Jul 15 2014
“Wow, I’ve never seen a grownup cry,” Hadley remarked, as I sat sobbing near a mystery leak that dripped with determination on the dining room floor and buckled the ceiling above.
An unidentified plumbing problem isn’t a cry-worthy crisis. But this incident was the final chapter in a series of cumulative, distressing events.
It kicked off last Tuesday when we discovered that the girls had lice. We learned this just as a strong summer storm knocked out the power. No electricity means no water, so we were powerless to wash sheets and treat the girls’ hair. Solution: armed with delousing products, we bunked in a hotel and attacked the problem. It was after midnight when we finally finished, but we’d made progress. Or so we’d thought.
The next day the power was restored but the washing machine broke, stalling efforts to sanitize bedding and clothes. The repairman estimated a seven-day wait for the replacement part.
Next up? Both trucks broke down and with PigPen in the shop (amassing a $2,400 bill for deer damage repair) — we were squeezed with one vehicle.
And Friday afternoon — yet another day perched on the porch, sweating in the sun as I combed microscopic nits from the girls’ hair (making little progress) — Martin placed a cocktail in front of me. “Drink this,” he said.
I get it… I’ve been picking through their locks, strand by strand, for hours, I thought. And everything has gone wrong. “I’ll drink it when I’m done,” I said, swiping my sweaty bangs and hunching over Hadley’s bowed head.
“Really, take a few sips now,” he said, “because I need to tell you that there’s a leak in the dining room. And I’m going to have to cut open the ceiling to get at it.”
And there you have it: broken cars, broken washer, broken house, insect infested kids. Emotional breakdown.
Fortunately, unabated crying spurs family to action. On Saturday, my mother took the kids to be professionally deloused (yes, such services exist) and Martin secured a part to fix the washing machine and the Big Rig. All this while I played four straight softball games in league tournament. (We advanced to the quarterfinals, but were eliminated the next morning.)
No matter. After last week’s misery I can report today: the kids are fixed, ditto the washing machine and Pig Pen. It’s time to resume the blog and other elements of normalcy.
As for the accompanying tent photo: in an effort to limit lice spread, we booted the kids out of the house to sleep. But when we issued the go-ahead order to return to their room, they refused to vacate the campsite. They’ve slept in the tent for four nights running. The chair also pictured was employed for safety; Sunday evening Martin tethered the tent to the chair during a violent, gusty thunderstorm that threatened to send the camp structure airborne.
Remarkably, the kids opted to sleep in the tent, through the storm. The next morning I met a bed-headed Brynn, pawing through the cereal boxes in the kitchen and I asked her, “Weren’t you scared out there with all that thunder last night?” I asked.
“No,” she mumbled with a shrug. “It was loud but I just went to sleep.”