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.


“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…

Girl Power: Fail

I have always been the kind of girl who wanted to do the stuff, instead of sitting idly by and watching someone else do it for me.  As a toddler I’m sure I petulantly said, “Do byself!” more than I said, “Mama.” (Sorry, Mom).  As a teenager I excelled in both Home Economics and Industrial Arts classes; I even earned the Shop (I.A.) Award at my 8th Grade Graduation ceremony. “That’s my SON!” yelled my dad, his chest swelling with pride.  I know how to sew a button, drive a stick shift, change out a toilet flapper, orienteer myself out of the woods, and cook a medium-rare petite filet on a gas grill that I lit all by myself even if the starter does not work.

Now don’t go thinking that I am some angry feminist who does not need no ma-an around to help me survive.  I just like the security of knowing that I could do these things if ever I need to.  I have no desire to cut my ma-an off at the boy parts to show how strong I am.  That would be a dumb power play and, I think, the mark of an underconfident, weak woman.  I respect and value Sheepdog and his contributions very much.  I think that Sheepdog and I make an excellent team because we respect each other and we have walked a mile in each other’s shoes (well, as much as that is even possible) and we both work together to run this family.

The problem with our current roles is that we have been in them for a while, so my survival skills are now a little stale.  I haven’t been the breadwinner in this family since we were first married and I worked full-time and Sheepdog was in law school.  I would most likely not succeed in an office environment at this point in my life (Um, so you’re saying that I should not take a little siesta after I watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey on my computer.  This company is lame.  Take this job and shove it!), nor would Sheepdog last being a full-time stay-at-home-dad who has to sacrifice regular workouts for sick kids and cross-country travels for SpongeBob SquarePants (truth be told, SpongeBob is awesome and we both watch that show if it happens to be on), but you understand what I’m saying.  Unless you keep practicing all of your skills, you may lose them.

As you know, the past few days have been filled with E.R. visits, pediatric orthopedic surgeons and Wee Walker Boot applications.  It has also been filled with the cold-that-will-not-go-away, a kitchen knife accident (I actually have a lot of these – I think my knives hate me) and a broken dishwasher, thanks to good old Mr. Murphy and his stupid Law.

Fortunately, the home improvement stores were having Memorial Day sales this past weekend, so we got a new dishwasher for a great price.  Delivery was scheduled for Wednesday.  On Tuesday the robot lady called and informed me that our delivery time was to be between 8 and 10 PM.  Odd, but I can’t exactly question a robot and I know we’ll be home then, so I pulse uno para “si.”  Sheepdog says that it is a good plan, because he can disconnect the old dishwasher when he gets home on Wednesday night.  Don’tcha know that the delivery guys call me the next morning, after Sheepdog has left for work (that is decidedly not near our house, by the by), and tell me that the robot lady has a screw loose and she actually meant AM.  So they’ll be by within the hour and could I be ready to accept delivery of the new dishwasher and give them the old one for free pickup?  Ever the “Do byself!” Girl, I again respond in the affirmative, and proceed to get my dishwasher disconnecting groove on.

Do I cut the red wire or the blue wire? Do a good job. Do a good job. Do a good job.

Long story short, even though I have Sheepdog on the speaker phone for tech support and I send him a picture of a new problem every two minutes from my phone, I do not manage to disconnect the dishwasher by the time the delivery guys ring my front doorbell.  I do, however, manage to almost flood the kitchen (which is directly above our fancy media room, mind you), seriously scratch up the wood floor in a spot that I look at every single day and it will quickly drive me mad and require a complete refurbishing of all of the wood floors on the first level, and also turn off both of our hot water heaters which later required Sheepdog to relight the pilot because no one was getting hot water for their evening showers.

Sheepdog then comes home after a full day of work, uninstalls the dishwasher, installs the new one, diagnoses and fixes the above-mentioned hot water issue, and then does about two hours more of work on his computer before bed.  I think I heard him make a couple of Tim Taylor Tool Time self-satisfied grunts throughout the night, but I did not comment at all because they were completely justified.  In my self-pitying rut, I threw in the towel about making a nutritious dinner, ordered pizza and picked up a giant bottle of wine.

Girl Power: Fail.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a crap load of This Old House episodes to catch up on, so that I may continue to be worthy of that Shop Award.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…