poison control

The Misadventures of a Writer’s Spouse

I was actually going to blog about my Nana and how we celebrated her 90th birthday with a huge shindig at my mom & dad’s [thank god it didn’t rain or there would have had 98+ people in their house].  But I’m only using that as the lead-in now… When I wasn’t playing the role of paparazzi, I enjoyed watching Nana as she watched everyone else. There were friends from way back, now-divorced-from-but-still-adored ex-inlaws, and of course, relatives in all shapes and sizes.  The party went without a hitch and grandma had a blast.

And then the partygoers went home and we brought out the fireworks and margaritas and brandy slushes [and Magic decks, but that was later and a whole different blog].

It wasn’t quite dark yet, but that was ok. We set Nana up in a chair in the driveway, and the immediate family gathered around her, sitting on coolers, chairs, vehicles or the ground.  My brother David was in charge of the mass amounts of fireworks that my sister and I had separately procured this summer. My youngest brother, Chris, started out on water duty with the hose, but his reaction speed made better firemen out of slugs and he was replaced by my niece’s boyfriend—much quicker on the draw and always willing to help. My husband occasionally helped with the lighting of fireworks.

We had “emits showers of sparks,” silly things like frogs [because fireworks should look like frogs?], some that flew [including one that popped out a little parachute with no one on it] and even a few loud, useless strobe effect fireworks that were quickly banned to prevent a group seizure. And the coup de grace, the Birthday Egg of Depression.

A firework that had been purchased the year before for my sister’s birthday that was so silly [thus the name it had earned] she ran out and grabbed a few for this year. Shaped like an egg with what looks like candles for a fuse, it sings and melts. Well, it plays “music” without vocals. But it does melt. It’s made of plastic and as the sparks spray out, the heat destroys the plastic. The song? Here… recorded for your enjoyment, because it is just so sad [thus funny, but maybe that’s just my warped family].  The second egg was hosed before it melted and this apparently stopped it from melting the part inside that plays the music.  The tinkling of warped birthday tunes continued through the entire evening—finally ending with a sledgehammer and severe giggling because it just wouldn’t stop. But it was the first egg that we need to discuss.

The Birthday Egg of Doom.

It melted, as designed, and turned into a green lump on the pavement. As we learned later with the continual tinny sounds of Happy Birthday from the second one, melted doesn’t always mean done. It should also be noted that a lack of sparks doesn’t always mean done. And as my now-ex hubby went to light something else, the Egg of Doom gave its final performance:  a loud pop, followed by the ex-hubby jumping back several feet.

“That’s going to leave a mark.” He declared through the hand that had instinctively gone to the injury. As he pulled his hand away, he and the rest of the group saw that it would indeed leave a mark, as his palm and mouth were covered in blood.  He spoke and I don’t remember what he said, only that his teeth were completely covered in blood as if he’d been in a massive fistfight.

This is why fireworks should only be done with adult supervision. So that you have someone available to get the first-aid kit. A washcloth, some paper towels and baggie of ice later, he was back in the chair next to Nana—no longer helping with the evil fireworks. It was one of those injuries where several of the women suggest stitches and the men claim it’s just fine. His teeth were intact and it didn’t get his good eye, so he was happy enough to take the gaping wound in his lip, pride and icepack, and sit to watch the rest of the fireworks.  The evening finished out, the parents went to bed and the two younger generations played some Magic.

On the way home the next day, the swelling had gone down and it no longer looked like an open wound.  Seems there was a spring inside, found later by the children, that had smacked him dead in the lip at mach 3. What looked [the night before] like one of those flesh wounds that results in a flap that you set back in place hoping that it will re-seal, was simply a circular gouge. Still quite the sight, but not as bad as we’d first feared. He mentioned it felt like it was drying out and he was afraid it was going to bust open when he talked and be one of those injuries that just never heals, so when we got home he went in search of the Neosporin.

From behind the corner of the bathroom, as he was supposedly applying salve to his lip, I heard a string of curse words that made my mouth look like that of a Buddhist monk. No really. You know how I talk, especially when agitated, and this was enough to put my best efforts to shame.

“What did you do?”

“What the hell is this?! And what’s it doing in the first aid box?!”  He held up a tube that yes, if you were blind and going for shape alone would resemble Neosporin.

“Oh noooooo…that’s Compound W!”  Yes, my (ex)husband had put wart remover on an open sore on his mouth.

He wiped it off with Kleenex, ranting about the fact that it shouldn’t be in the medicine cabinet, while I giggled and tried to explain that it was medicine and was therefore exactly where it belonged.

“Use soap and water.”

“It shouldn’t have been in there.”

“Just clean it off.”  I have now left the room because I’m likely going to get things thrown at me for the giggling. When it’s not life threatening, we laugh around here.  Hell, our motto at the fire pit is, “Remember, we laugh and take pictures before we run for help.” And gee, we learned that from Nana, who, when I was about 3 years old and fell down her stairs and gave myself two big ole black eye, ran me to Sears for portraits! Have I ever mentioned that I love my family?

“My lip’s numb.”

“What?”

“What’s this stuff do anyway?”

This confuses me.  He has apparently never heard of or used wart remover gel [this particular tube was purchased for the girl child]?

“Well… You put it on, it dries, and then it EATS the flesh underneath it.”

“Oh wonderful. Now I’m going to have an even bigger hole in my lip!”

“Just clean it off.”

Still numb, but thoroughly cleaned and with no signs of that telltale “whiteness” that comes with the dried gel, I call it safe and decide we don’t need to call Steve at poison control [yes, in my house, we know the names of the different shifts at the 800 number—a few hours earlier and it would have been Jeff].

Across the alley a while later, I share the silliness with the crew of the fire pit—of course.  He doesn’t find humor in this, everyone else does.  After some friendly ribbing he gives me that look, “Don’t you dare…”

I cannot count how many situations over the years have ended with “do not use that in your writing” or “don’t you dare blog about that.” But this time, I can’t be a nice wife or a good wife…not when it goes from bad to worse like that.  And to think, I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to blog about this week!

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