I am sorry that I went MIA for a bit. I had a long run of consistent posting in September, what with the travel logs and the recounting of all of my recent screw-ups. But then I guess I burnt out a little. And then our house got hit with a stupid virus, which even had the nerve to try to take me down for a few days.
Yet, the show must go on. Not everybody around here was sick, so some people still expected things like clean underpants and dinner.
“Maaaaah-ommmmm,” I would hear through the bathroom door. “What’s for dinner? I’m starving.”
“Um… english muffins?” I hadn’t gone to the store in over a week.
“Leave me alone. Quit your complaining. I’m sick. Make your own dinner if you don’t like it.”
“But I can’t even reach the oven. I’m six.”
That’s basically how it went for most of last week. I felt guilty for feeling bad and I felt bad for feeling guilty.
But I womanned-up made it through those icky feelings by remembering times when I was kind of awesome. Like this one time:
Right after we got back from Europe, Kid A and I got thrown right back into the thick of things. She had to go back to school. I had to do whatever the heck it is that I do. Time zone adjustment? Get over it. Travel exhaustion? Ain’t nobody got time for that! You miss waking up in a different country each morning and dressing for dinner and having someone else make and serve you three course meals each evening? We feel so freaking bad for you. I need a ride to my school project partner’s house. She lives kind of far from here and we need to stop at the store first to buy $60 of random supplies on the way.
So we adjusted. It was painful at first, but Kid A and I only complained to each other and that seemed to work pretty well. Life went on.
It was day two or three post-vacation when Kid A’s car wouldn’t turn over. It made that ugly click-click-click noise. We called Sheepdog and he confirmed that it needed a new battery. And since he was already at work and still in “I-don’t-want-to-hear-your-sob-story-I-was-left-at-home-with-these-kids-by-myself-for-two-weeks” mode, and Kid A needed the car to help me out later that day, solving the problem fell squarely on my shoulders.
So I did what any girl would do. On my way home from driving the teenagers to school, I drove around the neighborhood to see if any of my friends were having construction projects done. The last time I had car that wouldn’t start, Sheepdog was out of town and my across-the-street neighbor was getting a dream house update, so I texted her and asked if the big, strong guy with the big, strong truck could come over and give me a jump (minds out of the gutter, dirty birds… it was nothing sexual). There is not much that scares me more than the red and black jumper cable thingies. Except varmints in my attic. But, I digress.
Sadly, I saw no one with an F-150 or saw horses in their driveway. I was on my own.
So I went to the YouTube. I found a video called “Using Jumper Cables, the Right Way” and I felt like it was the exact right video for me, especially since it had started raining a little outside and it was also raining in the video! But I was still really nervous, so I went to fold some laundry for a bit.
“… and the Golden Rule is NEVER touch the clamps together!” Great. More stuff for me to worry about.
Then I gave myself a pep talk and I finally decided to go out and jump the stupid dead battery. I could totally do this! Unless, of course, I accidentally hooked up a cable to something really wrong and then I blew up both cars or caused battery fluid to leak out and I got horrible chemical burns, that is. But I could probably totally do this. Totally.
I pulled my truck up right next to Kid A’s car. That was easy. I opened up both hoods. Not simple, but not rocket science either. Then I got out the jumper cables. I held them like they were made of asbestos or penises (TBH, nobody really wants to touch either of those things). I planned to follow the steps from the video.
The first problem was that the cars I had in front of me looked nothing like the cars in the stupid video. The bad car didn’t even have a battery, as far as I could tell. No wonder it wouldn’t turn on! And that was just step one.
Goofy Sweedes. Come out, come out, wherever you are, little battery!
And in the American-made vehicle… the positive post and the negative post are NO WHERE NEAR EACH OTHER. Aaaaaaargh!
I almost started to cry, but then I just got mad and decided that this effing project was not going to beat me. I’m a little bit stubborn that way. I was afraid to put my hand too far into the car at all because it reminded me of Flash Gordon when Prince Barin made him put his hand in the hollow stump and he could have been bitten and infected with deadly poison. Like Flash, I tensely and very cautiously moved around in there. Eventually I lifted up some plastic stuff inside the Saab’s front end and found what looked the most battery-ish. Yay for no poisonous creatures! Finally, I was on to step two.
Step two was not one bit easier, as the battery in a 2008 GMC Yukon XL is extremely well hidden. It might as well have been wearing a wig and mustache and been hiding in the Witness Protection Program. I actually had to get out the owner’s manual from the glove box and read it! And surprise, surprise… the actual car battery did not look like the one in the picture. But I figured it out anyway because I was good and cursing-out-loud angry at that point. And I hooked up those mo-fo clamps. I wasn’t sure that they were in the right place, but they were hooked, dammit! Then it was time to start the good car. I said a quick, “Dear God, please don’t let me lose my eyesight. Or my right arm. And thanks again for wine,” and I turned the key in my truck.
Nothing blew up. I was actually amazed. I was certainly relieved. I let it run for a minute. I eventually started breathing again.
Now it was time to turn on Kid A’s car with the bad battery. For whatever reason, this step scared me more than all of the other steps combined. I was convinced that this would be the part where the front yard turned into a cordoned-off post-bomb site, and they would be collecting pieces of me from neighboring lawns for weeks.
But I am stubborn and still determined to do this or die trying.
I went over to the passenger side, reached across the entire car from outside (because I planned to run away faster than the explosion, if at all possible), squinted my eyes, and slowly turned the key in the Saab.
It thrummed to life!
I started doing a weird, spastic dance in the driveway and cursing very odd things at that point, but I was so incredibly proud of myself that I did not care what I looked like to the outside world. Stubborn beat out scared! I did it! And I didn’t blow up the cars or get battery acid all over myself. It was a good day! A very good day indeed! Girl Power!
Then I drove Kid A’s car to the mechanic, where they charged me a ridiculous amount of money to replace the dead battery. It didn’t matter, though, because I was still high from my automotive triumph.
But then I came home and no one was there. And likely all of that spaz-dancing or the excitement/ extreme fear had worn me out, so I took a really long nap on the couch. And then I didn’t make any dinner and I mumbled about serving english muffins or something lame again and everybody got mad at me for not doing a good job.
But I did do a good job, at least that one time, so whatever.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…