Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 75

I come downstairs to an overpowering and musty scent.
"What is that smell?" I ask the boys who are having breakfast already.
It is not as pungent as the chameleon's uric acid-filled feces, nor does it seem like the small mammal house at the zoo, which is what I usually think the litter box resembles. It's not earthy and offensive like the crickets. Admittedly, we have too many animals in our humble house, but this smell was not one of them. Nor did it quite seem like burned breakfast or anything else human-made.
"Do you guys not smell that?" The boys continue to ignore my question.
Mom noses are always combing the air for things that are uninteresting to boys.
Oliver grooms himself on a pillow. The smell is strong near him. I check him for renegade poo. There is some sort of tannish gray matter sprayed all over the couch cushion. It looks like rotten baby food.
"Yeuch," I inspect it without getting too close.
Then I see the source. Oliver's neck is coated in blood and pus. That's the smell. Pus and blood. I almost throw up.
"I made you oatmeal, Honey," Co-Captain Dad proudly states.
The pus is the color of oatmeal.
"No, no, no, I don't want breakfast. Thank you, but no, thank you. Oliver is bleeding. His cut got infected. It's everywhere."
Oliver starts licking it up from the couch. My stomach turns. I don't have time for this.
"My class is starting in seven minutes."
I grab a cub of coffee and slip upstairs to join the second grade class. It's a math day. As assistant teacher, I help with muting and unmuting, and general Zoom troubleshooting. Occasionally I rat on them for abusing the chat. It's not my favorite thing to do. The sense of guilt outweighs the entertainment.
On one hand, they are enjoying communicating with each other, which is huge for them. Who am I to stop such important communications among friends? On the other hand, if they don't pay attention, they don't turn in the homework and then they get in trouble. Getting praise from a teacher these days is worth a thousand friendly chats. So, I have to stop the chats as they pop up. I still feel like a rat.
The coffee smells divine. Like a weekend in Cabo. Not that I've been. Two of our nightly TV shows won't stop talking about Cabo's luxurious beaches and superior coffee. So, in a way, I've been virtually. That should count for something in today's new world. I sip my medium roast and I'm no longer in my tiny makeshift office. I'm watching the sunrise behind the ocean and silhouetted palm trees.
I breathe in the heavenly scent of coffee and now I'm in France having a baguette for breakfast with my café. Or on the white steps of Greece petting a stray cat (who doesn't have things oozing out of its neck).
"Mrs. Jones, I know the answer, and it's two," a student blurts out.
"Mia, don't call out. Who has their hand raised?"
I don't envy Mrs. Jones.
When class is over I am finally able to stomach some food. I get a text from Co-Captain Dad who has run to the Post Office.
"You're going to need to take Oliver to the vet. Come look at his neck. He's outside."
Blood is everywhere. I have to take Oliver to the vet. Again.
We get in the car. As I sit in the driver's seat I am acutely aware of the overpowering smell of latex gloves and hand sanitizer. This is my car smell now. This is the smell of our new sanitary world.
At least my coffee took me to the overseas for a few fleeting moments.
Hope you get to enjoy some moments.



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