When The Carnival Came To Town

Well, the carnival came to town this weekend, as a special fundraiser for something for kids.  Usually, the carnival waits until the smack-middle of July to show up in Small Town, which is when it’s approximately 377 degrees outside, which is the perfect temperature to pair with a loud, obnoxious carnival packed with ALL THE PEOPLE.  I feel that our local general practitioners probably write more scripts for Valium in mid-July here than at any other time of the year.  “Gotta take them young ‘uns to the carnival, Doc.  What can you give me to make it bearable, in this heat?”

But lo!  A carnival in early May is practically unheard of in Small Town, so we took advantage of it.

It was every bit as over-priced and loud, with questionable rides, as it is later in the summer, but SEVENTY-FOUR DEGREES makes all the difference.  Hubs and I were a bit skeptical when Thing 2 went to get on one ride and the man with the ear gauges that had created holes in his lobes big enough to shove a Pepsi can through announced, “Sorry, kids.  We’re going to shut this ride down for a few minutes, because we’re having some problems.”  And then Hubs and I watched as this man and another carnival worker brought out two lengthy tie-downs… the likes of which might keep a car on a trailer on the interstate… and proceeded to wrap them around one of this ride’s carts and crank them tight.  It really puts a parent at ease to see this kind of attention to safety put into play.

Add to this the generosity of one ride worker, who said, “Hey, if you and your husband want to go on the Ferris Wheel together, I’m happy to babysit the little man at the duck pond,” and you can understand exactly how thrilled Hubs and I were with the carnival.

But… we did it for the baby.  Mainly, because he’d been begging to go, and we simply couldn’t take the begging any longer.  We shelled out $25 for a wristband, and calculated how many rides he’d need to be on, to make it pay for itself over a strip of tickets.

It came to six rides.  He had to ride six rides before we broke even with our lost $25 and could call it a day.  Except, in the end, he rode upwards of twenty rides, because he met up with a little buddy from school, and how could we say no to riding the little train thirteen times?

Hubs and I laughed and laughed when Thing 2 went in the house of mirrors, because he couldn’t even BEGIN to find a path through them.  He struggled and crashed into one glass wall after another, before the attendant finally went in and showed him the secret route to get through.  So… he went through it several more times, whipping through the confusing mirror maze like a seasoned magician, so that he could get upstairs in the attraction, to the conveyor belt and balcony and slide.

I am quite confident that Thing 2 has proven to the world that he could be a king one day and deliver a rousing speech to his loyal subjects, from the upper decks of his palace.  It wouldn’t take anything at all for him to convince his army to suit up in their helmets and chest plates, don their swords and spears, and ride out with him that very night, to fight some cowardly neighbors who threatened the kingdom.

As much as he enjoyed the carnival as a lone rider (seeing as how his mother gets THE MOTION SICKNESS just WATCHING him ride, so there’s really no way under the sun for anyone to convince her to actually get on one and accompany him), he was thrilled to find a little friend from school, whose ride stamina and equilibrium are both as stable as Thing 2’s are.

They did have to do some serious measuring of one another, to determine if they were tall enough… PLEASE LET US BE TALL ENOUGH, LORD!… to ride the swings.  My biggest fear was that Thing 2’s buddy, who was a solid two inches taller, was going to pass the measuring test, and our little ninja would be left behind to watch, as some attendant told him to grow a little and maybe he could ride the swings next year.  Thankfully, they were both well over the height restrictions, so the swings got the big green light.

Hubs and I had a moment of anxiety, when we wondered aloud how many tie-downs were holding this ride in place, which our son had boarded with enthusiasm.  And then I had a moment of THERE GOES MY STOMACH, as I tried to keep track of the little man on the ride and snap a few photos.

The two little folks declared the swings to be the best thing they’d ever encountered, seeing as how neither one of them has ever been to Disneyland. They jabbered on and on about HOW! MUCH! FUN! they’d been, as Mama clutched her head and tried to hold the vomit down.

Motion sickness is a real thing.

Don’t judge.

That carnival was very possibly the dirtiest place we’ve been this year.  And the sound system crackled with so much static and feedback, Hubs declared that he was close to having a seizure.  Sadly, Thing 2 didn’t notice any of that.  All he knew was CARNIVAL!  CARNIVAL!  SWEET, WONDERFUL CARNIVAL!  Childhood is such a blessing.

And then… as we were wrapping up the carnival by standing in line for the promised bag of pink cotton candy, it hit me.

Not the motion sickness.

That would have been so much easier.

It was the gut pain.

It came out of nowhere, and I was pretty sure I knew what it was.  For months now, I’ve suspected that I have a hernia in my gut, because I know how to use WebMD, which basically makes me a doctor.  I have not gone to the real doctor for a diagnosis, because WHY?  WebMD assured me that I was spot-on, and the following write-up was that most hernias in the gut don’t cause a lot of problems.

And that’s been pretty much the truth.

They don’t cause a lot of problems… until they do.  And yesterday, they did.  I told Hubs, “The sudden pain in my gut is worse than childbirth.”  Of course, Hubs had no way of knowing that I was actually dying, because I do have a tendency for the drama, when it comes to pain, but Mama had to bail out of the cotton candy line to go sit in the air-conditioned car, where she could suffer outside of the public eye.

And then we came home, and the pain got worse, so I did what every normal person would do.  I consulted the professionals on WebMD, who basically told me that I could be experiencing a strangulated hiatal hernia, which could kill me.

And THAT is how I came to spend the next fifteen hours, sitting upright in a recliner, trying to sleep without leaning to one side.  I’d venture a guess and say that this pain last night was worse than a C-section without proper anesthesia, and I should know.  I’ve had one of those.

At 10:00 last night, Hubs asked if I wanted to go to the ER, but I told him no.  I was content to suffer at home, without medical intervention.  But I did tell him to let the boys know that I had loved them deeply, if my pulse wasn’t active, come morning.  So, Hubs did what all husbands do, in the face of their wives attempting to spend a night alone in the living room recliner, in excruciating pain:  he crawled into our bed, passed out cold, and got nine solid hours of peaceful sleep.

Meanwhile, I sat upright, wide awake, until about 3 AM this morning, when I could finally fall asleep.

It was all glorious and wonderful.

I cleared my entire schedule for today… cancelled a babysitting gig for a friend… cancelled my time to help in Thing 2’s classroom with Monday morning centers… as I decided that I’d rest today and take a nap.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the school nurse called me at 8:25 this morning to announce that she needed to send Thing 2 home, because he HAD THE PINK EYE!

Goodbye, quiet house.  Goodbye, nap.  Instead, I got to shuffle my I’m-a-lot-better-but-still-really-sore self in to see our pediatrician.  I walked just like a ninety-four year old woman would walk, if she wasn’t all that spry and had just taken a machete to her gut.

And yes.  It was confirmed that we are officially a conjunctivitis victim.

I blame that dirty carnival for all of this.

Happy Monday, y’all.  May your guts be healthy and thriving; may your eyes be vibrant and gunk-free.  And may you sleep tonight exactly like a husband sleeps.

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