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This. Fucking. Week.-Part Two

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Tuesday.  Tuesday was going to be my day.  My plan was high frustration, but high payoff.  First, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for a diagnostic.  Back in November 2018, I was finally able to trade in my (13 year old!) car for newer wheels.  I’m now the owner of my third red car, a 2015 Chevy Equinox.

My car, having a good, thoughtful stare out into the sea…

The 13 year old car was a silver 2005 Saturn Vue bought new when I was young and determined to prove that I had become a Real Adult.  Obviously that whole ‘adult’ thing never happened and while buying new is kind of financially terrible, driving it to the very end of 13 years really does make it cost effective.  And honestly, if Saturn hadn’t gone out of business and I could get parts more reliably I’d probably still be driving it.  That Saturn lasted me through multiple accidents (none of which were my fault, thankyouverymuch), thousands of hours of commuting, buying my first (and only) house, and two babies and everything that comes with that.

Though it was sad to see him go, I love this new (to me) car.  I love that the interior is chocolate and black with red stitching.  I love that the air conditioner is not only functional, but efficient!  I love that it can hold about three or four more gallons of gas than my old car so my low fuel light come on fractionally less.  I especially love that when the hatch to the trunk is opened, it stays open—a luxury that I lived without for years in my previous vehicle.  Bonus:  auxiliary port for my cell phone, cup holder arm rest in the back, remote start which is borderline Kitt/Christine magic.  I’M LIVING IN 2015!

Jogging back up the beach after a quick splash…

However, used cars always have that hint of lemon freshness to them and this car has had electrical issues from day one.  Issues with the information screen (it has an information screen!) having long delays connecting, speaker volume cutting in and out, collision alarm going off for absolutely no reason on a completely open stretch of road.  The biggest and most annoying issue is the passenger seat belt alarm triggering regardless of what is in the seat.  Groceries?  ALARM.  Cell phone?  ALARM.  Heavy backpack?  ALARM.  Oxygen molecules?

MOTHER

FUCKING

ALARM

MOTHER

FUCKER.

Earlier this year I scheduled an oil change and asked the service center to check on a very specific issue:  my car creaks.  Like, a 100 pound kid can hop in and the frame squeaks and creaks.  If-this-car’s-a-rockin’ type squeaks.  I also asked about the sensitivity of the passenger seat belt alarm and was immediately shut down about that one with the excuse that it’s “sensitive” and everyone complains about it.

Okay, sure.

The service people said there was nothing actually wrong with the frame or suspension and to just ignore the creaking.  Again, okay, sure.  But a few weeks ago my car died in the parking lot at Josh’s Korean class.  This may come as a shock, but my car died because my battery died.  Even more shocking?  The shit battery was the biggest culprit of all of my electrical issues as it was completely past its life span when it was sold to me.

If they hadn’t blown off my concerns 6 months ago, I would not have been stuck dead in a parking lot in 100 degree heat because my battery would have already been replaced.  For the record, the Chevy Equinox’s battery is completely stupid to replace and is under computer sensors and just generally more complicated than any other car I’ve had in the past.

Circled is the actual invisible ninja battery.

 

Oh, the good ol’ days where you didn’t have to move heaven and earth just to get to your car battery.  For the record, circled below is where you can jump start the battery, labeled 1 and 2 in the previous picture.

Also, car batteries have a life of about 3 years, depending on the battery.  I purchased this car in November of 2018, to past the 3 year mark.  It may seem like a small issue, but it obviously led to a real pain in the ass and I’m lucky it wasn’t a worse situation.

So now that all that backstory has been laid out, Tuesday was the first day I could get an appointment at the dealership for a diagnostic.  I was still having sporadic electrical issues even after changing the battery.  I was very specific:

  • These issues are occurring even after the new battery was installed
  • These issues are sporadic and unpredictable.  Random.  Arbitrary.  Haphazard.  Other synonyms.

Their initial diagnostic came from OnStar which gave a detail of all the electrical issues I’ve been having…but no date stamp?  So maybe these issues were from yesterday, last month, or last year!  What an amazing and useless service.  Fact:  OnStar is useless if your battery dies.

Also a fact: my dealership service center is useless.  After all of the necessary detail and discussion, the Mr. still got a call asking if these issues happened before or after the battery change.  They then proceeded to tell him that they couldn’t do anything unless they knew how these problems were being triggered because saying that the issues were sporadic and unpredictable wasn’t clear enough, I guess.  They also kept my car overnight and didn’t bother to call and let me know.  The service center closes at 6 PM and after multiple calls, the Mr. finally got a text saying they didn’t find anything wrong and would have to keep it all day Wednesday.  No, they  would not be offering a rental through our warranty plan as they were still unsure of the cause of the issues and therefore it couldn’t be determined if it was a warranty issue.

Hard pass, we said we’d pick it up on Wednesday because fuck it.  Who needs a reliable electrical system?

Let me tell you, that $3,000 bumper to bumper warranty is just paying for itself.

Not having a vehicle in the midst of this whirlwind life was shit.  I know this is absolutely a first world problem but fuck that, I live in this first world and suddenly not having access to something that I’ve had almost daily for 24 years is debilitating.  Even if the car was going to be unavailable for most of the day, nothing indicated that it would be a full day/overnight/next day thing.

But if that were the only frustration on Tuesday I probably would not be writing about it.  My stress about the new office and Robin’s birthday were still very raw and only exacerbated when I received my shipment in from Party City.  Somehow, I only got one pack each of dinner plates, dessert plates, and dessert napkins.  I also ordered balloons in error—we decided to ban helium balloons this year because my local Party City is shit.

Even though I’m dumb, the stuff was still cute.

Tangent:  in college, there was a greasy spoon called Pancake City and everyone called it Pancake Shitty.  Isn’t college is just the center of creativity and wit?  Something I learned quickly:  do not order anything except breakfast there or you’re gonna have a bad time.

So Party Shitty is thusly named because they never have balloons in stock.  They always have something just off—no red star balloons, but they have heart balloons.  Or they have two yellow balloons when you need a dozen.  They also run out of helium a lot and then store use their disposable helium cans so you can’t buy those instead.  Oh, this giant pyramid of helium tanks?  Not for sale.  This has added to birthday stress in the past and between that and the rising cost of mylar and latex, we cut out the balloons completely.

Honestly, I don’t know why I only got one of everything.  I want to believe it’s a never-ending conspiracy of the universe to follow the old adage of when it rains, it pours.  But more likely is that in my last-minute panic and hurry I just fucked up the order.  I did go out to get additional plates, napkins and tchotchkes on Wednesday after I got my car back.  I also stopped by Office Depot to pick up the printed copies of party games I made and submitted online the night before.  How long could it possibly take to print out about 20 color pages?

Well, according to Office Depot, 24 hours.  I read my paper wrong and thought 12 hours—7 AM the next day after submitting (and paying for) my order at 7 PM the night before.  As Hitler once said, my bad.  The lady was nice and said they could probably be done by noon or 1 and that they’d call me when it was done.

You know where this is going, right?

3 PM came and went.  Since the order was placed under the Mr.’s account I had him call that evening to check on it.  After talking to an obviously surprised and flustered print department employee, they assured us it would be done by 7 PM and they’d call us when it was ready.

You know how this story is going to turn out, right?  I mean, I’m going to finish it, but I feel like I’m being painfully predictable here.

No call, no text, but miraculously, an email showed up notifying us that the order was ready for pick up.  At 8:50 PM.  Office Depot closes at 9 PM.

I haven’t even gotten to the cake yet.

This. Fucking. Week. — Part One

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The week of September 23, at least.  THAT. Fucking. Week.  Maybe by the time I post this all of my injuries, physical and emotional, will be healed.  Not likely, but maybe.  The week started out with so much hope and potential—Robin’s TENTH birthday was Thursday, but Monday was also an incredibly significant and exciting day:  The Mr. moved into his new office space! 

He’s been self employed for two years now and overall it has been wonderful.  One of our biggest family issues was his overwork and absence so just being present in the home made a huge positive difference.  It absolutely eliminated some problems while simultaneously introducing new problems because that’s literally how life works.  Now, working at home wasn’t some magic bullet that made our family happily ever after, but it improved the quality of our lives exponentially.  Businesses can only grow and thrive so much out of a home office; happily, he’s outgrown being at home full time and has officially leased a great little office in conjunction with another established professional.

While all that was cause for celebration, Monday was going be my ‘get-shit-together’ day:  clean up the classroom, run birthday errands, clean the house up, etc.  Also on my schedule was making our dinner for equinox (as opposed to giving in to my inherent lazy desires and ordering take out) and baking some cakes in preparation for the Big Ten birthday on Thursday.  By 10 AM, I had a text from the Mr. asking me to pick up some things for him from Home Depot which was actually a welcome distraction and an option for the kids and me to see the office for the first time.

Well, that errand turned into a FIVE HOUR ORDEAL.  No, I wasn’t being cattle-prodded or anything like that, but…I have this condition that makes it damn near impossible for me to stop helping others right in the middle of a project.  Especially if it gives me an excuse to procrastinate on my own overwhelming mountain of a task list.  I hate this aspect of myself and if I don’t keep in in check it makes me a resentful garbage pile which is only exacerbated by the fact that I am volunteering.   Here’s how this part of the day went down:

  • go to Home Depot for a power strip and surge protector
  • Home Depot does not have the requested surge protector (as recommended by our IT guy). Drive a quarter of the way to his office when he finally gets back to me and tells me it’s at Lowes.
  • Turn around, go to Lowes.  In the aisle literally labeled SURGE PROTECTORS there are none of that brand or even that style.  Ask an employee if there are surge protectors anywhere in the store other than the surge protector aisle.  NO.
  • go to the office.  Yay new office!  Further research mythological surge protector and find out it’s in aisle 15, not in aisle 6 labeled SURGE PROTECTORS.  Make extensive list of additional needs from Lowes and set out again.
  • back at Lowes, aisle 15 is full of plastic storage containers and trash cans which is great because I needed a trash can but still no elusive surge protector.  Find help; turns out surge protectors are in the TV accessories aisle, aisle 11.
  • one small mortgage payment later, return to the Mr.’s office to lay on the floor to help with electronics installation.  It’s hot and stuffy because the doors are closed.  The doors are closed because the office mates have a gentle giant bulldog mix that wanted to be under the desk with me and I am not into that.
  • a fan and lunch are desperately needed.  Went home to start laundry, start dinner, take fan from bedroom instead of buying one as that would take too long.  Pick up lunch and deliver food and a fan; eat and go home by three-ish.

Phew!  What a day!

So, finally at home and have just enough time to wash Josh’s TKD uniform and gear and make equinox dinner.  No big deal.  I have about two hours.  I got this, I thought, which is an incredibly stupid thought.  I got nothing.  I have never in the history of ever gotten anything so maybe I was having heat stroke or low blood sugar or an out of body experience.

Things could have been gotten…except that there was a load of clothes in the washer that needed to be re-washed.  We have a new fancy washing machine (our old workhorse died after 17 years!) and it’s extremely efficient in spinning the clothes and basically pre-drying them before putting them in the dryer.  This is wonderful except when I don’t swap clothes out immediately and it gets The Smell.  You know what I mean.  Clean, yes, but with that low undertone of mildew.  The Smell of one minute too long of a delay and The Smell of wasted water, energy, and most importantly, time.  The Smell.

So a load takes about an hour to wash, about 40 minutes to dry (thanks to that super extreme spin cycle).  As I walked back into the kitchen, I realized I needed to put a bottle of mead into the fridge if I wanted to have it with dinner.  I pulled out a bottle from a low cabinet and immediately slow-motion-dropped it on my foot.

I dropped a full wine bottle approximately three and a half feet onto the bones of my left foot.  Specifically, the first long bone connecting to my big toe, a.k.a.: first metatarsal.  My scream brought a crowd of concerned children while also scattering a variety of indoor and outdoor animals.  I refused to take off my sock to inspect my injury because compression stocks are too much of a pain to take off and put on so I substituted cussing and hobbling around while I prepared the pork roast.

It was then that I realized the pork that I was preparing was rancid because of course it was.

Another trip to Kroger, a clean uniform fresh out of the dryer 30 minutes before the start of class, and the day from hell ended with many things accomplished but so many MORE things unfinished.  I did not fully inspect my foot until after dinner for a few reasons, all of which were fairly childish.  Basically, it boiled down to the idea that I didn’t have time for that shit and if I could walk I could ignore it for just a little while more.  A glass of mead and a thousand ibuprofen afterwards, I finally peeled off my sock.  I determined that the bone wasn’t broken as I could still move my toes without blacking out but could have a hairline crack or something.  Walking wasn’t terrible, but stairs were total bullshit.  Shoes were borderline intolerable but obviously I was wearing shoes and running around like a crazy person for the entire week.  As of today (Saturday the 28th) the knot is smaller but still there and I’m subjected to a constant sharp/burning pain and even I’m tired of my own complaints.  7:30 AM found me rubbing Tiger Balm on the spot and then groggily wiping MY FUCKING EYES so sufficed to say I am, if anything, consistent.

And that was only day one of that week.  Ugh.

Thinking about things

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Man, what a month. I had a birthday and didn’t act like a whiny bitch.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  I am now 38 years old and am determined to…well, not act my age or anything, but maybe hide my immaturity a bit better.  Yeah…

I’m trying to think about this blog going forward.  The PB thing really took the wind out of my sails, so to speak.  I know it’s not ‘ruined’ but it sure feels that way. I really want to restore all the pictures and bring it back to its former glory.  Don’t laugh.  I am even thinking about switching to WordPress pro because it’s pretty darn neat.  I use it for my actual work website and blog and it’s snazzy.  I find it difficult to rationalize the expense, and I can generally rationalize most things I want to spend money on. I don’t want to quit, but I just wonder if it needs a face lift. Start a new blog or just draw a line in the sand and say I’m starting over right here?

There is always something more I want to say, one more thing to joke or whine about.  I’m feeling spread thin, between teaching, working on the social media for the business and blogging for the business which gives me more stress than I like. Mostly because I have a lot of research to do before I can blog somewhat intelligently on topics that I am unfamiliar with just to get a good framework and draft set up before the rest of the technical stuff is added.  We have a full client schedule now, and the Mr. is nice and busy which is encouraging.  Everyday I take a moment to be thankful for the life we have now, and secretly hope that nothing changes from this exact moment in time though I know that’s not realistic in the slightest. That’s not how it works.

I’m doing a terrible ob, by the way. At everything, mostly. Dishes are never done enough, laundry is never done enough, school is never thorough enough, social media presence is for shit, blah, blah, blah. I find myself inordinately excited when I remember to pack ice water for taekwondo or if I remember to practice violin enough. I need to get back on my diet.  I figure as of right now, I have two months before I screw it up with Robin’s birthday. And for all of this, I’m still grateful and happy. Is this what comes with age? Figuring out that things are good, or at least, will be?

It’s late a shit, and I’m obviously not being an adult by playing around on the computer at 0230. I will sleep and I will wake up on time and diet and do dishes and teach and go grocery shopping and go to the library and go to taekwondo and practice violin and clean out the litter box and blog and for fun and profit.