Quick question — what time does the day start? Okay, yes, technically, the date changes at midnight, but most people are in bed at that time or shortly thereafter, so that's more like the end of the day. Back when I was in school and sometimes worked nights at an all night gas station, it seemed that 4:00 am was about the last you saw any who had been up late, and 5:00 am was about the time when the really early risers started to come through. So from that experience, I'd say the day starts at maybe 4:30 in the morning. For most people, really, the day starts whenever they happen to get up.
I'm not sure when my day actually started last Saturday. My wife and I woke up at 4:00 am to the sound of vomit. Our daughter, who had seemed just fine the night before, had just thrown up in her bed. Her little brother had been sick a few days previously, so it wasn't completely unexpected. At least, no more than waking up in the middle of the night and cleaning up puke normally would be. We got her cleaned up and changed, and sheet/blanket/pillowcase switched out, and back to bed everyone went.
It's hard to fall asleep after something like that, and you end up lying in bed wondering if it's going to happen again. Wouldn't you know it, 4:30 came around and so did additional vomit. This time wasn't as bad, she actually made it to the washroom almost on time and only she needed cleaning this time. I got to take care of this one myself, and after getting my daughter back to bed and hauling a little more laundry down to the washer, I slipped back into bed. Again, not really ready to sleep, and yes, 5:00 am saw another upchuck alert.
This time I actually slept again afterwards, and soundly enough that I didn't even hear the kids get up about 7:30. Everyone seemed fine and good, there was no more puke, no one running a temperature, so we got on with the day we had previously planned (although with a bit more laundry than usual). We had some errands to do in the city, and we dropped in to visit my grandmother, it all went very nicely. About halfway through the errands, we stopped for lunch, nothing too heavy, just some sandwiches, carrots, and doughnuts, with some juice to wash it down. Again, no gagging, wretching or anything unusual. We proceeded as though everything was fine, finished the errands, and headed for home.
I was starting to get a bit tired by this point, you'd think I'd missed an hour or two of sleep in the middle of the night or something. I was hopeful of catching a little shut eye when we got home. I figured my wife might have a nap on the half hour drive, as her sleep had been disrupted almost as much as mine. For that matter, maybe the kids would have nap in the car as well.
Yeah, that didn't happen. About five minutes out of town, we heard a plaintive "My belly doesn't feel good," followed about 15 seconds later by the unmistakeable sounds of a technicolour yawn. Thankfully that didn't continue, and there was a gas station a minute or two down the road where we could stop and cleanup. Fifteen minutes and many, many paper towels later, we were able to continue home. Our poor daughter got to ride home wearing her big brother's vest that we had conveniently left in the trunk, as her clothes were pretty messed up.
The ride home was without incident, although no one got any naps. We got home, did more laundry, and then ran out again to get a few groceries. We even picked up a BBQ chicken at the store for supper, which was enjoyed by all, even the previously nauseated daugther, who seemed fine once again. After much needed baths, the kids were ready for bed again. A long and somewhat challenging day was winding down.
And then the plumbing broke.
Not all the plumbing, mind you. Just at one point. But when there's water spraying halfway across the kitchen, it's a problem. I managed to get down to the basement and turn off the main shutoff valve in maybe 90 seconds, which is pretty good as our basement is only accessable via a hatch that's in a closet which has a bunch of stuff in it.
Turns out that the cold water hose feeding the washer had developed a leak. And not a pinhole leak, but a gushing, spraying leak. It looks like it was a pinhole leak at one point, as the previous owner had patched it with tape. We hadn't noticed that, unfortunately. The previous owner had also decided not to install shutoffs near most of the plumbing fixtures, so this meant another few visits to the basement to figure out which valve controlled what.
My fearless wife, who has both longer arms and narrower shoulders than I do, undertook the crawl behind the water heater and furnace to get at the shutoffs. We both looked at the valves, and guessed that the insulated pipe was likely the hot water supply. We guessed wrong.
The good news is that our water pressure is excellent. When I turned on the main water valve again (only part way, I should point out) the water spray out of the busted washer hose was strong enough to hit the ceiling. With force. I should also mention that two out of three kids were still up, and were watching the proceedings. The screams from upstairs told me everything I needed to know.
By process of elimination we soon got the proper valve closed, the water back on, and the mess cleaned up. Then we put the kids to bed, considerably later than we had expected. It was time to settle down on the couch and be thankful that this day was over.
Of course, it wasn't over. Five minutes later there were fresh screams from upstairs. That's right, more vomit. Our daughter had managed to hurl on her bed, on her legs, on the floor beside her bed, and she had left a trail of debris to the bathroom. More cleaning, more chaos, but fifteen minutes later everyone under four feet tall was cleaned up and back to bed. We were left with a pile of towels, bedding, and jammies and no way to launder them. Living in a small town, the hardware stores all close at 5:30 on Saturday. And they aren't open at all on Sunday.
Mercifully we made it through the night with no more plumbing mishaps or additional calls to Ralph on the big white phone. The next morning I stayed home with my daughter, who really wanted to go to church, even after she threw up again during breakfast (mercifully, she made it to the toilet this time). And that afternoon, after another half hour drive to the nearest open hardware store and entirely too much crawling behind the washer, everything was fixed and functional once again.
In case you think I've exaggerated or made up this entire story, my lovely wife has written it up from her perspective on her blog. Check it out at Kids, Cookies and Cocoa.