Family

Happy April Nothing!

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The long fox hunting season came to a close on Thursday, and today we celebrated “April Nothing.” It’s a revolving date. This year it happened to fall on Sunday, April 3rd.

April Nothing is the only empty square on the calendar for the next two months. It is blissfully bare, unscathed by any events.

Truth be told, there are plenty of blank weekdays, but that’s only because I haven’t written in the repetitive weekly practices, and coaches haven’t released game times or field locations.

But tomorrow it all begins. We submerge ourselves in spring activities: Hadley’s softball, Cayden’s flag football, Hadley’s pony club, Brynn & Hadley’s riding lessons, my softball teams (a co-ed weekend league, and Thursday nights with the guys), and then I’ll squeeze in as many hunter paces with Jazz as time allows.

(Martin doesn’t get to duck and cover; he hikes and is coaching Cayden’s football team.)

We shoulder this weighty load through April and May. And before the kids’ spring sports wrap, we have one manic week in June where all of the above activities overlap with swim team. Then we resurface, gasping for air.

So April Nothing is a pretty special day. It is the only holiday not embossed on the calendar — acknowledged by emptiness. In fact, I shouldn’t even call April Nothing a holiday, otherwise we’re bound to schedule something to celebrate it.

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Going “Crafty Stitches”

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Now that Brynn has been sprung from the hospital (yesterday, with a picc line… think IV catheter), I can reflect on the week.

Over the years, we’ve developed a lot of family lingo — terminology that means nothing to you, but everything to us. This post is devoted to the newest vernacular:

Going ‘Crafty Stitches.’

Sleep deprivation and stress leads to irrational behavior, as I so aptly displayed last weekend. On Saturday, Martin took the hospital post, while I swapped him for Cayden/Hadley. (This was my first foray into the gen pop. Safe to say, I wasn’t myself.)

The game plan: drop Hadley at her sewing class in Virginia, while Cayden and I cooled our heels at a nearby cafe called “The Bean Bar.”  Then we’d reconvene at the farm and, with my mom, pilgrimage to Hopkins to visit Brynn.

(Sidenote: add “sewing” to Hadley’s resume. At Christmas she acquired a sewing machine and she wants to make her own clothes.)

Sleet was falling when we arrived at Hadley’s final session in a 10-week-long, dress-making course. But the sewing store was shuttered and darkened. I peered in the window and noticed that the equipment — a bank of sewing machines — was gone.

I called Crafty Stitches but the phone number was out of service. Seething, I dragged the kids to The Bean Bar. I ordered them breakfast, cracked open my laptop, and began drafting a message, delivered to every email address associated with Crafty Stitches.

In my own defense, I refrained from using profanity. And I didn’t directly threaten anyone. But the message was venomous and angry. I demanded the immediate(!) return of Hadley’s dress. Perhaps they’d moved locations, I speculated — though I doubted it… my words dripping with sarcasm. There was no sign on the store front and the phone was disconnected.

I assumed they were closed and I didn’t care about their business or the employment status of their staff. With a sick child in the hospital and another one despondent over her sister’s illness, I was FED UP.

I imagined the sewing machines — sold at rock-bottom prices to a competing business — and I pictured Had’s dress and other projects discarded in a dumpster. That really got my hackles up. I wanted the dress that Hadley had so painstakingly sewn and I wanted it, RIGHT NOW. And, I wanted to shove bamboo shoots under the owners’ fingernails.

As I drafted my message, I plotted my next move: if the email bounced back, I’d contact the realty agency. I’d demand contact information and I’d hunt these people down!

Often, you hear about impulsive emails — messages sent, then instantly regretted. I suffered no regret. I reviewed my missive… vetting it for typos… and pondered adding expletives. Then, narrowing my eyes, I hit “send.”

Two minutes later, as the kids tucked into breakfast, my cell phone rang. The caller identified herself as a Crafty Stitches employee. She quickly explained that they’d moved.

“Where?” I demanded.

“Do you know where the Bean Bar is?”

“Yes!” I hollered. “Yes, I know where the Bean Bar is!”

“Well, we’re two doors down.”

“Oh,” I said flatly. “Well, we’re be there… in about 30 seconds.”

As we walked into the bustling store, I apologized for my cloaked threats. (Turns out, the phone was temporarily out.)

“We sent emails blasts,” the employee explained.

“I never got those,” I said.

“We told parents,” the lady added.

“Well, you told my husband… that’s like talking to a piece of plywood,” I said.

“Look,” I added, hoisting my arms and cursing the tears welling in my eyes, “I’m sorry for the nasty email. I’ve got… a lot going on.”

Later, I shared the episode with Martin. He listened, then rolled his eyes and declared, “You’re a mental patient.”

A few days later, when Brynn’s hospital release sounded imminent, Martin mentioned that one test might not occur before discharge.

I bristled.

Martin made the “settle down” motion with his hand. “I already warned the staff that they’d be hearing from you,” he said. “Just go easy. Don’t go all Crafty Stitches, okay?”

I crossed my arms. “What? I’m not going to go all ‘Crafty Stitches’ on them! But she’s in for two more days and already, they can’t do this test? What’s that all about? I mean, WTF? I want those test results before she’s discharged! Is that too much to ask? IS IT?”

So no longer, do I “go postal,” or “Jeffrey Dahmer.” I don’t “chuck a mental,” (credit the Aussies for that one.)

Nope.

If I sense any push-back, I just might go Crafty Stitches on your ass!

The Latest

Last week’s post wasn’t very cheerful. And this one isn’t much better. On Friday, it seemed that Brynn had dodged a hospital admission. And Hadley’s fractured hand only needed a splint.

Well, their luck ran out today.

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This morning an orthopedist promptly set Had’s arm in a cast. And few hours later, I shuttled Brynn once again to Hopkins — to address her persistent cough — and the doctors recommended admission.

Brynn  faces 7 to 14 days of hospitalization for IV antibiotics, PT, possible bronchoscopy and other procedures, to be determined.IMG_2092

Hadley will be hindered by her cast for 4-6 weeks, but she was far more distressed about Brynn’s situation. While Brynn waited for a bed to open on the pediatric floor, ER doctors and nurses got to work on her treatment. They hooked antibiotics to her IV line and checked her pulse-ox and vitals. In the meantime, Brynn used my cell phone to update her brother and sister back at home; both dissolved into tears. So there was Brynn, tethered to needles, meds, monitors and constant prodding, and she was the one consoling her siblings. “I miss you too, Hadley. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I’ll come home soon. Hey, I have a needle stuck in my arm the whole time… No I’m ok. Is that Cayden crying too? Put him on the phone.”

It’s now midnight and I headed home to gather some clothes and toys for Brynn, snag three hours of sleep and then head back to Hopkins.

For day two.

 

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