colds, busted knees, and snowstorms

It’s been a weird week. First there was the Sunday night return from the big city. It’s always disorienting to flip cultures so quickly. Plus, I was exhausted from all the gallivanting and missed sleep. I started the week playing catch up.

(While I was gone, my husband knocked a big hole in my son’s bedroom ceiling and installed pull-down stairs so now, after eight years, we can finally access the attic without shimmying up door and wall and through a little hole in the ceiling á la Spiderman. Then he added a bunch of insulation and put flooring down in the unfinished half. His productivity—with four children under foot, no less—made me proud. It also made me exceedingly grateful that I had been in NYC for the duration of the renovation. I hate renovations more than I do traveling.)

Monday was slow. We skipped the studies in favor of bunches of reading and catch up cleaning and cooking. That evening my younger daughter took off with her grandmother for the week, my older daughter came down with a nasty cold, and my older son went skiing and busted up his knee.

So. Tuesday found us in search of crutches and with two separate trips to town to chat up the doctors. One, a retired doctor who used to attend our church, invited my son into his home and straight up onto his dining room table for a good thirty minute-long exam and thorough explanation about all things ligament. He even called our GP on our behalf and then lined up an afternoon appointment at his previous place of work. There, my son got a couple x-rays, another exam, crutches that actually fit him, and a fancy knee brace. Tentative diagnosis: a partial ACL tear. Next up, and MRI, and then, if it is indeed a tear, surgery. Yay us. (My gut tells me it’s just a sprain, but I don’t know how to ask intelligent questions or push for the lowest intervention possible while still being safe. So I’m just doing what they say and hope we’re not going overboard.)

In the meantime, my daughter spent the day laying on the sofa, coughing, hacking, honking her nose, and worrying that she was going to throw up. Her younger brother ran wild and never changed out of his pajamas. In between appointments, I made a monster batch of sweet rolls to pay back all the nice people doing nice things for us: the neighbor lady who gives us milk (well, her cow does that, but you know what I mean), the friend who coaches me on knitting, and the unbelievably kind and generous doctor who let us crash his home.

By evening, what with a third trip to town to make deliveries and an older son who was coming down with the same nasty cold and a daughter who was a giant heap of uselessness, I was turning into a spinning top.

It was about then that I realized how much the children actually do around the house. With the two bigs laid up, there was no one to haul over huge wheelbarrow loads of wood, empty the garbages, wash the mountains of dirty dishes, vacuum the floors, carry the pans of sweet rolls out to the car, feed the dogs, etc. Plus, they weren’t just unavailable, they were needy. Juice, tea, cough drops, hankies, and medicine—you name it, they needed it.

How encouraging to realize that all the training, nagging, and enforcing has actually translated into concrete benefits!

How discouraging to realize that my man-sized helper may be out of commission for a number of weeks!

(At least he can read books and play chess with the youngest wild thing. That’s something.)

Yesterday I decided that getting to our studies was simply not going to be a priority this week, and we went to the grocery store and library in preparation for today’s snowstorm. This morning I woke up at five, looked outside and saw that it was crazy windy (the tin roof wasn’t banging all around as is its windy-weather custom thanks to all the snow piled on top), and rushed down stairs in a dread panic that the power would go out before I made my coffee or washed my hair.

So far, so good: it’s snowing and blowing and we still have power. I’ve baked bread and a cake, cooked beans and boiled eggs, made a pot of hot chocolate, and knitted up a little storm of my own. My husband is home from work. He plowed the driveway, but the roads haven’t been plowed yet so Oh darn, guess I’ll have to go take a nap by the fire.

One more thing: there’s been a spate of robberies in our little hamlet and some neighboring towns. The kids are on the sharp lookout for suspicious activity. Any time a car goes by (as of 2 pm, there have been three), they rush to the window to see if it looks robbery-ish. Part of my morning involved talking with the investigator assigned to the case.

It’s been such a weird week.


  • Suburban Correspondent

    Just finished making a batch of cinnamon rolls myself! And, boy, do I hear you on losing the help of an older child. What's more, I've made them so self-sufficient, I haven't the foggiest idea of how to care for an invalid over the age of 6.

  • beckster

    Your husband sounds like a wizard, but I do find that men can do most anything, no matter who is around. They are masters of ignoring everything, especially kids. I call it "the weapon", and I think they are born with it. Sorry that you have had such a disorienting week, but this winter has been disorienting for a lot of us. Here's to spring!

  • Rebecca

    Do you have a cinnamon roll recipe to which you are devoted? Those are beeyouteeful! Sympathies to the sickies/injured and hooray for competent kids. I'm sickly in bed, myself, and my girl cleaning the kitchen is music to my ears.

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