Did you ever have one of those days? I remember in college when “one of those days” involved a flat tire, or locking my keys in the car, or maybe running out of cigarettes. There was the day I locked my keys in the car and then got rear ended by a bus. That wasn’t a great day. But these days, one of “those days” is so much. . . grosser.

Today was already starting off on iffy footing. I didn’t get much sleep last night because Thomas was up coughing and Helen, who pukes anytime her temperature rises over 99.0, was up throwing up around midnight. And then at 4am we had giant, strange dogs in our back yard barking as if the world was coming to an end. It’s a little disconcerting to discover giant, strange dogs in your back yard at 4am.

So I finally get back to sleep only to be awoken by coughing and then fell back asleep again until finally waking for good at 7am. Which, two days ago, was 6am. So I’m tired.

But I had to go to the phone store, because the microphone on my new magic phone broke. Which means I can’t make phone calls. Which doesn’t feel particularly safe when I’m home with three kids.

So even though I know they’re not in tip top shape, I head to the phone store and hope and pray for the best.  We left just minutes after cleaning up a poopy potty training accident, so I figured the timing was good. With any luck, we could get there and back without a bodily fluid incident.

I already had my new phone, I just didn’t have the tricksy little device I needed to pop out the old SIM card so I could activate my new phone. Oh Verizon, the trouble that could have been saved if you’d simply included this tiny piece of metal with my new phone.

So I pack up the three kids and tell them to try not to cough too much in public because it makes people uncomfortable. Helen is wimpering because, God bless her, she really doesn’t feel well. Thomas is provoking Henry into playing Batman, and Henry, who really, really should know better, is playing along.

Then Thomas gets worked up and starts coughing. Okay, settle down, dude. And coughing. No, really, take a deep breath. And coughing. And, oh crap, gagging, and oh, oh no, oh, vomit. Crap. Catch it in his shirt. Wait there’s more. Okay. Oh shit. Okay Helen, Henry, you stay here. Don’t move. Carry Thomas to the car, catching as much as I can in his shirt. Oh good. Now it’s on my shirt. Oh and my jeans. Yay!

Out in the parking lot I get Thomas’s shirt off of him, without getting too much puke in his hair. I pull out the frozen diaper wipes to wipe us both up as best I can and thank God that, thanks to the joys of potty training, I have an extra shirt for Thomas in the car (no pants, we’ve used up all of those). All the while I’m laughing just a bit hysterically because, well, it’s better to be the crazy lady laughing with a half naked preschooler in the strip mall parking lot than the crazy lady sobbing with a half naked preschooler in the strip mall parking lot.

So we head back in wreaking of vomit to collect my two older children and my phone. As I walk through the door the nice man hands me the tricksy little device I need to pop out the old SIM card and tells me I can go ahead and do that and someone will be right with me to activate the phone. Oh that poor someone.

I really felt like I had to explain to the nice young employee why I smelled so bad. I’m trying to laugh and make the situation as natural as possible, but we smell horrible and there’s still vomit in my kid’s hair.

To his credit, this guy was really, really nice and didn’t act disgusted at all. I joked that not only was this not the first time I’ve been puked on in public, it’s not even the first time I’ve been puked on in public by this kid.* He said, “And I thought my job was hard!” I said, “Well, you have to deal with  crazy people like us, so yeah, it is hard.” He then told me, that we aren’t the crazy people. So now I feel really sorry for the guy.

The activation process was mercifully fast and we were free to take our odious insanity home for the day. Why, God, did I think I could pull off such an advanced parenting feat as taking three sick kids to the Verizon store? Kids. They’ll keep you humble.


Thomas the Public Puker
Thomas the Public Puker


*A short list of the places Thomas has puked outside of our home: the front porch of our house, Safe Splash Swim School – in the pool, the “dining room” at Wendy’s, Chili’s, the parking lot of the grocery store. I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two.



One Responses

  • suzie

    Chili’s Restaurant


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