I will apologize now for the long post. It's been a while. So, before reading, take a quick potty break, refill your cup of coffee, take a NoDoze, then make yourself comfortable. And make sure you have some eyedrops with in reach.
What started out thought to be food poisoning (courtesy of some bad ranch at Arby's) was in reality an intestinal flu. Constant diarrhea and violent vomiting made for a long and miserable drive out to Cheyenne. The flu bug not so comfortably settled in at about 3pm Friday and seemed to have cleared (not including the lingering effects) by late Christmas Eve.
In hopes to settle my stomach, ease aching muscles, and essentially drug me enough to make me sleep, Bekah mixed a vicious concoction of V8 Splash, Sprite, and hydrocodone. Not so tasty. And, I'm not quite sure whether it worked or not. However, in the midst of a pit stop in Sheridan Wyoming, I was exhausted enough to fall asleep while sitting on the toilet (an event my parents will never let me live down).
But, enough of the gory details. The Christmas to New Years break was enjoyable, partially relaxing, and largely uneventful. Since I guessed (at random) what Bekah got me for Christmas, she was forced to lie and get deceptively creative. She managed to separate a ski parka into four separate boxes, fleece liner - right sleeve - left sleeve - and the rest of the jacket.
Christmas isn't about gifts though, it is about family. Especially every other year when the Budd clan gathers in Cheyenne. And that bi-yearly event was the sole purpose behind the grievous twenty hour all night drive mentioned earlier.
When I say "clan" I mean that in a literal sense. My mom's side of the family is a large and humorously obnoxious bunch. Gramma and Grampa Budd had a total of seven kids. From those seven came eleven grandkids and (so far) four great-grandkids. So if everyone is in attendance there is potential for a small army of thirty three crammed into the basement living room at the elder Budd's house.
We didn't quite have a full house as four were on a ski trip, a few came late, and one great grandkid lives with the other grandmother. Still, it was crowded come Christmas afternoon. Oddly enough, I wasn't the only one sick. Over the week half of us were sick with some cold or flu variation, one fell victim to strep throat, and one plain fell breaking an arm. Needless to say my flu symptoms got replaced by cold symptoms that I still have yet to recover from.
The overwhelming sicknesses were a break from the norm. The Budd family is traditionally a healthy family and a Christmas with fifty percent of us feeling like a rotting carcass had been previously unheard of. Like most large families, tensions can flare if you are not careful. With everyone out sick we talked less, keeping those potentially volatile situations at bay. I guess illness can be a mixed blessing.
By the time breakfast was served Christmas morning, I had not had solid food in over twenty four hours and still did not feel like eating ever again. During that time I most likely lost five pounds, and despite extreme dehydration I was feeling happy about that fact. A week later and I'm not yet sure how I feel about eating.
All is well that ends well. There were a couple of surprises. Aunt Penny Jo, an intelligent Phoenix area resident and golf fan who looks the part of a WPGA competitor, is a NASCAR fan. I would never have guessed. And in home daycares are among the most chaotic environments on earth: Bekah and I woke up listening to the circus music introduction of Willy Wonka (the new Depp/Burton collabo, not the classic Gene Wilder version) and The Care Bears DVD played on an nearly endless loop. Any one want to guess what my niece an nephew got for Christmas?