I’ve been trying to write this post for over a week, but it has been next to impossible to get anything accomplished over the last 10 days – let alone find 30 minutes of quiet to write.
To start with, for the second year in a row Mason came home from school the week before winter break started with some sort of plague that wiped out everyone in the house but Kaleb. It all started with a cough. Then the runny nose, the fever, the aches, that damn cough… Mase was Patient Zero, Daddy went down next, and then I succumbed as well. I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating – Mason is the most miserable human being on the face of the planet when he is sick. It’s almost unbearable. And I don’t just mean as a mom who hates to see her babies not feeling well. He is a whiny, screaming, squealing bag of incoherent misery. Everything is cause for nuclear meltdown. Every. Single. Thing.
The wheels on the bus are making noise when he plays with it on the windowsill. The sheets on his bed aren’t pulled perfectly tight. The television isn’t loud enough. His dinosaur won’t stand up. His shirt is crooked. His pants are touching his ankles. Every. Single. Little. Thing. He screams, and he cries (and he coughs) and he throws everything he’s got into it – like he’s in the final battle at Mordor and everything depends on his war cry distracting Sauron from Frodo tossing the ring.
Of course, as if this isn’t bad enough, dealing with sick Mason after he got you sick too is just cruel and unusual punishment. Especially when by the time you get really sick he’s starting to feel better and all you want to do is curl up and sleep, but all he wants to do is play airplanes on your face.
So, Mason came home sick, and it all went downhill from there. Daddy was sick by Monday, I was down for the count by Wednesday.
Tuesday afternoon a neighbor friend from down the street was preparing to move and getting rid of some furniture. She was selling an absolutely gorgeous entertainment stand, and as fate would have it, we were in desperate need of something better than the junk we were using. So, with the help of our neighbor, poor Daddy dragged his miserably sick butt out of bed to lug the thing home. Where it sat in pieces for four days because we were both too sick and tired to take the old ones out and put the new one back together.
Then, for the third time in 8 months a leak sprung up somewhere in the house. Luckily, Daddy is hyper observant (I probably wouldn’t have heard it for another week) and caught it rather quickly (or so we thought). So, off went the water while he tried to figure out where it was coming from. Even after getting all creative with a broken headphone and some random software, he still wasn’t able to find it, so it was time to call in the reinforcements.
On Thursday it took two leak detection guys and over four hours to find this stupid leak – though they did manage to also break the valve in the garage which now has to be rebuilt. Yet again we are faced with cutting another hole in the garage floor. Only this time, it’s in the most inconvenient place possible – under Daddy’s tool box, next to the billion pound workbench. So the garage was rearranged (again), the concrete cut into (again), the leak fixed (again), and another giant mess to be cleaned up (again). But at least we had running water. Living in a house with three sick people and only turning the water on a few times a day to fill pitchers and toilets was not my idea of fun.
In the meantime, I had promised the boys that we would make Christmas cookies for their classes, and go shopping for their teachers on Wednesday & Thursday. Without water. We did manage to get the cookies baked on Wednesday, and then decorated while they sought out the leak on Thursday. Followed by a trip to three stores. With miserable Mason, and miserable Mommy. Suffice it to say there was a lot of screaming and crying involved.
We did eventually find the energy to put the new entertainment center together on Friday – and it’s freaking amazing. Well, until Daddy had to spend hours and hours running wires – that wasn’t so awesome – but now that it’s all together, I’m in love with it!
Just to make matters better – or not – Kaleb is back to binge eating whatever he can scavenge while we are all sleeping. I’m not going into massive detail on this today, I just don’t have it in me to hash out right now. But it’s a big problem, and one I’m getting really desperate to put an end to before he ends up making himself really sick. I actually have a lot to say on the subject – so look for it another day.
So, getting back to it. While all of this is going on, the neighborhood is having their yearly judging of everyone’s Christmas decorations. I am obsessed with this competition. I don’t have any idea why it plagues me the way it does – but for years I have been fixated. I want that damn sign, and I want it badly. So every year my poor husband goes above and beyond to win it for me. The lights dance to music playing from the entrance way. And not just the house lights. The lights around the flowerbeds dance too. Then he set up a projector and screen and we played Christmas movies, handed out popcorn (after he fixed my popcorn machine) and hot chocolate (a challenge with no water) and had ourselves a grand old time with a bunch of friends and neighbors.
We didn’t win by the way. One of our neighbors did (Congrats!) – I swear next year that sign is mine.
Regardless of the stupid award, the movies on the yard was really cool, and when you add in the dancing lights and speakers Daddy added to the golf cart we are totally Christmas obnoxious – and I adore it.
So now here I sit, still coughing but no longer wishing for a faster death, four days until Christmas. My house is a shining beacon of musical festivity, my living room looks like real grown-ups live here, all the Christmas cookies are gone and we still haven’t put the star on the tree – but things could be worse. They could be better, sure. But they could be so, so much worse.
Even with all the chaos of the holidays, the parenting wins and fails, the stress that comes with life in general – I’m grateful this week. I get to spend Christmas with my family. I’m blessed enough to see the looks of joy and awe on my kids faces Friday morning when they see that Santa has made his way here after all (there were some close calls this week). I’ll be able to share a meal with family, laugh and talk and sing and play with those I hold dear. And that’s one hell of a good Christmas gift.
Merry whatever-you-celebrate folks. Here’s hoping 2016 brings good fortune, great joy, and peace to us all.