Thursday, September 25, 2008

Son of a…

One of the extra special lessons I’ve learned as a mom is that anything that already sucks, sucks even more with a two year old.

I have my morning routine down to a science. Andy, Michael and I manage to all get ready and leave the house in about 43 minutes. I do the same things everyday. It gets us going and prevents me from forgetting anything. Right before we walk out the door, I call my mom and let her know we are coming. She heads outside to meet us. Andy and I pull out at the same time. Smooth sailing.

Monday morning I ticked off Michael by forcing him to wear a jacket, so he wasn’t very cooperative about getting into his car seat as revenge. I finally fought him into it, and came around to start the car. I turned the key. Nothing. I turned it again. NOTHING. Then, because I could not believe that a three year old Honda wouldn’t start, I turned the key again. The dash board lights flickered on for a moment and then went out again. I look up, Andy has just pulled away. Son of a…

So, here I am. It’s 5:43 in the morning. I’ve been on vacation for a week, and MUST get to work. My mom is standing outside, with no phone, waiting for me. Andy is gone. I did my best Winnie the Pooh impression and decided to “Think, think, think” really fast.

I called Andy, who actually had his phone on him, and he turned around to pick us up. When I went to switch Michael to Andy’s car, he threw a fit. The first of many fits that were soon to follow. At my mom’s I begged her to let me borrow her car. And wonderful mom that she is, she did.

My mom drives an old Ford Escort wagon with a standard transmission. And, it turns out that she also needs to put the seat so far forward that her face is touching the windshield. I opened the car door and folded all 5 feet 8 inches of myself plus the three inch heals into her tiny little car. Then, I spent about 5 minutes trying to untangle myself from the steering wheel. I managed to back out and get on the road without stalling the car.

(Ok, that's a lie. I stalled it once. But it's been 5 years since I drove a stick shift. And I was wearing heals!)

On the way to work, my mind is churning. What’s wrong with the car? Where are my jumper cables? How much is this going to cost? What are we going to do if this takes several days to fix? Holy crap this car is loud! Am I really only going 55? My mind finally settled down enough that I noticed singing in the background. I tune into it just in time to hear, “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.” What on earth is my mother listening too?

After work, Andy and I decided to try and jump the car. If you have never done this before, you simply connect the dead battery to the good battery in another car and then start them both. It requires two people. It should take about 10 minutes. Unless, of course, you have a two year old.

Michael was a nightmare. He screamed and cried the entire time. His friends were out, but he decided that he MUST have me hold him while I’m hooking cables up to a live battery. When I wouldn't lift him up, he got so angry that he threw his stupid train whistle into Andy’s engine compartment. OMG! I had to reach in and get it out before his little head blew up. By the time we finally got my car started, Michael was red and splotchy with snot all over. Just the thing I needed.

I ran my car for a while to let the battery charge. Michael climbed in my car with me and played around while Andy went in to do the dishes. That’s when I realized I was trapped. I couldn’t get Michael out, I couldn’t turn the car off, and I couldn’t leave him in the car to go get Andy. So I had a brilliant idea. I’ll put Michael in his car seat and drive the car around to charge it up.

I drove up to the park. I don’t know what I was thinking. “PARK! I want to go to the park! PARK! PARK! PARK!” That’s when the check engine light came on. I turned around. Michael screamed and wailed. Thank goodness I made it back to my parking spot before the car died. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I had to carry Michael the half mile home kicking and screaming. I shudder to think.

Hmm, maybe I can get in touch with the shop. What time is it? 6:01. The shop is opened until 6:00. Maybe I can catch them. I rush in and dial the phone. Michael kicks the tantrum up a notch and starts hitting Andy. Somehow, over the screaming, I can hear the voice mail message telling me their business hours. Sigh.

Since there wasn’t anything I could do about it, I figured I would take Michael outside to calm him down. It didn’t work. He fought me the entire time, and kept whining and pulling. I know that my comment to him about how “I’d rather shot myself in the head multiple times with a nail gun” was inappropriate. Really, I do. But I don’t feel bad about it at all. Right at that moment, I meant it.

At 6:30 I gave up and plopped him in front of the TV and put on Curious George for him. He slumped down, looking pathetic with his red eyes and scowl. But at least he wasn’t screaming. I gave up and called AAA to have my car towed.

Everything turned out ok. The tow truck was there in under an hour. The shop was able to fix my car the next day. Turns out my battery was just so dead that it couldn’t hold a charge. Things got right back to normal, and it didn’t cost too much. It’s all good.

But I swear, I don’t ever want to go through the two hour screaming tantrum while trying to do something that should only take 10 minutes again. I just may be forced to buy a nail gun.


LauraC said...

Let me tell you how we avoid situations like this - MONEY! I've paid people to do embarrassingly simple things just to avoid doing it with two toddlers in tow.

The worst part is when you know whatever your decision is, it's going to end in tantrums.

Mama Mia said...

WOW..that is all i can say about that.....

Maria said...

I second the WOW! Holy bad day, huh. Good luck tomorrow.

London said...

Wow, what a day! You need to come over for an afternoon cocktail with me.

Joanna said...

Laura - That's the worst part. I DO pay someone to do this stuff for me. I have AAA Plus, they would have jumped the car for me. But, I'm very stubborn some times.

Deanna said...

Oh my gosh. How did you keep your cool? I'd be thinking car seat and duct tape (to hold him in). You did really well and I'm so sorry you had to go through that! Can AAA serve up a merlot with that two truck??

-Bridget said...

Duck tape works just as well as a nail gun, and doesn't leave pesky holes. He's just a hairless mole for a while.

So sorry you went through all of that. I think we all know these days and are all cringing for you.