We got it...the plague, that is. It hit last Thursday afternoon just as Fr. Joel and I were preparing to head out for a quiet weekend alone and leave Adora with half the kids while the rest were scattered about here and there. In the midst of packing up 3 girls, 2 adults, an autistic boy and a baby, David threw up on...well, something. I chose to smile at Adora and go about my business. I really didn't want to lose this bonus trip away and I figured as long as she wasn't complaining too loudly I would just pretend everything was ok and ignore the pathetic little figure on the sofa huddled under a pair of receiving blankets and sucking on a popsicle. We finally managed to sneak out and all went well until the next morning when the calls started coming in. Ruth had a stomachache...(well, she did recently swallow a quarter for Pete's sake and she has been sickling into her abdomen lately...), David was sick again and he had a play date with Deacon's kiddo-s and, the call to beat all calls at 3:00 am - Nehemiah is in the ER puking his little guts out and trying to stay hydrated. Just as we sat down and began to pray for some direction about whether we should return our own selves into the fray, the phone rang yet again. Adora called to say that she and Nehemiah were headed home, some church friends had helped cared for the children and all would be "o.k.". I love that woman!
We had a wonderful weekend away and got lots of time to discuss a pet project of ours. The only drawback was that Nathan didn't seem to understand he was only along for the ride so that he could follow the food source. He seemed to think that we had forsaken all the other children and driven him to this parent paradise so that we could both spend untold hours entertaining...him...Ah well, it was a nice change and equally as nice to return home and see the kids who we actually did a miss a bit after 3 days away from it all. Unfortunately by the time we returned we had managed to infect Deacon's family, the wonderful couple who helped Adora get Nehemiah to the ER at 3:00 AM and a couple more of our own progeny. Nothing like a bit of healthy guilt to finish off a wonderful weekend!
We all seemed on the mend but we were out a sitter by Tuesday and we had been hoping to go on a field trip to the local Jewish Heritage Museum for a Passover Study. The boys were disappointed the night before that we had gotten our sitter sick and they were going to miss the opportunity to create their own plague as part of the museum's planned activities for them. Somehow that sounded like a great idea. Well, I got up in the morning full of optimism. "I can do this!" I said to myself. "I *can* take 10 kids (so what if 4 of them are 3 and under) into the city on a field trip at a moment's notice. This can *work*!" I marched myself down the steps and made my announcement. "We can do this people! Let's go!" I barked out orders like a military captain and my troops jumped into action. This one was packing the baby's bag, this one feeding the toddlers, this one packing lunches and another spooning mushed bananas into Nathan. We were running like a well-oiled machine and my optimism grew. "We *can* do this!" I repeated to myself and to my troops as a hope-inducing mantra. It was all coming together. The day was going to be a glowing success....until Betsy walked down the hall, leaned over and vomited all over the rug. Ok, so we can't do this. Our production line came to a screeching halt. By mid-day Fr. Joel informed me he wasn't feeling so well either and he arrived home 3 hours early looking rather green about the gills. He straggled up the stairs and buried himself in bed. I marched in and asked him to do me just one favor. He groaned that he wasn't up to any favors and I asked him to kindly at least *attempt* to hit something porcelain. "Well you better get me a trashcan then" was about all he could reply.
By Wednesday evening the plague had burned itself out and claimed as many victims as it was going to get in our household so I decided to make an all-out attack on the germs which had been marching through my house uninvited since the week before. All kitchen, dining room and bathroom surfaces were going to get a good scrubbing. It was like traveling through a time capsule, that scrubbing. First I came across about a pint of ice cream which had splattered on the wall and door and clung there in drippy strands, remnants no doubt of some Sunday dinner gone by. There was a nice round, sour lump of goo under the china cabinet. I wiped down a substance smeared on the wall which resembled bloody poo and actually *spoke* to me. "Don't even ask, " it proclaimed, "you just don't want to know." I found a small puddle of dried puke under David's chair. He must have forgotten to inform Adora of that one... On the hallway walls a series of blobs of bluish sticky stuff dotted with bits of paper reminded me that I had never thoroughly wiped down the walls after John Michael decided to glue his artwork to them. Apparently tape just wasn't going to get that job done for some reason. The hallway rug was still flecked with remnants of Betsy's untimely spillage and I could feel the germs jumping off the bathroom hand towels as I tossed them into Mt. Laundry. By 11:00 that night the cleansing was complete and I felt like a new woman. My household was restored, I had battled the Germs and won! The next morning I completed two final tasks. We ordered some nice flowers for the lovely couple who had born our infection like a badge of honor and Adora earned herself an iPod. That done, I finally felt I could put the whole ugly thing behind us and move on...to whatever the next day may hold for us!