Every family has an epic story of illness. When I was in kindergarten, my parents and I all got what we refer to as The Death Flu. For about 48 hours, one or more of us was violently ill. My mom and dad knew that whichever of them wasn’t leaning over the toilet had to go and attend to me each time I began puking in my bed. I often convolute this story with the time that my father installed a ceiling fan in my bedroom and my mom, supernaturally prompted, came in to check on me and discovered that the fan was on fire and about to hurl its blades down onto my tiny sleeping body.
I survived both incidences unscathed.
The Bean is too young to remember the tale I am about to account but, since it is being immortalized on this blog, he will forever be able to read about what we now refer to as the House of Horrors flu.
(Spoiler alert: this blog post has absolutely nothing to do with the restaurant, aside from the fact that everything in my life has something to do with the restaurant, so if you are a potential guest who landed here by mistake you should wander over to our menu page or look at some lovely food photographs before it’s too late. Don’t keep reading. I mean it!)
This Easter, the Bean received a package from his Grammy which was opened with great delight. It was an Easter basket of sorts, because it was actually an Easter bucket. We don’t really wear logos or merchandising on our clothing – as the Hubs wisely points out “Why should I pay someone for the opportunity to advertise their product?” – but the occasional Star Wars themed item is allowed into the home because…well, because it’s Star Wars. So the Bean’s Easter bucket was a Star Wars sand pail with a few excellent gifts inside including my favorite, a wooden whistle shaped like a bird. If you have ever wondered whether a 16 month old child can effectively use a wooden whistle that is shaped like a bird, the answer is a resounding yes. And how! But I digress.
The Easter bucket was bright red, and the Hubs made the following casual, eerily foreboding observation: “Nothing says ‘Happy Easter’ like a red bucket with a burning upside-down cross on it!”
If you are a Star Wars fan, you already know that the most recent iteration of the lightsaber* has a crossbeam at the bottom, and, wielded by some character whose name I have already forgotten but probably sounds something like “Karl Barth”, it looked like a glowing red upside down cross on the Bean’s bucket. But we thought nothing of it.
On the Saturday before Easter, I left the house early on my bike to go to the library and rehearse my part as The Duck in a delightfully oddball neighborhood production of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I also volunteered for the role of The Sound Person when I realized that a room full of children would completely drown out the piano accompaniment. My bicycle panniers were loaded with two small amplifiers**, cables, and a crazy looking fuzzy yellow hat. When the Hubs texted to say that the Bean was throwing up, I was happy to pack up and ditch out on the rehearsal.
There was a good bit of sickness throughout the day and that night, resulting in a towering pile of laundry, but he was well enough that we attended church on Easter as a family. Several families with whom we had shared a Thursday evening seder meal mentioned that their children had also been sick, but they were at church too, so we thought nothing of it.
My mother – my ITALIAN mother – prepared a feast and I ate enough for two people. It was a good Easter with friends and family, but I felt very bad when we got home. But who wouldn’t feel bad after several cocktails, way too much dessert, and at least two meals in one? I moaned and groaned in bed for a while and finally fell asleep, very early in the evening, disgusted with my gluttonous over-eating ways, and on a high holy day too! Nothing says “He is risen!” like “I ate so much I can barely move.”
And then. Around 11pm I sat up. Something was very wrong. I opened my mouth, and I was a spaceship, hatch open, my giant cylindrical light beam of vomit obliterating the national landmark of the town below. The Hubs was horrified, and half asleep, and grabbed the first thing he could find after my expulsion of Easter dinner’s first course which was, of course, THE RED BUCKET.
I promptly filled it all the way up.
“OH GOD. Oh God. Oh it smells so bad. Oh my God.” was all he could say, stumbling away from the puddle next to my side of the bed.
I was left holding a bucket full of puke, staring at a puddle of puke, not entirely sure how to dismount from our bed which is, as I have mentioned before, almost the exact size of our bedroom. The Hubs kept attempting to scrape up my former insides from the carpet with a large serving spoon, but each time he ran away gagging. And then he had the audacity to shout, from a safe distance: “How much did you eat?!!”
I was flooded with childhood memories of my mother holding my hair back and proffering a cool washcloth for my head. “You” I pronounced with disgust “are a TERRIBLE NURSE!!”
I finally cleaned myself up, we applied a two foot swath of baking soda to the carpet and then left it there because we were’t sure what to do next, another mound of barf laundry was hurled out into the hallway, and, half jokingly, I handed The Hubs a sauce pan to keep by his bedside. Who was I kidding? He never gets sick.
He got sick.
Around 1 am, The Hubs leapt out of bed, tripped over the pan, smashed his shins on the radiator which is four inches from his side of the bed, got entangled in his clothes which he insists on leaving in a pile on the floor, and crashed through the doorway. He did not make it to the bathroom.
So there we were on Easter night, with vomit dripping down the walls and doorpost, like some kind of B movie horror flick. From my perch on Baking Soda Island I could hear the Hubs in the bathroom, using the diaper sprayer to remove the chunks from his full winter beard. Finally tidy, after wiping down the walls and door, on his way back to bed he tripped over one of the ever growing mounds of laundry.
“THIS HOUSE IS A DEATH TRAP!” And convulsing with laughter and exhaustion, still haunted by whiffs of Easter dinner, we giggled ourselves to sleep.
The next morning we realized with amazement that, for the first time in 17 months, the Bean had slept all the way through the night. And we were too busy puking to enjoy it.
* If you are not a Star Wars fan and do not know about a lightsaber, it is a glowing stick with a handle that makes a noise like “WHOM WHOM WHOM” and cuts mostly everything into pieces.
** If you are a musician and do not know about ZT Lunchboxes, you should! Apparently you can transport two of them in your bicycle panniers.
Megan Lindsey is an owner and founder of Franktuary restaurants in Pittsburgh, PA, a new mother, and, whenever possible, a writer, homemaker, and musician. Follow her adventures as #RestaurantMom at franktuary.com/blog.
Restaurant Mom 6: Home Purchase Is Not An Emergency
Restaurant Mom 5: To Save The Earth
Restaurant Mom 4: Let’s Do Laundry
Restaurant Mom 3: Trucks and All Ten Fingers
Restaurant Mom 2: New Parent Brain
Restaurant Mom 1: Beginnings