payback’s a witch.

Right now, the Wilhelm family is in payback-mode for the two glorious weeks of health and happiness we were afforded while in New York for the Christmas holiday.

At the tail end of the snowstorm (which dumped 8+ inches of snow onto Long Island), as blue skies peeked out through the clouds and the roads peeked out through the packed snow, we decided it was now or never- we hit the open road. We (and when I say we I mean mostly Andrew) drove our hefty 5×8 trailer 13 hours back to North Carolina.

Madeline was, as usual, perfect baby. Don’t ask me how she seems to know when we need her to be awesome. She just knows it. Because she’s perfect. She slept for most of the trip, entertained herself for her few awake hours with her pretend cellphone and purse and cried for a total of five minutes. The whole thing was nothing short of a miracle.

We limped into bed at 3AM Saturday morning, and Maddie (who had been asleep in the car from 6:30PM on) let us sleep in until 8:15AM! I should have known then something was up, but I was just grateful for the extra shut-eye. As a mom of a toddler, you don’t question that.

We started the morning with a surge of can-do attitude, Andy leading the charge in unpacking the caboose. He brought in box after box of my childhood memorabilia- books, awards, awkward photos and trinkets. He hauled in our new hand-me-down, solid cherry wood kitchen table (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and our new fancy, top-lit curio cabinet (thanks, Lauren and Matt!) and we carried in our new, hand-me-down couch (thanks, Mom and Dad!) together. *Note: I apparently do not do well with lifting very heavy objects without instruction. “YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO DO! I DON’T GOT IT! WHAT?! I’M PUTTING IT…down. Sorry.”*

Before I left to return the trailer, I listed our five year old, Lilypad licked, Hudson chewed microsuede couch for free on Craigslist. By the time I returned home, Starbucks in hand to thank my amazing husband for his hard work, I had a guy on his way to pick it up. Jams it in! Extra (nasty) couch out of the way, and we didn’t have to lift a finger!

We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon unpacking, with a few brief trips Memory Lane- “Who’s the girl in the jester costume in this photo?” “That’s me.” “Al, what are we going to do with all these?” “Those are original Polly Pockets! I saved them! They don’t make them like this anymore.” “Andy, I think we should make an awards wall?” “For speech an debate awards? No.” (He didn’t have to call me a nerd; that came through loud and clear.) Through it all, Maddie napped. Again, I didn’t question this. We were able to power through all of the boxes without baby wrangling. It was good.

By dinner time, we had broken down the last box and I looked over at girl baby, only to find her, eyes half open, slumped in her high chair, ignoring her tortellini. “Hey do you just want to go to bed?” “Yahhhhhh,” she whined. So I picked her up. She was burning up. I took her temp- 101.4. I sent her right to bed with Tylenol.

I had picked up the pups from boarding earlier in the evening and was feeling guilty that we’d hardly hugged them since their homecoming, so I sat on the floor and called Hudson over. He threw himself into my lap and I began to rub his belly. “What is that? Something moving? No. No, please.” Fleas. Crawling all over his abdomen. We quarantined the dogs to their crates, and I left a frantic message for the vet, while Andrew vacuumed. Then we went to sleep.

We didn’t hear a peep until 6:30 the next morning. Maddie was whimpering, pathetically in her crib. I ran in and picked up my hot, hot baby. 103. Not good. I gave her more Tylenol, she reached for her crib and fell back asleep until eight.

When she got up, she was content to watch a movie on the couch with me, while I gulped some coffee that unbeknownst to me, until Andy prepared his an hour later, had been made with green algae water. There’s a lesson here, folks. Don’t leave water sitting in your Keurig (even turned off) for two weeks. Not okay.

I brought the dogs to Petsmart late Sunday morning for flea baths and grooming and picked up new flea meds- we went with K9 Advantix 2 this time. Then I stopped at a carwash to get all the snow and salt off my car. I treated myself to the good one, where they vacuum out the inside for you. Lest I forget to mention it, later that afternoon, it rained all over my newly cleaned car.

Sitting in her high chair for a small bite to eat at lunchtime, I noticed Madeline’s hands looked blue. I called the nurse advice line, who told us to go straight to our pediatrician. By the time we got there, she had regained normal coloring, but we had her checked out anyway.

As soon as she walked in, our doctor said, “Oh, she looks bad. She looks fluish.” Say what? A finger prick and a nose swab later, and our baby was unfortunately diagnosed with Flu A. We left with a prescription for Tamiflu and a new cream for the never-ending diaper rash she got for 2014 in New York. Andrew left in his car for CVS for the meds, and I left with Maddie for home to meet a couple who wanted to buy our old kitchen table and barstools.

But one minute into my drive, CVS called and told me they didn’t have Tamiflu in stock. So I called Andrew and told him to meet us at home so we could regroup. Somehow in the space of 45 minutes, I put Maddie down for another nap, had her prescriptions switched to the Walmart (yick) pharmacy next to Petsmart (where I was going to pick up the dogs), we took down the Christmas lights and sold our stuff for $60 (wooooo Craigslist). Then, I left Andy with the baby and went out again on my final quest of the day.

Walmart had the Tamiflu, but didn’t have the cream (awesome- a second trip to Walmart on Monday). Petsmart delivered our pups back without fleas and looking and smelling fresh as daisies. I picked up Papa Johns and two six packs of beer and made it home at the tail end of Maddie’s dinner.

Insert the awful drama-fest that was us trying to give Madeline crappy tasting Tamiflu, complete with her gagging and vomiting all over Andrew and the kitchen floor, here.

I bathed her in a luke-warm bath and put my shivering baby to bed. Then I scarfed two pieces of cold pizza and a beer and put myself to bed.

This morning as I sat down to write this post at 9:30, an alert popped up on my phone – “Orthopedist for final x-ray in ten minutes.” You can imagine the scramble that ensued to get to the hospital, so that we could finally put the broken arm business behind us.

Welcome home! Hope you enjoyed your vacation! Payback’s a witch.


  1. Ermergerd woman. That sounds pretty hellish! Poor Maddie. Sweet thing can’t catch a break lately. Luckily I scored all of my crap from my parents’ house while Steve was deployed. I took photos for him but was secretly thankful that he didn’t witness my hoarder tendencies and see firsthand what a nerd he married. Not that’s he not already fully aware. But still. Junior high evidence need not exist.

    May the power of Clorox be with you all!

    • allisonmwilhelm says

      I’m strangely proud of how nerdy I was. You can take a girl out of grammar school, but you can’t take the grammar school out of the girl!

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