SMDH

Sheepdog worked from home yesterday because he had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon.  He has a quiet office in the basement, surrounded by his bicycles, camping gear, and things that go pew-pew-pew.  It is one of his happy places.

I went to the gym in the morning and came home to take a shower afterwards.  Of course it was right at that moment that my phone rang.  Even with soap in my eyes I could see that it was school calling.  I turned off the running water and answered in my most official “no, I’m not naked” mom voice.

“Hi, Stacy.  This is Tracy from the clinic.”

She had Kid D with her.  He had a low-grade fever and felt miserable.  I had noticed The Crud coming on with him earlier and I had actually made a doctor’s appointment for after school so they could diagnose his sinus infection and we could move on.  But he wasn’t going to make it until after school and he needed to be picked up ASAP.

So I texted Sheepdog in the basement: “Any chance you can go get <Kid D> from school? I’m showering.”

His response: “Right now?”

I’m literally in the middle of a shower.  I’m wet.  And cold.  I have soap in my hair and my eyes.  For cripe’s sake: “Come up please.”

So he does and I explain that Kid D says he can not wait, so would he please go get him now.  It will take me much longer, what with my in-the-middle-of-showering dilemma.  Then I ask if he remembers where to go (coincidentally, we had picked Kid D up early on Tuesday to go to Kid A’s Capstone Expo at Georgia Tech so it was fresh in his mind) and he said of course he knew.  So off goes Sheepdog.  I very happily finish showering in peace.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, when I’m dressed again, I get a text.

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Sheepdog showed up at the school.  They buzzed him in at the front desk.  He announced he was there to pick up his kid.  The front desk lady asks for his teacher’s name.

Sheepdog: “Really?  Are you asking just to make fun of me?”  Hats off to her because the likelihood is very high that I would have done the same exact thing.

It turns out the kid was at lunch, so she sent Sheepdog off to the cafeteria to find him.

Kid: “Dad!”

Sheepdog: “Are you ready to go?”

Kid: “(Hell) YES!” (packs up lunchbox and basically runs out of the room, forcing Sheepdog to keep up)

Sheepdog: “How are you feeling, bud?”

Kid: “Great, dad!  I feel great.”

Sheepdog: “Wait.  What?  Didn’t you go to the clinic because you didn’t feel well, and the clinic lady called mom and asked her to come pick you up…”

Kid: “No.  No clinic for me.  I feel just fine.  Where are we going dad?”

Sheepdog: “…”

Shit. He then has to explain his mistake and take Kid E back to the cafeteria.  Fortunately, he was a pretty good sport about the whole thing.

So that’s when I get the text from Sheepdog.

“Don’t know why I thought you said <Kid E>.  Not him.  Off to get <Kid D>.”

Sheepdog literally picked up the wrong kid from school and had to return him.  Then he had to go to a totally different school across town to pick up the right kid.

I’m thinking that five kids in five different schools might be a little much.

Wish me luck for tomorrow.

 

 

 

Come What May

It was a cold, gray, January day.  All of the other kids were in school as it was a Thursday, but Kid A had checked herself out early.  It was her 18th birthday, so she could do that now.  She climbed into her newly-leased electric car and turned on her iPod.  The passionate and emotional voices of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman spilled from the sound system.  The words blasted her ears and bombarded her heart.  The song lasted the exact length of time it took her to drive from parking lot to parking lot.  She took it as a sign, like a cardinal at the window or unexplained feathers.

Sheepdog and I arrived together.  We held hands as we walked into the waiting room.  I noticed a giant eel slithering inside a 75-gallon fish tank before I even saw Kid A in the corner.  The building smelled faintly of rubbing alcohol and burning things.  We all hugged and walked over to meet with her guy.  She gave him a piece of paper that had been folded and unfolded and looked at so many times that it had the worn feel of soft leather.  They spoke to one another in the language of creative people.  Then he scanned her paper into the computer and pulled it up on the big screen.  A lone sob escaped from my throat before I could pull it back.

Seeing his familiar handwriting up there, larger than life, I was caught completely off guard.  But seeing it a few hours later, permanently inked onto the slight wrist of my oldest child, it actually felt good.  After all she had seen and experienced and lived through the past few years, it felt right.  Well, as right as a tattoo can possibly be.

"I will love you until my dying day."

“I will love you until my dying day.”

His life story will always be a part of hers.  He left his mark on her heart.  Now his handwriting is marked on her forever as well.

*******************************************

Today is the first anniversary of Braden’s death.  One whole year has gone by.  An entire year of holidays, and birthdays, and Mondays.  One whole year passed of experiences, and change, and growth.  One whole year of the regular and mundane too.  One whole year of memories made without Braden.  I feel like that is one of the worst parts.

I have thought of him so much over the past year.  Sometimes I think of him intentionally, like when I plant flowers in his memory.  I talk to him as I’m doing the work, updating him with new funny stories as well as the regular day-to-day stuff that’s been going on.  And when these plants inevitably die, I think of him again because I know he is playing a twisted joke on me.  All of my other plants thrive.  It’s just the ones that I tell him are “his” that end up brown and crispy.  I like to think that Braden enjoys our conversations so much that he is just making sure that I’ll keep checking in with him.  So I guess I’ll keep buying him new plants.  And I’m good with that.

Other times he pops into my consciousness accidentally, like when I recently came across the milk shake recipe for cancer patients that I used to make for him when his stomach could tolerate them.  It was made with protein powder and coffee and chocolate sauce and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  It always made me so happy when he would finish one, because he was losing so much weight and what else packs on the pounds but the best ice cream on the planet?  I also find him popping into my head when I’m listening to music in the car, wondering if he got to hear that really great song before he died.  Or was he around for that game?  Or did he get to see that movie?  Or look at that blood moon?  As more and more time passes, the answer is almost always ‘no.’  Not while he was here with us on earth.

So, to officially and reverently mark the passage of one whole year without Braden, Sheepdog and the kids and I went on a short hike up the Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain this past Sunday.  When we reached the top, we found some rocks off the beaten path and we sat together as a family.  We overlooked the valley below and Sheepdog said some nice words and reminded us that Braden is happy and healthy now and we shouldn’t ask for anything more than that.  He also reminded us to be thankful for our own health and happiness and to make each day mean something.  Some of us spoke about happy memories and fun times with Braden.  Some of us weren’t able to speak at all.

There was a placard up by the Indian Seats that said mountaintops are considered sacred by Native Americans because they bring us closer to Father Sky.  I don’t know about that, but I certainly felt closer to my God and to Braden that day.  It was sacred and it was good.  Well, as good as it can be when somebody is taken away before we are ready for it.

Wish me luck for tomorrow… come what may.

Joy to the World

OK, so I’ve been a total slacker lately.  First, all of this horrific winter weather crap happened.  I don’t know if I have seasonal depression, or just depression depression, but I was definitely on the verge of curling into a ball in the corner.  Then Sheepdog and I escaped for eight days in Mexico.  It was glorious… sun, exercise, quality time with my husband (high-five to us for breaking the headboard), and complete autonomy over my day.  It was complete and total bliss in paradise.

It physically hurts me to look at this picture right now.

It physically pains me to look at this picture right now.

But everything has a price, so we returned to a gaggle of kids with multiple versions of the plague.  The only place I got to show off my tan was at the stupid doctors’ office.  I mean, the kid who puked on the floor in front of the check-in desk didn’t even mention my glow.  Not once, the selfish little bastard.  What a complete and total waste.

It already feels like a month has passed since our trip, yet we have been home fewer than six days.

But I think it is safe to say that things are starting to turn around for us in the health department.  Antibiotics and other various medicines have started to work, viruses are running their course, and quarantines have subsequently been lifted.  And today, praise generic zithromax, everybody left the house for work and school at their regularly scheduled times.

But not before a few of us had a morning hang-out in my bed, starting somewhere around the six o’clock hour.

First to crawl in with Sheepdog and me was Kid E.  He succumbed to a stomach bug earlier this week, but rallied within 24 hours.  I attribute this exclusively to the fact that he has finally been named Star Student in his kindergarten class, with his reign to begin next Monday.  It also happens to be his exact half-birthday.  “Abuzz with excitement” is a bit of an understatement when it comes to describing this kid right now.  We even already started filling out his information packet, which lists facts and favorites about him.

Family Pets: Robo Fish.  Why, yes, it is battery-operated.  Mainly because the mother can't handle taking care of even one more living thing right now.

Family Pets: Robo Fish. Why, yes, it is battery-operated inside of an empty, plastic bowl. Mainly because his mother can’t handle one more living thing right now.  Case in point: the dead, yellow leaf in the middle of the potted plant.  Don’t you judge me.

Much of our conversation this morning consisted of him asking questions about himself (Q: What is something special I have done for someone else?), followed by me prompting/ providing answers (A: Well, you brought home all of that homework for your big brother, who has already missed four days of school this week.)

Please, please, please do me a solid and let him be well enough to go back to school today.

As if on cue, Kid D bounded into our room and crawled on in with us.  Kid C arrived shortly thereafter and squeezed in as well.  Everyone was feeling good and planned on going about their regularly scheduled programming.  Joy to the world!

This week I have been overwhelmed upon re-entry to my real life.  I have post-vacation blues.  I am tired.  I am sick of everybody getting sick.  So I am sitting here, watching the rain fall outside my office window, daydreaming that I am out by the pool in the warm sun with a cold beer in my hand.  At 9:42 in the morning.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

10-4, Master Yoda

Sick kids.  Last-minute Christmas panic.  More sick kids.  Angry, grouchy people everywhere.  Now I’m starting to feel sick.  Everybody wants something from me.  Full moon coinciding with another especially wicked and unholy round of PMS.  Sheepdog is sleeping with one eye open, just in case.

But I refuse to let it bring me down.  I am going to enjoy the crap out of this Christmas season, dammit, no matter what it takes.  There ARE good things happening all around me.  Sometimes I just have to look extra hard in order to find them.

Kid E finally caught a version of whatever ick it was that landed Kid D in the emergency room last week for IV fluids and some anti-nausea medicine.  Fortunately, he didn’t have it nearly as bad, but he was home from school and laying on the couch this week, wrenching my plans to get stuff done during the countdown to Christmas.  And, since he is a kid-in-training, who follows and copies almost everything his older brother does down to the last dangerous couch flip, he, too, asked to have a walkie-talkie by his side so he could call me whenever he “needed” something during his convalescence.

I set him up for success… he was tucked in and his pillow was fluffed, with fluids, toys, and all of his electronics within reach.  Plus, I had queued up Star Wars V in the Blu-ray.  I was crossing my fingers that he didn’t feel the need to use the dreaded walkie talkie.

Star Wars is a fairly recent obsession for Kid E, although he has dabbled a bit in the past.  The original trilogy comes on TV every year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so I always record it.  As a result, the kids have seen IV, V, and VI at least a time or two.  Eventually, I just bought the DVDs.  Back in 1977, Star Wars IV was the very first movie I ever saw in the theater (just a seven-year-old me and my seven-year-old date, Kevin Mc), and I immediately fell in love (with the movie, not the boy).  We played Star Wars for hours upon hours.  I am fan for life.  Of Star Wars.  I haven’t seen Kevin Mc since my wedding to Sheepdog in 1993.  I wonder what he’s doing now.

Anyway… Sheepdog shares my love of the franchise, but being much more cerebral than I, he tends to lean more toward analyzing the movies rather than re-enacting the scenes with toys.  Here’s the gist of Sheepdog’s thoughts on Star Wars… Anakin Skywalker’s choice to join the Emperor/ Darth Sidious and the rest of the bad guys as Darth Vader the Sith Lord is a metaphor for the struggles that an alcoholic faces on a daily basis.  Yoda even warned him, “Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”  It is a very compelling theory and I’m sure he would talk about it in depth with anyone who is interested.  Me? I really like the toys.

Fortunately for me, my kids really like the toys too.  Especially Kid E.

"Truly wonderful the mind of a child is," Yoda agrees.

“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” – Master Yoda

So, sick Kid E is all set and I ask one last time (sure it is) if he needs anything before I go do stuff.  He shakes his head and gets to the movie watching.

I settled into my chores and was on a roll in no time.  I couldn’t run errands, but I could tackle the things that were waiting for me around the house, and there was quite a lengthy list.  But I was finally getting stuff done.  I was on fire!

Then it started.  Blip, went the walkie talkie.

“Mom!?!”

Blip.

I took a deep breath and responded on the handheld unit, even though he was in the very next room and I could hear him yelling at me through the open door.

Blip.

“I’m here, honey.”

Blip.

Blip.

“Mom!  They are in the swamp, Mom!  R2-D2 went missing for a while, but Luke found him and they are in the swamp now, Mom!”

Blip.

OK.  So, he doesn’t need anything, but I am still going to get a play-by-play of the movie.  Whether I like it or not.

Blip.

“Mom?”

Blip.

“Did you hear me?” he yelled from the other room.  His hand had fallen off the button before he was done annoying me talking.  I took another deep breath.

Blip.

“10-4.  I did hear you, sweet boy.  Thank you for telling me what was happening on a movie I have seen no less than one hundred times.”

Blip.

Blip.

Static.  Blip.  His sweaty hand must have slipped again, because whatever diatribe he had next came from the next room, not through the walkie talkie.  Ugh.  I got up to go talk to him face to face.  He was still explaining something when I sat down next to him.

“You know, you have to hold down that button the whole time you are speaking, not just when you start.” I said to my little, sick boy, who I noticed was buried under his blanket on the couch, surrounded by toys and all of his gear.  And this time I really looked at him… his face was pale and he had circles under his eyes.  His color was off, too.  He was trying so hard to get better, mostly because he knew how much stuff I had to get done before next Wednesday.  I had certainly said it enough times.

Well, crap.

I told him I’d be right back.  I went into my office and turned off my computer.  I put away my files and turned off the lights.  I was done for the day.  Nothing else was important.

I went back into the living room and I climbed under the blanket with my little, sick boy and we cuddled as we watched the rest of the movie.

"You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack." - Master Yoda

“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace.  Passive.  A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” – Master Yoda

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

2013 Christmas Letter

Apparently, I forgot to add “take care of sick kid(s),” “go to doctor’s office and pharmacy,” and “go to doctor’s office and pharmacy (again)” to the run-on To Do list that is giving me chronic whiplash this month.  Kids C and D were both home sick on Monday.  Poor Kid D still hasn’t gone back and we are now on Day Four of the Ick.

I feel so sorry for my kids when they are sick… I dote on them, I baby them, I bring them whatever they need or want.  I let them watch movies and play video games.  I fluff their pillows and tuck (and re-tuck)(and re-re-tuck) their woobies.  I am usually a very nice Nurse Mommy.  But, frankly, by Day Four… I am a little bit over it.  Certainly by Day Four during whiplash season I am so done.  Mama’s got places to go and presents to wrap, kiddos.  How about you get better all ready?  “Sometimes you just have to be tougher than the sickness” has been heard escaping my lips a time or two in the last day, even as my child is unable to keep down crackers.

I know, I know.  I sound heartless.  But the “what if?” guilt always wins out and I’m currently muttering things while I’m on the phone with the doctor, planning our strategy and likely our next meet and greet.  And why couldn’t the kids’ pediatrician look like my OB/GYN?  That would make having sick kids totally awesome.  A girl can dream…

On a brighter note, being stuck at home has allowed me ample time to stuff and address my Christmas letters, which thankfully brought me a little more of the Christmas spirit.  I truly love planning out my cards or letter every year.  I also love hand writing each recipient’s name and address.  I think about the people and their families and what each person means to me.  I’ve even been known shed a sentimental tear or two as I write them out.  It is one of my favorite traditions… the thinking and remembering.  Not the crying.  Because a crying tradition would just be weird.

So I thought that maybe I’d like to share my card here on This Is How I Do It as well.  It required a bit of redacting, but I think it still works.  I may not get the benefit of writing out your names on an envelope, but I am very grateful for each and every one of you.

To all of my readers… Thank you for all of your comments and support.  Thank you for commiserating with me, encouraging me, and even for showing me other points of view.  Thank you for sharing my posts with your friends.  Writing this blog is a true labor of love, and knowing that there are people who care about the fruits is homemade icing on my cake.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 Christmas Letter 2013 Christmas Letter 2

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Six Months

Hey, B.

Just checking in…

I’m sure you have lots and lots going on right now.  I figure that you are still going through an orientation kind of period, where you get to learn about all of the amazing options available to you in the afterlife.  Kid A likes to remind us about the things you planned to do after you were done being sick.  Did you learn to speak Arabic yet?  For some reason, the thought of that always makes me giggle.  السرطان لا يزال يمص حتى ولو يمكنك التحدث باللغة العربية الآن.  In case you haven’t gotten around to learning it yet (like me with my Pimsleur Spanish lessons), that says “Cancer still sucks even though you can now speak Arabic.”  At least according to Google Translate it does.  I sure hope I didn’t just write something offensive.

I talk to or text with your mom and dad now and then, and I also see their posts on Facebook.  They miss you something fierce.  Everybody does.  And your brothers and sisters are still figuring everything out, too.  Hell, I can’t even say this silly little prayer to you without crying.  And now I just said “hell” in a prayer.  I am not very good at this, dammit.

I loved, loved, loved when you gave us a tour of “your spots” when we drove through Washington, D.C. this summer.  We don’t normally even drive through the city (we go around), so I knew something was up.  And then Sheepdog got turned around in the same exact place that I got turned around when I was driving to my 25th high school reunion just a few weeks earlier.  Once was “whatever,” but twice couldn’t have been just coincidence.  Then I looked back from my seat and saw Kid A happy-crying as she whispered, “Braden is here.”

Thank you for that.  It was amazing.

Dear God,  That's a very important Kid you've got up there.  Please make sure he is adjusting okay... sometimes he like to play tough.  Oh, and thank you for beautiful orange sunsets.

Dear God, That’s a very important Kid you’ve got up there. Please make sure he is adjusting okay… sometimes he likes to play the tough guy.  Maybe you could give him some extra hugs or something.  Oh, and thank you for beautiful orange sunsets.

I worry about Kid A sometimes.  She still marks your symbol on her wrist every single day.  Then she traces “Come What May” in your handwriting over top of it.  She wants to get it tattooed, but I am making her wait until she turns 18 to do that.  Sheepdog offered to take her across state lines to Alabama (mostly because he is also campaigning for a new tattoo… you remember the biohazard one he wanted you to get because of all of the chemo?) but I put my foot down.  Yes, I am still a rule follower.  And yes, I am still putting my foot down about stuff.  Tattoos are FOREVER.  But I guess that you will be with her forever too, so I get it.

Over all, she has been handling everything pretty well.  She has the distractions of her senior year to keep her busy.  We hardly see her at home.  But I worry about her most when the busy stops.  And every once in a while she will say something that gives me pause.

Like when she said, “I am afraid to get close to anybody because the people I love die.”

And honestly, I didn’t know what to say back.  Because – technically – she is right.  You died.  Everybody dies.  Some die later and some die sooner, but we all die.  It is one of those yin/yang facts of life.  Yet, we can’t guard ourselves so closely that we never let anyone in, either.  So, I hugged her and let her cry about you and I reminded her that she can’t let fear dictate her choices in life.  We keep encouraging her to do more counseling and therapy.  And she has been trying hard to do fun things and meet new people this year, so I think she is going to be okay.  But I will continue to keep an eye on her just in case.

And maybe you can keep doing your surprise drop-ins, too.  In between your Arabic lessons, of course.

I miss you, Kid.

xo

Girl Power – Winning! (Remember That One Time?)

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.

“Again?”

“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.

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…