It’s not all that surprising that I caught a bug. This summer, we’ve had many, many house guests and among those house guests were the most adorable babies and children, and a couple of the little ones weren’t well when they walked through our door. One had a cough, then another caught the cough, then gastric upset invaded the group, sending food out of the in-hole, so to speak, and none of it was unexpected. If you’ve ever been a parent, you know that kind of thing happens, especially when people have traveled for hundreds of miles.
I didn’t mind it at all. I happily held and kissed and hugged the little ones, over and over again. When the wee folk went home, I missed them terribly. Almost miraculously, I hadn’t caught their colds and my stomach felt fine. I know this is true because I gorged most gloriously on the large pieces of the homemade carrot cake that one of my favorite adult visitors had left for me and Glynn.
In between visiting and babies, I worked on rewriting 4th Bro’, as did Glynn, but our writing schedule was pretty much shot. With our attentions divided, we were putting out less than half of our usual word count.
Then, a few days later, more visitors arrived. Coming all the way from China, these were two more of my most favorite people. One of them also had a cough but I insisted on sharing hugs and kisses all around, anyway. When people you love come from a long way away, and you fear you won’t see them for years, some touching is mandatory.
These visitors came bearing gifts. One of these gifts is the mighty Panda King you see in the above image. It’s an inexpensive action toy (it’s both a “Panda King” and a “soldier machine”, according to the packaging, which is the only English wording on the thing), and it…well, it’s bizarre. “It holds a gun!” Glynn said, laughing, as if its half robot/half panda bear body wasn’t the weirdest thing about it. He loves it. It sits on his work desk, standing guard beside General Toad, and its freakiness tickles him. When he found out that panda bears are considered symbols of good luck in China, he liked it all the better.
Since he’s arrived, the Panda King has been a little stingy with his luck, if you ask me. Panda in hand, our guests arrived during a heat wave, which never went away. Heavy thunderstorms punctuated almost every day of their visit. We still enjoyed one another’s company, we had a good time, we caught up and played board games, and then – for one, brief, glorious, still too hot day, the clouds parted. Since our visitors were leaving the country in two days, we knew we had to seize the opportunity to get out. They’d been eager to tour Sedona, the land of the red rocks, so we all jumped in the car and raced many, many miles down the road.
They did the tourist-thing, Glynn and I did the sweating-thing as temperatures crept ever higher, and, by the end of the day, we were all ready to go back to the car. Crossing the street, I went ahead of the others. Moving a little too quickly – there was a wrinkle of shade just a few feet ahead and I wanted to bask in its comfort – I managed to catch the heel of my shoe on the edge of the concrete curb. Twisting as I tumbled, I bounced against the cement. My hip was bruised, my back was wrenched and I think I cracked a rib or two.
Not the best end to a fine afternoon.
The cough arrived two days after my fall, just as we loaded our visitors onto an airport shuttle. As the cough continued, I was soon reminded that cracked ribs and a hearty cough do not play well together. My doctor says I have viral bronchitis, which laughs at modern antibiotics, and all I can do is rest and try to get better. Which is what I’m doing now.
Panda King, you owe me.