Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Like I'm Sherlock Holmes

I work the night shift as a nurse in a busy Pediatric ICU.  The work is emotionally stressful, physically taxing, and mentally challenging - especially at 4 in the morning when you are the charge nurse and have to scramble to rearrange the puzzle pieces to accommodate busy admissions with a short staff and patients who are spiraling down.  Thankfully though, the night shift tends to have more down time than the other shifts (why do you think I've stayed there for the past 14 years?  Certainly not for the coffee).  But it's not always doom and gloom.  Case in point: last night my colleagues had me laughing so hard I was wheezing and wiping away tears of mirth.  I'm sure a parent complaint is on the way.

I come home after work, have a quick breakfast, check in with the family, and go to sleep.  Often that sleep is briefly interrupted by noises from the boys who are home and doing their thing.  We went through a good 3-month period a few years ago where they liked to blast "Rock You Like a Hurricane" at top volume... on repeat. I had some crazy dreams then.  Or, one will offend their sibling and a yelling match ensues, followed by doors slamming and general mayhem.  But I've become an old pro at sleeping through most anything, and I generally wake refreshed and ready to rejoin the family and hear what they've been up to.  When I walk down the hallway toward the living room and family room I never know what I'm going to find... but they leave me ample clues that detail the events of the last 5 to 7 hours.  And now I'm like Sherlock Holmes, piecing together the minute details of a crime scene.

Here's how it typically plays out: I creep warily down the hallway and gird myself for the disastrous view that  assaults me upon first entering the living room - site of many a crime.  Toys are usually strewn everywhere, clothes litter every seating surface, and possibly some new food has been ground into the carpet.  Last year when we were rearranging the boys' rooms we had bookshelves laying in the living room and the boys had rediscovered old toys that they hadn't played with in a while.  It was like trying to navigate a minefield just to get to the kitchen and my beloved coffee.  The scene was vividly laid out in front of me.   "Ah yes, a great battle has taken place between the Stuffies and the Transformers and if I'm not mistaken, Megatron has once again defeated his old nemesis Stripey".

Today, the battlefield is clear, but I glean much information from the detritus that leads, like breadcrumbs (sometimes it literally IS breadcrumbs), from one room to the other to spell out all of the day's activities.  A lacrosse ball which my son grabbed from the sidelines at the Cal vs Oregon game.  How do I know where it came from?  He's written on it with a Sharpie - so, ok, that one was cheating.  The puppy is whining in her crate, but yarns from my area rug lay within view - she's been destroying my nice things again and it looks to be from 25 minutes ago by the size of the drying drool outline.  The boys ate sandwiches and Cheddar Bunnies for lunch, along with Gatorade to wash it down.  This one's easy because the wrappers are right next to the lunch dishes still on the table, and the bread loaf is on the counter with the bag open to invite staleness; the peanut butter jar also open next to a dirty knife.  Breakfast obviously consisted of cereal - Honey Nut Cheerios by the color of the milk remaining in the three bowls on TOP of the dishwasher.  (See previous post about Force Fields).  The paper lays open to the entertaining comics page, next to the past three days' worth of newspapers that need to find their way out to the recycling bin.  An iPod with a dead battery has been discarded on the couch cushions, but it seems they were busy enough that there was no time for a DVD today, because no case is laying open near the television.  And unless I'm mistaken and my husband has taken up solitary daytime drinking, he fell asleep watching the news last night.  A beer bottle with a few last swigs sits on the table next to the rumpled blanket on the couch.  But today's coffee helped to revive him, based on the dried brown ring on the mug next to the computer.

They've since gone out to do guy things together and as much as I hate to perpetuate the gender stereotypes I will gladly stay here, alone in the quiet house, with an episode of the Vampire Diaries to watch while I clean up the mess.  Gotta set the stage for a new day's adventures.

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