For years, people have been reminding me to zip my purse. The dire consequences they predicted (important stuff falling out to be lost forever, strangers grabbing my wallet while I was distracted, etc.) seemed pretty scary but failed to make a lasting impact.
About ten days ago, I had breakfast with my friend Marie, who recounted a story of throwing up into her mother's purse (as a child, of course). I laughed with her over it and thought, "Well, that's a good reason to zip up your purse!" Alas, I was still incapable of learning from someone else's experience.
What Are the Odds?
Last night, I was working on my new recipe blog when Allyson walked up beside me and mumbled something about having a headache. "A headache?" I asked absently.
"Blaahhhhh!" she answered, spewing vomit right into my open purse. I realized what was happening but was so shocked that I couldn't react quickly enough to spare it from the second onslaught.
As I was leading her toward the bathroom to clean up, she threw up all over the hall floor as well. Ethan looked on from the safety of his room and fired questions at me. "What's wrong? Is it a stomach virus? Will I catch it? Did you clean it up yet? How are you going to clean it?"
"I don't know," I replied, trying to simultaneously control my exasperation and my gag reflex while I wrapped Allyson in a towel and caught three more eruptions.
As luck would have it, Bill happened to be at the gym. "I think you should call Bill," Ethan advised forcefully. "Tell him he needs to come home. He'll know how to clean it up."
"I'm not calling Bill home early. Let him finish his workout. I can figure this out on my own," I asserted with a false bravado. Inwardly, I was pleading, "Come home, Bill! Please come home!"
Clean Up! Clean Up!
Once Allyson seemed stable and somewhat clean--at least for the moment--I wiped down my beloved leather purse and started gingerly picking out putrid objects. I rinsed everything rinseable in the sink and then sprayed it all down with Lysol. I wiped down the inside lining with a wet cloth, but the smell is still unbearable. [I really don't know what else to do besides spraying it with some Febreeze when we get some. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment!]
Next, I drug the shop vac up the stairs and vacuumed up the solid bits while monitoring Allyson for signs of imminent yakking.
Meanwhile, Allyson asked several times, "Where's my daddy? I want Daddy."
"We all want Daddy, honey."
"Hold me!" she said pitifully, and I felt so insensitive for having to be asked! I sat cross-legged on the floor and sat her on my lap, a towel draped over us. That's how we were sitting when Bill came home.
Bill Saves the Day
Bill swooped in and, in the space of ten minutes, threw the soiled towels in the washer, scrubbed the carpet with Resolve, and washed out the shop vac with the hose. Then he noticed that I was looking a little green, and he took Allyson from me and told me to "go take a drive or something."
I felt bad about handing her off to him, but he reassured me that he really doesn't get nauseated the way I do. From that point, all that was left for me to do was wash my hands compulsively and try to convince Ethan that everything would be okay, and yes he did have to go to school in the morning. I have to mention that he was pacing back and forth in his room with socks on his hands--because I'd told him that keeping your hands clean is the best way to avoid getting sick.
Bill sat on the couch with Allyson and calmly wiped up each new mess. They looked so cute that I couldn't resist snapping a picture. Seeing Bill caring for Allyson so lovingly made me melt. It reminded me of another time when he tenderly cared for a vomiting toddler. But that's another story.
Bill slept with Allyson on the couch in the TV room, and I went on to bed around midnight. My stomach felt a little queasy, and I slept fitfully.
Allyson woke up several times during the night, and I could hear her pleading, "I need water! In my sippy cup! In my sippy cup!" She repeated this over and over, and I knew Bill must be offering her ice chips.
Thankfully, by morning she was feeling dramatically better. Bill went on to work--on perhaps five hours of interrupted sleep. Allyson and I have had a wonderful time reading and playing games together.
So, as I remonstrated at the beginning of this post, NEVER leave your purse unzipped! I'm really hoping I can remember this lesson myself.