I was thinking this morning—after I managed to stick my foot deep into my own mouth in front of a bunch of people, YAY!—about various cliches. Like, there should be something to describe the feeling of entering the third month of your kid’s hospitalization and still not knowing 1) when she might be coming home, 2) if she’s truly getting better, 3) if the #*&%^ Medicaid approval is ever coming, 4) if life will ever feel normal again. That’s far too long and messy, and you know what? 90% of people do not want to hear about it, anyway.
In the end (of the foot-in-mouth scenario) I had to settle for meekly apologizing, citing my current status as “a big ball of hurtiness” thanks to recent events. It felt inadequate, but saying “every time I think I’ve reached some sort of acceptance about all of this, a great big wave of THIS SUCKS I HATE IT hits me again” feels whiney.
Somehow the phrase “wearing my heart on my sleeve” popped up in my head. And then I thought that the meaning isn’t quite right for what I’m going through. This, this is more like having my intestines pinned to my shirt. And then I thought Intestines On My Shirt would be a good band name. And it’s really hard to imagine how I manage to continually say the wrong thing in social situations, isn’t it? It’s a puzzle, truly.
So I was doing my various “shop online” sorts of things (which, these days, largely consists of finding deals for other people, rather than spending any money ourselves because of the aforementioned Medicaid thing) and found a really good deal on boys’ sneakers. And even though Monkey’s current sneakers aren’t that old, I thought to myself (“Self,” I said), “I am going to be smart and because this is such a good deal, I am going to buy the next two sizes Monkey will need, because clearly Puberty Is Nearly Upon Us and soon his feet will become enormous. Well, more enormous. Anyway.
Then this morning I was sitting in a waiting room with Monkey—the sneakers are ordered, but haven’t arrived—and just for fun I found myself leaning down to feel the tip of his shoes to get an idea of how much room he has. Only, at first I thought he had something stuffed in there besides his feet, because you know how you should be able to “squish” to tippy-toe section of your sneakers? Yeah, you can’t do that on my son’s shoes. BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO SMALL. His toes were all curled up in there and Mr. ACK A LEAF TOUCHED ME, MAKE IT STOP was all “What? My shoes are fine! I have no idea why your eyes are bugging out of your head like that!”
Normally Monkey doesn’t come to mind when you think of Cinderella’s wicked step-sisters, but now that I know the extent of his ability to cram a too-large foot into a too-small shoe, I’m thinking if there’s a local production he’d be a shoe-in (ho ho, you see what I did there).
I kept meaning to tell you the story of The Poison Ivy Plague, but somehow I kept forgetting or getting distracted and now it doesn’t seem nearly as amusing as it did initially. Not that this will stop me from giving you a synopsis, anyway:
One of the many things Otto and I had in common for years and years was that we both appeared to be immune to poison ivy. I wouldn’t advocate building a relationship on that, or anything, but still, it was kind of nifty… until it ended. In the wake of The Wrong Dog Saga, all we had to show for all of that running through the woods was that Otto got a terrible case of poison ivy. And then he got MRSA, to boot, and it all pretty much sucked. And then he got better and we forgot about it…
… until the next year, when he got poison ivy AGAIN. Apparently once you get it, each subsequent exposure tends to provoke an even worse reaction. AWESOME. And then the year after THAT (last year) it happened again, although by that time I had the good sense to realize that maybe not everyone wanted to hear my repeated whining about what is essentially, y’know, my husband having a rash.
Fast forward to this summer, when Otto once again (with feeling!) comes down with a raging case of poison ivy. He used his cream, he went to the doctor and got steroids, and it got better. BUT THIS TIME the moment he finished the steroids, it got really bad again. And then his doctor said, “Huh, I think maybe this isn’t poison ivy at all, because that is weird. Here, go see this dermatologist.” Naturally the dermatologist’s office scheduled him with great speed (where “speed” = “not so much speed, actually”) and he was left to scratch himself into insanity for several weeks, during which time we tried to figure out WHERE, WHERE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY IS THE POISON IVY??
I still haven’t gotten it, by the way. Ever. Neither have the kids. Just Otto, because he is irresistible and poison ivy loves him.
Well. Otto took a little stroll out to our dog run (remember the fence debacle, which was partly about the fence around the pool but mostly about providing a fenced doggie area outside of it for the world’s most spoiled dog?) and YOU WILL NEVER GUESS! All those years of drought here in Georgia, when everyone had dead, brown lawns and even the weeds could barely grow, we had foolishly assumed any poison ivy on the premises must be out in the woods somewhere. This year, it has rained regularly. The dog run was like our very own personal poison ivy preserve, where all the poison ivies who couldn’t quite make it in the wilderness could come and mate and reproduce and then rub all over our dog… the same dog who feels very strongly that if Otto is sitting down it is her God-given right to lay in his lap and be rubbed and adored.
Mystery solved! Licorice was pretty much coating herself in the stuff and then coming inside to share the love.
So Otto began spraying the poison ivy in the dog run with poison every day, and of course we closed the gate into the run so that our rotten little pup wouldn’t end up poisoned. This caused Licorice to spend an inordinate amount of time starting at the gate, willing it to open via her laser glare. She was quite annoyed. Then Otto left town for a few days for a work thing, and while he was gone I:
1) bathed the dog,
2) washed all of the bedding and towels in the house,
3) generally cleaned and wiped down all surfaces I thought could be recontaminating anyone.
Now Otto has been to the dermatologist (who said “Oh yeah, that’s poison ivy, here’s some new cream and you must use it every day for a month and then offer up a burnt virgin goat at midnight to complete the ritual”), the poison ivy in the run is gone, and the dog pretty much hates us. Also, the doctor pointed out that probably all of our furniture and rugs are coated in urushiol by now, so GOOD LUCK.
I cannot remember what the point of this story was. Ummmm, maybe it was that we think that’s the end of the poison ivy mystery, but knowing how things go around here, who knows.
And on top of all of THAT, I need a haircut. Tragedy abounds, I tell you. Though if I literally had my intestines pinned to the front of my shirt, I’m thinking no one would notice my giant puffball of no-longer-short-but-not-yet-long-either hair. Something to consider, I suppose.