The past several weeks have been busy. Finishing up BSF and school, end of the year programs, and . . . well, just life. And death. A couple weeks ago, my grandma’s wish came true. Our Father took her to her Heavenly Home. At some point, I’ll probably write more about her, but I can’t just yet.
So we packed up everyone and drove from Florida to West Virginia to be with my family at my grandma’s funeral. Then we spent some time visiting and mosy-ed our way back down to Florida during the next week and a half, stopping to see friends and family along the way in WV, VA, and SC.
We arrived back at our apartment late Sunday evening. Then on Monday, we had quite the exciting “Welcome Home.” The fire alarms in our building began malfunctioning. At bedtime, just as I was reading a chapter from a great book I’ll tell you about later, the alarm went off. So my husband, our teenage friend Sarah (who is visiting again), and I managed to get all six children downstairs and out on the front lawn. The wet, freshly-mown lawn. Several other children from the building were also in their pj’s. Some were scared and crying. And we all had grass-covered feet. Standing in front of the building, we realized we had forgotten our cell phones, our key cards, my purse, my husband’s wallet — all the stuff we might want if the building were actually on fire. As it turned out, we’d get a couple more chances to practice taking the essentials with us.
After we were cleared to go back inside, we got everyone’s feet cleaned off and ushered the children to bed. When my boys were supposed to be in bed, seven year old Caleb came running out. “Jackson put a bullet in his ear!” My husband speculated it was an ear-plug. They are shaped sort of like bullets. I doubted it could be anything that easy.
I was right. Unfortunately. Earlier that day, Jackson had found some airsoft BBs in the hall. For reasons only another four year old boy could understand, he decided to shove one in his ear. As they boys were getting into bed, he decided to brag to his brothers that he had shoved a yellow bullet into his ear.
So for nearly an hour, my husband tried to get the BB out. He didn’t want to push the BB farther back into Jackson’s ear, so it was difficult to really get it out. He tried tweezers. He tried some other metal medical instruments we’ve acquired over the years. He tried sliding a toothpick in beside the BB and then pushing it from the other side. None of it worked. He even tried putting some Elmer’s glue onto a Q-tip and holding the Q-tip against the BB for several minutes, hoping the glue would affix to the BB and then the BB would pull out when he took the Q-tip out of Jackson’s ear. That didn’t work. He considered trying to suck it out with a vacuum attachment, but I was afraid that could hurt Jackson somehow. So we did not try that.
Finally, we agreed that he needed to see a doctor. We really didn’t want to pay for an emergency room visit. Then I remembered these little pediatric clinics that are open nights and weekends. I called one, and the lady who answered the phone said she wouldn’t promise they could remove it, but “removing foreign objects from the body is something we do a lot of.” So off we went.
An hour later, Jackson and I were on our way home. BB-free. It had only taken a couple minutes. The doctor did scrape the side of his ear canal a tiny bit, and it bled a few drops. It hurt a little and the blood scared Jackson. I’m hoping it hurt him and scared him enough to keep him from putting things in his ears. We’ll see.
(As an aside — this BB in the ear was the third foreign-object scare we’d had in the past week. Lauren choked on a Strawberry Whopper while riding in the car with my mom. It nearly scared her to death. And Griffin choked on a Lego man’s head in South Carolina. He was calmly standing there in the living room, drool pouring from his mouth, as he silently choked. My husband did the Heimlich and dislodged it while I left the room to pray, which is what I do when a child chokes or slices a finger in a ceiling fan or nearly amputates a finger in a folding chair. Since it didn’t come back out, we assume it went on through, but I haven’t been searching for it.)
Finally, we were home and all the children were asleep and we were getting ready for bed. Almost midnight. The fire alarm blared! We woke up the children and rushed into the hall and down the stairs. You know, you learn a lot about the other people in the building when you see them in their pajamas. And you see which people are the night-owls, still up and dressed at midnight. This time, my husband remembered his wallet and cell phone and key fob. I still forgot all my stuff. But we did have all the children and Sarah.
I barely slept the rest of the night, expecting the alarm to go off at any minute.
Sometime on Tuesday, or maybe it was Wednesday, the alarm went off again. This time, I did remember my purse and keys, but I left my cell phone. At other times this week, as the maintenance men have been working on it, the alarm has gone off for a minute, then stopped, then blared again for two minutes, then stopped. It’s keeping us on our toes. That’s for sure.
So that’s been our grand welcome back to life here in Florida after our eleven days away. This week has certainly not been dull.
Oh, we also went to a baseball game on Wednesday night. There is a collegiate baseball program here in the summers. Baseball players from different colleges all over the country come down here to play on teams. Nearly every town around here has a team. I’m guessing the ball players don’t earn any money for playing because I assume that would jeopardize their eligibility for college ball. So that would explain why the games are all free. And since Wednesday was opening night, we also got free hot dogs and free sodas. What a cheap night of fun for our whole family!
A school of massage was there with massage chairs doing massages for a cheap donation. Some of the people from that program were standing just in front of us. After watching me clean up three spilled sodas, orchestrate where everyone was going to sit, decide who got to use the thunder sticks first, referee battles over the two baseball mitts we brought (just in case a foul ball flew our way), and wrestle two year old Griffin into a stroller he did not want to be strapped into, one of the men in charge of the massages said to me, “I think you deserve a free massage. Why don’t you come down here and let one of the women give you a massage? I’m serious. With all these children, you deserve a free massage.”
He didn’t have to ask me twice! It was hot and sticky, fans were screaming, and some kids were banging thunder sticks together less than five feet from me, but I was probably the most relaxed person at the game during my ten minute free massage.
OK, one more thing about the game. The only complaint I have about this otherwise family-friendly night at the ballpark is the Hooters girls selling beer in the corners of the stands. The girls were wearing their Hooters . . . umm. . uniforms? Tight white tank tops, very short orange shorts. It was obnoxious. When all the children ran the bases, two Hooters girls ran along behind them. Before the game, one girl walked around in her skimpy clothes offering “I heart Hooters” stickers to all the children. I smiled and said, “No, thank you.” And then had to explain to my eight year old that those particular stickers aren’t appropriate for us to wear. It struck me as very sad that it never occurred to the Hooters waitress that offering “I heart Hooters” stickers to a bunch of little children isn’t appropriate. I think it’s a sad commentary on the pornofication (is that a word?) of our culture when Hooters waitresses don’t see their clothing and their very jobs as self-demeaning and objectifying. But that is another post for another day.
So that catches you up on the past several weeks of my life. I hope to settle back into a routine and start blogging regularly again. But with all the children home all day for summer vacation, I am not sure how regularly I’ll be here. Right now, my children are playing in the sauna-like, un-air-conditioned halls with friends. The boys are playing Nerf baseball and basketball, and the girls are setting up a crime scene to figure out who put the hole in the wall in our hall. “We have crime scene tape and everything!” Lauren just breezed through yelling.