Our daughter Janelle and her husband Mike (former Greenwich Village party-people) were very excited to be going to their good friend’s wedding in Miami. They dropped their three-year-old son, Jagger, and seven-month-old daughter, Siena, at our house for four nights. I had gone to Costco to stock up on what I thought we’d need once we became shut-in grandparents.

Still trying to figure out why I had purchased a carload of crap from a mega store, my daughter called and said “We’re coming by now to drop off the kid’s. For a fleeting moment, I wondered why we needed all my stuff and now all her stuff. My eyes widened when the two fully-loaded SUVs pulled up at our front door. Janelle handed me my granddaughter. Mike unbuckled Jagger out of his Houdini car seat, and my grandson ran around me in circles, pulling at my sleeve for attention. “Cracka,” (he calls me Gram Cracker) “I’m going to sleep over your house in the bed with you and Papa King.” He looked so excited. And he seemed fine. Just fine.

At dinner Siena sat in the high chair, squeezing avocado between her fingers and smearing it over her pudgy cheeks. I was disappointed that Jagger didn’t want to eat his dinner, but I was pleased enough with him drinking almost an entire gallon of the nutritious Mysterious Green Drink. At least I got ONE thing at Costco that paid off, I thought. Sure, it was worth the $400! On the label of the bottle, it actually states: “It looks weird, but tastes amazing.” It not only contains five different fruits, but also Spirulina (whatever the hell that is.) Oh, wait! Let me Google it.  Definition: “Filamentous Cyano-bacteria that form tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa and Central and South America.” NO LIE. In addition to alfalfa, broccoli, spinach, kale, garlic, barley grass, wheat grass, ginger, and parsley. And, by the way, these things are “sustainably grown and harvested”.  After dinner, I left the dirty dishes on the countertop and in the sink, thinking I’d get back to them later.

I read Jagger his favorite storybooks while we cuddled in our king-size poster bed and noticed his eyes looking kinda glazed-over. I felt his forehead and it was warm, but I didn’t think it was unusual; he looked almost as exhausted as I was and fell asleep quickly. I started to tiptoe out of the room so I could clean the mess in the kitchen. But Jagger had different plans for the evening. With only one foot out of the master bedroom, I did an about-face when I heard déjà vu audio from the movie The Exorcist. Poor Jagger bolted himself into a sitting position and projectiled all that green goodness onto our white down comforter. I thought of the label again on that big green bottle. It says to be sure to SHAKE WELL … Jagger took care of that!

Carrying the three year old to the bathroom was like moving slow motion in my worst dream. And I don’t know what I was thinking he would do once I got him to the vomitorium, being this was a first for him…he had no idea he had to aim the green machine into the bowl, instead of EVERYWHERE else! I couldn’t blame the poor child.

He sat on the floor, trembling, and looking at me in shock. “It’s okay,” I lied; I didn’t want to let on that I’ve always been phobic about throwing up (Seriously!). “Um, don’t move, I’ll go get Papa King,” I told him and ran down our (50-foot-7 inch long) hallway (I just measured it) as if I had wheels on my feet. “Come with me! NOW!” I yelled at my husband, knowing he’s a slow-walker. “MOVE IT! MOVE IT!” Papa King, who had been mellowing out at the other end of our house, listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters, had no clue what troubled waters he was about to embark upon.


He rose to the occasion though, stripping the sheets and comforter off the bed, and wiping up the floors. I was quite impressed. Jagger and I both sat on the floor with our green hair, watching him clean up. As soon as the shock wore off, he screamed, “I WANT MY MOMMY!” My heart crumbled.

Siena was starting to stir in her crib from all the noise, and the craziness got crazier. It was like a scene from a nutty movie. Even our golden retriever, Jude (who I named after the Saint of the Impossible) joined us for what looked like fun to her, and grabbed the baby’s pacifier when it dropped from Siena’s open, crying mouth, and the six-year-old dog pranced like a puppy, taunting us to play chase. “You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!”

My once clutter-free home, which is up For Sale, by the way, turned into a circus. I couldn’t imagine how I’d prepare to show the house the next morning for the realtor who was bringing prospective buyers. The HGTV show came to mind … how they talk about “staging” … I tried to recall if there was ever an episode called Exit, Stage Left.

That entire night, I slept zero hours, minutes, seconds, waiting to hear sounds from my two little grandchildren, my precious little cookies, and I was doubly tortured by Papa King’s snoring (the man can fall asleep on a picket fence); I wondered who would be next in line to get the bug?

In the morning, when I asked Jagger what he wanted for breakfast, he answered, “I just want my BIG Gre-e-en drink.” My gag reflex went into immediate action.

That day, in between my lack of sleep and cool baths to bring down his 104 temperature and delirium, photos of the wedding party were being posted on Facebook…and there stood Janelle and Mike in their cool sunglasses with big smiles on their faces, holding cocktail glasses with little umbrellas in them. How could I tell them what was happening? I couldn’t. I would just have to wait ‘til the next day when they’d be in the middle of their post party hangovers.