Today was a terrible day, but I’m OK with that

It’s after 1:00 AM and I’ve been asked to relocate from my bed to the couch. My terrifyingly loud coughing, it would appear, has finally crossed a line. I should have had the sense to extract myself. When it gets to the point that I need to get out of bed, stand up, and brace myself with both hands, leaning over a dresser, before coughing, I should know that I’m no longer fit for human contact. But I needed to be reminded. And now I find myself curled up on a couch, typing with one hand, and stroking the hair of our deaf, old dog with the other, waiting for sunrise.

Today was a strange day.

I knew, when I woke up, that it was going to be difficult. I’d set in motion a number of things at work that I knew were going to culminate at 1:00, with the arrival of film crew, who would be shooting something to accompany a press release that I’d been working on. I fretted about it all weekend long, worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong. As is often the case, though, what actually happened was something that I couldn’t have predicted.

Arlo’s teacher called about 10 minutes before people were set to start arriving for the shoot. Arlo, she said, wasn’t himself. He was clingy and listless. She’d checked his temperature and it was over 101-degrees. I told her that either Linette or I would come to pick him up, and I began frantically trying to locate Linette. People, by this point, had begun to show up at my office. I began pacing back and forth, pointing people to where I needed for them to be with one hand, while firing off increasingly desperate text messages with the other, franticly trying to find someone who might now where Linette might be. After five minutes, with no luck, I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer. I briefed everyone on what they needed to do in my absence, apologized profusely, and ran out to my car, hoping that Arlo had just picked up a 24-hour bug, and not some virus that would send him to the hospital.

Five minutes later, I’d find myself blocking traffic on Huron Parkway, inside a car that had finally given up. The transmission, I’d later come to find out, had died. As the people stuck behind me leaned on their horns, I called Arlo’s teacher, told her what had happened, and assured her her that I’d find a way to get him picked up before the other kids in the class awoke from nap time. Linette still wasn’t answering her phone, so I called her mother. I got the machine, and started in with the, “If you’re there, please pick up the phone.” Thankfully, she was, and, after a few minutes of trying to make myself understood over the sounds of traffic, she was on her way to get Arlo. (I didn’t want to ask her to do it, as she’s in her mid-70s, and I didn’t want to expose her to Arlo if he had the flu, but I didn’t feel as though I had a choice.) It’s probably also worth noting that I had very little voice at this point, after having spent the last week coughing by lungs out. So I was standing there, on the median, trying to raise my raspy voice above the sound of the cars, as my mother-in-law on the other end struggled with her phone, which had begun feeding back. Thankfully, after some time, we were able to understand one another, and Linette’s mother was on her way, following my directions, which, if history is any guide, we almost certainly wrong. (I have the worst sense of direction of any person I have ever met.) I made sure she had a cell phone with her, though, and I was hopeful that, by the time she’d gotten to Ypsi, I would have been able to figure out where Linette was.

Eventually the tow truck came, and I spent the next ten minutes listening to new country in silence, as I continued to try Linette.


[That’s as far as I got last night, before falling asleep at 3:00 AM. That was the gist of it, though. The tow truck took me to the Honda dealership, where they told me that the transmission, after 13 years, had finally given out. By then, I’d been able to reach Linette, who was able to beat her mother to Arlo’s school. Linette was able to drive me back to work, as Arlo, covered in blankets, slept in the back. He, by the way, is much better today. There was a great deal of sickness last night, though. All in all, I’d say we weathered the storm pretty well. We’re down to one car, but, aside from my persistent cough, we have our health, and that’s all that really matters. Compared to what some friends and family members are going though right now, this is nothing, and I know that. Sure, it was a bad day, and we’ll likely have to go through the stress of finding another car, but, in the whole scheme of things, I’m OK with that. We’ve got two incredible, smart, funny kids, a warm place to sleep, decent jobs, plenty of food, good friends, and our health. As long as we’ve got that, all the flooded basements, smashed cell phone screens, dying cars, and late nights spent scrubbing vomit from blankets don’t matter a one bit.]

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  1. grandma
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    And Family, I might add. Wish I was closer to have helped.

  2. anonymous
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Whenever I have a bad day, when nothing seems to go right, I think “Ebola”. It puts things in perspective.

  3. Lisa H
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Glad your son is feeling better and that your days are turning around. We’ve all been there and it puts things into perspective.

  4. Kelp
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    It needed one more element to be truly epic. Maybe you got robbed as you were waiting for the tow truck. Maybe the tow truck flipped and exploded after being hijacked by an escaped member if the Mansin Family.

  5. Bee
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    dang. That sucks. Rough week for lots of pals.

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