After the emotional day that was my last at The Sanford Herald, my family and I headed to my sister’s condo in Wilmington to unwind. We didn’t get in much beach time on Saturday, thanks to a lengthy thunderstorm that came out of nowhere, but Sunday was perfect – sunny and hot (but with a constant breeze), with lots of waves and warm, yet refreshing, water.
By dinnertime Sunday, I already had Monday – my first day unemployed since Sept. 4, 1997 – planned in my mind. Once the kids were awake and had had their breakfast, we would drive to Wrightsville Beach, with a picnic lunch in hand, to again enjoy the sand and surf. After my sister finished work, we would meet up at her place, shower and enjoy burritos for dinner at Flaming Amy’s before hitting I-40 for our drive home.
But Monday got off to an early – and unexpected – start.
My sister hadn’t been feeling well and had gone to bed early Sunday night, and both kids, exhausted from their afternoon at the beach, were soon to follow. So Jerry and I found ourselves curled up on an air mattress on the living room floor shortly after midnight, an early night for us.
Then, at 12:48 a.m., my cell phone started ringing. It took me a while to find it, but when I did, I noticed that the call I had just missed was from my sister – the one whose house we were staying at. I knocked on her bedroom door and was met with a weak, “Please help me.”
I found her curled up in her bed, arms wrapped around a plastic trash bin.
“I’ve been throwing up for two hours,” she said, “and I’m too weak to get out of bed. Can you get me a bucket?”
I felt terrible for her. She looked and sounded miserable. So I found her a bucket and told her to try and get some sleep.
Back in the living room, Jerry and I settled back onto the air mattress – for about five minutes. That’s when Anthony woke up. So I climbed into his bed to calm him down and must have fallen asleep. Because next thing I knew, it was two hours later and I could hear Cera crying in the bathroom. I got out of bed and found her moving into the hallway, her shirt stained with vomit, as Jerry pulled the sheets off her also stained bed. With both Katie and Cera sick, we started to suspect food poisoning. And not seconds after those two words were spoken, Jerry was running for the bathroom himself.
Although everyone but Anthony ate the same thing for dinner, I somehow managed to escape with some brief waves of nausea and weakness (and even those may have been psychosomatic), so I spent early Monday holding back my daughter’s hair as she threw up in a trash can, running to the store for ginger ale and saltines, and caring for a healthy (and thus rambunctious) 2-year-old. Luckily, by late afternoon, everyone was on the mend and Cera and Jerry were ready to make the drive home (in fact, Cera was well enough to remind us about the hermit crab that we had promised to buy her – more on that later).
So, it’s 11:35 p.m., and we’re back in Apex. Only 25 minutes to go until Tuesday.
I can’t wait.