The centre cannot hold

I said I would spare you a detailed list of all the complications we’ve had this month, but I lied. I can’t help wanting to share at least some of the highlights. Don’t take this as competition for who has the hardest trials (I’d lose) but as I’d-still-love-your-sympathy-even-though-I’m-pretty-much-fine. Without With further ado:

A couple hours before we left for Disneyland, Henry got sick with a bad stomach ache. He was miserable and making a moaning/groaning/whining sound that’s extremely ear-grating. But I told all the kids we would just have to put up with it in the car. Then Dean gave Henry a priesthood blessing, after which Henry slept well in the car, and didn’t have any more symptoms until we got home from our trip (then he was sick again for a couple of days, but not too miserable).

We drove home from Disneyland on a Sunday, and planned to go to a 9 AM Sacrament Meeting near Anaheim first. But we didn’t get in the car until about 9:10, and Mabel had a fever and sore throat, and Dean had figured out the other kids and I could go to an 11 AM Sacrament meeting in a town that was an hour and a half away (according to while he took Mabel to an urgent care clinic to get a strep test. had the distance wrong, and we passed that town before 10 AM.

We stopped in Barstow at 11, and used Starbucks’ WiFi to find out Barstow didn’t have any wards that met at 11 AM.

For our third attempt, we found a Las Vegas ward that would meet at 1 PM, and found a nearby urgent care place. We got some lunch and then drove to the meetinghouse–which had nary a car in the parking lot. But there was a sign on the door that said a ward met there at 1. We decided it must have been Stake Conference that day.

Three strikes was enough for us, so instead of church we listened to General Conference talks on my iPod. The urgent care place claimed to have an hour-and-a-half wait, but fortunately it was much shorter than that. The doctor diagnosed strep, we got Mabel her Amoxicillin and had her take her first dose, and we got back on the road.

The rest of our trip went smoothly until about 8 PM, when Henry started crying for his own bed with his moan/groan/whine. He didn’t really stop until we got home at 11 PM, although music helped, both to slow the frequency of his moans and also to drown him out.

About a week after we got home, Mabel got spots all over her body. I thought it might be an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, but since it also looked like chicken pox, I had to keep her home from school until I could get her to a doctor. It turns out that if spots are “blanchable” and fade if you stretch them, they aren’t chicken pox. (I’m sure there are other things the doctor checks for, as well.) I got Mabel to school by 10:30 that day, but she was still sad to have missed working on her “Images of Greatness” display board in class (but I thought her only missing two and a half hours of school was pretty good). She had to stop taking the antibiotic, and we’re supposed to watch to see if the strep comes back. So far she’s been fine; at least she got to take about half her medicine before being spotted.

Henry had his dental checkup, and had a bunch of cavities, but was gagging just from having the dentist examine him. At the rate Henry could handle, it would have taken several visits to get all the cavities filled, so the dentist recommended general anesthesia and getting it all done at once. The anesthesiologist comes to the dentist’s office and does an I.V., and you have to make the whole payment up front. He doesn’t bill your insurance, since 90% of insurance companies won’t cover it. But his office did give me a billing code, and I called my insurance and found out that as long as Henry’s under five years old, I can submit for reimbursement and it will be covered after our co-pay. Thank goodness I didn’t wait four more months to get this taken care of.

Henry’s appointment is tomorrow. He can only drink clear liquids until two hours before his appointment, then can’t have anything at all. He has to lie low afterward, too. It will be a long day.

I have to come up with an Emily Dickinson costume for Mabel by Thursday evening. I got a skirt and shirt at Saver’s that will work (they’ll be the wrong period, but at least look old-fashioned) although I still need to modify the sleeves.

Last Wednesday, Dean got rear-ended while taking Rose home from dance class. He and she were fine, but his car needs some body work and will be in the shop for a couple of days. He dropped it off today (it took that long to get the go-ahead) and we have a little rental car that we’ve been sharing, because of our van being at the mechanics’ as well. And today we found out that the problem with the van is a broken head gasket–a major and expensive repair. So we’ll be getting a rental van, too–but to save a little money we’re holding off on that until Wednesday (after which I really will need it for carpool turns and so forth). We’ve spent about as much on van repairs this year as our van is worth–but still a lot less than it would cost to replace it. And since we had to have our transmission replaced a few years ago while on vacation in northern California, and then had to have our radiator replaced last August in San Diego, I guess we should just be very grateful this time we made it back from California before the head gasket blew. (By the way, I don’t actually know what a head gasket is.)

I still feel like I’m forgetting some “highlights.”

Oh, I know: lost things. Mabel’s and Henry’s winter coats are lost, and so are Rose’s glasses. And Dean left both garage door remotes in our cars that are being worked on. And Dean was sure he brought the diaper bag home from church, but he must not have, because we haven’t been able to find it since Sunday afternoon. And I think I left my camera in the van when it was towed to the shop.

Before either of our cars were broken, I also lost my car keys. I did have one backup key, so I’d been casually looking for my keys for a couple of days in-between dashing hither and thither, and had also casually prayed to find them, but Wednesday afternoon I decided to search in earnest. I looked in all the places I normally put them, and everywhere else I could think of, too. So then I was really feeling frustrated, and just before I left to take Rose to her dance class I prayed in earnest for help to find them. And after I dropped her at dance I stopped at the grocery store and thought, “If I put something in the back of the van after we got home the other night, I could have set my keys down and left them there.” And that’s just where they were. It still took me an hour after that to remember what I had put in the back of the van–a bottle of water Dean had bought on our trip that had been kicking around the front of the van.

So I do have my keys back, and now should probably pray in earnest to find Rose’s glasses. (Dean already ordered her a second pair, but a backup would be nice.)

I did manage to get most of the shopping done today for Rose’s and Mabel’s birthday gifts and parties. (It was so nice that Mabel and Ike were out of school and could babysit.) And Ike’s History Fair and Mabel’s Images of Greatness night will both be over by the end of this week. But there are still more dentist and doctor visits to come, and the regional Science Fair for Mabel, and all our usual church and school commitments. So I’ll still be glad when March is over. But I’ve also been enjoying what I can: we got to see some friends from our Berkeley days last night (thanks, Mary, for loaning us your van) which was a treat, and tonight for Family Home Evening I spread white butcher paper on the table and let the kids finger paint, which they all loved. (Hazel was furious when, after replacing the paper twice, I finally said it was time to stop.) So I’m an awesome mom. Who just gave up my reading time to bore you. (But my mom will read this. Thanks, Mom! You’re an awesome mom.)

I was going to see if you could guess the allusion in this post’s title, but then decided to look it up for you instead, and found I hadn’t really remembered the rest of the apocalyptic/WWI-inspired poem myself. Now it seems a pretty self-important and exaggerated allusion, but all I’d really wanted to say is that SOME things sure have been falling apart around here.

Three of a kind: Hazel with the “Babas” she got for her birthday

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14 Responses to The centre cannot hold

  1. the MomB says:

    I did read this. You are an awesome Mom.
    I have been meaning to tell you that I can pick up Mabel & crew from school on Wednesday. I’ll call you.

    • zstitches says:

      That will be great! Maybe we’ll avoid the cost of a rental van altogether.

      I was doing some final edits while you were reading this so you might have to skim it again. (I added that you are also an awesome mom. Now you don’t have to read it again.) 🙂

  2. Mrs. Organic says:

    That is a rough March so far, maybe the next two weeks the pendulum will swing the other direction.

    I wonder if her glasses could be in the diaper bag? Fingers crossed that you find them.

  3. Erin says:

    You win. Your trials are much harder than mine have been this month.

    I’m glad (and impressed) that you have lived through the last couple of weeks!

  4. Heidi says:

    One of my favorite poems, actually.

    “And what rough beast, its hour come ’round at last,
    Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” (I even did that without looking.)

    • zstitches says:

      Nice! On Facebook I was able to quote a stanza of Lewis Carroll’s “Father William,” but my poetry memorization was all when I was quite young and my selections were rather random. Maybe I’m not too old to add to my repertoire. This would certainly be a worthy addition.

  5. Megan says:

    That is a lot to deal with. You are an awesome mom, and I’ll have to try the fingerpainting thing sometime.

  6. Mary Ann says:

    Hey, it’s true — you’re an awesome mom. I’m sorry about the sickness and the cars and the lost things, but I can happily report that the anesthetic is well worth it at your dentist. We were very happy with Dr. C’s work, happy with Dr. G, and though Sebastian is nearly 7, our (your) insurance covered it, so definitely submit it. Henry will look awful afterward and thrash about and be delirious, but he won’t remember any of it. Sebastian only remembered being given the drugs and then waking up in his bed. Good luck!

    • zstitches says:

      How funny–Sebi must be the older-than-five kid one of the receptionists told me had still been covered after they provided some “narrative” to DMBA.

      Right now Henry’s pretty frustrated about not being able to do stuff, but I’ve got him settled under the magical electronic opiate of “How to Train Your Dragon” and he’s doing pretty well. On the way home he fussed a lot and managed to get out the sentences, “Everything looks wo-wo-wobbly,” and “I can’t do anything!”

      Henry had eight cavities, some getting very close to the root. Poor kid. This was definitely better than trying to have four appointments and lots of trauma.

    • zstitches says:

      Oh, but they said the kid they’d sedated and DMBA covered was eight. Tall-child age-overestimation syndrome strikes again.

  7. Stephen says:

    Pistons run up and down in the cylinders. These all together form the block. Set on top of the block is the head where fuel is admitted to the cylinders and burned fuel exhausted. The head gasket seals the block and head together so gases don’t leak out from between them. There now. Don’t you feel better? LOL

  8. Amy S says:

    Hang in there Zina and crew! Best wishes for uneventful birthdays for Rose & Mabel, and for getting things repaired, completed, found, filled (as in cavities- been there with my kiddos to), and recovered!! 🙂 Please let me know if there’s anything I can help with!

  9. Janae Stubbs says:

    Those are some serious highlights! And I’m going to remember that FHE idea…for the day when Lily can realize that I’m an awesome mom, too! 🙂

  10. jennie w. says:

    My kids have thrown up in nearly every land at Disneyland (AND Tom Sawyers Island). Not all on the same trip but I’m kind of making it a little goal of ours. We have also thrown up at the LAX airport while coming from Disney. No strep, though.

    Oddly, nobody has ever thrown up at Disney World.

    PS. Going to church on vacation??? That’s mistake #1!

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