Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nectar Hills, Chapter 4

It was always a blessing when we could get the twins to bed at the same time; which wasn’t often. El was always so beat from just tending to them, that she would take every opportunity to get some sleep in.

I began to spend less and less time in the garden or working on in the shed on the machines to help out with the boys. I look forward to spending time with them. It’s a nice diversion from the grease and grime I usually find myself covered in.

As the days go by, the boys play together more and more and actually get along with each other, which is a blessing in itself. They can play for hours with each other and we can get some other things done.

I was quite at a loss one day when, for breakfast, El placed a plate of birthday cake; old birthday cake that tasted of freezer burn; in front of me. It took everything I had to choke it down; it was so dry, no amount of juice or water made the task any easier.

I also noticed that she had donned a less than stunning dress in blue, of all colors.

I did attempt to inquire as to where it came from and why she was wearing it, but the look on her face was enough for me to drop the subject of the ugly blue dress.

In the coming days El was slowing down, becoming more tired as they passed, and falling asleep as soon as her head struck the pillow. Something was definitely amiss.

I took every chance I could get to teach the boys to walk so they could better get about the house on their own.

It soon became evident that El was once again pregnant. As she began to show, signs of morning sickness subsided. She spent many days playing in the sprinkler, letting the boys dig in the mud in the garden all the while. They all had fun.

Potty training was difficult with two strong-willed children. The boys always seemed to mess in their diapers on the way to the potty, making the trip pointless. The few times we were able to get them to the potty were profitable, as they learned to use them very quickly.

I’m just not sure whether it was worse to smell the diapers or the potties. Neither one was pleasant to clean up.

With the arduous tasks of teaching the boys to walk, talk and use the potty behind us, we were able to spend some time alone. El would crank up the old Victrola and we would dance together; not that we were even a threat to Gingersnap Rogers and Alfredo Astaire, but we enjoyed ourselves.

I had more time to myself now, with El and the boys going to bed earlier and sleeping longer. I took the time to catch up on some reading. Cin would coax El into going to the library with her and she would bring home all genres of books; from self-help to cook books. I enjoyed reading, so it didn’t really matter what the subject was.

The time arrived; El was going into labor; so I called a sitter, got the boys settled and rushed El to the hospital.

Unlike Cin, El was not going to have her children at home. She is so shy; she didn’t even want me in the delivery room.

An orderly met us at the door and quickly guided El into the wheelchair and carted her off to delivery. I paused for a moment in front of the doors, a feeling of uneasiness passing over me; and I would soon find out that it was not unwarranted.

Back at the house, another harrowing scenario was playing out which would affect our family.

The sitter, for whatever reason, lit a fire in the old stove that was in the house when I moved in. I had never really found a need to light a fire, so I was not aware of how unsafe it really was.

The fire department was quick to respond; keeping losses to a minimum.

It did not take long for the blaze to intensify, first engulfing the corner of the room in a fiery furnace; spewing sparks about in search of a new place to light.

One of the boys was trapped out on the deck, and the babysitter, in an attempt to rescue him, got trapped inside the blaze. All attempts to rescue the sitter failed and he forfeited his life that night in a brave, yet futile act.

El flat our refused to stay in the hospital after learning that she and the babies; yes babies; were all healthy and received a clean bill of health.

As we turned down our street, we saw flashes of red cutting through the darkness in the distance. As we neared the house, we saw the fire truck taking up a good portion of the road.

I raced into the house, instructing El to stay put with the babies. To my horror, I found there was only one firefighter battling the blaze. To her, it may have seemed small and insignificant, but to me it was a blazing inferno, threatening my family and our livelihood.

I grabbed our extinguisher, and took up a position along side of the firefighter, who suddenly became distracted by activity on the other side of the room.

“Pay attention to where you’re spraying,” I bellowed through the smoke-filled air.

“You seem to have it under control,” she stated matter-of-factly.

“What?” I screamed, “You’re the professional; do your job already!”

My extinguisher jammed and as I was trying to determine the cause, I noticed she had stopped spraying the flames; her attention completely turned to the other side of the room.

After mumbling some obscenities at the firefighter for leaving me to finish extinguishing the blaze, I was able to fix the jam in the extinguisher and eradicate the flames myself.

As I turned to put the extinguisher away, I saw what was causing the diversion. El had entered the house with the babies. I was beginning to get angry, feeling the heat rise in my veins. I was appalled that the firefighter not only did nothing to keep her outside through this ordeal, but that she was going gaga over the babies along with the second firefighter who had quietly materialized during this ordeal.

I asked the firefighters to leave as calmly as I was able at the point.

“You guys should be more careful next time,” my orange female friend said as she was leaving.

It took every ounce of El’s strength to hold me back. I was already peeved that I was left to attend the fire on my own and find the firefighter cooing over my children; that that comment just sent me over the edge.

As I was calming down, I heard one of the boys crying. It seemed to be coming from outside on the deck. Again, my blood began to boil as I found Dusty out there screaming; scared out of his wits. It took some time to get him calmed down as well.

We found beds for our new guests and got them tucked in. As I was getting the last one settled, El began screaming. I raced out to the living room to see what was the matter, only to be run down by her as she flew past. I noticed her clothes were on fire as she disappeared into the bathroom.

I was pleased to see she had the good sense to run to the shower to put the flames out.

I raced in to the living room to find the stove had once again spread its fiery embers to the surrounding area.

I began to battle back the smaller blaze this time, yelling to El to see if she was alright.

I told her to get the twins out of the room as they were sitting on the floor right next to the blaze.

She moved them to safety and came to aid with the fire. As much as I appreciated the assistance, her aim could have been a little more accurate. It was she, this time, that picked the faulty extinguisher and it jammed on her.

El was so exhausted from the events of the day that she just could not continue. The heat had taken its toll and she gave up.

She had every reason to collapse right there, but she wasn’t about to give in just yet.

Just as the flames were extinguished, the firefighter burst through the door. Seeing that the flames were put out, she mumbled something about wasting her time.

When I asked her what she had said, she again stated, ““You guys should be more careful next time.”

I’m sure my glare got my message across without words. She hurriedly turned and left. I returned to the stove and removed every last bit of ash from the interior.

What a way to welcome our new bundles home.

I went in to check on the boys one last time before going to bed myself. They were all tucked in safely and sleeping soundly; the twins Dusty and Smoky and the new triplets, Onyx, Coal and Gray.

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I awoke on the floor of the very overcrowded nursery.

I made my way to the bedroom and heard the cries of one of the babies just as I was slipping under the covers. I returned to the nursery and saw to the babies’ needs.

As I held each one, I teemed with pride at having such healthy children; all sons at that. I momentarily felt a pang of disappointment as I remembered how much El wanted a girl; perhaps next time.

I was feeling somewhat refreshed and coherent, so I decided to practice on the keyboard my parents had sent. We’d had to move it to the living room to make space for three more cribs.

The ordeal with the fire would go on to haunt us in the coming weeks. Dealing with the insurance company was most definitely a trying process. After putting out well over §3000, all the insurance company would reimburse us was §193. Sure it was something, but not nearly what it cost in repairs. I began to question whether having insurance was worth it at all.

A few days later, as I was getting the twins ready for the day, I heard the music box begin to play in the nursery.

The babies began crying. I heard El begin to hum, but the cries only got louder. When I peered into the room, El was standing next to the music box, rock to and fro to the music, humming to herself.

She did not respond to my voice, so I move to the babies and took care of their needs. El just rocked to and fro.

At my insistence, she began taking strolls into the city every day, just to be alone for a time. All of the boys in one room was just too much for her to handle at times. She seemed to be able to cope more easily after having gotten away from me, the boys and the house.

Dealing with the boys got easier as the days passed. It was time for the triplets’ first birthday. It was such a beautiful day; we decided to set up tables on the deck for their cakes. I made my way to one of the cakes with Onyx, and El tripped on one of the toys and almost went over the rail; head over heels. It wasn’t funny, but I felt the need to stifle a chuckle.

First up was Grey;

Then Coal, who was in desperate need of a bath;

and finally, Onyx.