The birthday from hell


I knew it was going to be a bad day when my wife woke me at just after
3 a.m. insisting that somebody had just rung the doorbell. There wasn’t
anybody there. She said the dog had barked, too. That’s when I knew she
was dreaming. We have a cocker spaniel dog who barks and barks and
barks when the doorbell rings. I mean, she barks to the point I have to
use “the nasty voice” to shut her up. Had the doorbell rung at 3 a.m.,
Ladybug probably would still be barking right now.

Back to bed. Alarm goes off. Hit the shower. Drying off and the work
cell phone starts ringing. The dean I’d scheduled to speak to a local
TV reporter is sick and can’t make it to the 9:45 a.m. interview.

For the third day in a row Alex complains about an ear ache. He stays
home from school. I go to work and spend the first hour scrambling to
find a replacement for the sick dean. I go sit in one the TV interview,
which goes very well. Back to the office.

Kim calls. She tried to use the credit card that accesses our flex
account (money taken from my paycheck and put into a tax exempt account
for medical expenses) and it was rejected. And that’s the best thing
she has to tell me. Alex has either a cut or a pimple in his ear that
has become infected and the infection is spreading. Doc prescribes
antibiotics. Kim mentions Alex’s school was concerned when they did a
free scoliosis test on all the students. The doc has Alex take off his
shirt and she takes a look … and is alarmed. X-rays ensue. There’s
some curvature. Enough that she’s sending the x-rays to a specialist,
although she was actually relieved about the x-rays because they didn’t
look as bad as she expected. Remember, Alex is so thin he looks like a
skeleton somebody has stretched leather over.

And then the fun really started. One of our deans resigned his position
as dean yesterday. Today the newspaper I freelance for called because
the editor found out about that … and she knew who the interim
replacement is. Something even I didn’t know. The scramble begins and I
have to organize a press conference for tomorrow to announce the
interim dean. That means writing a media alert, writing a press release
and writing a note to send to everyone on campus asking them to attend
and show support for the new dean. And each of those has to be approved
by various people. Add to the fun my own sense of integrity from my
days as a reporter, meaning I have to work out a way to allow the paper
that found the story to get the scoop without getting myself in
trouble. Fortunately, I know how the local media works and I think that
paper got the jump on everybody … not that too many people will know
because the paper has a low circulation.

I leave work 30 minutes late and am driving like mad to get home. Sara
calls to tell me Amanda stuck a bead up her nose and they can’t get it
out. I risk death on my birthday to get home before a) Amanda sucks the
bead into her lungs, or b) Sara does brain damage digging in Amanda’s
nostril with a pair of tweezers. Sara removed the bead before I got
here.

I’m supposed to be at a banquet for OWFI speakers right now. But, no
babysitter. Kim took off work tomorrow because of another banquet for
all conference attendees.

Oh, and I had high hopes of getting Barry Switzer’s autograph tonight.
OCU is honoring him for some reason and a work study who was invited to
the shindig offered to get him to sign a football for me. But alas,
there is a silent auction going on and one of the prizes is a football
and the winner can ask the coach to sign it. So, it wouldn’t have been
right for the work study to ask him to sign the OU football Kim ran out
and bought specifically for that purpose yesterday.

Now I’m sitting here wishing the kids would give me some space so I can
go over my two lectures for this weekend again. I’ve given both
lectures before and they went well, but I’d like to have some more time
with them before tomorrow. But, Amanda is wanting to listen to some kid
CD and Jacob wants to “be a hero,” which means he wants one of his
blankies tied around his neck like a cape. At least it doesn’t turn him
into Stupendous Man.


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