If I had read my horoscope for today, I bet it would have said "Stay home! Better yet, stay in bed!"
It was not really that bad, in between major catastrophes. The kids and I slept until 9:00 or so, got up and did the normal morning things, and Genevieve went down for her usual morning nap. About twenty minutes later Genevieve woke up from her morning nap and refused to go back to sleep. Ok, not a big deal, I just wouldn't be able to set her down until she went to sleep again. Somewhere around 12:30, I gave up on believing that she would ever do such a thing, and decided to yield to the older kids' requests to be taken to Bookstar to use the $20 gift cards we got them for Christmas. I somehow managed to put on clothes, wash my face, put on a little makeup, and do something with my Roseanna-Roseanna-Danna 'do with one hand while holding a baby in the other, and we all piled into the van.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I remembered I was about out of gas. I usually try to get gas when the kids aren't with me, but since we're all still on winter break, they're always with me. Kroger is right there in the shopping plaza with the book store, so I foolishly thought I could fill up there without too much of an ordeal. As I turned into the parking lot by the gas island, I must have turned a second too early, because I went over the curb. I pulled up to the pump thinking everything was ok, and started the intricate process of scanning my Kroger card for the loyalty discount, pushing the correct buttons, scanning my debit card, and being told to "see cashier." Dammit. I tried again, hitting "credit" instead of "debit" since this sometimes helps when the computer is being irksome. No such luck this time. I went to the cashier, who told me to just hit the "pay cashier" button, which I did. So I had just started pumping my gas when the teenage boy next to me informed me that my right front tire was flat. Shit! I thought for a minute, realized I didn't even know where my spare was stored and that we never renewed our AAA membership, and reached into my purse for my phone to call Big Daddy at work. No phone. Are you f*#&ing kidding me? It was humiliating enough to have to call my man to rescue me from a stupid flat tire, but now I had to borrow the cashier's phone to do it and then explain that I had somehow left my phone at home.
I called him and explained the situation, feeling rushed and embarrassed on the cashier's personal cell phone, and he said he would either leave work and come himself or see if he could get my dad, who works nights and would be home and awake at that time of day, and help would be there soon. Right after this, the cashier told me my debit card was declined, even though I thought there should be plenty of money in the account. "Well," I sighed, "I'm not going anywhere. I'll have to pay you when he gets here." I flashed back to a moment earlier this morning, when I found my only other valid card in the dryer, told myself I should go put it in my purse, and then set it on the windowsill next to the dryer. Beautiful. At least she was nice about it.
At this point, Genevieve was screaming because she had seen me through the window and hates to be in the car when it's not moving. I put her, still in her car seat carrier, on the little seatless stroller cart deally and pushed her back and forth as I got out the jack and tire iron and tried to figure out where the spare might be. Once I established that it was not under any kind of panel in the way back of the van, I remembered the owner's manual in its special black zippered case in its own little holder under the front passenger seat. Sure enough, it revealed the bizarre location of the spare tire and the steps that would be necessary to remove it. At least that was something. There was a time, in college, when I went through so many tires on my little Chrysler LeBaron that I was once able to change a tire during the 15 minute break in the middle of an hour-and-a-half Tuesday/Thursday class and make it back in time to impress my classmates with my blackened palms. I found it humiliating not to be able to handle this situation myself. I can guarantee that if I hadn't had the kids with me, I would have at least tried.
About the time I figured out where the spare was and how to get it, my brother-in-law came walking up. "Are you my knight in shining armor?" I asked. He expressed disgust that "no sorry son of a bitch" had offered to help me, then got to work jacking up the van. I continued to feel worthless, but tried to focus on corralling the kids and restraining myself from saying "I'm sorry" every three seconds. And since my brother-in-law is anti-cell phone, I couldn't borrow his phone to call B.D. and tell him to transfer money into checking, so he had to buy my gas on top of rescuing my sorry non-tire-changing butt. I know he was glad to do it, but it's the principal of the thing. To say that I don't like to ask for help is an understatement, but I guess sometimes even I just have no choice. So thanks Uncle T. for rescuing us, and for thinking to put air in the spare tire once it was on, which I would never have thought of. I owe you one.
That crisis resolved, I went ahead and took the kids to the book store since we were already right there in the plaza. They picked out books and I got one for myself with a gift card I received from one of my students, and then we made our way home carefully but uneventfully.
The second bad thing that happened was later in the afternoon. After another brief yet unrefreshing twenty-minute nap, Genevieve was in her usual perch on my back in the mei tai while I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and got a chicken ready to roast in the oven for dinner when I heard a huge crash in the livingroom, complete with the distinctive sound of breaking glass. I ran (the three steps) into the livingroom to see Somerset standing horrified in the middle of the room with her hands up by her head. "What happened??" I asked, scanning the room for the damage. "I don't know!" she cried. Then I saw what had happened. Attempting to hide in one of her usual spots during a game of hide-and-seek with her brothers, she had moved one of the doors of the corner T.V. cabinet, dislodging the lighted Christmas garland that was draped across it, which took a large-ish snow globe down with it when it fell. The glass and ceramic snow globe I bought for Calvin's first Christmas. It had shattered on the floor beneath the small table where the kids sit to eat and play. Water, glitter, fake snow, and tiny shards of glass were everywhere. At least I didn't have to worry about the baby getting into it. Then as I set about cleaning up the mess, I realized the small basket of baby toys at the end of the couch was in the path of destruction. Sure enough, when I looked into it I saw a piece of glass right there on top. Big Daddy arrived home from work as I was sweeping, so he helped me clean it all up while I took the baby toys into the kitchen and went over each toy looking for glass. The basket must have been just at the edge of the spray when the globe burst, because my careful inspection only turned up two slightly-water-splashed toys and one more piece of glass at the bottom of the basket. I shook the basket out, checked it again, and re-checked each toy as I put it back in, then went over the floor again with the rag mop to pick up any small glass splinters. I think we got it all. I hope so.
After that, B.D. volunteered to take the older kids with him to buy some much-needed jeans with some of his Christmas money, leaving Genevieve and me in relative peace. I was nearly ready for a stiff drink, but settled for half a roasted chicken and three episodes of The Sopranos on DVD.