Friday, February 15, 2008

The luckiest flat tire, ever.

So two days after the long car saga I piled the kids in the car and we were going to the store to pick up toothpaste, and hit the library. I know it's just too exciting to bare. So we'd barely pulled down the drive and I was asking the kids to quiet down because something didn't sound right with the car. By the time we hit the road I was telling Felix more firmly to hush up so I could hear that noise. By the time I got to the main drag I was running through this laundry list of new vocabulary words, front wheel alignment, struts, maybe loose lugnuts, maybe a loose tire? I drove as I ran through the options in my head. Realizing I was low on gas I pulled over to Costco. While I was filling up walked around the car and checked all the lug nuts only to see I had a flat tire. Very flat. I turned to the couple near me and asked if they could see an air pump near by. There wasn't. But the gentleman directed me to Costco's tire department to fill it. So I did. They were slow at the time and the man asked me to pull around and offered to take a look at it. As he put air in it, we could both see the nail and the hear the air hissing out. My first reaction was to kid around with the guy and in the process I blurted out that we had bought the tires at Costco. I had only meant to tease him about the quality of the tires, I mean -not impervious to nails? The nerve. The man's eyes lit up and he told me to go around to the office because they were probably on warranty -and lo and behold they were! So that's how I got my free tire.
Of course I had to wait for an hour for them to put it on. The kids and I killed time getting four big tubes of toothpaste. Little did I realize that it was the worst container of toothpaste ever. The kids were incapable of getting the attached cap to click on, and left on its side the paste just pours out to form these huge blue lagoon style puddles on the edge of the sink. But hey, I got a free tire! If I'd have gone anywhere else I probably wouldn't have remembered where we'd bought them and I would have just paid to have it replaced.
At this point I realize that the glitches in my system of three bad things are just too hard to work out. I have to re-envision history in order to fit events into the theory and it's failing all together at helping to predict when I'm done with a string of bad luck. I mean does a flat tire even count if it's replaced for free? Does a bad tune up count if it's refunded? These are some of the things I found myself pondering as I lay curled in a fetal position at the base of the stairs with a broken ankle.
The hallway light had gone out earlier in the day and I was worried about the kids falling in the dark stairwell. While dinner was cooking I had a little time so I went up to the first landing and got the lightbulb out and headed down the stairs. As I headed down I remember thinking that this wasn't so dark. Then I missed the last three steps. The lightbulb however remained unbroken. Can you imagine how inconvenient it would have been to clean up the broken glass? I spent a little time cursing like a sailor (no offense to the clean mouthed sailors in the world). The hardest part was pulling it together to tell Emer to just give me a minute, so that she wouldn't be scared. Then the timer went off on the dinner in the stove, so like Pavlov's dog I answered the beep and hopped up and got the dinner out on their plates, and served at the table. When I sat down to rest for a minute, I realized that I felt like I needed to pass out and throw up. Kneeling near the toilet I figured that either my ankle was broken or I was really turned off by my own cooking at this point.

I really like bed time for the kids. Once they've had dinner, we're on a getting ready for bed trajectory that I just hate to interrupt. I knew that once they were all in bed I could think it through clearly, call friends and pull together a plan for childcare and a ride to a doctor -because my luck being what it is, I busted my driving foot ankle. We finished the kid part of the evening, but not before making all 20 of Felix's valentines for his classmates and his party at school the next day, clearing up the kitchen and all the other chores. Emer helped a great deal tucking people into bed and fetching things for me. Once they were all in bed I made my calls, again realizing how fortunate I am to have found so many great people to populate my life. By the time I went to bed, I had a plan. Next morning that plan had to be scrapped because school was canceled on account of the ice storm, and before I even had time to really scramble, friends called and offered to help. At the hospital I was really happy to get it wrapped up and to get crutches, because as adept as I am at hopping, it gets old, as does crawling up the stairs. Then the next day Eric came home! He was so out of it with tired though, that it was like he was only half here. I think it's also really disorienting to come from his experience to this home. For five weeks he's had a driver, security guard, translator, laundry lady, cafeteria lady and maid, as well as no kids.
Today I went to get my cast and the silliest things pleased me. Having a ride that I didn't have to call for, having an appointment with a doc by myself. Again I got lucky! Instead of a cast and all the trouble I'd have keeping it dry in the shower, or trying to drive or not being able to drive, I have a boot! Oh happy boot. And just in time too, because by now the crutches were killing me and I ached all over from using them. My friendly boot fitter explained that the crutches were set all wrong for me and I shouldn't have to stoop way over to use them. And I'm satisfied to know that I'm not some crutch wimp with no upper body strength, no, I am super mom, queen of all things difficult and unlucky. Queen of the universe.I'm also just so satisfied to know that there really isn't anything I can't handle. Eric has been helpful since he got home, but he's also not babying or pampering me either. At first this annoyed me a little. I mean, I had a few ordeals, not to mention the usual grind of kids needing so much all the time and he didn't fuss over me or drown me in 'poor baby' kind of comfort. What I realize though, is that it isn't that he doesn't appreciate all that I went through or that it was difficult, it's just that he had all the confidence in the world that I could handle it. He never doubted that I could handle it, and the only one that's at all surprised is me.

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