Ignore the Mom behind the curtain

I know that I could be accused of painting rosy pictures of life. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Facebook effect, where it seems like all your Facebook friends are immaculately put together, live in perfect houses, go on great adventures, and generally live a life far more awesome than your own. This is because all of us edit our narratives. We want to share the exciting/flattering bits, and tend to downplay the mundane/embarrassing ones. (And if we don’t, unless we are FANTASTIC writers who could make imaginary dialogues between deodorants hilarious – looking at you here Amalah – our readership is quite limited.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I know my blog is like that. All the fun stuff, all the picturesque stuff, all the deep thinking, and none of the “I’m a complete mess”. But guess what… sometimes? I’m a complete mess.

Let’s begin our story when our heroine left work 15 minutes late because she was in a not-fun meeting. (As opposed to a fun meeting, which happens roughly never.) So. Late. Rainy night. I check my text message alert, and it’s riiiiight on the borderline between freeway or back roads.* I call to see if it’s changed, and I find out that it got really bad on the freeway, so I opt for my backroad commute. Tick tock, tick tock, the daycare clock!

Did I mention my husband has been in Florida for a week, and although due back will not be in time to pick up the kids? No, I didn’t because I never let teh intarwebs know these kind of things in advance, just in case. But Adam was in Florida, so there was no calling him if I didn’t make it on time (which is my usual backup).

Then, just as I had fully committed to the backroads route and there was no turning back… whammo. Traffic stopped moving. Like, one or two cars a light. There’s never a backup here!?! Five minutes, I didn’t sweat. But then it turned to ten, fifteen, twenty. When I had 15 minutes to do 30 – 45 minutes of commuting, I panicked. I called all my parent friends (including those I should have known were like, you know, in Dallas.. hoping he was kidding when he told me who I was interrupting…) asking if anyone could pick up my kids. Of course, it’s extra complicated because who wanders around with two extra car seats? No one! In fact, almost none of my friends has a car that can seat two extra kids never mind car seats. And it was raining, hard! And super dark! Yay! Fun! Finally, I reached one friend (actually there at that moment picking up her kids) and we cobbled together a plan that involved her taking my kids to my neighbor’s house and then returning to the center for her own. I gave my permission over the phone to the daycare people to release my kids almost as I was passing the accident.

Phew. Can I say this? Three years ago, I wouldn’t have known what to do. I don’t know how I got this lucky, but I have awesome friends who have my back and are there for me when I need them, and I am SO GRATEFUL. I may be alone while my husband’s gone, but I’m not unsupported.

Anyway, so I come home. I park my car. I put my backpack inside, and head down the payment full of adrenalin and frustration to my neighbor’s house to retrieve my children. And just as my sidewalk joins my neighbors, I stepped on a rock wrong, and went down HARD.

I had one of those moments that stretched very long. I was on the ground, rain falling poetically onto my face, right leg obviously badly scratched up, but truly wondering if I had just popped the graft on my left leg, and I would have to do this fantastic surgery all over again. With the rush of pain and adrenalin and fear, I couldn’t tell how bad my left leg was. I could tell I’d done something non-zero, but was it epic? Was it a pull? Was it just the persistent tendon tightness we’re fighting at PT and nothing wrong at all? I had to wait, on the ground, for several very long minutes to find out. I’m extremely happy to report that based on knee function and subsequent pain, it is nothing serious. However, I’m deeply saddened to report that my absolute favorite pair of tights that are incredibly comfortable have come to the end of their lives. Also, I did a number on my shoe. Finally, I also scratched up my good leg (but I care less because eh! It’s only a flesh wound!)

Are you getting tired of pictures of my leg injuries?
Are you getting tired of pictures of my leg injuries?

I picked myself back up and continued down. Things improved. I walked in on my neighbors feeding my children. They very generously put a plate out for me too. I sat at the table and watched my children rough-housing and being rude and periodically yelling things at them like, “No throwing Christmas ornaments at the dog!” and I was just so very very grateful that I wasn’t alone.

Then I came home, and put them to bed over an hour early, because oh. Those children. Based on the fact they both went to sleep, I think they must have been tired. Then I had to do worky work for an hour. Now I’m writing an unflattering blog post about my own incompetence.

So what about you? Have you ever had a day like this – falling far short of tragic but definitely rising to the level of highest annoyance?

* This is super helpful, so let me share. Navteq allows you to set up a commute and a schedule. Then every day you set up, it texts you a numerical value of how your commute is. I have mine set to check the route at 4:45. So every work day at 4:45 I get a text message with a number. Through experience I know that at 2 or over, I’m better off taking back roads. Additionally, in the text message, you can call a number at any point and ask how your commute is now and they’ll give you the latest conditions. I would pay for this service, but I get it for free. It’s fantastic for those of us with highly variable commutes.

Some days are just like that

Today was not the day you look back on with fond remembrance. No. No it wasn’t.

Today actually started yesterday, when I was sick. I’m never sick. I am terrible at being sick. I have no sick skills. If you got grades for ability to be sick well, I’d get a D+. Maybe. I never believe I’m sick. I refuse to acknowledge I’m sick. When forced to confront the fact I’m, you know, sick, I then proceed to try to do things I shouldn’t do and apologize profusely about inconveniencing absolutely everyone and feel guilty when I end up watching Deadliest Catch on DVR instead of being Mrs. Productivepants. But yesterday, I had to admit I was too sick. My sentences weren’t sticking together. The verbs sort of drifted right while the nouns drifted left and the thesis statement sat down on the floor and wouldn’t move. I got sent home by my boss.

Well, it was obvious to me that if I was too sick to string together coherent sentences (and you don’t want to KNOW how long I started at my screen thinking “Maybe I should compose a blog post since I’m too sick to move” and couldn’t figure out how to make an entire sentence do my bidding.), I was probably not going to be sufficiently recovered to go into the office today. Plus I had no meetings. So I stayed home, drank tea, read YA novels and took care of myself.

HA! That’s what a smart person who is sick would do. *I* took a car in to the dealership and then worked from home, quite productively.

The cars are the second reason today was a crappy day. Just before we left to go camping, Brunhilde, a fine 2002 Saturn SL1 with automatic shifting and power locks and windows, baybee starting doing something veeeery funky with this clunk every time it shifted. We took it to Midas. They identified $500 of codes that needed to be fixed. We heaved deep sighs, thanked heavens for emergency funds, and coughed up our credit card number. When we returned from the camping trip and picked her up, my husband noticed that the problem was in no way resolved. He politely mentioned this to the folks at Midas. Who, apparently, hadn’t actually DRIVEN it. So he made an appointment to bring it in this morning. He had to walk back from the dealership to our house — about two miles — in the rain.

Meanwhile, while in the second car, our 2007 Toyota Matrix named Hrothgar (or Hrothcar if I’m feeling coy), about a year and a half ago my husband got in a fender bender. This fender bender, well, bent the fender. Or the side piece of plastic that goes under the doors and prevents, um, bad stuff from, um, doing things. I don’t know what it does, but he knocked it loose. We never fixed it because, eh. My pride is not much wrapped up in my cars. On our way back from camping, in a flash of brilliance, I decided to bring the boys through a car wash. They love car washes! This one was nice and powerful… and dislodged the fender thingy almost completely so that it dragged along the ground.

On the plus side: we had duct tape in the car because we were ready for camping. On the minus side: even I have too much car pride to willingly drive a vehicle held together by duct tape.

So, unbeknownst to my husband, *I* made a car appointment to get it super glued back on or something this morning, at the EXACT time his appointment was for at the dealership, 5 miles away.

Midas took another look at Brunhilde, said, “It’s the transmission. We can’t help you. But thanks for that $500!” The Toyota dealership said, “We don’t have the parts to fix this today, but we noticed your serpentine belt is all worn out. The part will cost $500 once we order it, and the belt is $200.”

So… we’re up to $1200, and we still haven’t fixed the transmission on Brunhilde.

But still! I was cheerful! I made dinner! I sashayed a little as I peeled eggplant! My husband took the kids to the park to play after school!

He came home a few minutes before I expected him to, though. Not much of a surprise. And Thane was crying. I’d be lying if I said that was highly unusual. But when my husband came through the door, ashen-faced, he said, “Thane’s been hurt.”

Thane’s right arm lay flaccid at his side. Touching it provoked screams. You could distract him for a minute or two, but the minute it shifted at all there were more screams. We gave him Tylenol, snuggles and an ice pack. He wept bitterly and made no move to extricate himself. I called in my trump card. You see, my neighbors are nurses — one of them is an ER nurse. It looked bad to me, but I’m a programmer. What do I know? My husband called my neighbor. I carried a wailing Thane over. She gently touched his hand. Screams. She tried to move his arm. Bitter tears. “You have to take him to the ER.” It was obvious to both of us that this child had broken his arm, or wrist, or maybe clavicle.

I packed snacks (ah! The joy of being an experienced mom!), left a dinner it had taken me 90 minutes to prepare on the stove for my husband and son, and strapped my wailing child into the car for a trip to the emergency room.

He stopped crying on the way there, and recovered enough to identify the color of cars we passed. Ah, Tylenol! But still, very injured child.

When we got out, I noticed he had Puppy clutched in the broken arm. Hmmmmm.

As we went through the vitals check, he pointed to trucks in the book with the “broken” arm. Hmm hmmm…..

As I held him to give the nice lady my name, rank, insurance number and free access to my checking account, he pushed me away. Hard. With both hands. Hmmmmmmmmmm hmmmmm hmmmmmmmm.

I sat down with him. I gently palpated his finger. His hand. His wrist. His arm. His elbow. His upper arm. His shoulder. I moved his arm up and down. Nada. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I went up and apologized to the nice woman who had taken my information, and took my perfectly find child home.

On the one hand, I’m really glad he’s perfectly fine (and I really hope that Tylenol isn’t actually good enough to block the pain of a broken arm). On the other hand… seriously. I feel like a complete idiot. And I really try very hard to respect that professionals who I know in friendly contexts are my FRIENDS and not my personal physicians or something. And I made 90 minutes making that moussaka and it was cold when I got back and it wasn’t even goooooood. WAH!

So bring on Thursday, because Wednesday was not my favorite.

Except while I went downstairs to fold laundry. I was watching baseball, and Grey requested to accompany me. Then he asked me how to fold clothes. Then he folded ALL his clothes the way I showed him (mostly) and many of his daddy’s. He says he wants to help me fold laundry EVERY time. And then he put his clothes away.

Knock me over with a feather.