Photo copyright: Sean Birmingham. Used with permission.
I’ve had bad weeks before. Plenty of them actually.
But I can’t remember a more bizarre one than the one Kristin and I suffered through last week. Of course, I wasn’t really the one who suffered. The ones around me fell victim to a wicked game of “So You Think This is Bad …” created by karma.
It was a week that started as a vacation and ended after two trips to emergency rooms at different hospitals and being stranded in a flood.
Kristin became the first unwitting victim in karma’s vicious game. We delayed our vacation by one day because she was just getting over being sick, her fever at one point tipping 102 degrees.
Convinced the worst was behind her, we headed off for my family reunion in Eau Claire, Wis. You ever have those moments where you just know the decision you’ve made is the wrong one yet you forge ahead anyway? Yeah, that moment for us was the morning of the 17th when we got in the car.
Over the next few days, Kristin’s body declared war. It threw laryngitis at her, a sinus infection and finally pinkeye, which had us rushing to the Mercy Hospital emergency room in Coon Rapids, Minn., at midnight on July 19.
Her diagnosis meant she couldn’t go to the Twins game the next night. We were staying with our good friends, Rick and Patty. With Kristin quarantined, it was decided Rick and I would go to the game without the wives. It started as a good night, kicking off with a pregame trip to a local bar for a bite to eat. I hear the place is especially fun on New Year's.
Rick and I used to go to Twins games together back in the day, so it was nice to get to do it again at the Twins’ new stadium. But it was a hot, miserable night. The Twins were awful, losing 4-3 to Cleveland.
Around the eighth inning, Rick got up and went to get something to drink. He didn’t come back, so I figured he’d found a more comfortable seat and was watching the game from there.
As I walked into the concourse I saw him right away – sitting in a wheelchair with several first-aid workers surrounding him. Trip No. 2 to the ER – this time to the Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis – ensued.
He ended up spending the rest of the week in the hospital, another unknowing victim of my bad karmic touch. I’m glad to say he’s now home and should be better now that he’s a safe distance from me again.
We returned home Friday and it was time for karma to come gunning for me directly. Kristin and I were supposed to go together to a show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago that night. But even though she was feeling much better, she figured it was best she stay home. Hallelujah – we made a good decision!
While I was inside Lincoln Hall enjoying a great show from Ha Ha Tonka and headliner Langhorne Slim, a little rain was falling outside. I left the venue at 1:30 in the morning, heading home in a downpour, completely oblivious to the misfortune awaiting me.
I soon found myself rerouted off the expressway in the near west suburbs when flooding on the road forced the police to close it. As I left the expressway I figured this was going to delay me about an hour or so – no big deal.
Two hours later having still not gotten past the Eisenhower/I-88 junction that would lead me home to Aurora, I was driving around with dozens of other people seeking an escape route from the flooding that was suddenly everywhere.
Eventually I decided I needed sleep, so I pulled into a Holiday Inn Express parking lot, pushed my seat all the way back and stole a 45-minute nap. At 6 a.m. I woke up to daylight and more rain. But at least now I could find my way out of the mess.
By the time I got home – six hours after I left Lincoln Hall – the suburb I was trapped in, Westchester, was being declared a disaster zone. I crawled into bed thankful to be home.
I was also thankful the week had ended. Given a few days to reflect, I’m still not sure what I did to piss off karma. I just hope it has moved on to some other poor sucker. Carson Daly would make a good target.