It’s amazing what a little stress can do to a person’s mental energy.
I woke today ready to knock some shit out. Now I can barely keep my eyes open and it’s only 5pm. It’s all I can do to periodically go downstairs and switch laundry between machines, let alone bring any of the clean up and put it away. I’ve also consumed mass amounts of coffee to try and help with this, to no avail.
A little back story.
Around the same time that I got Clarice, Matt’s dad got a different vehicle as well. A little newer than mine, a little nicer. Irritated me a little, truth be told. Our vehicles seem to be in sync with each other. The last two sets of vehicles have broken down and gotten wrecked, respectively, at damn near the same time. Mine break down, his get wrecked. Anyway, so last night he called Grandma to report that someone had backed into his vehicle in traffic – their rear end into his front end – and taken off. He had just had to put some money into it, and isn’t that just how it goes? Put some money into your car and something else goes wrong. So, he brought the vehicle over and we all stood looking at the damage as he talked to his insurance company. It was in rough shape. Two different types of fluid leaks, cracked windshield, not to mention the body damage. The insurance agent got him into a rental, to be picked up the next day. As arrangements were made he asked me if I could take him to get the rental and I agreed, giving him a hard time about today being the only day I get to sleep in. I was mostly kidding. Yes, there have been times I have hated the man I procreated with to the deepest depths of my soul. But there have also been multiple times he’s been there to bail me out of hard times. I don’t mind helping him for that reason. So, I agreed to get up early to take him to get a rental car, even though I wanted to sleep in a little. It would just mean I would get my other business done that much earlier.
Later in the evening he called grandma and had her let me know that his girlfriend – I guess. They’ve been together for like 9 or 10 years. A decade and 3 kids later should have a different title in my opinion – didn’t have to work until later so she was just going to take him. Cool. So I set my alarm for later. When did 8am begin to seem late??? Chase had somehow gotten gogurt all over his bed, so I had him sleep with me. I was looking at damn near 9 hours of sleep and I was in desperate need of it.
My body woke me just before 7am, and I contemplated getting up then. I stumbled to the bathroom, and as I emptied my bladder I felt how cold it was without the benefit of my flannel sheets and thick comforter and Chase’s body heat. I turned the heat up a couple of degrees and decided to be a rebel for once and go back to sleep. I read somewhere that if you wake up on your own, and your body has had enough sleep, you should just get up because if you lay back down you fuck up your sleep cycle and it makes you feel tired even though you slept more. I mainly adhere to this and I have noticed a difference in how I feel in the mornings. But not today. My warm bed cried out for me and I joyfully burrowed back down in its warmth for another hour.
Just before 8 my body woke me again. I reached over to cover Chase more effectively before I got up and discovered he’d peed just a little bit. Sigh. Get him up now or get my life in order first? I mean, the damage was already done, right? He lay there next to me looking all angelic and peaceful despite the fact that he lay in wetness. What was half an hour? He hates mornings worse than me. We were a mean pair if one of us didn’t have coffee first, and he’s not allowed. So I tucked him in and got my head right real quick – short yoga session, caffeine, and a quick shower. I mentally assessed my to do list, energized for a productive day – pay brothers bills and send him money for his tags and plates, report his wages, pick up groceries, get the car washed, do some filing, get gas, obviously not in that order. Call Aaron. Organize the fridge and freezers. Most definitely laundry. Fresh from the shower, I peeked in on Chase. He had moved to my side of the bed and a small snore escaped him as I watched. The boy was tired. Nothing that a washing machine and a bath couldn’t fix when he decided to get up. I left him to sleep and headed down to start laundry, and then cleared out and organized the chest freezers. I came upstairs with the anticipated weeks frozen items, and cleared out the fridge, took out the garbage, loaded the dishwasher and got chicken legs brining. Still, Chase wasn’t up. I called Aaron to touch base with him, and as I ended our conversation I heard Chase sneak into his bedroom, no doubt conspiring to hide his wet clothes. I approached his door and found it locked. “I know you peed, buddy. You need a bath.”
“I’m just taking these clothes off,” he answered.
“Well give me your clothes and head into the bathroom, I’ll be there in a second.” I quickly stripped my bed and carried everything downstairs and then ran back up. I grabbed my phone and seeing I had a text, checked it real quick. It was Matt’s dad, asking me to come get him and take him to get the rental. Chase hadn’t appeared from his room yet, so I called Matt’s dad instead of texting him. Apparently there had been a mix up and the girlfriend had to be to work. “Change of plans. Get dressed. You can have a bath when we get back.” Three strikes in my parenting book for the day, since Chase had a bag of dry fruit loops in his hand for his breakfast as we walked out the door, after laying in pee for an hour and not having a bath. Sigh. Some days you’re Susie Homemaker and get the mother of the year award, others you skate on the line of negligent.
So, we loaded two more kids into my vehicle and I drove them to get the rental. Deciding to just get everything done and then go home and make up for my shortcomings, I picked up my groceries – sidenote, Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up is the shit -and hit the car wash. I hopped a couple blocks down to the bank to get Aaron’s money – just two more stops and I would be done, hallelujah! I pulled up to the ATM and reached for my purse to get the bank card out, and glancing up saw steam rolling out from under my hood. “What in the actual FUCK?!” I cried, eyes wide. I glanced at my dash and it didn’t read that it was overheating. I threw it into drive and found a parking spot, turned it off. “What’re we doing, momma?” “‘Bout to blow the car up, I guess,” I mumbled, grabbing my phone and dialing Matt’s dad back. “What’re you doing?” I asked when he answered. When he responded that he was sitting at home, I replied, “wanna come get me and my kid and groceries? This motherfucker is overheating.” He started laughing – just the irony, ya know? Like I said, our luck with vehicles is in sync – and asked where I was. I relayed the information and he said he was on his way. While I waited, I hopped out and lit a cigarette and popped the hood. Glancing underneath I uttered a string of curses and let the hood drop. Coolant was everywhere. Had to be the radiator. It looked exactly the same as my Honda had looked when the radiator blew in it. I hurriedly looked up parts prices and let out another string of curses seeing that the radiator was damn near $200. Why me? I’m mostly a nice person. I donate my change, give people on corners money if I have cash on me, help my friends when they need it. I resist the urge to be vindictive and I’m not a liar or a cheat. What am I doing wrong in my life to have such horrible karma? I called Matt’s dad back to ask about him about his contact at a car dealership, see if he could pull any strings. No way was I pouring another $200 in this. He suggested that maybe it was just a hose that had broke, calming me slightly. Maybe. I prayed to whoever would listen. I could swing a hose and a clamp, a little bit of labor cost. Just not $200 again, please.
He got there and I popped the hood. He isn’t a mechanical genius or anything, but he glanced around the engine compartment and wiggled the main coolant hose, and it lifted completely away from where it was supposed to attach to the radiator, clamp and all. “It isn’t even broken. It just came off. Probably wasn’t put on all the way. Got a set of pliers?” We searched my vehicle and came up without any. Realizing we needed coolant anyway to replace what had sprayed out, he loaded my groceries into the trunk of the rental and drove us to my house where I knew I had both. While I searched the items out, he unloaded my groceries. We headed back to the vehicle where he struggled with the shitty pliers I had found for several minutes. Finally, the hose was secured, and I poured the whole bottle of coolant into the reservoir. We watched the fluid seem to disappear as it filled the radiator. It must have sprayed out every last drop of coolant. At this rate, between two thermostats and now this damn hose, I’ll never need a radiator flush. Clarice sees to it that every couple of months it gets done regardless of whether it needs it or not. “Go ahead and start it.” I ran to the passenger side of the rental and dug in my purse for them. “Ahhh. . . I think they’re on the counter at home.” I said sheepishly. He just laughed and shook his head. He used to get horribly mad at my forgetfulness. I remember many an argument over it. “Well, we need more coolant anyway. C’mon.” He closed the hood and we headed back to my house for the second time. And sure enough, my keys sat on the counter.
Finally, about an hour and a half after my car started spewing steam, I started her up and drove her back to the ATM to finish conducting business. I say finally because at the time every second dragged as I waited, anticipating further problems. Actually I’m thankful. This whole deal cost me less than $30 instead of $200. I’m grateful for small favors.
I conducted Aaron’s business and got gas, and headed home to finish the dinner and laundry I had started. What I had anticipated as an hour or hour and a half away from home had turned into four hours. What I had anticipated as a productive day had gone down the shitter, and I was mentally drained. I switched laundry, finished prepping the chicken for the crockpot, and looking at the time in horror, made a pot of coffee and sat down with my book for a minute to rest. I had gotten all my errands done at least. I could take a slow pace through the rest of the day. Nothing but dinner and laundry was absolutely required of me.
Now that I have accomplished both, I remember that my child does still need a bath. And my filing is in a desperate state. And I never did call in Aaron’s wages. Of the three, my child will get his much needed bath. Tomorrow is another day, and it has to go better than today.
I can’t make up these adventures. Another day in the life, folks. Some days I have my shit together, and look the part. Well dressed, make up and hair done, children clean and adorable. And then there are days like today when I don’t have time to do my hair and my demon tresses hang out of a small hair clip that barely keeps it in place, no make up and the stress shows in the dark circles under my eyes, days when my children’s clothes don’t match and they’re in desperate need of a bath. Some days I can be everything that is required of me – mother, sister, property manager – and not miss a beat, and do it all calmly and with a sense of humor. . . and some days I struggle to take a breath without an obscenity exiting my mouth, and I fail at everything I attempt. You can’t win ’em all. Tomorrow is another day.