Some weekend

It was the best of weekends, it was the worst of weekends …

Let’s start with Friday. Our washing machine broke down Christmas Day, and Friday was the soonest we could get a repairman to check it out.

He pulled it out, inspected it and determined it needed a new pump and belt, which I was prepared to hear. Then, after further inspection, he also determined the washer needed a new motor, which had burned out – literally. It melted its plastic parts and even burned a strip in the carpet on the floor of our laundry room. I guess that explains the burning smell I found when I discovered the washer’s demise Christmas Day.

The repairman’s visit ended with me giving him the go-ahead to order the replacement parts, and we expect to see him again later this week when he installs them and finishes the job. Which in the end, despite the inconvenience, will be several hundred dollars cheaper than buying a new machine.

So we’re good.

* * *

Friday night we went bowling with my work colleagues and our families. A belated holiday party. We had loads of fun. We reserved two lanes for the adults and two lanes with bumpers for the kids.

Phoebe had never been bowling, and I’m not sure she even knew what that meant, but we played it up for her all week long. And when she went to school Friday, apparently it was quite the topic of conversation among her and Lucas, one of her classmates whose mother works in my office. So much so that she told her teachers she was going to sleep during her nap so she could be ready for the bowling.

As we pulled out of our driveway to head toward the bowling alley, Phoebe announced from the back seat, “Guess what?” – because that’s how she starts every sentence these days – “Me and Lucas both took naps today, so we’re all ready for bowling!”

Phoebe took right to it, with an orange bowling ball. And every one of her turns was adorable in its Phoebe way. She’d step to the bowling lane. Set the ball down and push it just enough to get it going. Then she would immediately turn around and stroll back to her chair to resume eating her snacks, completely ignoring the big orange ball that was bobbing its way off the bumpers and traveling ever-so-slowly toward the pins. Five, 10, maybe 15 seconds later, the ball would reach its destination, knock over some pins and attract hardly a shrug from Phoebe. … But when her new point total appeared on the board, she’d break into a jumping fit and shout the latest total, “Daddy! I got 13 points!”

Toward the end of the night someone taught her how to push the ball while turned backward …

For the record, I’ve never been a great bowler. But I enjoy it, and my game seems to improve the older I get. I bowled a 127 in my first game.

And I bowled a 147 in my second game, topped with a strike to start off the last frame. I believe it’s my all-time best score. And I even bowled a goose egg in the first frame.

* * *

Saturday, Kates and I sorted the laundry, and I agreed to take it to the laundromat.

Aside from the cheesy infomercial about some brain enhancer product on the TV, it wasn’t so bad. The college students are moving back to town this weekend, fresh off of four weeks of doing their laundry at their homes, so the mat was relatively open and quiet.

I filled four washing machines and spent the cycles sitting at a booth, transcribing some of my interviews during the week.

Twenty or so minutes later, I was moving the loads to the drying machines. When they were finished, I folded our laundry, and I was out of there in 2 ½ hours.

Aside from the fact that I spent about 10 bucks in quarters, the time it took, using four machines at the same time, sure beat the time it usually takes us to finish the process with our single washer and dryer at home.

* * *

Shortly after I returned home, things really got interesting.

Phoebe, who we discovered had a fever as were putting her to bed Friday night, started complaining her stomach hurt. … A few minutes later, she was bent over the toilet and vomiting.

Cut to a couple hours later in the afternoon. Kates and Faye had just woken from a nap on the couch, and Kates, while lying on the couch, had Faye sitting on her belly. Suddenly, white formula vomit began erupting from Faye’s mouth and poured down onto Kates like a waterfall. It seemed to go for several minutes …

(Is this good reading, or what?)

After bumbling around the kitchen trying to find something to clean up the mess, I finally just grabbed Faye away from Kates and carried her to the bathtub, where I stripped her down. And Faye began giggling and slapping her hands to her legs like I was her stuffed giraffe.

A couple minutes later, after she had cleaned the mess from herself and changed clothes, Kates came into the bathroom and tossed her dirty clothes into the bathtub on top of Faye’s.

At that point, I burst out laughing. “Both of our girls are sick and throwing up, and our washing machine is broken! Could this get any better?!”

Today, Phoebe had a low fever. And Faye vomited again. Neither will be going to school tomorrow.

* * *

We can't be sure it's a flu bug we're dealing with at our house -- all of us have had our flu shots except Phoebe -- but ..

Is it just me, or does it seem like the media behaves every winter like it's the worst flu season we've ever seen? To Gail Collins' smart-and-witty-as-usual column Friday, I say: Exactly.
* * *

It sure has been an excellent weekend to watch the NFL playoffs. Even though three of the four teams I was rooting for lost.

Only the Patriots' win left me pleased. And that was the only game that never was in doubt.

And I worked through most of the Falcons-Seahawks game, while following the updates on Twitter. It was only when I saw the tweets anouncing the Seahawks had gone ahead with 31 seconds left in regulation that I turned to the game on TV. Only to see the Falcons move down the field and win it with a last-second field goal.

Broncos-Ravens. A great game that looked like it was in the Broncos' hands every time Trindon Holliday fielded a punt or kick. ... Then Peyton Manning through an interception in overtime, and the game turned into a Ravens win.

Of course, the most upsetting loss was the 49ers' defeat of the Packers.

Meanwhile, our hometown hero, Miss America was giving up her crown. ... Has it really been a year since we watched her crowning moment?

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