If you're human, like me, every so often something happens that just strips your gears. You might be spinning in place for the day, or for a week, or for longer. It always happens. No one is spared.
Saturday my family of four headed out on the Cannonball and the Ute for a ride up to the school in Westminster. The second night of the school play was Saturday and my wife, the assistant director, had asked if I would take a group photo of the kids so they could print it and give it to the director as a gift.
Bean was on her mom's bike and Boone was riding with me. As we approached 72nd on Kipling Boone said: "My stomach hurts."
He'd not been himself all morning and had complained about his stomach earlier in the day, but he seemed okay.
I asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom, or thought he was going to throw up. He said no. I replied in my parent-of-the-year tone: "Well, I'm not sure what you want me to do for you." I then asked if being on the bike was causing his belly to hurt worse and he said no. And then he said yes.
We were going through the big intersection at 72nd so I couldn't just stop at that point. I decided we'd go up a couple of blocks and pull off at the fire station. We were riding along in the very nice bike lanes on Kipling between 72nd and 80th. I glanced back at him and in my blurred periphery he seemed a bit pale, but Boone is naturally pale anyway so I didn't think a whole lot about it. I did keep expecting for him to puke all over my back.
Suddenly the bike ripped sideways in my hands, dragging the world to the right, and putting the bike squarely on the leftmost painted line of the bike lane. I instinctively planted both feet, the bike tilted wildly under me. When I looked back...Boone was hanging off the side of the bike, upside down, his head only a few inches from the pavement, his feet were caught in the FreeLoaders and holding him partially on the bike.
I was off the bike, holding it steady with one hand and pulling Boone up by his wrist with the other. An older couple in a convertible, thankfully in the left-hand lane, had stopped. As I got a good grip on him and eased him back upright I waved to them and called out that were were okay. They waved back and slowly drove away.
Mandy had reached us on foot and helped me get Boone on his feet and then she took him over to the far side of the sidewalk as I got the bike out of the street.
We had him lay down and try to drink a little water. It felt so warm because the temperature was much higher than it had been, and it was a sunny day.
Without discussing it, we parental units came to the conclusion that I would ride home and get the car while Mandy waited with the kids.
I was adamant that we go up a half a block to the fire station and get him in out of the sun. There was really no other shade along Kipling along there, and if he got worse while I was gone he'd be in good care.
We walked up the sidewalk and Boone started looking slightly better. He was still disturbingly pale. Well, more disturbingly pale than he normally is.
The firemen met us at the door and let Mandy and Boone hang out while Bean and I raced home to get the car.
When we passed a stopped RTD bus she pumped a fist and cried: "Suckers!" When the bus overtook us and passed us she cried: "Awww!" and slammed her fist into her thigh.
I don't think she was terribly traumatized by her brother's blacking out. That would come later.
Long story truncated: we got the car and went back to the fire station. Mandy drove the kids home as I brought the second bike back. We took it easy all afternoon, giving Boone fluids and watching him closely. It seemed to be dehydration.
He improved as the day went on, so in the afternoon I rode Minus over to Olde Town and unplugged from the world in a corner of my favorite coffee shop to work on some writing. I pedaled back after a couple of hours so we could get ready and head up to the play.
Boone seemed to have perked up when I got home. We asked him if he was up to going. He said he felt better. So off we went.
Around 80th and Wadsworth Boone began complaining that his stomach was hurting again. Before we reached 88th we were rolling down the windows, and I pulled off the road. Lily was screaming; she'd been traumatized by the sight of her brother emptying his stomach.
And...back home we went.
Boone and I stayed home, though he was finally looking better. He ate a little dinner as we watched the original Planet of the Apes. In fact, I had to force him to slow down. I wanted to see how he handled food on his belly before he consumed the usual horse-portions he's used to.
After the movie I put on the original Star Trek series. Boone and Lily love Star Trek, but vehemently prefer Kirk to Picard. Boone rolled over on the couch with his back to the TV and closed his eyes. It was only 9pm. So I got him in bed and he was out like a light.
The next day he snapped back. He was back to normal volume levels and in the afternoon could be seen running around the yard with his bike helmet over his face like a mask, looking like the Martian from The Martian Chronicles mini-series from the '80s, and playing at his usual intensity.
As of bedtime last night he seemed to be back to normal. Bad food? Stomach bug? Dehydration? Alien probe? Who knows?
He stayed in on Sunday while the rest of us hoed around in the garden. All of our garlic plants have sprouted and we have a nice little community of earthworms. Won't be long now...
Lily decided she wanted to re-learn to ride her bike yesterday. So we worked on it a little bit. First we tried the "big girl bike" with the buddy bar. For some reason it just didn't work...even after she took off her mud boots and put on regular shoes. So then she asked if I 'd take the training wheels off her little bike, so I did, and she spend the afternoon alternately howling with joy and screaming in frustration.
She's not there, but she's closer.
It was a weird up and down weekend. The family is on spring break this week, so things should be more relaxed. That's a good thing. This time change monkey-business should be against the law.