Well, looks like it’s time for part 4 of this really long story of a very few days. When we left off, on Tuesday morning, I was sleep-deprived and testing mattresses. If I remember right, the thought of a nap did, in fact, occur to me. But it’s only Tuesday (December 26) morning.
The rest of the day there was post-Christmas activity (picking up all the stuff that built up all over the house) and not much else. My parents, sister, and cousin made their way downtown to see the Rembrandt drawings. (I never did go, but I bet they looked something like these.)
The brother who worked on the Hill went down to his office for a while. He was a legislative correspondent — which meant he answered substantive letters from constituents — for his Senator at the time. His goal was to get letters out quickly. I suspect he wanted to clear his desk before going home for the latter part of the break . (Thinking about it reminds me, now, of this thoughtful practice the Obama White house had.)
My other brother (the one who does Mac stuff and is now the IT Manager for some company that sends people clothes) said something about working, but ended up sleeping the whole day. (He has a better sleep schedule now, I think. Mostly from having to go to work at basically the same time every day.)
So that left me, Liana, and Rich. We did the usual morning things early on and then got ready to go to Liana’s doctor appointment. We talked about various ways to handle it; I was pretty sure that I don’t want to face my ex’s husband in a doctor’s office, so it didn’t seem fair to have Rich come to an appointment. At the same time, I wanted him close by. My mom had asked Rich if he wanted to go to the exhibit with them, and he chuckled and said, “Joanna has this six-foot rule when I’m around. I don’t think that’ll work.” I chimed in with, “He’s mine. I’m keeping him.” And that was the end of that.
So I wanted him close by — but couldn’t bring him to the appointment itself. So he came in far enough to find out where we would be (it’s a big medical office building) and I gave him the keys. Off he went.
The doctor spent five minutes looking at Liana just so we would feel like she’d done something, but it was pretty obvious that she made her diagnosis within five seconds of walking into the room. “The good news is that there’s no sign of pneumonia or bronchitis even though she’s coughing a lot. She has a bad cold and the cough is caused by post-nasal drip associated with the cold. The bad news is that she has a cold and medical science hasn’t figured out anything to do about it. You’re ten days into what should be a ten to fourteen day cold. Just wait it out. Give her benadryl if you can’t sleep and put a humidifier in her room.” (After all the hours we’ve spent in the doctor’s office more recently, I think it’s safe to say that getting actual help from a doctor can sometimes be … challenging. And once again, you’re going to have to wait a while, since I’m 11 years from telling that story!)
At the time, I was relieved that it had become a sinus infection — Liana had had them in the past and there’s virtually no difference between a sinus infection and a bad cold unless you’re e a doctor, near as I can figure. They did tell us what to look for, but really, a runny nose and circles under the eyes? It’s kinda hard to tell whether those are from a sinus infection or it being the day after Christmas and you have a cold!
Anywho, Liana got a chance to see Mommy again, which she appreciated. When we were done, I sent Rich a text message and then Liana and I walked my ex to her car. And then I discovered that although Rich had the car keys, he’d walked over to the nearby shopping center and left the locked car there. So Liana and I had some time to kill. We used it by jumping over puddles. Well, “over” is a relative term. I said we should jump over them. Liana decided we should jump in them.
By the time Rich returned, Liana was more than a little damp.
Rich, wonderful man that he is, brought me coffee. I hadn’t had any all day and HoFS doesn’t drink it. But he knew that I drank half-caf with sweetener and milk and did his darndest to get that for me. Isn’tt that cool? It made me unreasonably happy, let me tell you. (And now he knows that I drink decaf black coffee, often iced. And it still makes me unreasonably happy when he makes sure I get some.)
When Liana got in the car, she learned why it is that one should not jump over puddles unless you’re close to home. She didn’t like sitting in damp clothes and shoes on the way home, not one bit. (She still jumps in puddles. Now, however, she comes prepared in her rain boots.) . Somewhere on the way to or from the doctor, Rich suggested that we find time to go for a walk in the evening. I said that sounded like an excellent idea, and said that Lian would probably want to go along. He said no, he really wanted some one-on-one time, which I thought was just fine. I said we could leave her in my cousin’s capable hands.
Oh, come to think of it, we didn’t go directly home. By that point we were out of children’s Nyquil and cough drops, and I didn’t have any Benadryl in the house. My cousin had also recommended Airborne as a good way to prevent and reduce the effects of colds. So of course we had to stop at a drug store. I wanted to pick up a couple of bottles of wine for gifts for friends we were going to see on Thursday, and Rich had made the excellent suggestion that we ought to have some champagne on hand for New Year’s.
But… Liana was more than a little tired and crazy by the time we finished in the drug store — it was well past nap time by then and she was still running a fever. So I made a snap decision and decided to wait on the liquor store trip until later in the week. We headed home, where Rich threw himself into making dinner. Mom had asked us to boil eggs for deviled eggs, which are a tradition in my family this time of year. I told my mom to tell Rich to do it, because I would forget. Sure enough, I forgot completely. But Rich did that, and sliced vegetables and did various other things related to dinner while I fell asleep with Liana. (Finally! A nap! I’ve been exhausted just thinking about those days!) . When I woke up and came downstairs, I was astonished at all that he’d accomplished. And thought, sort of vaguely, that maybe he was trying to impress my mom or something. (He’d mentioned that he was a little intimidated by my parents, so I thought that might be part of it.) (I think he’s gotten over that by now.)
Somewhere along in there, my brother called and asked if there was anything that they should pick up for supper. I said I didn’t really know because I hadn’t worked on it, and Rich took the phone out of my hands and said, “Here, I did the prep, let me talk to them.”
He walked into the kitchen and started talking to my brother about various things that were in the fridge and I went back to doing the mental holiday stuff that I was doing. I think I was reading e-mail or surfing the web or something like that. And I thought, “Golly, it’s nice to have other people take care of cooking and shopping without me having to do it!” I really liked having the help over that week.
Over the several days that everyone had been around, I’d been taking care of the underlying cleaning — making sure that the bathrooms and kitchen stayed pretty clean, for example. But that was taking me a lot less time than it usually does to do all the cooking, all the cleanup, all the laundry, and all the other household chores that are part of general life when you’re a single parent. (When I get to it, the celebrating that went on when rich and I could finally live together was partly about this, but mostly YAY WE LIVE TOGETHER! Oh, wait, does that give away the ending of this story? Hmmm.)
So anyway, soon there were many adults in the house, all putting things away and getting supper ready. There was a blur of people trying out the various forms of Airborne that’d been purchased (my family got some too) and lots of discussion of Rembrandt, parking in downtown DC, and Liana’s cold. Eventually we all sat down to eat — leftover ham, deviled eggs, sliced veggies, chicken salad (or was that another night? I can’t keep track. Maybe that was Christmas Eve), and assorted side dishes. I recall asking for steamed broccoli because although my mom is a healthy cook, she tends to serve much less green vegetables than I do and I was missing them. I also had a craving for brussel sprouts, but I didn’t satisfy that until just the other day. (These days, I still eat way more veggies than the rest of the family, except Rich, who has to put up with it, but broccoli is no longer on the list. It only lasted for another six months. That’s a story I should tell. It’s related.)
Liana wanted me to sit next to her, so I ended up sitting across from Rich rather than next to him. I thought that was all right — it meant that I got to look at him much more than when I was sitting next to him. Liana took a lot of my attention at dinner, though (Err, I wrote that as if it was unusual. It wasn’t, and isn’t.), and I enjoyed sitting and eating with everyone. A bout 20 minutes before dinner was over, Rich started making motions that we ought to go out and get some fresh air. It took me quite a while to find a good break in the conversation to do that — everyone was still sitting and chatting, and I’m not one to just get up and walk out while the family is still around the table.
Eventually the phone rang, though, and after I answered it Rich pulled me out of the room with the words, “Come on. I really need a break!”
So we went out for a walk. This is where the break in the story happened before, so I’ll break it here, too, with the same note as originally; I will say, though, that it was a lovely evening for a walk, if a bit chilly by then.