Tuesday was a balmy day for December in Iowa. Sure, it looked cold. Gray. Brown and famished. But the wind was mild and the air lacked that I-going-to-stab-you-with-ice quality that is so common here in the Midwest.
It was a lovely day. That is, until, I had to mop the Internet guy’s blood off my floor.
The internet guy was tall with a baby face behind his beard. He said very little. He looked around and immediately got to work. Ellis and I basically ignored him as we frosted cookies and took her bike for a spin outside.
“Ma’am.” He opened the front door. “Do you have a laptop I can use to check the installation?”
“Sure, up in the office, where the wifi is.”
He nodded and went back inside. Ellis and I cleaned up the chalk and went inside.
He was standing on the stairs. “Shit! SHIT!”
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Sorry! SORRY! Shit! SORRY!”
I went to the stairs, his hand was pressed against his head, blood dripped from his fingers. “SHIT! Ma’am, I cut my head on your doorway. Sorry for cussing. It just…shit.”
I ordered him to sit down and I grabbed him a towel. “Do you need to call your supervisor?”
“Yeah, um, sorry. Yeah.” He pressed the towel against his head. “Oh, um, I’m getting blood on this. Do you want it back?”
“No, you can have it.” I’m generous like that.
“Wow, thanks.” He pulled out his cell phone and dialed.
Ellis toddled over to the steps, “Oh no! Yucky, mom! WIPE IT!” She yelled. “WIPE IT!”
I would have, but the guy was standing again and pacing the floor. “My supervisor is coming along with some other guys. This day…It just sucks. I have a new baby. She doesn’t sleep. Well she does, better than most babies. She’s a really great baby, but my wife and I…”
I smiled. “I got it. I’m sure your both stressed.” There was more blood in the dining room. “Why don’t you sit down?”
He sat down. “It’s not that we’re stressed. We are fine. Really. It’s just that with a baby, who is a really good baby…” He looked really tired.
“I hear you,” I said. Because Ellis was headed to the next blood spot with a tissue she’d found, Lord knows where, yelling, “Wipe it! WIPE IT!”
I picked her up. After ten minutes of awkward small talk about how you clean blood off the floor, while I struggled to keep Ellis away from the blood, three men showed up. One, his supervisor was a part time EMT.
“How the f…” he looked at me and then at Ellis, who was still outraged at the mess on her floors. “How the hell did you do this? Never mind, let me see. You’re fine. I’ll take you to the hospital. But you’re fine.”
He looked around. “Good Lord, there is a lot of blood.”
“Wipe it,” Ellis said sternly.
“What did she say?”
I picked her up. “Um, I don’t know. Kids…”
As the supervisor took the bleeding man to the hospital, another man gave me my receipt and asked me to fill out an online survey. “We hope you will like your new internet.”
“I better, a man bled for it.”
He smiled. “Let us know if we can do anything.”
I said, “Well, I did want to tell you one thing. It’s just that the Qwest guys never bleed all over my house.”
He gave me a laugh and I wondered in this situation, who sues who?
After they were gone, I turned on “Curious George” and picked up a bottle of bleach. As I cleaned, Ellis came up to me holding a piece of grass. “Yucky trash.” She said.
“Sure, put it in the trash.”
She toddled away. Moments later, she was back, “Yucky trash, mom.” She was clutching more grass.
“Um, sure. Throw it away.” She left.
And then, she was back. “Yucky trash! No, no, no, yucky trash!” She was beside herself.
“Okay, show me where the trash is.” I followed her from the kitchen into the living room, where she knelt by our Nativity scene, where there was straw and moss glued to the manger. Ellis pointed, “Yucky!”
I picked her up. She was on the verge of tears. First the blood, now the manger. “Yeah, I know, just because Jesus was born in a stable doesn’t mean he has to live like a filthy animal. Right?”
Ellis nodded. “Yeah.”
I picked up the Nativity scene, snuggled Ellis into the couch and then finished mopping the blood off the floor. No body better tell this kid about the symbolism of communion.