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  • jdettmann

The Longest Weekend

Another long weekend, another virus or two lay waste to the House of Gusto. The past four days are best described as ‘not at all in any way resembling how I made it look on social media’. The illness struck the extended family this time, with nine of us coming down with some or all of nausea, vomiting, fevers, coughs and body aches. The kids added a common or garden variety cold to the mix, to keep things fresh, and so on Easter Sunday night May Blossom ended up screaming in pain from an infected ear, and barking the house down with croup. Because we were at my parents’ place in the country, we set the bush telegraph to work and located a vintage 1980s humifier from some local friends, which got her through the night, along with regular doses of Panadol and Nurofen. First thing Monday morning we hightailed it back to civilisation and steroids and antibiotics. Today we have applied a heavy dose of sofa and Netflix, which seems to be helping.


Poor little kid. She and her brother are so prone to ear infections and croup. They just have tiny little respiratory tracts and miniscule Eustachian tubes, positioned in such a way that they don’t really drain well. I find myself eying H, in the cold light of morning after yet another night of no sleep, wondering if it’s his poorly angled face drains or mine that the kids inherited. His ears do look remarkably in line with his nose. But then so do mine. There should be some way to tell these things by looking at a person on your first date. Maybe in the future dating apps will allow you to select for Eustachian tube dimensions and angles. Hell, maybe they already do. It’s a brave new world out there since H and I met at a party one Friday, went for a drink at a pub the next Friday and never parted.

My brother and his wife and one-year-old daughter all got sick too. When I asked SuperChief how his Easter was, he replied that he would have taken any one of the three days of the original Easter over his own this year.

Day 1, crucifixion? Better than a day spent with a vomiting baby with diahrroea, a pregnant wife with a stinking cold who can’t take anything decent for it, and being seven days from moving house. Day 2, a nice day of being alone and dead in a cave? Bring it on. Day 3, the Resurrection? Not as good as lying quietly in a cave with a rock keeping everyone out, but still better than driving around the city on a public holiday trying to source more packing boxes.

Our weekend wasn’t as bad as his. When we weren’t taking it in turns to be the most sick, we went for walks by the river, baked hot cross buns – both chocolate chip and currant varieties – watched Garnet cover himself in so much mud he looked like a one-man re-enactment of the Winfield Cup trophy, and played with Mum’s ridiculous new chooks.

The chooks lay very small white eggs, and I came over all Barbara from The Good Life and dyed them with vegetable scraps, making a pretty pattern using the net bag some onions came in. I was absurdly proud of myself.

After that things went downhill what with all the pain and sadness for May Blossom, and we were all pretty glad to get home. There’s still not much sleep, though, between May Blossom waking herself up coughing and needing me, then Garnet waking up with envy that I am in her bed and not his.

This morning H got up with the kids and left me with a cup of coffee to reassemble myself into a rough approximation of a human, which was very good of him, but when I got downstairs I found him wearing a crown, making toast and engaging in a worrying discussion about whether he should shave off his beard. The kids were all for it.

I staggered into the kitchen and roared ‘NO’, at what was, in hindsight, perhaps an impolite volume. H laughed at me, no doubt remembering the time nine years ago when we were bored and I got him to shave his beard off, before immediately asking him to glue it back on.

Now May Blossom, world’s politest child, whispered to me, ‘Does he not look very nice without a beard?’

‘He looks very nice indeed,’ I told her truthfully. ‘He looks like a very handsome man. Just not a handsome man I know.’ Although maybe if he hadn’t been hiding his face under a beard when we met I might have been able to spot his questionable facial angles and none of this this would have ever happened. And that would have been no good at all.


A patch of crocuses seems to have sprouted only on the exact spot in the garden where H and I were wed. Make of that what you will.

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