Friday, December 01, 2006

the perfect storm

Craptastic! That's how I would describe this week. It started with Nate getting a stomach virus that leaves him puking and with the worst diarrhea ever. We thought it was a 24 hour bug, then a 48 hour bug, then 5 days in we realized it was much worse. That however is not why it was a bad week. That was just a small contributing factor. Nate is a trooper and for the most part has kept his spirits up.

My wife is travelling for work this week. She goes to NY/NJ a couple times a month. It's all become pretty standard. That is until the worst snow/ice/freezing rain storm to hit St. Louis in the last quarter century happens and she can't get home. This is but one more factor in the perfect storm that hit this week that nearly succeeded in breaking me.

You see the storm brought with it widespread power outages. We were hit by a big wind gust in July and never lost power. That may have played a part in me being totally unprepared for this outage. As I mentioned Nate has been sick. Frequent vomiting in his crib has become commonplace. I heard him on the baby monitor losing his dinner at approximately 11pm Thursday. I went up to change him and it was a sad state of affairs. He puked and then rolled in it. It was in his fuzzy hair and he wasn't happy. I picked him up out of his crib and he felt really wet. I took off his pajamas and he was covered from chest to knees in diarrhea.

That, dear loyal readers, is when the power shut down. I had a naked baby on the floor covered in excrement when things went black. I froze. Nate sensing this wasn't a normal occurrence froze as well. A moment later the power flickered. I took that opportunity to open the shades in his room. Then it went dark for good. Even with the street lights blacked out it was lighter outside than inside. By the pale light of the cloudy night sky I grabbed fist fulls of wet wipes and began to clean the baby. He stood up and clung to me as I searched for something fresh to put on him. He's been sick all week and we were running low on fresh outfits to sleep in. I found one and got him in a new diaper and some pajamas. I was feeling pretty good.

It was then that I realized I wasn't going to be able to clean up his crib, give him fresh sheets and put him back to bed. For one thing he wasn't letting go of me. I had to do everything with one hand. Also with the power out the temperature was going to start dropping. He couldn't sleep in the crib by himself even if I could clean it up. I decided to put him to bed in my bed. I placed some pillows down the side to keep him from rolling off and put a towel under him in case he got sick again and we snuggled in, a little daddy/son team, working together. Then he puked again.

I picked him up and set out to find some candles and matches. It wasn't as easy as I had hoped, but I got my hands on some and lit up the room. By that point I could feel the temperature dropping. It was probably in the 50's in the house, but I began to worry. I wanted to find someplace safe for my baby.

I have 2 cars. One is great in the snow and was purchased with snow emergencies in mind. The other is an old Ford pick up that has rear wheel drive and is atrocious in the snow and ice. I'm sure you can guess which one was at the airport while my wife was stranded in NY and which one was sitting out front with it's doors frozen shut.

I called Jen and she went to work. It was late but she started calling her family and organizing the troops. At about 1am my brother-in-law picked me up in his Landcruiser and drove me to my Mother and Father-in-laws in the county. We were total refugees. Nobody wanted a sick baby. They were understandably protecting their own families.

My in laws were also without power, but they have 3 woodburning fireplaces in their house. I set up the portable crib and put Nate down in the family room. After all this excitement he had no intention of sleeping. I tried rocking him, but it wasn't soothing. The fireplace needed to be stoked and logs needed to be added. Every time it would wake him. Every time an ember would make that popping and crackling sound he would wake up. If I let the fire get low it would get too cold. We finally both collapsed at about 3am and woke to a chilly room at 7am.

Little Nate was sick, tired and out of his element. He was understandably not himself. It was a difficult day and we were running low on diapers, juice, patience and all the other things a parent needs to have on hand. While I was out picking up supplies I received great news from my next door neighbor via my barely charged cell read...Let there be light.

The power was up. It was very good news. I can deal with all of these hardships much better if I am on my own turf. Packing a duffel bag in the middle of the night by candlelight wasn't exactly ideal and we weren't going to have enough clothes to get us through another night. Thank goodness we could go home.

Jen's Thursday evening flight was cancelled and she was hoping to get on a Friday afternoon flight. Unfortunately many people were trying to get to St. Louis from LaGuardia. Nobody was giving up their seat. She is booked for a Saturday morning flight back to STL. She did what she could for the family from afar. She proves herself to be a great parent and partner time and time again. If she were able to be here, if the power hadn't gone out, if the baby wasn't sick, if my 4 wheel drive vehicle were here, if any one of a number of things had been different it would have been a much better situation. As it was it was a perfect crap storm and although it's dying down I'm still here by myself taking care of a sick baby. But at least I'm doing it under my own roof!

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