As if our family wasn’t already a den of hypochondriacs, along comes the coronavirus!
At first glance, you would not peg us for germaphobes. My house is far from clean and is always in disarray, often in flux between ever-changing holiday décor. Currently, I am all decked out for St. Patrick’s Day, but my Easter decorations lie in wait on top of our pool table, which serves as a catch-all for ‘stuff.’ The last time we actually played pool was on Christmas Eve.
Most of my furniture always has a layer of dust on it, and despite my daily mopping, my floors always look dirty. It’s not that I don’t try to keep up with the never-ending war on filth, I’m just getting a bit tired of it. I do like a clean bathroom, however, and am very paranoid about the stomach flu.
I finally broke down a few months ago and hired Merry Maids to come in once a month to do my bathrooms. The only problem is that I feel like I have to remove all the clutter from all three bathrooms so the cleaning ladies can clean. It takes me an hour to clear off all the counters and requires many plastic bins and baskets to hold all the assorted makeup, hair products, brushes, perfumes and more. At this point, I often wonder why I don’t just wipe down the counters myself.
I’m also a little uncomfortable when the cleaning ladies are bustling about, because I don’t want to appear lazy, so I fold laundry, sweep and empty the dishwasher. I don’t want to be caught eating bon-bons on the couch with my feet up as they toil away scrubbing my toilets. That’s just wrong.
After they leave, I get to work replacing all the stuff I removed. I think I actually clean more now that I have cleaning ladies!
A couple of weeks ago, one of my worst fears did come true. Haley contracted the stomach flu. The minute I heard her make a mad dash for the bathroom at 6 a.m., I knew what was happening. I grabbed the rubber gloves, the Lysol, and the paper towels. Dread washed over me.
“Oh no,” I thought. “Here we go.”
My mission? To try with all my might to contain the virus to only Haley. It was a rough morning, but soon the worst was over, and she was sleeping. A thick cloud of Lysol hung in the air, and I stood in the hallway with my rubber gloves as my most germaphobic kid, Ryan, emerged from his room. One look at me in my HAZMAT gear sent him reeling.
“Haley has the stomach flu??” he asked, horrified. “Hey, I better not get it! I can’t miss school! She better stay in her room! What bathroom did she use? Did she breathe on my toothbrush?”
He was off the rails with panic. To be honest, I barely saw him for the next two days. He stayed as far away from our house as possible. He lived at the gym, ate out and only returned to the safety of his room at night. Poor Ryan.
The night he finally thought it was safe to re-join the family, Maury came home from work complaining of a stomach ache. He blamed it on an egg salad sandwich he ate at a corner deli in San Jose.
First off all, just the words ‘egg salad’ make me throw up a little in my mouth. I mean, who willingly eats egg salad anyway? The only thing worse would be buying an egg salad sandwich from a gas station!
Maury looked a little green around the gills. I had to leave to teach my step class, but when I returned, Ryan had his backpack on and was leaving again. “Dad threw up two times,” he said, disgusted. “I’m outta here!”
Maybe it was the egg salad, maybe it was the stomach flu, but I donned the rubber gloves and grabbed the Lysol. I kept thinking it was inevitable that I would get it. After all, the mom is always the one on the front lines when it comes to protecting her family from infectious disease, often sacrificing her own health! God forbid mom does get sick. Odds are, no one will even notice and still ask, “What’s for dinner?”
Don’t ask me how, but Ryan and I escaped the scourge of the stomach flu. I attribute it to my keen disinfecting skills and the fact that we both wash our hands so often they look and feel like sandpaper.
The silver lining is that our brush with the flu has hopefully prepared us for this coronavirus sweeping the globe. We aren’t panicking, yet, but we have stocked up on antibacterial wipes and water, and we stocked the pantry with canned goods.
My newest worst fear? Running out of everything ... except egg salad.