Flannery Correspondence

June 5, 2010

Where to Find Chocolate

Filed under: Funny or Odd, Surviving Parenthood — Tags: , , , , , — BrianOFlan @ 19:08

Zella, our neat-freak child, has as much gross-out potential as the rest of them.

Our minivan is falling apart. Christa noticed that yesterday, driving from south Denver to Thornton in the noon heat. First the AC stopped feeling cool. Max AC ought to fix that, right? No? Still blowing hot air? Why is the engine revving up and down like that? The transmission is surging, shifting down too low for the speed, revving high, then shifting back up. What do all those gauges and dials on the dashboard have to say?

Well, the thermometer isn’t at the bottom of the “Normal” band anymore. It’s all the way at the top by that big capital “H”. Let’s turn the AC off and roll the windows down. Only five minutes away from the destination, van full of kids, the only thing worse than stopping on the side of the road would be blowing up in traffic. Think we can make it?

They made it. The 1996 Mercury Villager survived. Christa has two hours to kill while Jude does a foster care visit with his biological parents. She checks the coolant reservoir. It’s boiling and bubbling above the max full line up to the top cap. She’s smart enough not to mess with the radiator cap. She leaves the hood up and hauls the four girls into the social services waiting room for two hours.

By then the engine has cooled. The coolant reservoir has stopped boiling and is now empty. Refill with water to the max full line and risk the 45 minute drive home. (Loading all five kids up for these visits is a first. She usually has someone else take Jude to the visit or a babysitter watch the girls while she takes them.)

As she transfers them out of the stroller into the van, some stray. Barefoot and loosely dressed, they are already too hot. They want to stay in the shade of the minivan without actually going back in the hot vehicle. She finally gets them in their car seats and buckled in time to pick up Jude from the social worker and drive home with nothing but open windows and hot highway air to cool them.

They scream the whole drive home. I’m too hot! I want out of my seat! Unbuckle me! Incoherent yodels of outrage! While all her sisters cry, Zella cries a little but something distracts her. From the mirror, Christa watches in horror as Zella contorts her own foot up to her face and licks it for at least ten minutes.

What could possibly taste good about the bottom of her foot? Then it dawns on her: Near the van in the social services parking lot there was a melted fudge bar — only the wrapper and the stick and the inedible residue of chocolate remained. Zella’s naked Indian soles must have picked up enough of that sweet, sticky germ culture to look and taste just right for that long, hot ride home.

I don’t care how cute she smiles with those cheek dimples. I will never kiss her again.

PS. Let me know if you have any Penicillin lying around or maybe a 12 passenger van you’re not using.
Zella and the offending foot

March 24, 2010

Flannery Disease

Filed under: Family and Friends — Tags: , , , , , — BrianOFlan @ 17:44

Lucky for me, “you’re hired” and “come to work” ended up being weeks apart.  February began with the worst stomach flu our young family has yet expelled.  I had dinner plans the night it struck — dinner far away from these little germ cultures called kids.  I had to cancel my plans.  In fact, we canceled all plans for days.

We moved some waterproof mattresses to the kitchen, the only large area without carpet in our house.  We spent the night holding our tiny little martyrs while they gave up every last drop of digestion with painful heaving.

The plague spread to each child, then to Christa, then to me.  We survived.  With sore throats that became head colds then coughs.  When the snots were finally leaving us, diarrhea joined us — prompting a Rug Doctor rental.

The baby was spared the diarrhea.  His cold migrated into pink eye.  Pink eye is the most contagious germ on the planet.  We bathed everyone in antibacterial sanitizer hourly, we washed the sheets and clothes and toys, we burned that velvetine rabbit that seemed so much like a real bunny.  Still everyone caught it.

When our eyes recovered, another head cold swept the family.  Brian was working by now and missed this cold.  We treated it aggressively and it went away after seven days (left untreated, it could have taken as long as a week).  Snot free, we all caught pink eye again.

We used so many different kinds of eye drops that we have documented exactly which kind of ophthalmic vinaigrette hurts worst and least and which leaves less aftertaste.

To celebrate our first germ-free week, we planned a Saint Patrick’s Day party.  We tried to invite everyone.  (Sorry if we missed you or you missed it.)  Just in time, Brian finally caught the head cold and had to be heavily medicated during the drinking and festivities.  After one and a half months, we are now healthy.  Quality of life in our house has improved to the steady level of teething-induced crabbiness.

The moral is this, whatever you do, wash your hands, don’t touch children and never skimp on eye drop medicine.

This message brought to you by the Flannery Institute of Epidemiology.

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