So last weekend, during the great Trout's birthday non-extravaganza (more on this later), my husband's cousin called to inform us that my FIL, in a feat of dazzling lack of judgment, had forgotten he is 63 years old and had been playing tag with my nieces on some rocks in the park in Hagerstown, had slipped, fallen, and broken his arm. Ultimately, it turned out to be not just the arm, but a couple of bones in his hand near his wrist and his right fibula, too, but it took a trip to the urgent care and then to the orthopedist two days later to get this information because my in-laws are rather short sighted and wouldn't go to the ER, where he needed to be.
This may not sound like much to you, but my FIL is my MIL's primary caregiver, because she has Parkinson's. She cannot drive at all, walks with difficulty and either 2 canes or a walker (she is stubborn and lives in denial, so she rebels against the walker and, heaven forbid, the wheelchair, even though it would make both her life and my FIL's so much easier and more pleasant), and needs help getting up if she falls. She is not a small person, so this is a feat unto itself. They insist on living 45 miles away from both BigDaddyFish and his sister, so nobody lives locally who can help them out at a moment's notice.
BDF spent probably half the day on the phone with one family member or another, trying to figure out what the hell had happened in the first place, then get my SIL calmed down because she was livid (after he fell, he DROVE HOME with my nieces in the car, with a broken arm and leg - the older one is 9 - to his house which is located on what is not-so-affectionately called "Dead Man's Curve" - they've had at least 4 accidents, two of them fatal, in the six years that they've lived there), then trying to figure out a plan of action so that they would be taken care of. To complicate matters, my FIL's 83 year old mother is staying with them right now, along with my husband's 19 year old cousin, who currently isn't able to drive due to some folly on his own part. And they live on a farm, complete with an 1800s era farm house on two levels that isn't disability-friendly. Woot!
I tried to ignore them as much as possible, and continued with making arrangements to go on a family trip to Shenandoah National Park this weekend, because I knew they had enough people in the mix and didn't need me getting involved, too. As soon as I booked our reservations, BDF informed me that we'd have my nieces this weekend, because my SIL and BIL are attending a conference in Florida and my in-laws were supposed to watch the girls but under the circumstances, obviously they can't.
So! Starting with trick-or-treating on Wednesday, my nieces, age 9 and 6, have been with us. We took them on our trip to the cabin we rented Thursday night, and on the hike yesterday, during which Trout had a severe (for her) asthma attack and we had the unfortunate timing to be going at the same time as some sort of school field trip of three buses full of middle schoolers who were clearly from a city environment rather than rural and didn't have a clue how to react to steep, rocky trails and kept pushing us off the trails as they passed us. Sunny tried to give up and sat down on the trail no fewer than 13 times, saying "I'm just so tired, I can't go any fwurther." We ended up not camping out last night because we are unprepared for that many people in cold temperatures (in the upper 20s/lower 30s in the mountains) and just came home early. We had to take two cars because our minivan only holds 7 and we needed to seat 8, and no rental place could come up with a suburban or large van on such short notice. BigDaddyFish hadn't really communicated all of his goals for this trip to me ahead of time and I was overwhelmed with having so many people around and so many things to do this week and I didn't have enough time to prepare properly, so we had the resultant/requisite 4 hour fight before we left, so we left super late. I got 2! - count 'em, one, two - hours of sleep Thursday night, and driving home last night was probably as impaired as if I had been drinking for hours. Nemo woke up and screamed for the last 45 minutes of the drive home. Every. Stinkin'. Minute. And there was an accident on our route, so while we should have been fine getting hitting DC traffic just after 7, we were stuck in bumper to bumpter traffic from 66 near Tysons? (I think that's where I was) all the way there along the inner loop and onto 270.
Trout lost one of those loose teeth on Thursday, while I was driving home from a conference with Sunny's teacher.
Nemo started to walk this week. He needs shoes that will protect his feet.
My nieces are lovely and well behaved but my children become even more unruly when they are here (to show off? to emphasize that we are their parents and not my nieces' ? to demonstrate their annoyance at being imposed upon? WHY?) and they have been HORRID. Trout's tween angst didn't waste any time in rearing its ugly head.
BigDaddyFish has developed a head cold, thus making him whiny and more grumpy than usual, and also making him absent, so all the child care has fallen on me and any reinforcements I choose to employ. He is supposed to start his new job on Monday, and we'd been trying to have some family time before he starts. He has another stressful situation that developed during his 2 weeks off that I can't blog about, and it has been eating up his time and attention.
There were some good moments, and I'll blog those later after the girls leave, but I can honestly and truly say that our family size is perfect just the way it is.