PAHO, Part II…

[Continued from Yesterday.]
Finally we get to today. It started out normally, I got the boy off to school and the little lady and I did our morning routine of watching The Daily Showon my DVR (Best. Purchase. Ever.) during her breakfast. I don’t mind that routine of feeding her while getting an easy dose of Stewart and/or Colbert is nice. They are definitely the only TV news I watch.

I had put in a load of laundry before taking the lad to school. When coming home to check on it, the laundry room was flooded. A-bleeping-gain. Apparently, the mighty power of my socks and unmentionables was too much for the washer to bear. It whanged itself into the neighboring basin well enough to knock the sponge on the ledge into the basin, plugging it up, blocking the washer’s only drain.


So the washer’s backup drain, the basement drain, came in handy. Of course, there’s the issue that the basement isn’t exactly beveled toward that drain. Have I mentioned I have some things to work on in my house?

Moving on… A couple hours later, my cell buzzed. M was on the line. “Hey, Hon. The daycare just called.”

“Oh?” Oh crap, what trouble is the boy in now?

“He swallowed a penny.”

Silence. Then my mind raced. Is he okay? I’m sure he’s okay. Next big questions: Really? How? Is he really that stupid? You sure it’s my kid?

“Okay… So now what?”

Well, M told the daycare I would be getting the boy, and called the triage nurse at our clinic to find out whether we’d be heading toward the clinic or the emergency room. I got the little lady changed and out the door.

I nearly forgot to mention, when my wife called I was in the midst of tearing out the second of the two alarms, and installing the new one. Of course, as with so many great features of our house, the old one was mounted with only one screw. Goody bloody gumdrops, I needed to take yet another trip to the hardware store. This time, to buy a screw. A screw that should already be there.

With daughter in car seat and screw in my pocket, I came into the daycare office to see my son chatting away with the manager and one of the teachers on break. The first words out of the lad’s mouth were, “I’m not in trouble. I choked on a penny.”

I really think Bill Watterson said it best: “Being a parent is wanting to hug and strangle your kid at the same time.”

After getting more of the story, I loaded back up the car with both he and his sister. She fell asleep, and since I was waiting to hear back from the triage nurse, I decided that driving around was the best option. I know it’s not the most eco-friendly, but I work with what I’ve got in this stage of parenthood. This basically translates to, ‘If it’ll make my baby sleep, I’ll spray aerosol cans into the air for two hours straight.’

I got more information from my son. Apparently, they were playing outside. He got in trouble for fighting with two other boys (the little cretin) as a game. Apparently, as they were headed in, another kid gave him a toy penny. Being without pockets, where’s the best place to hide a plastic penny? Your mouth, of course! You keep your clenched fist in a dozen-kid kerfuffle to yourself. Taking a drink of water, while still concealing the penny in his yap, my son swallowed it down.


Still driving around the neighborhood, thoughts rattled in my head. The triage nurse hasn’t called me back. My son is breathing, talking, and ignoring me. The lass is asleep. And I need a screw from the hardware store.

So let it be known, dear reader, that after picking up my four year old boy from school for swallowing a play penny, I went to Menard’s. Yes, California folk, Menard’s is huge out here in ‘Sota. Huge. And yes, the name is still funny to me after two years of living out here.

I plopped the girl’s car seat onto the stroller, took Ignoring Boy in hand, and drug them around the hardware store in a desperate attempt to find exactly the same screw as the one I put in my pocket an hour before. I pulled it off, thankfully finding the small box of screws for 87 cents rather than the big box for five bucks.

Getting home and still no word from the nurse, I went ahead and called them back myself and got through to one. The nurse asked me about what exactly happened and went through the boy’s symptoms. There weren’t any, of course. He was bouncing around and talking with his sister. Then she had me call poison control to get more information on what could come out of the play penny. Since it was plastic, there were only concerns about it getting lodged, not poison. A real penny would be an issue. So it was decided that the lad did not need to go in to see the doctor and I would just be checking poop for a few days.

So I got the boy some lunch and I wrapped up installing the new alarms. I’ve gotten pretty good at replacing electric fixtures, and the alarms weren’t much trouble, once you have the right alarms and correct number of screws. However, testing them was another issue. The tests were fine, and the basement now yells out whether it detects a fire or carbon monoxide. However, some little ladies don’t much care for the sound of the new alarms. So it became a bit of a trial to relax her after twice testing the alarms (they interconnected, so if you test one, the other will fire as well to ensure they’re talking.)

[To Be Concluded…]