Apologies: rant ahead.
Goodness me when the Martin boys do ill, they really go to town. Daddy has barely left bed all day and littlest Martin has been fighting a temperature of 39C (102.2F). He at least has mostly maintained his sense of humour, unlike the rest of us. Shame he seems to also have developed the art of projectile sneezing.
“I’ve got snot,” has become today’s catchphrase.
I just hope they’re well enough for nursery tomorrow. Daddy’s already decided he’s off sick – a great start to Week Two of working with no sick leave – and I’m desperately in need of a break so I can be ill.
I made the mistake of going back to bed during the Grand Prix this morning, figuring Daddy had it covered, only to be woken by a piercing scream an hour later because Daddy wouldn’t get the kids some chocolate milk. Aaron had a dirty nappy and I went down to find Daddy asleep and the kids trying to escape into the garden. Thank God the back door was locked because if the gale force wind that’s swirling round today had caught the door one of them might have lost a finger. Sometimes it’s easier to be the parent in charge than listen from the sidelines.
Don’t think I’m having a moan about hubbie. Well, not much. He is properly sick and a fetching shade of pale green. Catching a virus after working his first long full week in months was too much for his immune system. It just wasn’t helped by him going to bed at 2am Friday night because he watched a movie (that’s what Sky+ is for). I try for sympathy but I’m a rotten sick person myself and am even worse at caring for ill people. Mother Teresa I am not.
The only way I survive is to keep busy. I dragged the children to the park and the supermarket (mostly because we needed dog food and there was no way I could leave them home with Daddy). Poor kids have spent all day trying for cuddles and I’ve been saying “in a minute” quite a lot. Partly because Aaron’s furnace-hot skin contributes to my own fever and partly because being ill makes me grumpy so the kindest thing I can do is stay out of the way. I’m not a very cuddly person at the best of times. In the end we survived with lots of Calpol (kiddy pain relief) lots of TV and lots of bottles of milk.
Now how can I work all that into a Claire post? Hmmm maybe it’s time she has to deal with the joys of a sick child.
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
“Sky? Wake up, poppet. We’re here.”
Claire looked over to the passenger seat, surprised to see her niece still slumped asleep against her seatbelt. Reaching over, she gently shook the little girl by the shoulder and was shocked to feel hot skin beneath her hand. Claire released her seat belt and leaned over to look at Sky’s face. The perfect pixie features were pale, with two spots of colour in the cheeks like Aunt Sally. Not that she would know who Aunt Sally was, of course. With a shaking hand, Claire felt Sky’s forehead, although she knew the girl was ill by the heat radiating from her as if she were a mug of hot coffee.
Damn: A sick child is all I need. What do I know about caring for sick children? She looked across the hostel car park at the residential brick building of Sheringham YHA. After all the beautiful places I’ve stayed in for one night wishing it could have been longer, I couldn’t have picked an uglier hostel to spend a few days in with a poorly child. Where’s the rolling green lawn, the gothic manor, the roaring open fire? I should have taken her back to the Peak District with me – I knew Norfolk was a bad idea. No wonder they don’t have a picture of the hostel on the YHA site.
For the first time since she arrived at Berwick Upon Tweed a month earlier, Claire didn’t want to even enter the hostel in front of her, never mind spend two or three days there. What the hell am I going to do? I can’t take a sick child in there, it looks horrible. But I’m not going to find anywhere else on Easter Sunday.
She pulled out her iPad, then remembered Sky had flattened the battery playing games in the car. Getting her phone instead, Claire checked which hostel they were booked into after this one. Wells-next-the-sea. I wonder if they’ve had any cancellations and can fit us in early? Can’t hurt to ask.
Claire sat with the phone in one hand, the other resting against Sky’s arm, whether to provide comfort or monitor temperature she wasn’t sure. The phone connected after the third ring.
“Wells YHA, Peter speaking.”
“Ah, hello. My name’s Claire, I’m booked in with my niece in a few days–”
“Claire, hello. You’re on my list to call.”
“Oh God, there isn’t a problem with the room is there?” Panic fluttered in Claire’s stomach. Staying in the horrible building in front of her for two or three nights would be bad enough, without having Wells cancelled as well.
“Not at all, I always call beforehand, to ensure our guests know what to expect.”
“Oh.” Claire wasn’t sure how to respond. She hadn’t heard of a YHA manager doing that before. “Well, I was actually calling to see if you had any space for us earlier than next week? Like from tonight?”
She heard the man on the phone suck air in through his teeth. I knew it. It’s Easter Sunday, of course they’ll be full. I seem to remember it’s a tiny hostel anyway. There was silence on the line and Claire hoped it was because he was checking on the computer rather than doubled over, laughing at her naïvety.
“Hello? Claire? I think you may be in luck. We had a couple leave early and I think they were due to stay tonight and tomorrow. I’m not sure about the following day – I believe you were due to join us on Wednesday night?”
Claire nodded then realised how stupid that was. “Uh-huh,” she acknowledged. “I guess we can always come back to Sheringham for that night if you can’t fit us in.”
“It’s a private room we have available – en-suite –” Claire exhaled in relief. “–but it is £49 a night. I hope that’s okay?”
I could get a hotel room with breakfast for that! But I guess beggars can’t be choosers and at least I tick one more place off the list. More importantly I don’t have to stay here. She looked at the uninspiring building outside the window, shivering at some inexplicable vibe.
“We’ll take it. My niece is poorly and I need somewhere nice for us to stay.”
“Oh dear, how old is she?”
“She’s only six.”
“Poor mite. Bring her to us; we’ll help you take care of her. Do you have Calpol?”
Claire had no idea what that was, but wasn’t about to admit it.
“Er, no. I don’t.”
“Not to worry, I’m sure we’ve got some or someone staying here will have some – help little one sleep. We’ve also got a stack of Disney DVDs she can watch in the lounge if she’s up to it. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.”
As she hung up the phone Claire felt for the first time in her life that a guardian angel might be looking out for her. Glancing over at the flushed cheeks of her still-sleeping niece, she thought privately that she might just need one.