Posted by Duff

The more stuff you have, the more stuff can happen to that stuff. Especially when that stuff is older (like a beater car or a washing machine), or run down (like a body dealing with milestones or teething or sleep deprivation). And it all falls apart at once. Usually when you have little time, or money, or prior commitments, or it’s a a special occasion.

It’s cyclical, so you can’t be surprised when it happens, and sometimes, you just have to laugh. And you should probably laugh at the Duff’s, because except for a little everyone snapping at everyone, we are.

A week before Christmas: My husband is working under the hood of our 2000 Rollerskate, when he realizes he needs something from the hardware store. And leaves the hood propped. In up to 40 mph wind. When he returns (he drove the other car), the hood is hanging over one side of the car, barely attached, like a revealed comb-over.

Christmas Eve: I’m cleaning, cooking, realizing I bought two of the same present, when I decide to throw a load of towels into a washer that peaked in 1987.  Spin cycle prompty goes kaput, taking me away from The Roast That Would Then Dry Out to wring out high-moisture capacity body towels.

12/30: Atticus gets an ear infection and 10 days of antibiotics.

1/4: To celebrate the 50th birthday of our warped oak and avocado fiberglass bathroom (with particle board and rattan vanity), we begin a total gut and renovation that reveals the need for additional rewiring, piping, and a new sub-floor. Let the camping showers begin!

1/7: Both children begin coughing, but seem fine otherwise. I drop them off at daycare and promptly get a flat tire. The bathroom walls are down to studs. I can see the basement through a hole in the floor.

1/8: Both children begin coughing so hard they gag. The Dervish won’t eat, won’t move. Atticus won’t drink – is constantly moving, won’t settle. Only milk for the elder, only strained fruit for the younger. Staggered ear infections for both (making 3 in 3 months for the little guy – I should pencil in tubes for June). 4 days of pale, sad, wan faces, ringed eyes, scary fevers.  My Dervish won’t whirl, won’t walk. Won’t argue. Atticus clings to me, flips his face side to side, searing my chest.  There are towels, tissues, emptied medicine droppers everywhere. My house is a biohazard.

1/12: The Dervish is feeling better, eats an actual meal, takes her toolbox into the bathroom to help. Amid the last few days, a ceiling, a floor, drywall.

 1/13: The Dervish goes to bed early, without a fight. For the first time in months, Atticus sleeps 12 hours. When he awakens, he has gotten his knees under him and is rocking. For real. Time for gates.

 1/14: Atticus ends his 5 day bottle boycott, and smiles. The bathroom piping is finished. Soon enough, fixtures from which to run water. Maybe even a toilet.

1/15: And then the fridge starts making funny noises.