Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When I was just a baby, my mama told me Son, always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns.

Just to be clear from the outset: it's not that I would've been glad if Nick were in jail, because of course I wouldn't. I only would've preferred it to what seemed like the alternative at hand.

(Nick: I'm sure you understand, sweetheart.)

OK. So.

My mom left an urgent message on my voicemail this morning. “Lisa, call me as soon as you can.”

No details, nothing. I used to be used to these gut-wrenching messages, back when my dad was alive. My body went cold. This sent me into a complete panic.

You see, when Jordan woke up this morning, he was cry-y. He had a bad cough. He had a fever. He was clearly sick. Or, as my mother has always put it, ever since I was a kid, “feeling puny.”

I took his temperature. We have this digital thermometer, and he used to be belligerent about it. I mean, it is a little weird to expect a toddler to sit still while you place something on his forehead and run it across.

It makes me feel very old and all, “I walked uphill in the snow both ways to school!” when I think about how my parents used to shake down the mercury and then you’d have to sit very still with it under your tongue or your armpit. Which was at least not your anus.

This little electronic thing is easy.

Anyway, to entice Jordan into staying still while we take his temperature, we play this game. I’ll ask Nick if he wants me to take his number. And then we’ll make a big deal about it. “Oh! 97.8! What a number!”

Then Jordan is all, "Look at my number! Look at my number!"

Also, Nick always runs cool, which is so weird to me since he can pretty much walk around in the snow naked and still be warm. I mean, he doesn’t, and wouldn't, in case you live in our neighborhood and worry. But I betcha $5 he could.

Anyway, Jordan had this little fever. Not so high. But that, coupled with the cough and his general listlessness made us very glad he could stay home and snuggle on the couch with Nana. We dosed him up with grape Tylenol and told my mom to call if she needed either of us.

So back to Betty’s voicemail. I had a busy morning, and didn’t look at my phone until several hours after she’d left the message. I figured she’d talked to Nick in the meantime, but still, I flipped out.

I was sure Jordan had taken this massive turn for the worse. As I was calling back, I had visions of reaching Betty in the emergency room of Children’s Hospital, my boy all hooked up to an IV.

I do sometimes wonder if I don't have a little PTSD from my dad. I don't say that lightly.

So she answered quickly, and I said, “What’s wrong? What happened? You said to call you immediately!”

“Well. Nick’s uncle called to say that Nick was in jail.”

“Oh, thank God.”

“He’s not. What?”

“I thought something happened to Jordan. Wait, what?”

Nick’s 96-year old grandfather got a call this morning, ostensibly from Nick. He was in jail and needed $2,000 as soon as possible.


And so his grandfather immediately called one of Nick’s uncles. Who then tried and tried to reach Nick. And then called our house. So Betty then called Nick’s office. She left two messages. B

When Nick returned from a meeting, he had two urgent messages from his uncle, and two from Betty. He was sure his grandfather had died.

By the time I spoke with her, she'd spoken with Nick, and he'd called his uncle.

Not from Mexican jail. And he didn't need money.

And Jordan? He was still feeling puny, so at his request they went to “the cupcake store,” AKA my favorite Korean Jewish deli, which apparently has cupcakes. And then he asked for a nap.

In other words, no toddlers are on the brink of death, and nobody's shot a man in Reno, or, rather, Tijuana, and wound up in the slammer. I mean, nobody I'm currently the mother of or married to.

And there you have it.


  1. I totally get this entire post. I go cold as ice everytime I see the school number pop up on my cell. And, I would have totally been thrilled to hear my hubby was in jail rather than my daughter was in the hospital.

    Glad everyone's fine! And glad Nick's grandpa was smart enough to verify the story!

  2. Do you think... I mean, is it at all possible... that Norton Juster authored some part of your life? Or maybe Douglas Adams took a stab at more conventional fiction at some point?

    I'm glad to hear that Nick is not incarcerated. And that Jordan got a cupcake.

  3. High five to Nick NOT being in jail and to Jordan getting a yummy cupcake before his nap! Oh, and for grape Tylenol...and thermometers that don't have to inserted. Ahem.

    And if I had to 'assign' an author to your life, it might be Tom Robbins. :-)

  4. My first response is I Love Johnny Cash! Second response is to echo the comments above....I'm so glad Nick's not in jail and Jordan is resting nicely at home. So sorry for the concern and alarm before you found out what was really going on.

    Also I'm a little tired after reading this post, how do you do it all? And Betty, too?

  5. And also very glad granpa never got fleeced of 2k as well.

  6. I agree with Stevie. Your life and writing are very Tom Robbins-esque at times.
    I'm glad everything is okay with your boys and that the bandits didn't get Nick's grandpa's money.

  7. Phew. You had me worried there for a bit. Happy endings are the best.
    PS: I don't doubt your PTSD. My brother was in a horrific bicycle accident that he survived, but just barely. The other day walking through the city, an ambulance went screaming past me on the way to GW and I passed a rack of bikes and that was all it took to be back in the moment when I got the first phone call. If you ever find someone who can help you find relief, let me know because I could use it too.

  8. cla517 - Yes, definitely. I'd be upset about Nick in jail, but would feel so much better about that than J in the hospital. I mean, I'd rather be in jail than have my boy in the hospital. And jail scares the crap out of me!

    Jess - Oh, my dear friend. You totally flatter me! Thank you!

    So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible. :)

    And yes, all good.

    Stevie - Yes, here's to advances in medicine! And scam artists not succeeding! And scamming toddlers succeeding with Nana! :)

    And thank you for the Tom Robbins! So nice!

    HK - I LOVE him too! Whenever I know someone who doesn't like his music, it makes me question them as a person. :) And it was only momentarily upsetting for me. I think Betty and Nick's relatives had a lot more stress waiting for Nick to get back in touch.

    Go-Betty - And apparently this is a common thing! If you google "grandparent scam" - there are a lot of stories. Awful.

    Hillary - Thank you, my sweet!

    Dana - There was a little panic, and then it all turned out to be nothing all around.

    I had that cold-fear-heart-racing reaction to ambulances for a long time. It's gone now, but I do remember it. I didn't ever explicitly deal with it in therapy, but I do think therapy helped me get past a lot of it. I wonder if some piece never goes away, though.

  9. First of all, I'm glad everyone is OK. Second of all, WTF??? Never a dull moment. Jeez.


Tell me about it.