I have no exciting hiking news to report because I have been incapacitated since returning home from the Ultimate Hike. If we count my toes separately, I have four injuries, which fortunately take turns hurting so it's easier to decide which way to limp.
My knee will lock up once a day, perhaps telling me it's time to make an appointment with the orthopedist. My ankle gets a little tender on occasion but is the least of my worries, although it still swells at night to turn into a Fred Flintstone foot. I'll spare you pictures of my two big toes, but imagine the skin around them a gentle burgundy while the actual nails continue to turn black. I don't have gout, but I do imagine I know how those sufferers feel when the bed sheet grazes the toes. But, I can't complain too much because as of yesterday, the constant hearbeat I felt throbbing beneath my toenails has ceased and the only time they hurt too bad is when one of the children decides to do a little clogging on my feet. They have been much better about practicing clogging since these injuries, interestingly enough.
I missed three weeks of tap class, so I decided to give it a go last Monday. I walked in with my knee and ankle wrapped in Ace bandages and my big toes wrapped in gauze, because I felt like if I was going to lose my nails, I would them wrapped up to spare others from probably puking on themselves. Because that would probably make me sick to watch other people puking.
I can't begin to tell you what a horrible idea it was to try to tap dance with my feet in that state. I've done some dumb things in my life, but this was right up there. It was the first time I had closed-toe shoes on my feet since October 1st. Thankfully I didn't do this to myself when it's too cold to wear flip flops. Eventually I tore off my shoes and tapped barefoot, you know, the way you are really meant to tap dance. I probably should hammer some horse shoes on the bottom of my feet next time I go back. I'm sure it will be less painful.
We've been keeping busy the past two weeks since Natalie and Daniel are tracked out. There has been lots of cooking, because Mommy's cooking camp is always free and there is no waiting list. I let the kids pick out what recipes they want to tackle and am amazed at how they think they can survive on nothing but cake and cookies for the three weeks during track-out.
Me: Daniel, everything on this list you made is dessert!
Dan: Nuh-uh. I put pizza and breadsticks on there, too.
I don't know where they learned to make these food choices. With the exception of my weakness for Taco Bell and Cup Noodles, I pride myself in my healthy food selections. Man cannot live on ramen alone...or can I??
Eve has been fabulous in ballet, and even allowed me, Nat, and Dan to watch her this past week. I liked not being kicked out. Not being kicked out made me feel special. Almost loved.
I suppose all that spit and vinegar she had been saving for dance had to spill out somewhere, and preschool was just the place. Eve can be a moody child and it's completely up to her if she's going to cooperate with you. After the third day of not participating or following directions, the teacher called home to ask if something happened at home or if she was sick. Nope, but thanks so much, you can keep her.
Her teacher admitted what lots of people think but don't say: It's hard for me to discipline her because of all she's been through. So it appears the cancer card is still laminated and glossy. And she's getting away with crap outside of the home because she used to be bald. I'm sure she'll remember my unwillingness to let her get away with murder as she fills out my Mom of the Year nomination form. "She was tough but she loved me; she didn't let me get away with stuff that my siblings couldn't get away with. Mom wouldn't cater to me when I was too lazy to get up and do something myself. Mom always thoughtfully asked, Did you lose your legs to cancer, too, or just a kidney? Get up and do it yourself."
And I'm definitely an equal-opportunity disciplinarian. That's my job as the stayer, as Natalie calls me. Daddy's the worker. Apparently the stayer doesn't have to work, just stay and watch her kids destroy the house before the mortgage is paid off.
Sometimes my kids get a little heavy-handed with the toilet paper. Sometimes we have to get the plunger. Sometimes I'm hobbling around the house because my knee, ankle, and toes slow me down.
This is what I hear as I shuffle downstairs to retrieve the plunger:
"Eve, don't! DON'T!!! Don't do that!!!! STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Eve, look what you did! You made the toilet water go all over the floor. Daniel, don't do it! DON'T!! STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!! DANIEL, STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Flush. More snickering.
"Look what you did!"
At this point, I was almost back up the stairs and Natalie was still screaming at her siblings in caps lock. When I finally made it to their bathroom, there was more water than I could even imagine based on the sheer volume and amount of exclamation points that were used. It was everywhere. I got that special kind of quiet fury, when I get down to their level and do my best scary pissed-off voice that's just too soft to be appropriate for the amount of damage that was done. The kids know this and run to their rooms, close the door, and sob. But I think they got off too easy because I'm the one who has to clean up this toilet water, and I'm sure I'm going to have to bleach the bathroom because there's only one reason why the toilet would have been that full of paper, and that's if someone was doing something that required repeated wiping.
So, after a good plunging and FOUR beach towels later, the bathroom is dry and the toilet is useable again. Now it's time to sanitize the place, and it will never feel clean enough until every inch is covered in Clorox and smells like a hospital room. I scrub it until I am confident that I could eat sashimi off the floor and not get sick.
I return downstairs to put the mop away and notice the kitchen has a giant puddle in the middle of the floor. It's too far away to be a bunch of rogue ice cubes from the freezer, but the tea pitcher is empty and I figure Eve probably spilled it out of spite. I mean, that's what I thought until Natalie came in and said, "Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you. The kitchen is leaking."
Nice. So I literally walked into a $h!tstorm. Toilet water was leaking through the can light onto the kitchen floor. The only thing that would have been worse would have been if it had hit any of the counters, but luckily (luckily?!?) it was just a giant puddle in the middle of the floor. Fortunately I still had the Clorox in hand. Unfortunately, I didn't have any handcuffs, or else I would have thrown the kids in the back of the van and hauled them downtown. Although they probably would have thought it was fun to get fingerprinted.
They aren't bad all the time. Sometimes they're cute and you can forget about overflowing toilets. Sometimes Eve will shout, "Setty, Ret, Go!" and start the dance party. They've almost got the zombie dance from Thriller down pat.
And we even made a trip to the Farmer's Market to pick out some pumpkins. Sure, you guys can get those cute little baby pumpkins. Okay, yes, you can also get a bigger pumpkin. Because I love you, but mostly because they are cheap and I don't need to take out more cash from the ATM. Sure Eve, you don't have to get a big pumpkin. Yes, Eve, you can get one of those bumpy green gourds. What's that? You named your gourd? Sure, tell me it's name!
Oh. "Sexy Gourd." Okay. I'll admit it's the last adjective I'd pick to describe something so bumpy, so green, so gourdish. But I am guilty of asking her the name of her gourd when I'm bored. You know, in between the occasional bleaching of hard surfaces.
Nothing says, Welcome, Fall! like the arrival of sexy gourds.