Electricity

Last Friday about a quarter of our power went out. One of our kitchen lights, an entire bathroom, Sam/Jack and Quinn’s rooms, and assorted basement lights and outlets just stopped working. We checked our circuit board and were unable to flip the switch back. Us being us, we didn’t bother to do anything about it until Monday. Then we called the electrician who was finally able to come on Friday morning.

 

I don’t know why, but more often than not, we never have a simple fix. I was in semi-constant fear when we lived in California that something unfixable would break in our house there. We were always finding things that had been jerry-rigged in such a way that there was no easy fix for it. Like our water pipe back in the Oakland house that emptied into the neighbor’s system. Like our sewer system breaking so that the neighborhood’s main line had to be fixed. (The special feature on that was a week of showering at the gym and going to the bathroom at the gas station TWO BLOCKS AWAY!)

 

Or when we lived in Alaska and our water heater basically exploded filling the house with smoke in such a way that I was concerned that I, Sam, baby Jack, Cassidy and the two cats would suffer irreversible brain damage (lucky Alex was at work). And then after finally getting in touch with the landlord and getting the okay to get a new water heater, we found out that the hatch to the water heater room was too small to actually get a water heater into or out of. Don’t ask.

 

Today, a third-generation electrician spent three hours fixing a wire that had gone bad in the walls, after telling me, “I’ve never seen THIS before.”

 

The houses change, but the luck doesn’t. Someday I’m going to move into a brand new house will brand new wiring and pipes and with enormous doorways and halls. And then it will probably burn down.

 

 

A Kid’s Eye View…

I love the way kids think. A couple examples:

 

This is an excellent book:

 

My family, especially Quinn, love Sandra Boynton and we read her books all the time. Snuggle Puppy and Personal Penguin are really fun, because we sing them instead of read them. We probably have 10 Boynton books and read them all the time, usually accompanied by some serious toddler guffawing. Today when we were reading Hippos Go Berserk, which is, naturally, about hippos–who go berserk–Sam sees this page:

 


and says in all seriousness, “The ones with crowns are queens and the ones without crowns are humans.” There are so many (adorable) errors in that sentence, I can’t even begin to analyze it.

 

Later that day we go to pick Jack up at school. And he has found a small, bumpy piece of styrofoam on the playground. I ask him what he has and he answers, “A cloud.” Me? I just saw some trash. I need to get some of what Jack has.

 

Quinn, who took over the garbage and carried it home for us, latched onto that word, willingly gave up his football (which never happens) to some older kids to play with and walked around with the styrofoam, repeating, “Cloud. Cloud.”

 

Poop

Oh. Dear. God.

 

But let me start from the beginning.

 

When Quinn was only a few months old, he stopped pooping regularly. He would hold it for as long as two weeks and then explode. I’d told his doctors this. Whatever. Then ’round about 8 months old I took him to the doctor because he had a cold. The doctor found a hard spot in his abdomen, consulted with another doctor, sent him down the hall to get an ultrasound, and then told me they thought he might have something called Wilms tumor. Long story short, we took him to Children’s Hospital in DC, got him admitted, gave him a CT scan, and emerged slightly more than 24 hours later with the knowledge that he had what the doctor eloquently referred to as a “stool ball.” We put him on a laxative and then weaned him from it.

 

Fast forward to February 2007. Quinn goes to the emergency room because he hasn’t peed for over 12 hours. And, true to form, he hasn’t pooped for awhile. His poops had gotten more regular, but this time he’d gone for a few days. The doctor gave him an enema and 15 sweaty minutes later he felt much better. We put him on a laxative and are keeping him on it. He still holds his poops for a couple of days and then explodes, but it’s far more regular than before.

 

Today: A couple of tiny poops. I know that the big one is coming. I have an appointment and the receptionist is watching the kids across the hall. When I go to get them I know before I even open the door that it has happened. And I see from the large wet spot on his pants that I shouldn’t even attempt to clean him before I get to the car. And, oh boy, am I right. 20 minutes and a pack of diaper wipes later, we’re on our way. Quinn is sans clothes:

 


So they’re hanging out. Sam and Jack are playing computer games. Quinn is watching. I am getting started making some delicious baked green chili chimichangas for dinner. There was a slight smell coming from Quinn, but since he had erupted in such a tremendous fashion earlier, I felt confident that he was just gassy. A bit later Sam yells, “Mom! Quinn pooped!” I assume Sam is alerting me to a smell. I walk into the TV room confident that I will find a farty Quinn.

 

What I find is Quinn sitting in a pile of shit on the floor. As I stand there trying to figure out how Huggies could have failed us so badly, Jack says, “He pooped on the floor!” Imagine that in Jack’s cheery little voice.

 

So I opted for a bath instead of dinner, and now they’re eating macaroni and cheese from a box in front of the television.

 

And there you have too much information.

 

 

Sproing!!!

Spring is really here I think. I really hope so because after lunch today I packed away my winter coats, put Quinn’s coat in the future garage sale pile, and put Sam and Jack’s coats in the dry cleaner basket for their yearly (!) cleaning. If it snows again (or dips below 50 degrees, for that matter), we’re shit out of luck. Because we all know that once I put something in a box I am far too lazy to dig it out again before at least 6 months have passed.

 

I am also aware of Spring’s arrival because Sam’s allergies are back. Last year I was convinced that he had asthma and was going to drop dead any second because occasionally (and by occasionally I mean, every 4 seconds or so) he inhales a giant breath because his regular breathing is clearly not doing enough. And although I am now aware that it is allergies, I am still afraid that he is going to drop dead any second. I started giving him Claritan last night. About 15 minutes after he ate it, he informed me that it hadn’t worked yet. Spoken like a true Stimey. Patience is a what now?

 

 

Stimey the Rocket Scientist

So sometime after dinner last night I noticed that one of my ears felt blocked, like when you hit high altitude. Yawning, hanging my head upside down, and finally as a last resort plugging my nose and trying to explode my eardrums from the inside didn’t work. This morning when I woke up both ears felt that way.

 

I spent the morning co-oping in Sam’s class at school. Which is not super fun when you feel like you are the only person talking from an airplane seat. Made worse by the fact that 4- and 5-year-olds don’t necessarily enunciate for the slightly deafened to hear and understand. Made even worse by the fact that today is the day the Reptile Man made his annual trip to the school. So a slightly nauseated, deaf, and off-balance Stimey spent the morning standing up and sitting down repeatedly to squeeze Purell hand sanitizer into small hands immediately after they touched each reptile.

 

Here’s the rocket scientist part.

 

I begged my doctor for an appointment to fix my ears and dragged my three small children there after school. Jack ripped part of a plant out of the pot and brought it to me while I was paying my copay saying, “A tree!” Then he kicked an elderly woman in the leg while goose-stepping around the waiting room. Quinn explained about crayons (“Crayon! Crayon!”) to every person in the waiting room, and Sam quietly colored. (Don’t fall too in love with him. He spit on the floor and then claimed he didn’t when we were leaving the building.)

 

Anyway, first thing the doctor says: “Have you tried an over-the-counter decongestant?” Like I said, I’m a rocket scientist.

 

 

Who Loves the Sun?

Not everyone.

 

But we do. It seems that spring may finally have joined us here in Maryland and Alex celebrated by planting seeds with the guys.

 

 

He bought some flowers along with corn, squash, carrots, broccoli, and pumpkins. I think the theory is that if they grow them, they will eat them. The theory proved to be flawed however when Alex asked, “Once these grow, do you guys promise to eat them?” And they answered without missing a beat that, no, they will not eat them. Then Sam reiterated that the only vegetables he likes are peas and corn, but that we really don’t need to go buy any pea seeds.

 

In fact I don’t know if Jack even bothered to answer, as it really is not an issue for him as I don’t think he has consumed a fruit or a vegetable since he was less than a year old. In fact, I don’t think he’s consumed much more than cereal for the past 6 months. Today, whilst the rest of us were eating chicken for lunch and Alex was telling Jack that he needs food to live, Jack replied, “I doesn’t need food.” Touche.

 

I’m hopeful that Quinn will eat the vegetables. Although we may have to plant ranch dressing seeds for that.