Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Running Errands With the Devil

My kids were both ridiculously sick last week. Plus One had strep, and then a day after that diagnosis, he got a stomach bug. Oh, and then he shared with his brother.

Needless to say, we were homebound for several days. Also, PRO TIP: puke spatter gives you new reasons to not feed your child RED DYE.

ANYWAY.

When the clouds seemed to lift on Monday morning, I had a long list of overdue shit-to-do, so I piled the kids in the car--puke bucket in tow--and headed off to tick down the list.

First stop: car inspection.

Now, there's a little backstory to this one. Last year, when we first moved to Texas, it was my job to get the truck inspected and registered while my husband finished work in New York. The problem was, that when I took it to a the local Jiffy Lube, I was told we were going to fail because of a strip of window tint that was on the windshield.

I called my husband.

Him: Well, where'd you take it?

Me: Jiffy Lube off Western Center.

Him: No, you have to go somewhere off Jacksboro. Somewhere more dodgy.

Me: ...

Him: Look for a place that says you don't pay if you don't pass.

Me: ...

Long story short, I found a dodgy place that had a State Inspection sign made of plywood and acrylic paint. We passed. And my marriage survived.

So, when I was faced with my long to-do list, I went with the first place that came to mind. Dodgy Inspection Center. Because I generally value my time and general convenience more than my life and/or children's safety.

I pulled in and was the first in line. The attendant came around to the window and I asked for the inspection. As I stepped out to retrieve my kids, however, the mechanic jumped in the front seat.

Me: Oh, my kids are in the back, though, so if I could just get them out...

Him: You can just climb in back with them?

Me: [SEEMS LEGIT] and also [WHY AM I SO GODDAMN AGREEABLE?]

So I climbed in back and gave this perfect stranger my keys, because OF COURSE I DID. Besides, we were like, FIVE FEET from the entrance to the closest garage bay. Again, I asked myself, what could possibly go wrong?

Well.

When the man buckled his seatbelt and gunned it BACK ONTO THE HIGHWAY, I began to come up with a legitmate list of answers to that rhetorical question, beginning with WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

Our inspection-abduction route. Not to scale, obvs.

As it turned out, I was unable to speak out of sheer panic and confusion. And the man apparently just wanted to drive the car around the block to get a better angle to pull into the garage? I DON'T FUCKING KNOW. It made no sense then and makes no sense now, and last I checked, mechanics don't need to test drive your vehicle to pass you for an inspection.

They also don't ask you to wait IN THE CAR surrounded by a wall of tires.

What I thought would be our final view on this earth. Plus One kept muttering, "It smells...so...beautiful in here." OMFG
Whatever. We passed and got the hell out of there. The dude even remembered me from the year prior. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

But I had no time to ponder things like "ARE WE BEING FOLLOWED" or "AM I BEING USED AS A DRUG MULE" because I was back to the checklist!

Next up? The grocery store! (Where I last saw maybe-so-maybe-not-spaceships! OMFG!)

Really, you can probably imagine how this went. Hellish, as going-to-the-grocery-store-with-two-kids is wont to be. There was fighting, headlocking, screaming, knocking-down-of-meticulously-placed product, shouting-and-pointing-at-those-who-don't-look-like-me, awkward-teachable-moment-talks-in-the-bread-aisle, and a belligerent-cashier-who-called-my-children-crybabies-which-maybe-OK-YES-but-NOT-FOR-YOU-TO-SAY-LADY.

::GASPS FOR AIR::

Finally, we somehow made it out alive and I pushed the cart full of groceries and children toward the parking lot in the oh-did-I-mention-100-degree-heat?

I bark at the kids to pile into the back, swiftly apologize, then proceed to bark at the bags of groceries instead. (SOMEONE MUST FEEL MY INNER FURY AT THIS UNJUST, SWEATY WORLD.) I've got about half of them loaded when I feel the streams of sweat start running down my back and on my face. So I run back to the driver's seat and stick the key in the ignition. Might as well get the A/C going, right?

Oh, but, what's this?

THE KEY WON'T TURN.

Okay, so, right. The steering column is locked. I can do this! Turn and yank! Hmm, not working. Yank and turn! No dice. Maybe the other way? Flip the key? Step on the break? Glance at the manual? FREAK OUT AND CURSE?

...30 minutes later...

Frantically text husband. 

He's five minutes away, but in the middle of a class. I tell him, no biggie! THE TRUCK IS JUST TOTALLY BROKEN AND I'M JUST TOTALLY PANICKING THAT ALL THE FOOD WILL SPOIL AND I JUST HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO, but let me know when you have a minute!

I abandon ship and load the perishables back into the cart as sweat stings my eyes. I figure I should just go get some ice and maybe buy a cooler so that I can think for a minute without freaking about poisoning the family with rancid pork chops.

By the time I'm back in the checkout line, I can see through the entrance way of the store that my husband has arrived. I pay quickly and scoot out there, worried now about the cost of a new ignition, amongst other things.

Except...

...the truck is running...

Me: I...what...the key...but...

Him: ...

Me: I SWEAR...I mean...

Him: ...

Me: [Hangs head in shame.]

We made our way home and I tossed my to-do list out the motherloving window.

Then the kid puked.

(Actually, no he didn't, but it would have been fitting.)

That was my Monday. How was yours?
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Elsewhere!

At The Mouthy Housewives, I have advice for dealing with noisy neighbors when you're kind of a shut-in that prefers to go to bed with the sun and avoid human interaction!

At MamaPop, I talk about Drew Barrymore's wedding to some rich guy and Lindsay Lohan's upcoming Lifetime Movie that we all hope will save her soul.