Monday, October 28, 2013

Losing it...It's All How You Look At It.

You know when you are driving through town on Williams Avenue in the left-hand (fast) lane and all of a sudden you come upon one of “Fallon’s finest” meandering in the right-hand (slow) lane?  You take it down to 25 miles per hour as subtly as possible, fingers tapping on the steering wheel, pretending like you’re all well-behaved as you ease on past him, which I’m not convinced is a good thing. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago after a particularly grueling day in Reno with all three kids.  
     And then I came up to that horrible left hand turn at Maine Street which is a gauntlet even on a good day, and at the very moment I reached the intersection the light turned yellow so of course I went right through it rather than deploy the air bags.  Any cop would have clearly had to stop at the resulting red light, allowing for plenty of get away time.
     So we’re cruising along in front on the old post office, radio blaring, kids singing at the top of their lungs headed for home two blocks away when the woop-woop sirens went off and sure enough lights flashing, he’s right behind me.  Clearly I have sinned.
       Pulling across both lanes of traffic, and mumbling under my breath, I dig in the glove compartment for insurance, and ransack my purse for the driver’s license which I’m sure he thought I got out of the gum ball machine at the grocery store.  I swear to the kids I can’t imagine what I did wrong.  I wasn't speeding, the light wasn't red, what the h-e-double hockey sticks could he be pulling me over for, when he appears over my left shoulder and asks that most thoughtful of all questions, “How are you today?”
     “I was doing really well up until about two minutes ago,” I say.
     And he says to me, “You aren't going to be doing very well if you keep driving on that flat tire.”
     Isn't that nice.  I swear one of those kids snorted under their breath.
     So it’s now 5:30 pm and the guy at the tire shop says by cell phone that all his help has gone home for the day but he’ll send someone to the house first thing in the morning to change the tire.  Beautiful tire shop man.
     However, at 10 am the next morning when the tire is still flat in the street, the Man-child has a dentist appointment, my sense of humor has all but evaporated and I’m seriously contemplating a Fallon Chapter of the She-Woman-Man-Haters Club, I decided to teach the kids how to change a flat tire.  What the heck, it can’t get any worse.
     Ha!  We will use the term “jack” loosely.  We will use the term “tire iron” loosely.  We are happy we are not using expletives. 
     Referring in the little direction book from the glove compartment to page 118 we see a diagram showing the thingy that the jack is supposed to attach to on what seems to be a stable piece of metal near the right front tire.  Whoever drew the picture was not aware of the plastic molding which effectively prevented the proper placement of said jack and optimum turning radius for the tire iron. 
     I’m am now sitting on pavement in an adorable little pink outfit, cranking the tire iron at quarter turns to raise the top of the jack close enough to attach it to the thingy while the Big Daughter lies under the van directing the jack into place.  The Man-child is trying to hold the molding out and away from our immediate work area, the baby is in her stroller providing instructions in two-year old babble from the sidewalk, and cousin Jeremy is telling a fascinating story about the baseball game last night.  Morning traffic cruises by and I swear the guys in the big triple-trucks hauling dirt from the new subdivision are hysterical.  My life is rich and full.
     Luckily, we remembered to loosen the lug nuts before we got the whole mess jacked up, but it took quite an effort to get things high enough to get the flat tire off—a quarter turn at a time. 
     An engineer I’m not, nor do I possess a particular aptitude for spacial relations so when we tried to put the spare tire back on and the van was not sufficiently elevated, I almost burst into tears.  Those poor kids stood there and held that dirty, nasty tire up while I kept turning the tire iron, taking it off the jack and repositioning it and turning it again over and over until I was certain the van would come crashing down or the jack would just break.  They were cheering and yelling and saying “one more turn, mom, no, one more…come on you can do it.” 
     At the very moment when I’m feeling the most venomous and hateful, put upon, overwhelmed, and disgusted with the world, The sweet Man-child pipes up, “Mom, this is so much fun, we need to do this more often!”
     You know, I guess it's all about perspective.

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