I’ll begin at the end: By the time the boys returned to school after the holiday break, Dustin told them, “If your teachers ask you to draw what you did over vacation, draw a silver bowl and tell them, ‘Take from this what you will’.”
Put a broken iPhone in the silver bowl, and that pretty much sums up our New Year’s.
Two weeks prior, we had one of our best Christmases ever. After three years of being “just the five of us,” we finally had family in town to celebrate with us. Plus, Santa actually remembered to bring Ford a globe (It only took seven years of asking), and gave him an iPhone, too.
The phone was especially exciting because Dustin and I said we’d never buy him one. That was before the salesman at AT&T, working magic that I still don’t understand, lowered our monthly bill with the addition of another line. Otherwise, Santa would be in a heap of trouble for getting us into a contract.
Two days after Christmas, we followed Dustin to Washington, D.C., where he’d be working over New Year’s, and where we keep a small (like, really small) apartment. We planned a trip to Monticello, and maybe a few days with my parents. But on the first day, we rested. We watched movies all day and played with new Christmas toys.
I remember saying to Dustin, “It’s nice to have a down day like this, but I can’t stay cooped up in the apartment all week.”
About two hours later, I got sick — all over the only bathroom in the place.
For the next two days, I was bedridden. The kids were living like “Home Alone” outside the one bedroom while Dustin worked all day. Pizza boxes piled up in the kitchen, and when Dustin came home at night, he had to do about four loads of laundry in the coin-operated machines down the hall.
On Tuesday, once I was better, we were really ready for that trip to Monticello.
That’s when Owen got sick — all over the only bathroom in the place.
Two days and four loads of laundry later, Owen was feeling better.
That’s when Lindell got sick. All over the only bath — Well, he never made it to the bathroom.
Two days and four loads of laundry after that, it was time to drive back to Maine.
That’s when Ford got sick.
It was like a really sad version of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
On our way home, I had planned to stay at a hotel in Massachusetts that offers a big brunch and an indoor pool. It would be the consolation prize for having driven 12 hours to spend a week in the one-bedroom apartment. But when Ford got sick, I knew I had to cancel and possibly face financial penalties.
Luckily, the woman on the phone let us cancel with a 100-percent refund.
“I can’t thank you enough,” I told her. “Your kindness is a bright spot in a bad week.”
Looking back on it, what I should have said to her is this: “I can’t thank you enough because I’m about to put a $550 phone in the washing machine, so I’m going to need that money.”
I hung up the phone, stripped the bed and headed to the coin-operated laundry machine for what I hoped would be the last time.
“All this laundry is getting really expensive,” Dustin said.
At that very moment, we were shoving Ford’s brand new iPhone, lost in a tangled blanket, into the washer.
When I got back to the apartment, Ford said he couldn’t find his phone.
“Oh, I have this handy app called ‘Find my iPhone’,” I told him cheerfully. I few quick taps later, and the app was loading. “We’ll just click to update, and …”
Ford watched over my shoulder as the screen refreshed. My iPhone appeared first, in the apartment, where it should be. Dustin’s appeared next, right next to mine. And then Ford’s phone lit up — down the hall.
“Does that seem like it’s near the washing…?” “Noooooooooooooooo!”
I ran to the washing machine, but it was too late. The door was locked. On the app, Ford’s phone still glowed, until the last 10 minutes of the cycle, when it went black.
“I hope Santa got insurance,” Dustin said.
I looked at him and cried. I mean, who gets the insurance? (Moral of this story: get the insurance.)
Ford handled the whole thing surprisingly well. Mostly, he was relieved the accident wasn’t his fault. Also, there was the hope that Chris from Chris Downs Computer Room could help.
Lindell, however, didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. “Why is everyone so upset,” he said. “I mean, just be glad Santa bought the phone, not you.”
Yes, well, there’s always that.