What I’ve Learned This Month

We’ve been living in a decentish rental house for the month of June while we wait to close on our fabulous fixer-upper at the end of July. The house we’re in is not horrible. There are bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a living room. All of our stuff is in storage so we are really visitors in this place. The house is centrally located in a nice town which is filling up with summer tourists as I type. We’ve enjoyed walking into town to shop and eat and play tourist in our own county. Kind of. At least I can say that it has been a learning experience.

One valuable thing I have learned is that the folks at poison control can perhaps be a bit too laid back when you call in something they consider a very low level toxin. When I found my three year old son playing with what I thought were the beads from my turquoise necklace and realized upon closer inspection that they were actually rat poison pellets, I became somewhat concerned. He found them in a closet and was noncommital when I asked him if he had eaten any of them, saying yes at first, then changing his tune when I shrieked like  banshee. He learns quickly. I grabbed my cellphone, walked out to the deck until I found some reception (did I mention I live in a bucolic, pastoral county with dead zones aplenty?) and got through to poison control after a few false starts because, predictably, the magnet with the poison control phone number was packed away when we moved out of our house. The man with the pleasantly southern accent was completely unfazed when I told him my three year old son had probably ingested some of the pretty pellets. Apparently this is not an impressive poisoning. It’s perhaps a bit too common, too pedestrian and he was hoping for a greater challenge on a Sunday afternoon. He informed me that the ingredients in these pellets are “98% inert material” His advice to me? “If he’s hungry, give him some food. If he’s thirsty, let him have a drink. If he exhibits any changes in behavior or seems ‘not quite right’ call your pediatrician, and try not to let him get cut because those things are full of blood thinners.” Ok then, just keep my three year old from bleeding. Sorry to have bothered you sir. So far so good, it’s been almost two weeks since the poisoning and my son is belligerent, feisty, and demanding. Exactly as he was before the poisoning.

Another tip I can share is that Benadryl should be part of any family’s first aid/ bathroom necessities kit. It seems that our ten year old daughter may be allergic to cashews. Or not. But she certainly swelled up like a pufferfish last Sunday (yes, there’s a pattern here. We should all sleep our Sundays away until we move into our “forever house” to avoid the next bad thing occurring) when her father coerced her into trying a “Kale Krunch” snack. He had failed at trying to get me to eat one, they look like something you’d rake up off of your lawn and they are covered in a thick, brownish coating that turns out to be cashews and spices. I was happy to have my husband present to see this child’s emergency so that I was not left to deal with it alone, but to see our daughter writhing in pain while her face blew up to Rush Limbugh-esque proportions was completely frightening. Did we have Benadryl handy in the house? No, we did not. I had to drive into the next town to find some because on Sunday the laid back tourist town is even more laid back than usual. Eventually the Benadryl stopped the swelling and she felt better, but it was scary for all involved. The allergy testing will take place mid-July and we’ll hopefully figure out what caused this event.

A minor discovery I’ve made is that I may have a (small?) internet dependency. I miss it. Like a lover misses her beloved. I long to read the twitter feed from the nerdy book /title talk folks and I admit, I want to shop for shoes I have no intention of purchasing whenever the mood strikes. I want to read all the thought provoking, revolting, and silly articles sent my way and I want to start racking up ideas for the coming school year. None of this is very easy to do on my 3G i-phone. My kids miss television. They were like rabid dogs when they realized one of the “family style” restaurants we went to for dinner had televisions in the booth. We were all entertained by a children’s game show that covered contestants in green slime for the act of smiling. I have learned that when we do finally move into our “forever house,” I need to monitor both the time I spend online and the television shows my kids watch a bit more closely.

In two days’ time we will be moving out of this rental and into an efficiency-style cottage with one room on the first floor and one room on the second floor. We will be sleeping on air mattresses, using lawn chairs for seating, and running an air filter 24/7 to deal with the smoke that the former tenants emitted for the years they lived in the cottage. (How deliciously ironic that I was diagnosed with asthma just last week, eh? Guess I’ll be filling that prescription for the albuterol inhaler after all.) I’m sure this new living arrangement will have new lessons to share with us. It is located on a busy highway which services several industrial parks. Behind it lies a huge hay field which will be baled by tractors while we are living there. Our three year old gets high just thinking about large, loud vehicles. I suddenly understand why some parents put their young children in harnesses and wish I lived in a less politically correct part of the world so I could strap him in one now. Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll have lessons to learn, and if I can find the time and the free wifi to share them, I’ll try to share them here.