Doing Our Part

After two rounds with two banks, we got a car loan. Economic stimulus, here we come.

DearDR officially bought the car yesterday: a 2003 Pontiac Bonneville — our little part to help keep GM afloat. It’s a very nice car, big and powerful and roomy.

DearDR and I are now driving cars from this century.

Someone please check the temperature in hell.

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Also official: I went 47 days without a cigarette. Now I just have to start all over again from day 1. I kind of suck.

WTF Wednesday

As with green beans, it all started here. I was going to use a couple of these, the octuplets and Blago in particular, but they’re such universal WTFs, that I will stick with my own.

Yesterday, driving from my office to DearDR’s office, a stone in the road kicked up and chipped my windshield.

WTF?

On top of the other car, and the furnace, that’s three things, right? So I should be done.

Mind you, we haven’t started shelling out money for these things yet. That could be another huge WTF.

In the time it takes me to pick up Monkey from her dayschool, two or three other parents come in, get their kids, and are gone.

WTF? Is it just me? Why does it take me so bloody long to get Monkey out the door?

WTF? Low levels of mercury are found in HFCS. It’s due to the way some of it is processed. Glad I decided to drop that from our diet.

WTF? My husband had a ride home last night from his office in South Hills. And then her husband decided she couldn’t drive him home at 9 p.m. — when he was done with work — because it was too “iffy” on the roads. I had no one to sit with my sleeping kids, so it looked like DearDR was going to have to schlep downtown to catch a bus. He probably wouldn’t have gotten home until 1 a.m., and that would have been after a long walk up a big hill. In the snow. That was a big WTF until the husband decided to drive DearDR home himself.

I’ve had a tension headache for three days. WTF? Well, okay I know WTF — it hasn’t been all that easy around here lately. I’m trying to deal with it.

Okay. Good things: Lost is on tonight. Green beans is a good tension reliever. My children are sleeping through the night at my in-laws.

And countdown to the Burgh Moms dinner: Two days.

I Need a Hero

This morning I got up and realized that the house was much too cold.

The furnace was out for the second time this winter.

DearDR got up, reset the circuit breakers (we’re in an all-electric house), and changed the furnace filter for the second time this winter.

The furnace shut off again in less than an hour.

It’s getting to be a little much. I am sure that the universe does not have it in for me. Honest.

It has it in for DearDR. The rest of us are just collateral damage.

DearDR is the love of my life and my partner and there have been times that he has been my hero. Right now, though, we seem to be up to our necks in this together. We feel like deer in the headlights: frozen, unable to move, unable to get out of the way of what is coming right at us.

See: airplane dream.

Right now I am just wishing for another body, another person to take some of the weight. Help with the back and forth with the kids. Maybe nose around for a car for us. Just… another team mate, another member we could count on.

But it’s just DearDR and me and one car and two kids and three jobs and a furnace on the fritz.

We are camped out at my in-laws. They are in Florida — those lucky so-and-sos. I have to go back and forth a few times tonight so we’re ready for the morning. DearDR is working on the furnace with a buddy of his who knows about such things.

I’m praying my ass off (yeah, I know: too late), mostly that we will just get by, get out of it. I don’t need a lot of good stuff — the girls are fine, we have a roof over our heads, our jobs, one car. I just need it to be a little easier, especially for DearDR. We need fewer plates to spin, to keep up in the air. That doesn’t seem too much to ask.

Countdown to the Burgh Moms dinner: Three days. I think I miscounted on yesterday’s post — wordpress throws me off with its posting time.

And Then We Killed the Car

In my dream last night, I tried to run away from a crashing airplane. Right before I woke up, I looked out of the front door of the building into which I had run.

The now-grounded plane was barreling right toward me.

Between some of the stuff going on at my job right now and the fact that we need to buy a car *rightnow*, this is how I feel. Like something is inexorably speeding toward me, and no matter what I do, what I try, it’s all going to end in death and destruction. And a mention on the 11 o’clock news.

Meme Meme Meme

I got tagged back by I am a Tornado (i.e. Melissa), which is handy, because I didn’t have any ideas for today!

Five names you go by:
1. Red Pen Mama or rpm
2. dp or dpm
3. General (at work; my former last — and current middle — name is the same as a famous general from WWI and WWII)
4. Mom, Mama
5. Donnie Osmond (for N — and for N only to use)

Three things you are wearing right now:
1. my iPod shuffle
2. wedding ring
3. my in-serious-need-of-replacement maroon high-heeled boots

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. A new car
2. An entire day to myself

Two things you did last night:
1. Watched the Season 4 finale of Lost, so I’m all set for Wednesday’s Season 5 premiere
2. Drank a glass of homemade red wine

Two things you are going to do today (or already have done):
1. Got to work at 7:30 a.m. (done)
2. Watching the Lost season premiere (not done yet)

Two of the longest road trips you’ve been on:
1. Pittsburgh to Seattle and back — lots of camping and sight seeing along the way
2. Erie to Montreal, Canada (family vacation when I was a kid)

Three of your favorite beverages
1. Coffee
2. Lemonade
3. Good beer

What did you eat today?
organic raisin bran cereal, trail mix (two kinds), a big salad and sesame seed roll, and two faux chicken burritos

Two people you last talked to on the phone:
My SIL Earthmother
My husband, only to find out the station wagon died today, and he is not sure why. Awesome.

‘Twas the Day Before Christmas…

…And all through the house roamed sick toddlers and a stressed out husband.

I came to work.

To clarify my last post: I was very, very ill on Sunday, not just sick about not having a Christmas tree. I spent most of the day on the couch, even napping during the first half of the Steelers’ game. (Should’ve napped through the rest of it.) Sore throat, very achy. DearDR spent most of the day with Monkey next door; Bun and I muddled through at home.

I managed to cook a very yummy lentil stew for dinner. I also put together gifts for my daughter’s kindergarten teachers (only two, thank goodness). I was going to bake cookies on Sunday, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen before… oh, the new year, probably. Too bad, because I have tons of flour, sugar, and butter at home now! (DearDR, bless him, did the grocery shopping.)

Also, bless DearDR for buying a Christmas tree. He brought home a pretty little Fraser fir last night. Now we just gotta throw some decorations on it.

Here is why DearDR is stressed out: My in-laws decided to take their car (the Cadillac) to the shop today. They want to use the station wagon. The children have to go to the doctor (Bun’s Rx does not seem to be helping her; Monkey is complaining about a sore throat — hey, wouldn’t it be hysterical if she had mono?? hahahaha! No). They are currently scheduled for back-to-back appointments at 10:15 (the doctor’s office is only open a half day today).

And DearDR has not bought one Christmas gift. For anyone. Well, no, that’s not true — he bought iTunes gift cards at the grocery store for his teenage cousin.

Do you know how many people DearDR has to buy for?

One. Me.

If he wants, he can also purchase gifts for his parents and his grandmother. But the past few years, we have primarily only purchased gifts for the kids in the family. It is too expensive to do otherwise. This year especially.

Sooooo, I am facing the reality that I may not get any gifts from my husband this year. I am having a difficult time with it. [See update below.]

I don’t want to be angry, but I am angry. After all, I’m the one over here trying to get my children to appreciate that Christmas is not about presents and Santa, but about Jesus’ birth.

(Had to review this last night with Monkey:
“What is Christmas about, Monkey?”
“Presents?”
“No, it’s Jesus’ birthday.”
“Oh, I thought it was about presents.”
“Well, Jesus was the best present of all.”
“…Okay.”
I could see in her little head she was thinking, “I am still getting presents, right?”)

Part of me feels really bad for DearDR. He loves Christmas shopping — he loves shopping for gifts in general, really — but he is stuck. He doesn’t plan well; he’s not very organized; he spends almost all of his time working. If he had thought ahead a little bit, he could have ordered gifts online, and he’d be done. And now, instead of going shopping, he’s got the kids all day; he has to take them to the doctor; he is stranded without a car until his parents get back from the garage. He doesn’t really know what to get me. We didn’t exchange lists this year, and he can’t spend that much money, anyway.

I am trying to let my sympathy and my Christian spirit carry me through or past my anger. I’m having uneven results. Besides, it’s not a foregone conclusion — after all, we get our prescriptions filled at Target, that mecca of shopping!

I just want to focus on making Christmas a fun day for my children. I want us to go to church as a family. I want them to enjoy the tree, and opening their presents. Maybe when Bun naps Christmas day, Monkey and I will try to bake a few cookies (note to self: must stop eating pistachios DearDR bought for recipe) before we go next door to my in-laws.

I need to find it in my heart to let DearDR off the hook. (This year, anyway!) And he has to do the same to himself. Yeah, it stinks. But DearDR is not a bad guy. He’s not a mean guy. He’s not out to hurt me.

He makes me laugh. He’s a good father. He makes awesome green beans. He works damn hard, too hard sometimes. He is good at doing things around the house — unstopping drains and fixing dryer vents and changing furnace filters.

This is the guy I married. And I love him.

Merry Christmas, DearDR. Take it easy on yourself, okay?

Edited to add: Monkey has an ear infection in her left ear. Bun has a sinus infection to go with her two ear infections.

At least he will be going to Target. I will be getting Christmas booty! And maybe some green beans later. Mmmm.

Merry Christmas Eve. Sigh.

Random Thoughts: Two Things

1. Self-fulfilling prophecy

When I was pregnant with Monkey, I made the mistake of going shopping at Big Box Baby Store with DearDR.

DearDR is the type of shopper who is a browser. I am more like a hunter-gatherer shopper: I know what I am buying; I know where in the store it is; I’m going in, getting it, getting out. DearDR tends to wander — especially toward the DVD department in Target for example.

I have no idea what we were doing in the Big Box Baby Store on this particular trip. Maybe I was showing him what I had registered for; maybe we were picking out a crib and dressing table together. I don’t recall.

What I do recall is that we wandered into the clothing section. And DearDR saw this cute little onsie and hat. He wanted to buy them for our Bug, as we were calling her then.

I looked them over doubtfully.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Sure!” he answered. “They’re adorable! Why not?”

“I’m afraid that if we buy her these, then she will turn out to be one.”

He laughed. “I’m her dad. She probably will be one.”

And now, four years later, I have a child, that when she coughs, it looks like she’s having a conniption fit. Who screams or cries the instant she is told No. Who yells, “It’s not fair” when we can’t go shopping because her little sister is sleeping.

Here’s a picture of her, swaddled to the nines, with that hat that DearDR coveted so strongly.

Indeed.

2. I’m Over It. Really. No, Really.

After this, I promise to stop referencing my car accident — I mean, jeez, you know already, and I’m fine, no one got hurt, I got my car back all shiny from the new paint job, move on, already.

But when the weather is giving me a “wintry mix”, I drive like a little old lady. A little old lady who wears tri-focals and can’t see over the steering wheel.

It’s going to be a long winter. Especially for the drivers behind me.

Monday Morning Looks Funnier from Here

When we got my car back over the weekend, DearDR decided that he would drive it for awhile. I would miss my daily dose of NPR (the beat-up station wagon that is “our” second car — it actually still technically belongs to my in-laws) has no working radio. I tend to think of the Camry as “my” car, and DearDR is still trying to convince me that’s it’s “ours”.

To which I say, “Whatever.”

In any case, driving to work Monday morning, I noticed that the gas gauge in the beat-up station wagon was ready to drop below E. Of course. I don’t know what happens in other relationships, but my husband has to be ALL THE WAY out of gas before he actually puts more in the car. He has run out of gas a few times.

To which I say, “Dumma$$.”

Although I often stop right off the Bridgeville exit to get gasoline on the mornings I need it, I decided not to risk it this morning. I pulled off the Crafton exit, into the lone gas station there ($1.99 a gallon, still! I was outraged), turned off the car, and filled ‘er up.

And then it didn’t start.

To which I said, “%$#@&*!” A few times, very loudly. A couple of times over the phone at DearDR (sorry, babe).

After losing and then regaining my shite, I located jumper cables, and a man coming out of the little convenience store offered to give my car a jump. I got to work, but I was already considering that maybe I should’ve, at the very least, started my day over.

And then DearDR called and said, “My dad backed the Cadillac into our house.”

To which I said, “Your Dad crashed into our house??”

Yes, my FIL, backing into our driveway, misjudged something or another (car back bumper in relation to location of brick wall), and hit our house.

The house? Is fine.

My FIL’s Cadillac? Not so good.

I haven’t seen the damage yet (it strikes me as morbid curiosity to ask, “Can I see what ya did to your car, Dad?”). My poor FIL — physically okay, BTW — is apopletic over the accident.

First off, my ILs, although not typically “car” people, enjoyed driving the Cadillac. They had never owned a Cadillac before, and their reasoning when buying it — aside from the fantastic deal they got — was that it was probably the last car they would buy.

And it’s a nice car. Very pimped out. If you can say that about a Cadillac.

Second off, the Cadillac features rear sensors in the bumper that let you know when you’re getting close to something back there. They make a very audible noise inside of the car when the bumper is, say, six inches away from, oh, I don’t know, a brick wall, for example.

To which I say, “Hmmm. Maybe Dad does really need Miracle Ear for Christmas.”