Journal Entry

It’s been a bad week.

Specifically, I’ve been sick. (See how I did that, with the parallelism with last Thursday’s post?) Actually, there’s more than just the sickness, but I’m not sure how much I’ll tell. I guess we’ll find out.

Okay, where were we? I told you about last week in a general sort of way on Thursday. So I’ll start with Friday.

Friday, August 3rd
Friday was my Regular Day Off (RDO, henceforth), and we’d made arrangements with K– to take off work for the afternoon so that we could get into Dallas at a reasonable time. We were thinking leave around 3:00-4:00, and get in around 7:00, but Grandma convinced me that, even though it’s technically a 3-hour drive, if we got into town any time after 5:00 on a Friday night, we needed to add a couple hours, because of traffic across town. Ugh. So we all discussed it and agreed to leave as close to noon as possible.

Sleeping in didn’t really contribute much to that goal, but I reserve that right for RDOs. It’s just how it is. But I did have a lot I wanted to get done. Our car had been acting really weird lately, and I was pretty sure I knew why. It needed the tires balanced. It was bouncing and jostling like it had a flat even when it didn’t, which is no fun at all, especially when you’re looking at an interstate trip for the weekend. So I dropped the car off at Econo Lube ‘N’ Tune & Brakes, and had them do an oil change and balance the tires. They said it would take twenty minutes, but I gave them two hours anyway.

The shop is only about a mile from my house, so I walked home, and then decided to mow since I wouldn’t be home much over the weekend. By the end of that, I was thoroughly exhausted and dripping with sweat, but we’ll just call that good practice (ugh). I showered, then it was time for T– and me to go pick up the car, and then pick up K–.

There were some traffic issues, but we ended up getting out of town shortly after 1:00. K– drove, which was nice because it let T– sit in the back to take care of AB as needed, and she spent the rest of the time listening to her new iPod. I’d intended to try to get some writing done, or at the very least make some headway on the sixth Harry Potter book (giving it a reread so I can get to book seven), but I ended up talking with K– the whole way. Which, probably, was a much more friendly way to go about things. We spent about half the three-hour drive discussing our new iWays, and configuring the settings on the one we were using. Overall, I think we’re both pretty happy with it.

Early as we were, we still ran into some traffic in Dallas, and I think we ended up at Grandma’s a few minutes before 5:00. Then we learned my aunt Darla and her family, and my uncle Eric and his family were all coming for dinner…and wouldn’t be in until 7-ish. We talked with Grandma some, and K– spent some time on the computer picking out driving routes for our work on Saturday, and then he and I went with Grandma to pick up the barbecue for dinner. It was fantastic, and hanging out with the family is always fun. We had Darla and Jason and their daughter Hannah, and Eric and Shelly with their kids Dakota and Lauren, and Lauren had a boyfriend with her, and before the night was done Wayne and Carol stopped by. It was quite the party. We ended up watching some baseball and an interview with Nichole Ritchie, though, so it wasn’t all good.

Saturday, August 4th
Saturday, we got up around 8:00 and I made a doughtnut run for T–, then K– and I headed across town. We picked up a big moving truck (and got lucky — they were out of the 10-foot truck he’d reserved, so we got a free upgrade to the 16-foot one), then went over to his mom’s place. Err…I don’t remember how much I explained last week, but the reason for the trip was to help K–‘s mom move from a two-bedroom apartment that she’d shared with one of his brothers to a single bedroom townhouse (in the same apartment complex) now that the brother had moved out.

So K– and I were supposed to do that. Meanwhile, T– went along so that the family down in Dallas (my mom’s family) could see AB again, and with the possible objective of getting AB’s ears pierced. My aunt Darla had done that to her little girl, so T– thought she could lean on Darla’s experience to get her through the process of, y’know, paying cash to make a stranger mutilate her daughter. There’s a certain hesitancy there, in case you couldn’t guess. Luckily, T– was able to overcome that, and did pay a stranger hard-earned money to stab metal spears through AB’s perfect earlobes. It turned out pretty well. She probably sent you pictures.

Anyway, we weren’t part of that. K– and I were driving all the way across town to move his mom’s stuff. She already had all her stuff in boxes, and didn’t really have that much stuff to move. Also, we discovered to our delight that she had some of the lightest bedroom furniture we’ve ever encountered. Yay. But it was just K– and me, and her old apartment was upstairs with a very steep, very narrow staircase up to it, and a dogleg at the bottom of the stairs that kept us from just carrying stuff straight to the truck. Oh, and it was 100 degrees, and 70% humidity.

So, if not for those factors, it would’ve easily been the easiest move K– and I have ever been involved in. But, given those factors, it was still excruciatingly brutal. Took us a little over two hours to get the truck packed, if I remember correctly, and about 45 minutes to unload. We were able to get a really nice parking spot for that, and no stairs outside. Yay.

Anyway, that took us all day. We dropped off the truck, then drove the 45 minutes back across town to Grandma’s, and got in around 4:00. We cleaned up in a hurry, and packed the car, and made it to dinner (Grandma wanted to take us out, and Wayne and Carol wanted to see us one more time) at El Fenix by 4:45. I always love that place, but we all had way too much to eat, and then we piled into the car to head home.

Here’s where a lot of the other bad stuff happened.

We were about half an hour into our drive home when T– got a phone call from my little sister, who said she had slipped and fallen while holding her baby, and the baby had fallen to the floor in the process. That’s a scary thing. Even when AB fell eighteen inches, from the couch onto our carpeted floor, we were scared. My sister doesn’t have carpeted floors, though, and we got the impression that the baby had fallen a lot further. Not only that, S– was hurt, too, from her fall. And she had her older daughter also to take care of, and her husband is in Italy for work at the moment. So she wanted to know if T– could watch the older girl while she took the baby to the emergency room. Of course, we were somewhere between Dallas proper and Denton at the time, so that wasn’t an option.

S– was rather panicky on the phone, and she hung up to try to find someone in town who could watch her daughter for her. Meanwhile, T– started getting worked up worrying about S– and the baby, but again, there was nothing we could do. A little while later, T– called my mom to get more information, and that helped a little, but she also learned that a family really close to my mom and dad was in the middle of its own tragedy, because a daughter had just had a particularly tragic miscarriage, and the woman’s own health was in jeopardy. Ugh.

So we drove on, and got in contact with S– again a little while later, but there was still nothing we could do. T– talked her into just taking both girls and getting to the hospital ASAP, but apparently a few minutes after they got off the phone, S– got hold of a friend from church who was willing and able to babysit.

Meanwhile, T– ended up talking to Mom again, and she felt like there was something Mom wasn’t telling her, so she pressed her on the issue and learned that, over the same weekend, my older sister was going through some tragedy of her own. It’s not really something I’m comfortable explaining in this medium, but I’ve said as much as I have so that I can ask, if you’re the praying sort of person, please keep my sister Heather and her family in your prayers.

Anyway, that hung heavy on our minds, and we didn’t get any further news from S– until we were pulling into OKC hours later, so it was a pretty dismal drive. We dropped K– off at home, and T– called S– to see if we should stop by to visit, but she was in the hospital with hopes of getting out within the hour. Baby was fine, they’d even done a CAT scan to make sure (CT scan? Are those the same thing?), and the baby looked fine. She had a big comical bump on her head, but otherwise she’s fine. S– ended up with two broken ribs and a fracture in her shoulder blade, but the baby’s fine.

Ugh. What a weekend.

Sunday, August 5th
Sunday morning, to give S– a little bit of a break, T– drove over early and picked up the older daughter, who we took care of until after lunch. With my niece in tow we went to church, and we had services in the regular auditorium but I’m not convinced the A/C was handling its full load. That wasn’t terribly fun. The niece was surprisingly well-behaved, though. I’d go so far as to say she was delightful.

We went to Red Robin for lunch with K– and N–, and had some pretty good burgers, then took the niece back to S–‘s house to drop her off. Oh! Before we left church, we’d agreed to go to small groups with the young families class at 5:00 that night. K– and N– were going, and T– had been wanting to go to that group for a while, so I couldn’t really argue. I probably could have gotten out of it, but that’d make me look quite the heel, wouldn’t it?

So, anyway, by the time we dropped off the niece and then stopped by Best Buy to pick up a new router (not a luxury purchase — my old one wasn’t routing anymore), and Civ 4: Beyond the Sword (a luxury purchase), it was already nearly time to head to church. I installed the router, which immediately seemed to fix the problems we’d been having, and had a few minutes to test it out, and then we headed over to K– and N–‘s.

We drove with them out to the minister’s house in Guthrie — quite a drive. And even though we showed up fifteen minutes late, we were the first people there (apart, of course, from the hosts). AB’s new earrings (and just her cuteness in general) served as the bulk of the conversation until a few more couples had showed up. Somehow, then, as people were making their delicious sandwiches in the kitchen and I was stuck in the living room holding AB, somehow I ended up the center of attention. Some dude asked me how I ended up a tech writer, and I answered that nobody was willing to buy my novel, and then suddenly eight people all looked at me and started asking about my novels.

Now…most of you probably just jumped straight to the thought, “Oh, he must have loved that,” and I’m willing to say that only two or three of you know me well enough to have loaded that sentence with deep, bitter sarcasm. Because I do love talking about my writing, as you all know, and I’ve been known to hijack whole evenings and entire social gatherings, forcing everyone present to talk about nothing but my writing. But that’s, y’know, you guys.

My discomfort in social settings easily, easily trumps my desire to talk about my writing. So I have eight people that I barely know intensely interested in anything I have to say, and it was just miserable. K– was in the room, and he said he couldn’t tell. He said I pulled it off pretty well, describing the premise of Sleeping Kings in a simple and interesting way that really fascinated my audience. I couldn’t comment yay or nay to his opinion, though, because to me, that whole time is blacked out. I don’t remember a bit of it.

Anyway, we had a little devo that was not fundamentally different from the ones I went to when I was twelve, and then a lengthy series of prayer requests, and then finally things broke up, and I think we got home around nine.

Oh! Okay, it comes into play now, but I’ll just say this once to cover the whole week: I didn’t go walking. I think I did walk Thursday night, after my last post, and then I did the walking-home-from-the-tire-shop thing on Friday morning, but since then I haven’t.

Also, and I’m not certain about talking about this on my blog but, again, prayer requests. While we were at the small group on Sunday night, there was one other baby there (the only other one in the group) so everybody kept comparing AB to this other one, and those two were generally the center of attention, because everyone loves babies. Anyway, that other baby’s mom and dad were there, and T– knew the mom but neither of us really knew the dad. More on this couple when I get to Wednesday.

Sunday night, I went home and played some Civ, and then I went to bed.

Monday, August 6th
Monday I got sick. I spent all day Sunday with aching muscles because of the move on Saturday, and achy muscles are usually my first symptom of a fever, so I didn’t notice it coming on Monday morning because I confused one with the other. But, by noon, I was feeling light-headed and my skin felt hot. I sort of spent all my vacation time on T–‘s iPod, though, so I just made myself stay at my desk (I don’t interact with people much, at my job), and as the afternoon progressed it became more and more clear that I was really sick. Before I headed home, I told everyone I work with that I probably wouldn’t be in on Tuesday, because I was already feeling awful.

On the drive home, I felt so light-headed from the fever that it was like driving drunk. It was a most unpleasant experience. I got home, anxious to avoid making T– or AB sick, and basically took a little medicine then went straight to bed. I may have read a little bit, I know I drank a ton of water (rest and fluids are generally the only cure for these things), and I slept most of the evening. I did call N– to get her professional opinion, and she said what I was thinking: summer cold. She also warned me that it would probably hang on for a while. It has.

Tuesday, August 7th
Tuesday morning I still had a 100+ fever, so I called in to work and told them that, iPod or no, there was no way I could make it in. So I took leave, and spent the morning sleeping. I played a little bit of Civ, and chatted with D– some online (who diagnosed with certainty that what I had was Civ-itis, but seriously, I’m sick). Mostly, I slept. T– took the baby and went over to S–‘s to help her out with some stuff and then they went to Wal-Mart to get portraits done of the little one. That left me alone for most of the afternoon.

Then…ugh, I don’t really remember much of the evening. Apparently D– came over, and T– made chicken fried rice, which was very good. I may have read some, we may have watched some TV. I don’t really know. I ended up playing Civ until 10:00, then headed to bed thinking I’d read with T– for half an hour, but she was already lights-out. So I just went to bed. By that point, I was actually feeling a lot better.

Wednesday, August 8th
By the time I woke up, I was feeling a whole lot worse again. I went in to work anyway, and spent most of the day trying to keep my distance from my coworkers, and not let them hear my sniffling. We did have a going-away lunch for my old grandboss, at Steak and Ale, and I would have been reviled for skipping it, so I went anyway and avoided coughing on people. That was the best I could do.

T– was in Tulsa for work on Wednesday, so I was responsible for picking up AB at B– and E–‘s place after work. I wrote D– and asked if he could come over and help me take care of her until T– got home, so I could limit the likelihood of making her sick. Then, on my drive to B– and E–‘s, I got a call from K– and N– inviting me to dinner with them, but I had to turn it down because I’d already invited D– over to help me out. Then I got a call from T– saying she’d gotten done earlier than she expected, and she was already in town, but I was at B– and E–‘s place by then, so I told her I’d meet her at home.

B– and E– have been doing some work on their house, and it looks really awesome. I’m impressed how much difference nice furniture and a good paint job can make. I really like the colors they’ve picked, and in a very short time the place has gone from…well, weird-looking to very comfortable and really cool. I can’t wait until we can have a party there. The place has style.

Anyway, I spent more than half an hour getting caught up with them. I’ve been meaning to tell them in person, but I don’t mind saying it here, too: I really love having them around. They’re an awesome couple (and awesome individuals), and I’m glad to have them in my town.

So we talked for a while, then I took my baby home where D– had brought me Little Caesars (and probably thought I was scamming him, when he found T– there waiting), and a few minutes later K– and N– called and asked if they could bring their dinner over to my place to eat it. They posed it as a request, but I’m pretty sure they were offering to come keep me company. I’m constantly amazed how much effort my friends are ready to expend to take care of me. It’s awesome.

Anyway, that gave us a little party at our house. T– had some of the pizza and made a particularly impressive salad for her and D– (I’d had one for lunch), and K– and N– brought their Taco Cabana. N– also brought some really sad news. Remember the couple we met at small groups on Sunday, with the baby? Well, the husband/father was killed in a car accident sometime Wednesday. That was pretty shocking news, since I think most of us had just met him for the first time. And, of course, we all feel awful for the mother, and the days she has ahead. So, again, please keep that family in your prayers, if you would.

K– and N– went to church, and D– and T– and I watched some Dead Zone and mostly acted exhausted and blanked out. D– went home when I decided I definitely wasn’t up for a walk, and then I went to bed to read for a couple hours before falling asleep.

Around 10:00, just as I was closing my book, T– came into the bedroom, sniffling, eyes watery, to tell me that she’d caught my cold. Great.

Anyway, that’s been my week. I woke up this morning feeling worse yet, with a fever again and now really coughing for the first time. It’s painful, but I’m guessing it means I’m nearly done. I feel awful for T–, though.

But, yeah, everyone’s having a pretty rough time, this summer. Pray for my family, and all their friends. With any luck, things will turn brighter soon.