch It’s a Wonderful Freakin’ Life over here!
It did not begin well. Wednesday the 22nd was the Annual Day of Departure at an Ungodly Hour. The night before, as if on cue, Joseph was feverish, causing visions of ear infections to dance in our heads. It was only a slight fever, and I was willing to Motrin him up, put him on the plane and deal with him in Omaha (which has a first-rate pediatric emergency room at its Childrens Hospital–oh so clean and pleasant compared to any medical facility in New York). But Hubby insisted that Joseph’s ears be officially cleared for take off. He nobly volunteered to stay behind, and travel with him to Omaha, if permitted, on a later flight. If necessary, he would even sacrifice his cherished Christmas In the Boonies With the In-Laws.
Does it make me a Bad Wife, an Untrusting Wife, to admit that the thought crossed my mind that Hubby would be only too happy to spend his Christmas with a mildly ill child in New York, instead of with the rustic folk of the Plains, who happen to be related to me? I think it just makes me an Astute Judge of Character. Anyhoo, once Hubby had played the Possible Ear Drum Bursting Card, I realized I had been outfoxed, for the moment at least, in our neverending Championship Marital Poker Tournament. So it was just Carrie and I who raced for the plane in Newark at 8 a.m. I had a lovely knit, I mean flight. Given a pack of Dubble Bubble and a notepad, an almost-8-year-old who loves to draw is a most pleasant travelling companion. At this age, they order their own Sprites and everything. (Kay’s Dubious Parenting Tip #316: If denied in the Ordinary Course of Business, Sprite is the Nectar of the Gods. Sprite is Your Friend.)
Joseph went to the pediatrician and was pronounced free of ear crud. (Occasionally I do win a hand at Championship Marital Poker.) When I met them in the Omaha airport that night at 9 p.m., I noticed that Joseph was hanging his head and wafting noxious fumes. He reported, to the floor, in a very small voice, that he had ‘threwn up’. Hubby, who was a bit green around the gills himself, explained that near the end of a most pleasant and healthful father & son voyage, Joseph had accidentally locked himself in the airplane lavatory. It only took 90 seconds for a flight attendant to be fetched to release him, but during that 90 seconds he screamed so much that as soon as he got out of the lavatory, he threw up on 4 people, including Hubby. Including the kind flight attendant who had saved him from the lavatory.
Does it make me a Bad Wife, an Uncaring Wife, to admit that the thought crossed my mind, that this might be Divine Retribution for Hubby’s attempt to Skip Christmas?
There were some festive moments, but they were fleeting. Christmas Night saw me knitting away in the ER while my dad (aka Portly Dad, for whom I am supposed to have knit a Portly Dad Jacket for two Christmasses now) got some IV antibiotics and bronchial dilators. He’s only 68. He’s strong as an ox, and just as balky. So when he did not partake of the Christmas feast, and later announced that he’d like to go to the hospital, I was all: dude, gimme the car keys. The Omaha ER was as perky and efficient as you could ask, and Dad is on the mend.
But I was glad to get home, where Major Treats awaited me.
Major Treat Number 1
Upon arrival, I made a beeline down to Lis’s apartment to meet her darling Jamie, who had come home on Christmas Eve.
Jamie is bonded– hot-glued– to her mom. I’m not kidding. She is happiest when affixed, like the world’s cutest barnacle, to Lis’s body. She does not suffer fools such as I, insipid babblers who try to entertain her with ‘the little beast who climbs and climbs and climbs and TICKLES Jamie’. She is not interested in the little beast who climbs. She is interested in Mom.
She is also not interested in the orange Ugg Hat I knit for her. She would not keep it on her head even for the nanosecond the KayCam required. With the reflexes of a future Olympian, she cast it off and resumed stalking the elusive Cheerio.
I’m having Toddler Flashbacks; are you? Irresistable cuteness meets immovable stubbornness in a wriggly package of exhausting delight? Me-em-ries!
Major Treat Numero 2
Lookie what I got:
A bundle from Sissel, all the way from Norway!
Lookie what it contained:
14 balls of rare, discontinued Rowan Handknit DK Cotton in an intense, lilacky shade called Fuschia. Check out the vintage labels (swoon)! Who knew Sissel’s Rowan creds went back that far? Sissel is right: like fine wine, yarn improves with age, although I do wonder what project she had envisioned when she bought it. I am very very happy with this wonderful treasure. I’m not sure I can keep it in the cellar much longer, but what should I make with it?
Thanks to Sissel, I got to feel like Super Eggplant opening up a package of Candy That’s Not From Around Here. White chocolate and marzipan pigs (possibly bears, but piglike bears)! Chocolates filled with raspberry! Exotic Norwegian exclamations on the package! Here, Ann, try one:
Ann, this is so weird! I am writing you a letter, yet you are here, bag and baggage, boys and Hubbo, on a fambly jaunt to soak up New York City festiveness.
I know you thought it was strange when I went into the kitchen and emailed you while you were sitting in my living room. Sorry–sometimes I just feel like emailing you.
Happy New Year everybody! I’m taking care of Ann!