Now that I am a mother, I deal with bad days with the kind of rationality one would expect from a parent — always keeping in mind that no matter how terrible things may seem, at least I still have my health, a roof over my head and a beautiful family.
No! I kid!
I grumble. I furrow my brow. Oh, is there ever brow-furrowing! Sometimes, when something TRULY horrific has happened, like misplacing my keys, I’ll dramatically fling myself on the sofa and clutch my head. Because lord knows if anything is going to make those keys turn up, it’s acting like Alexis Carrington-Colby upon learning that her sister, just released from prison in Venezuela, is now writing a scathing tell-all book about her.
I think we can all relate to that.
In my defense, the lost keys are usually the proverbial straw after a string of similarly unpleasant incidents. Today that straw was preceded by a number of such incidents, including having to walk many blocks home from the auto body shop while pushing an empty Snap-N-Go stroller like a crazy person with her imaginary baby.
Perhaps I should rewind just a bit.
So, yeah, it has been one of Those Days. A day during which I slammed my fingers in the front door (many F-bombs followed… Joe Biden would be proud), had a fussy baby who would not take her usual morning nap, and had to spend most of Miss Skye’s time at daycare — my precious, finite time reserved for work — dropping off my car at the repair shop because Mr. Candy scratched it. Like, REALLY scratched it, my practically brand new car, to the tune of thirteen-hundred dollars worth of repair work. A scratch that prompted the repair technician to gasp upon seeing for the first time, “Wow.” A scratch involving a daydreaming hubby and a shopping cart. The shopping cart won. Mr. Candy rarely drives my car for that very reason — the daydreaming thing, not the competitive shopping carts thing — but I thought, Oh, he only needs to drive to the store down the street. What HARM could there be?
I think we all know who is Alexis Carrington-Colby’s sister in my scenario.
I tried to maintain perspective when this happened. Hey, it’s just a stupid scratch. A scratch that means nada in the scheme of life. My husband is unconditionally supportive of me. He is smart. He is kind. He will offer to go to Starbucks at 10 p.m. for me, no hesitation or questions asked, if I just mention that I am craving a latte. He is a wonderful father and, even more importantly, a fun drinking buddy.
But all of that perspective flew out the window (doesn’t it always?) when, after an already crappy, F-bomb-filled morning, I had to spend the better part of my afternoon filling out paperwork, struggling to remove the car seat base from my car (never did figure the damn thing out) and dealing with a VERY confused rental car company that, long story short, failed to pick me up from the repair shop as planned.
With Mr. Candy traveling, this led to me pushing an empty stroller — which I didn’t want to leave in the trunk of the car — around Los Angeles. I’m pretty sure a homeless man sympathetically chucked a quarter in the basket of my Snap-n-Go.
When my imaginary baby and I finally got home, I had to deal with the rental car company on the phone for another 45 minutes — all the while stressing that I hadn’t gotten a lick of work done all day. So when I got Mr. Candy’s e-mail asking, “How did it go?” (I know, right? How DARE he!)… well, I went Alexis Carrington-Colby on his ass. No, I did not push him into a swimming pool fully clothed (I did not have that opportunity, sadly), but I did send off a properly melodramatic e-mail:
“My fingers are swollen! The car is going to take a WEEK to repair! I have no rental car! I had to walk around the city with an invisible baby!”
There may have been a dramatic clutch of the head in there for good measure. Not that he could see that via e-mail, of course. But I’m sure he sensed the clutch. My e-mail just radiated clutch.
Upon receiving my e-mail, Mr. Candy was brave enough to call me from the airport. I’m sure he dreaded talking to me, but he needed to give me pointers on how to drive HIS car, which I now had to use to pick up the wee one from daycare. A car that hasn’t been washed in six months. A car whose backseat is too small for Skylar’s car seat, so when she’s in there, the passenger seat won’t lock, rolling forward and backward when the car is moving. A car whose brakes squeak so loudly, people in Uruguay can hear us when we approach a red light. A car that, I kid you not, starts honking at me if I so much as look at it cross-eyed. I refuse to believe it simply has a sensitive alarm system. Fact is, this car hates me. And now I have to DRIVE it.
“You really have to press down on the brake –”
“And you’ll need to use the keyless entry. Otherwise –”
“ACK! I CAN’T FIND THE CAR REMOTE! YOUR CAR IS GOING TO YELL AT ME!”
At which point, I may or may not have started sniffling. But I did NOT cry. That was not the straw. Oh no. Not yet.
Fast-forward to me picking up Skye from daycare. Another mom is waiting behind my husband’s evil car in her mini-van, waiting to take my spot. Skye in one hand, key in the other — you know where this is going — I go to open the car and…
“HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!”
The Mini-Van Mom…? Decides she doesn’t want any part of this mess, actually BACKS UP and drives around in search of another, less convenient spot. I frantically search for the button that will put an end to this headache. Skye covers her face with embarrassment. This goes on for a good minute, or what felt like four weeks.
“HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!”
Meanwhile, the entire daycare community looks on. Awesome.
I swear that car was smiling the whole damn time.
And I… well, I LAUGHED. Yes! I did! What else could I do after the day I’d had?
I finally found the magic button, thank GAWD, and drove home, hitting every single red light possible. Although you folks in Uruguay already knew that, I’m sure.
Even when I hit my head on the car roof getting Skye out of that ridiculous backseat, I did not cry. Oh no! The straw that broke the camel’s back: When it came time to give the cats their evening snack, and I REALIZED WE WERE OUT OF MEOW MIX. With those sad, expectant kitty faces…? Looking up at me…?
Candy, Candy, Candy, you’re surely thinking. Get a grip! There are cats in Africa that have NO FOOD AT ALL.
True. But do those kitties have a SCRATCHED CONVERTIBLE? I. Don’t. Think. So.
Good thing I’m here to give those starving cats perspective.
With thanks to Mr. Candy for not only allowing, but encouraging me to write about The Scratch Incident. Another thing I love about him: his good-naturedness.