Some days it’s far more obvious than others how very, very human we all really are. These are the days when life is, well, messy. If fact the series of days I’m about to tell you about were so messy that I wondered whether or not I should tell this story. Then I thought, “Oh, what the heck? Sometimes life is a mess---you might as well laugh about it.”
It all started when my brother and I caught some type of stomach virus. (At this point you probably know where we’re going with this.) I’m really not sure what happened. One moment we were both fine. I was cooking dinner and asked my brother to watch over the stove for a minute while I made a phone call. Then a few minutes later he’s yelling, “’Des, you’d better get out here and watch your own stove, I’m going to be sick” as he ran to the bathroom.
Being the kind, compassionate, loving sister that I am, I quickly thought, “Wow, I hope whatever he has isn’t contagious….I don’t want that.” Then I reassured myself that I was feeling fine and went back to cooking. (Yeah, nursing isn’t my calling.)
Unfortunately, just as quickly after dinner I started feeling sick and we spent the rest of the night taking turns using our little bathroom. It was a bonding experience we really didn’t need to share. Yet, need to or not, we continued to share this lovely experience for the next few days each going through periods where we felt fine and then all of a sudden one of us was dashing for the bathroom.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly pleasant to live with when I’m feeling sick. After three days of this cycle, I was feeling really drained, tired, and still pretty nauseous.
The worst part about being sick when you’re an adult is that life goes on….you still have to cook and clean up after each meal. Since neither Jamie nor I were sick enough to completely stop eating, one of us had to take responsibility for planning and cooking dinner. Let me tell you, neither one of us felt like volunteering for the job.
Actually, both of us were in pretty bad moods and determined that we weren’t going to be the one to plan the meal. (Honestly, who can even think about planning a meal or cooking when the very sight or smell of food makes you want to---well, you know?)
That’s when a fight broke out among the normally compatible siblings. (It wasn’t actually a fight, more like a celebration of Festivus—the holiday for loudly airing grievances) It went something like this:
“I’m not cooking---it’s your turn. I cooked every day this week.”
“You did not cook every day this week, we’ve been eating leftovers since we got sick and I cooked the two days before that!”
“Well I’ve been doing …….(followed by a list of work).”
“Oh yeah, we’ll I’ve been working too and I did the laundry, so there!”
“Oh my, you’re so overworked and tortured, I don’t know how you can even stand it.”
“I don’t know how I take it either---I guess that’s just the kind of person that I am.”
Back and forth we’re venting our frustrations at the top of our lungs----not really angry with the other one---more frustrated that food that actually tastes good and isn’t going to make us sick doesn’t just magically appear at our doorstep. (Oh, c’mon, like you’ve never wished for it.)
Back and forth we go, getting nowhere until Jamie finally decides to change his tactic. Now, instead of being annoyed, he starts being funny---I mean really funny. So funny that he won the argument.
“How?” you may ask.
Very simply---it’s too hard to argue when your laughing so hard that you must stand perfectly still with your legs crossed to avoid creating a puddle in the kitchen. (Who had time to clean THAT up?)
Now I’m yelling “Stop being funny! I need to get to the bathroom and I can’t move right now!”
End story---Best way to win a fight over who cooks dinner---make the other person laugh so hard they either surrender or wet their pants.
I think I made chicken and remembered how very, very human I am.
But life goes on….and on it went.
The next day was Sunday and it was our turn to volunteer at church. We were greeting and ushering and Jamie was supposed to videotape the service.
When I woke up that morning, I remember thinking how happy I was that I genuinely felt better. The woozy, nauseous feeling that accompanied the past few days seemed to be gone. Everything seemed to be good as I got up and prepared to go to church.
Then---just about 5 minutes before we were supposed to walk out the door---that familiar feeling returned. I had to get to the bathroom NOW!
The only thing was that my brother was in the bathroom.
“Okay, I can handle this….it’s not big deal…just think of something else and the bathroom will be unoccupied soon,” I tried to tell myself.
Guess what---I was wrong on both counts. The bathroom was not soon unoccupied and I couldn’t think of ANYTHING else except my need to use the facilities ASAP!
Eventually I couldn’t take anymore and starting banging on the door, “Hurry up, I’m sick again.”
Even though my brother quickly exited the room, this time I did not make it to the bathroom in time.
Now here I am---late for church---my stomach hurts, and I’ve got a huge mess to clean up.
Soon Jamie was outside the door saying, “We are late, we’ve got to go. It takes 45 minutes to get to church.”
(Yeah, great time to remind me of the super long, toilet-free ride through the mountains that is waiting for me as soon as I can regroup.)
But life goes on---and I had to get moving.
So, grabbed the Lysol and started cleaning up as much as I could. I disposed of my dirty clothes, cleaned up myself, and quickly found 2 new outfits---one to wear and one to take along just in case I got sick again on the way to church. Then I grabbed a bucket (just in case), threw it in the back seat of the car and we headed off to church.
Thankfully, the bucket never became necessary. (Which is really good because even though it was there, I’m not sure what I was actually going to do with it should it have been become necessary.)
We got to church---late, but still there, and got busy with our responsibilities.
I was so relieved when our jobs were finally finished and I could just sit down and relax knowing there was a bathroom just a few feet away should it be necessary. Peace at last!
Then my brother, who was sitting next to me, leaned over in the middle of service and said, “Maybe you should have taken time to shower before we left, after all. You smell really bad.”
Suddenly, visions of the woman who said that she thought her baby needed changed when I was talking to her into the lobby flashed through my mind. What if it wasn’t the baby she smelled? What if it was me?
I could not wait to get out of service that day!
All I wanted to do was go home, get a shower, crawl under the covers and call that day quits.
However, I couldn’t because no matter how bad you feel (or smell) life goes on. We were having a dinner party later that week and I had to go to the grocery store to buy the food. Because when you’re an adult, the fairies aren’t bringing the groceries either. Life just goes on and so much you.
So I went to the grocery store, made several mistakes, confused the cashier and even bought a few wrong items. I might as well have been walking around with a big apology sign in front of me that read, “I’m sorry, it’s just been a very bad day.”
And the series of bad days continued into the next week when I once again made an error that truly showed just how very human I am.
I had mailed a surprise gift to a friend and because I feel the need to check up on things and basically run the world, I was actively tracking some packages that I’d mailed. As I was going through my normal obsessive compulsive routine I found that all of my packages had arrived except one. Because the person it was going to wasn’t home, the post office left a message for her to come pick it up. If she didn’t pick it up in time, it would be shipped back to me.
Well, for some reason in my slightly deluded continuing flu-like state, this sent me into a panic.
What if she didn’t get the note?
What if she didn’t pick it up?
I didn’t want the package sent back to me, and a million other thoughts raced through my head.
It was then in my panicked state that I decided to send my brother a message and let him know what was happening. Only because I was still not feeling well and making mistake after mistake, I accidentally hit the wrong button on the computer and sent the panicked message to the woman who was receiving the package!
Then I really started to panic when I realized what I’d done.
I tried to delete the message but it was too late. My friend had already sent a return message saying, “It’s okay---I just got the package today.”
I was so embarrassed.
For some reason this was more embarrassing than everything else that happened that week. (Maybe it’s because my craziness left the house.) All I could do was reply: “I’m so sorry, that message was meant for Jamie. We both had the flu all night again, so we are just making mistakes left and right. It’s been a very human week.---The Crazy People In Pennsylvania."