I have out-of-towners converging on our home today.  They’ll be here for 10 days.  They’ll be joined by even more out-of-towners next week.  Now that we’re in a larger-than-a-shoebox (read: over 1000 sqft) house, there’s room for them all if we just move the kids around. It’s like a shell game, only with kids and air mattresses rather than rocks/marbles/dice and shells.

In the long tradition of the women in my family line starting with my Nana, perfected by our mother and then amplified by my sisters and me, I have a condition we all refer to as Pre-Party-Panic or PPP for short.  It’s not a freak-and-run sort of thing.  It has many levels.  It typically starts with the development of skin issues such as sebaceous cysts or eczema.  I have always had remarkably clear skin on my face.  Eczema on hands and feet has always been my go-to, but for this particular convergence, I’ve opted to dabble in both the cysts AND eczema.  Why specialize or pull favorites, right?  Skin issues started two months ago when the party was expanded to include a really REALLY wide range of ages which upped my stress level.  The cysts were  new to me, and I didn’t quite know how to manage them.  I tried hydrogen peroxide with no real effect.  I tried a few other magic potions I had laying around.  They made the cysts angry. Although we recently learned I’m allergic to Neosporin, I thought the risks of using it and having it potentiality help were greater than living with the creepy things attacking my chin.  Turns out, I’m not just allergic…I’m REALLY REALLY allergic.  My reaction manifested as huge blisters on top of the cysts.  Sure. That’s better. I finally broke down and called the dermatologist on Tuesday who couldn’t get me in until first thing this morning.  That was fine. I was in PPP mode and had much cleaning and decluttering to do.

Yesterday I became intensely focused.  It happens with PPP.  Not only focused, but determined to deep clean and sanitize the house in preparation for our out-of-towners.  No time to rent the carpet cleaner, but vacuum twice?  Of course!  You may think I’m kidding about the carpet cleaner.  I’m not.  It’s a standard tool when in the throws of PPP.  I ROCKED my to-do list.  When my husband got home from 10 hours on his feet at Boeing, he joined in (he’s been through PPP with me for 18 years. It’s not worth it to him to take any other approach than to jump in).  When I headed off to bed last night, my list for today was pretty short and manageable and I wasn’t feeling as panicked as usual considering guests would be arriving in about 13 hours.  My face, however, was itching like crazy.  After the blistering, my hubby convinced me to put a bandage on my face to cover the ‘aliens that landed there’ as he put it (shortly before he received a sharp kick in the shins).  I, naturally, had another allergic reaction on top of the one I was already having.  Turns out, I’m also allergic to the adhesive on cheep bandages. With the itching, I opted to take a Benedryl as I headed off to bed.  Everything was going to be alright in the morning.

MORNING!

I got up and got dressed quickly knowing I had my dermatologist appointment as soon as I got the kids off to the bus stop for school.  I got out to the kitchen longing for my first cup of coffee and was greeted by my daughter crying.  Her lips were swollen larger than Angelina Jolie’s.  The bad botox images you’ve seen?  Comparable, only on a 9 year old girl with no plastic surgery or other body deforming ambitions, it’s not pretty.  She was hurting and scared.  I gave her the max dose of Benedryl and then got her brother out of bed and dressed and we headed quickly to the car with the intent of rushing to Urgent Care.  That was our INTENT.  Sadly, the 23 degree weather had other plans.  2 out of 4 doors on my car were frozen shut.  We got in through passenger doors and I got the car started.  After opening, the doors wouldn’t latch due to the freezing temperatures.  We got the windows scraped and another 15 minutes later, the doors finally latched.  Like an idiot, I tried to open the drivers door and was all kinds of happy that it opened finally. Of course, then IT wouldn’t latch.  Another 15 minutes and it finally did, only to find the emergency break was frozen in the ‘on’ position.  Our RUSH to Urgent Care could probably have been faster had we walked.

Here’s the kicker- Our garage is essentially EMPTY.  I could have easily parked my car in it last night, but just didn’t think about it.  Now, here we were, in the freezing cold with a kid having an allergic reaction to lip balm (yes, we at least figured out what caused it quickly), and I couldn’t get her to the doctor quickly because my car was frozen.

We made it to Urgent care 1 hour and 20 minutes after I’d given her the Benedryl.  They didn’t make us wait at all, and for that, I’m very grateful to The Everett Clinic.  Her lips were actually MORE swollen by the time we got in to see the doctor.  He offered her yucky medicine to take for several days or a shot to get it over with and she opted for the shot.  We got out of the Urgent Care just in time to go to the next building over for my dermatologist appointment.  

Upon seeing me, the dermatologist just shook her head.  She noted that I hadn’t been in since March when we learned of all the things that my skin reacted to (such as Neosporin) and she seemed a little irritated that I’d gone and done this to my face when it could have all been prevented if only I’d made an appointment to see her before I opted to do science on myself.  With the kids in the room, she gave me a shot IN MY FACE and put me on anti-biotics for the next four weeks.  On the bright side, I hadn’t even thought of my guests since I awoke this morning.  Total focus was on my daughter and making sure she was o.k.  She was worried about returning to school and being teased.  My mom used to let my sister stay home when she had cysts, so I told my daughter she would be going home with me after I dropped her brother off at school.  But first…Breakfast at their favorite cafe.  Turns out, in spite of the medical issues, in spite of my PPP, in spite of the freezing temps…we’ve had a pretty nice morning together.

Now back to my PPP, already in progress.  Convergence in under 1 hour and I still have beds to change!  Or maybe I should go snuggle my daughter for a little bit longer in our quite house?  Appreciating the stillness.

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