Can’t Believe I Pulled This Off
People often tell me I’m a hero for what I’m doing with my granddaughter. I don’t feel heroic; I’m just doing what needs to be done and grateful I have the wherewithal to do so.
But yesterday was so above and beyond I’m a little stunned myself.
We had planned for weeks to have a smaller dinner party last night. Chloe was going to go to her mom’s, but she wanted to stay and we agreed if she (a) helped and (b) was unobtrusive.
I planned to make Rachael Ray’s chicken thighs marinated in red wine, and had the chicken in the marinade Friday night.
I had a brunch to attend Saturday morning. When I left Chloe with Gary, she said she had a headache and was back in bed. I thought maybe she was tired because she was up at 5:30 a.m. I went to the brunch, which was lovely. It was a member appreciation event for KMFA classical radio. There were mimosas, crepes, flowers on all the tables, a panel Q&A with the announcers, and a short recital by a pianist who was quite the showman, Michael Schneider. I chatted with some people I knew afterwards and headed home.
I could hear Gary talking to Chloe as I walked toward the front door: “Can you make it to the bathroom? Here comes Grandma,” and as I walked in the door she threw up all over the bedroom floor.
I gave her sips of ginger ale and coke, which she kept throwing up, and she had a 102F fever; before the day was over diarrhea hit. About 1 o’clock I told Gary we should postpone the dinner, for obvious reasons, but also because I didn’t want to expose our guests to whatever she had. One in particular has had severe digestive problems and this was the last thing she’d need!
He agreed and made the calls, asking for callbacks to confirm. One couple did so, but he didn’t hear back from the others.
Wondering if these folks might show up, and needing to cook the chicken anyway, I proceeded on the notion that we may still have guests. The house was fairly picked up, but I hadn’t set the table. I had on shorts and a t-shirt, but at least I had on makeup since I had gone to brunch.
As 6:30 neared and still no word, I started fixing kale to go with the meal, not knowing how much to prepare. At about 6:40 the phone rang at the gate and Gary went out to greet them and explain the situation. I told him to make sure it was their choice to come or go, and scrambled around clearing up clutter and putting (thankfully clean) place mates and silverware on the table, telling myself “be gracious no matter what, be gracious,” but feeling very ungracious after spending the afternoon caring for a sick child.
The guy hadn’t looked at his phone all day. When he pulled it out, sure enough there were two voice mails and a text from Gary. We didn’t have their home number. How anyone could not look at their phone all day long, especially when you have dinner plans, is a mystery. They did repeatedly insist they would be happy to reschedule. I said they needed to help us eat up the food and, after pouring some wine I went back to tearing up kale, putting it and bread in the oven. (The recipe calls for cooking the chicken on bread but I’ve made it on a bed of brown rice and I like it better, and serve bread on the side. Problem was, it had been awhile and I couldn’t remember how I prepared the rice, so it was a little soupy, but as my mother used to say, “it’ll eat.”) Chloe went into the bedroom with headphones and a laptop.
It turned out to be a pleasant evening. I liked the couple very much. Gary plays golf with the man, and he discovered they met the other couple, old friends of ours, on a cruise, so he had cooked up this sort of “reunion.” The woman was very kind, and when the guys were talking golf and she asked if she could do anything to help, I said “No, but come and chat with me while I finish up,” and we got to know each other a bit. She is a former teacher, and he, I learned, was born in the Soviet Union, both topics for further inquiry. They loved Junior, which makes them fine in my book.
When I checked on Chloe during the evening she was asleep with headphones on. I did slip out for a few moments while the others visited because the poor neglected dog hadn’t been out since about 3 p.m.
We’re going to try scheduling a lunch next time and hope we can get all six of us together, with all our travel schedules and responsibilities.
After they left, Gary and I cleaned up (and I took the dog out again). I put a futon mattress on the floor next to Chloe. She was up all night with diarrhea, but I got nap this afternoon. Chloe’s fever is down and she’s eaten a bit today. I’ve changed the sheets, and both the washer and dryer are full. I just realized I haven’t showered since Friday afternoon so that’s next on my agenda. After I walk the dog.
I will consider that medal now.