[When i am too sick to write, I like to think about all the times I have been sicker, with kids. So this time, I’m going to write about it anyway.]
It’s hard enough to be outnumbered by small children, but it’s downright alarming to be ill on top of that. Typically, one or two of you guys were sick when I was, and that would slow you down and keep the situation from being a total nightmare.
There was one occasion when we had more people in double gastric distress than we had bathrooms, but I’m not going to write about that, not because it was too horrible (it was) but mostly because, mercifully, the incident has been blocked from my long-term memory. Nobody needs more diarrhea fiction, anyway.
Only a few of you were with us at the beach for the crab soup investigation. Some of you were at home, unaware that a security camera was enabled, and at least one of you was wise enough to opt-out of everything and go on someone else’s family vacation.
The hidden home security camera seemed like a good idea until we checked the feed. We parent-folk were appalled to see that a small party had gone on during the very first night we were away. Nothing was damaged, there were no noise complaints, and if not for the camera I would never have known that some boy I have never met slept in my chair after drinking a reasonable number of beers.
Our surveillance of the living room at home put everyone in a bad mood. The home siblings became paranoid of each other, not realizing that no human was tattling on another. The beach kids were irritated that we were irritated and spending too much time indoors. We were not really using our vacation time to get away from anything; our spare time was being consumed by obsessing about all sorts of things we couldn’t control.
The kids at the beach used coordinated nagging to get us to take them out for a fancy dinner. After many years of practice, they knew that was the way to get a request heard above the cacophony of appeals for boating or mini golf. The restaurant in question had captured their devotion by serving slices of cake as big as your face.
We took them out for the dinner on the third night. We timed it well, so that we had a spacious table and didn’t have to wait in a small space with a lot of other sweaty families. The food was very tasty and everyone who wanted a cake face got one in the end. We toted lots of boxes of cake back to the car afterward.
The surly mood of the group resurfaced quickly, however. Someone complained from the backseat and yerdad began to shout about ungrateful little creeps, and I agreed with him, I’m sure, except for the volume. I’m sure I imagined a different vacation while he ranted and drove, I don’t really remember that, though.
What I remember is the way he abruptly got very quiet and intent on his driving. I remember the strangled goat noise he released when we were in sight of the condo entrance and the way he flung himself out of the van and made a heroic waddle-dash for the door.
I am not proud that I laughed and called him Captain Poopy Pants. Aside from that being a mean thing to say, Karma was perched to teach me a little something about the last laugh.
We drove on to the grocery store, abandoning yerdad to sort out his guts at the condo. I let everyone get very loud to balance out the previous muzzling. We almost made it to the store before I felt the dreaded shift in my innards that signaled that I was going to need to captain my own pants very soon.
Your sister moaned, “Maaaaaaam.”
I told her where the bathroom was and told her to head directly there with me as I stuffed some cash in another child’s hand and swiftly recited the list of things we thought we needed.
We barely made it to the restroom, and once there, we embarrassed ourselves with shouting and groaning. I didn’t go back to that store for the rest of the week in shame.
Later, I applied some reasoning to the situation and started my investigation. I was fully confident in solving this, at least to the point of deciding if we needed a hospital, because I had read a book about epidemiology that one time.
Only three of us were sick and we were affected in proportion to the amount of crab soup we had eaten at the Cake Face Place. Food poisoning of the non-dire type was my conclusion.
I reported the restaurant to the local health department. Even though none of us would die of bad soup poisoning, they had neglected the very basic duty of keeping the soup at a safe temperature and they had collected money for germ soup.
Now, when I am feeling shitty, I can take comfort that at least it’s not the worst type of shitty I have ever felt.
Nothing was worse than howling to every deity I could name in public restroom while your sister and I lost a very expensive dinner along with everything we had ever ingested.
Nobody needs more diarrhea fiction, but some times we all need some diarrhea truth.