Making up lost time | Living with Gleigh

I got the stomach flu last week. I got it from my oldest daughter who brought it home from school the weekend before finals. I usually don’t get the illnesses my children bring home, but sometimes, as the caregiver, these things can’t be avoided. I even had a low grade fever; I can’t remember the last time I had a fever.

I hate getting sick. I have things to do and not being able to do them puts me behind. It was the last three days of school; we were planning on going camping for five days. I still had to pack the RV, wash clothes and grocery shop. I was totally out of commission for two days.

When I’m sick, my husband does his best to step up to the plate and take care of things for me. He even stayed home from work one day to get the kids off to school. It’s at these times I realize all the little tasks I perform just to get my kids out the door. It’s not much of a rest when I’m lying in bed obsessing about whether my husband filled up my older daughter’s water bottle or made my youngest daughter’s lunch. He does try, though.

But when I needed him to go to the store and get me some soda crackers, I think I may have pushed him over the edge. Do you know how many varieties of soda crackers there are? There are salted, plain, whole wheat, low fat, original. He called home to find out which crackers he should get. My youngest answered the phone, but I was unable to talk to him because I was on the phone with the doctor. So my daughter talked him through his soda cracker conundrum. He told her all the varieties. She told him to get the “original” ones; it was the right choice. When in doubt, get the ones your mother gave you as a child.

The next day I was feeling better and I was determined to make up my lost time so we could still go on the camping trip we had planned. I was scurrying around trying to get our RV packed and ready to go and my husband decided to grab hold of the front wheels of the RV and shake really hard.

I don't know why a guy would decide to do this, but I'm no mechanic. Maybe it's an important part of manhood to test your strength against the stoutness of a vehicle outweighing you by several thousand pounds, or perhaps it was in response to his inability to make a cracker choice without his fourteen year old daughter.

But guess what? The wheel wiggled. From my understanding it should wiggle, but not as much as it wiggled and it has something to do with rotors and grease and bearings. It wasn’t broken, but my husband determined it was just wrong.

The plan that day was to get the kids’ from the bus stop, as it was their last day of school, and take off on our trip. So as I'm rushing about trying to make up the two days I lost being sick, my husband took the wheel off and started taking things apart. Needless to say I was relieved when he determined it would be fine for our trip, but it did take him all morning to make the decision (after having to buy a $70 jack big enough lift the motor home).

I got my oldest home and I started to pack the camper as my husband put the RV back together. As I jumped in the car to pick up my youngest from the bus stop, I was feeling elated at having regained the time I lost and we were going to be able to go on our trip.

My daughter got in the car with a sad face from saying goodbye to her middle school years. I told her I'd put her to work after she got home to take her mind off her woes. Then she said, “Mom, my stomach doesn’t feel good.” Uh, oh. When we got home, I took her temp: low grade fever, sick stomach, where have I seen this before?

Trip canceled. Now my husband can fix the RV. Why did I think it should turn out differently?

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read her column every week on and  more of her writing and her daily blog on her website



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