Friday, August 5, 2011

When disaster strikes

Wednesday. I hate to label it with the cliche'ed line that "it was one of those days" ...because...well, in so many ways, it was a normal day with normal stuff that normal people deal with. It was just the wrong day for it all to happen. Which, I guess makes it all even more normal, because bad things are good at happening at the worst time.

Wednesday was supposed to be my big day to get everything ready for my nephews to come visit.  They were coming to stay with us for several days and adding two more kids to the bunch called for some preparation.  I wanted to clean the house, catch up on laundry and run all those miscellaneous errands I didn't want to have to worry about while they were here. You know, normal stuff you do in preparation for house guests.  I had also just finished painting Daughter's bedroom this past weekend and finally Son and I took the opportunity when both the girls were down for naps to put her room back together again. Mid-way through the restoration I peeked into my craft room to put some stuff away and found the most horrific sight.

Blood covered the floor everywhere.

It looked like a crime scene in that little room. The crime? The storage freezer had been left open. Hundreds (no exaggeration here) of pounds of food were ruined.  Game meat had defrosted and was oozing all over the floor. My husband is a hunter. His dad also recently had their hogs slaughtered. And I think they had a cow slaughtered, too, and then took all those animals to a butcher to be packaged all nice and lovely and housed in our freezer. I had also recently made a Costco run and stocked up on all those freezer basics, which was exactly the reason the freezer had been left open. Son was helping me and took the food down to the freezer. And forgot to close it I guess. 

The room was just swimming in salmonella.... it was G-R-O- double-S GROSS!

The girls woke up soon after. I put Son in charge of Baby. Told Daughter to be good, and sent them all upstairs to play, after having Son fetch the rag-towels of course. While I was attempting the mass clean-up, Daughter came wailing downstairs in incomprehensible sobs about a toy, running, head, brother....and hurt. Covered in filth I couldn't exactly comfort her and told son to check in on Sister and make sure She was okay. Daughter stopped crying and went back to playing. I cleaned up the mess some more until Son said Baby was poopy. Tiptoed out of the disgusting room and washed hands to tend to Baby, who not only needed a diaper change but some food. While feeding Baby, Daughter comes and says her head feels funny. I examined. Okay. Time to switch the gears again. Told the chilluns to load up in the car. I lugged all the disgusting melted goods up the stairs to our van {which was quite the work out} and we drove to the Urgent Care Clinic.

Yep, the Urgent Care.  For sister to get her head stapled shut.

We made an evening of it and finished the excitement off with chicken nuggets, apple dippers, and Smurf-toys, courtesy of our local McDonalds. Miraculously, I had previously lined up a sitter for later  that night so I could attend the temple and I still made it. I really didn't think I would. I kept thinking I was going to have to call and cancel, but somehow the chaos died down about 3 minutes before she arrived. I needed some peace in my soul that evening more than ever. It worked out perfectly and I finally made it to an unsuspecting dumpster down the street from the temple to dispose of our freezer goods. That was relief!

I will say that Son was especially good at pointing out to me as I was cleaning up the freezer mess that at least we were finally getting the freezer super clean.  Oh, and there was one survivor amidst all the freezer casualties: Girl Scout Cookies. Good thing, too. Because I buy those by the case. {If you send your Girl Scout to my house, my purchase alone will probably send her to horse-riding camp....or wherever she's trying to earn money to go to).  And, the craft room got a new name! The craft room has actually needed a new name for a while, seeing as how I'm not the crafty type and it's more just a storage room for general supplies.  The new name: The Salmonella Room. Totally fitting. 

At the end of the night I breathed a huge sigh and I began can we be more prepared when disasters such as these strike?  

For messes/spills/those sorts of unpleasant disasters:

* Rag-towels. Rag-towels are SO wonderful. If a basement floods, a child pukes, dishwasher explodes, or a freezer defrosts all over the floor, you will be prepared to handle it if you have a good stash of towels you care nothing for.  I recommend having at least 6 full-sized towels for you to have on hand solely for the purpose of cleaning up such messes.  I would die if I had to either a. use towels I loved on filthy messes or b. wrap myself or my children in a towel that had once cleaned up filth. It's nice to keep those separate.
* Bleach. Enough said
* Rags-- in many locations throughout the house. It's good to have a plentiful stash of them in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and closets. 
* All-purpose cleaner with bleach. Has the same disinfecting affect as the straight-up bleach, but less hazardous.
* Carpet cleaners and deodorizers (Club Soda, Baking Soda, Vinegar)
   -- having something you can physically put on the carpet to attack a stain or mess as soon as it happens (or as soon as you discover it) can make a huge difference. Club soda is a great carpet stain attacker. The foam stuff from a can works fine, but I don't think it's as good. However, if you're dealing with puke, it's always good to have something that smells better than puke to cover it up, which is why you should have lots of the can foaming carpet spray stuff anyway.  One must have the big huge Costco sized bags of Baking Soda. You never know when you're going to need to dump an entire bagful on your floor 
* Water-proof mattress covers should be on every mattress. Really. Spills and messes seem to happen where you are least prepared.
* Steam cleaners. Have one, or become friends with someone who does.

Children and Accidents:
* Regularly replenish your stash of gauze, peroxide, bandaids, ointment, etc. 
* Know before you need to know which urgent care clinic your insurance provider works with.
* Bring a special stuffed animal for extra snuggles and comfort to the Drs/Urgent Care/ER
* Load up on snacks - you have no idea how long you'll be waiting in either the waiting room, or the actual procedure room.
* Camera. (most phones these days come equipped.)  You do realize this is one of those events you both will always remember. Why not take some photos to truly capture it?! And it will distract the one in distress.
* Take those buy a meal, get a kids meal free coupons you've been hanging on to. When everything is over, it's always a great chance to celebrate a new set of stitches or scars.

Happy Disaster Dealing!


Heather Turner said...

Wow. QUITE an event. I am sure it could get worse SOMEDAY, but at the moment, nothing comes to mind that could top this. And I appreciate the help to other people about things to have on hand. Just like you said, YOU NEVER KNOW.

Kyle said...

I guess it was Divine Intervention that I was drawn out for a special elk hunt this year in Idaho then. Your thoughts?

Michelle said...

H- you're right you just never know! I thought about you when I suggested clorox. Sometimes clorox turns into a nightmare when its the solution.

Kyle- think what you want, babe. If you don't bring home anything I'll just think it was mean luck.