If you're not already aware, I love my niece. I do.
She's adorable, and intelligent, and bilingual, and can count to ten (even though she skips seven, and sometimes five). And she can give hugs to other kids that are so adorable you can overlook the expression of sheer terror on the other child's face because she hugs SO HARD. She gives "aggressive hugs." But they're aggressive in a loving way.
I am a happy recipient of her hugs. I have breakfast with her almost every Saturday before I go to work at Fabuloso Furniture, and it's the absolute highlight of my day when she sees me and comes running towards me so I can give her a big hug.
She's two years old. She's little.
But she has big germs. Germs as aggressive as her hugs (and not as loving).
Because of some smothery kisses I gave her (and the fact that I ate a bit of food she rejected... oops) I've been miserably sick since Monday. Actually, I started Monday with a mere scratchy throat and a bit of ickiness, but by the end of the day, I was miserably sick.
I went to the grocery store, because I had NO FOOD, and I needed to eat, and so I went, after work, to buy soup and ice cream and gluten-free ginger snaps, which are all required if I was about to get really sick.
It was 7:45 p.m. by the time I left the grocery store. I put my groceries away at home, and decided I'd go to the nearest "minor emergency" clinic to get some antibiotics.
I parked my car and got out, and promptly tripped over the hem of my wide-leg jeans. Down I went - because I didn't already feel like crapola - and I cursed a little bit. I stood up, dusted myself off, and went inside the little chamber where there was a security guard waiting to buzz me in. He looked at me - he'd missed the tripping/falling performance - and asked if I had someone with me.
He squinted. I was stopped up, all nasal sounding when I answered.
Are you here because you're sick?
Is it an emergency?
Well, not technically, but it's pretty uncomfortable.
Ahem. This is an emergency room, not an "urgent care center," he explained. Then he handed me a flier for a nearby urgent care center.
I trudged out to my car. I looked at the flier.
It was then 7:59 p.m.
The urgent care center closed at 8:00.
So I went home, and woke up feeling like I had a head full of boogers because I DID have a head full of boogers, and I went to the urgent care center at 8:30 a.m. in a baseball cap because no I'm not getting dressed up for a doctor's appointment and I hoped that I would be finished in time to call my leasing company to ask them to pleasepleaseplease don't replace my air conditioner because I was sick and needed that air conditioner for the day. Please.
When I saw the doctor, I explained to him that I had acute sinusitis and an ear infection in my right ear and possibly a burgeoning one in the left ear. He looked at me skeptically, despite my correct use of some high-falutin' medical terminology, and performed his examination. A few seconds later, he looked at me very seriously, and explained that I had acute sinusitis and a severe ear infection in my right ear and what looked like the beginnings of one in my left ear.
Thank you, Dr. Obvious.
I received my prescriptions and headed for the pharmacy, where I bought a king-size Almond Joy and a pint of orange juice to drink while I waited for my meds and read Elle Decor.
When I got home, I discovered, to my everlasting joy, that my air conditioner was not in bits and pieces all over my bathroom, but in its entirety out in the breezeway. A brand-spanking-new AC was parked in my dining room.
I asked the maintenance man how long it would take. "At least 4 hours," he replied. I snuffled and told him I was going to my sister's house.
The substitute-nanny was a bit confused when I showed up, but I explained why I was there - no air conditioning at home, I was sick, etc... - and her daughter dutifully translated (sub-nanny is not as English proficient as regular-nanny).
My niece was overjoyed to see me until I announced that I was sick and was going up to the guest room to take a nap.
"Nap?" she asked.
"Yes, I'm going to take a nap."
I lied. I didn't actually nap. I read and surfed the internet on my telephone, but I was sick and just wanted to lie down. I'm a terrible person, I know.
Every so often, I would go downstairs to raid my sister's pantry, and my niece would announce, "No more nap!" joyfully. I would agree, brandish my apple/MumMum/water glass, reiterate that I was sick, and tell her I was going to take another nap.
This obviously confused the poor munchkin.
"More nap?" she'd ask. I could just feel her judging me. "Man, Aunt StrainedConsciousness is really lazy! I only take one nap per day! And I'm two years old!"
I weakly reiterated that I was sick, again (rereiterated?), flapping tissues around as I said it, and fled from her judging two-year-old eyes.
It's hard having an over-achiever for a niece.
I bet she shook her head in disappointment and informed her substitute-nanny - in fluent Spanish while they played canasta - that she didn't need more than a single two-hour nap per day. And then she sat down and explained to Raggedy Ann how she was going to solve all the world's problems, including her Six Point Plan for Syria.