Friday, February 29, 2008

My Minivan is dead, and I'm not feeling so good myself

It would be wrong not to post on Leap Day. It's such an event.

The computers at the DMV went down, possibly because they couldn't deal with February 29. Maybe not. No one else seems to have a problem. Maybe they are down in sympathy to me.

My minivan died. Really and truly. The minivan that has carted my growing boys and their growing friends around Columbia for the past 10 years is dead. The minivan that carried me, Bob, and Mark to New Mexico and back is kaput.

That was really my car. I saw an Internet video --- probably you tube --- called "Mom my car." A group of people sat around and talked in great seriousness about how to "Mom" a car. Like some reality show I've never seen, I think. They strewed french fries under seats, sprayed juice over the seats, stuck little toys in the air conditioning vents. One guy threw a ball at the car until "something broke." It was a funny video, but maybe you have to have a Mommed out Minivan to appreciate it.

My van's left passenger door fell off after a few years of enthusiastic opening and closings at the hands of boys who became men. It was on and worked fine unless some innocent offered to get the door and pulled it open ... and off. It almost always happened in the rain. What's with that?

I say it's dead, but it can technically be fixed. A new engine would cost about 5 grand. I don't know what the new door, rear light (where the door hit it when it fell off in the rain one day), and faulty electric system would cost to repair. It's already had a transmission transplant.

On the trip back from New Mexico, the car died in 5:00 traffic in San Antonio on the Wednesday before the fourth of July weekend. In a series of fortunate events, a nice man helped us move out of the middle of the highway. A nice 911 operator called a nice tow-truck operator who took us to a nice garage next to a nice motel with Internet access. We rented a car and enjoyed several days in San Antonio while the nice garage folk fixed our car, repairing it in time for us to get to Houston, then Columbia by Monday.

Since then, the radiator system had to be repaired as well. The head lights went out far too often, probably water on the bulb. But basically, a nice minivan.

Now I'll go back to work to earn enough to buy myself a new minivan. Some people think I should downsize. An Escort has been suggested... as if I can fit a husband, three sons (two about 6 ft tall), a daughter-in-law, a grandson, a niece and a father in a subcompact. What are they thinking? Where would I keep the juice boxes and bottled water?

I'll look at it, but I'd be lying if I said I had an open mind. When I down size it will be to a Karmen Gia. Something for me and my case of water and no one else. I'm not there yet.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I have been tagged, which is something that hasn't happened to me since grade school. But Annie has tagged me and I'm it.

This is how it works:

1) Find a book closest to me with at least 123 pages.

2) Turn to page 123 and go down five sentences.

3) Type the next three lines into my blog.

4) Tag five other bloggers.

I will start by admitting that the book closest to me is the 2008 World Almanac, and on page 123 is the US Military payscale. Although interesting, and perhaps profound, I'm not typing the chart. So the next book is: Indigo Dying by Susan Wittig Albert.

"You don't need Les to rescue you and take you away, like some fairy-tale knight rescuing a princess out of a tower. You're on you own now, which means you've got to learn to be independent and take care of yourself. That doesn't mean you have to stop seein' Les, if that's what you really want to do. "

I tag:




Now, look, I'm breaking another rule. Although I've read some blogs, I don't know anyone else well enough to tag them. Hmmm. Oh well. Here you go peeps.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Day Older Than George Washington

My mother was born February 21, 1936. Since she died in October of 2006, you don't have to worry that she will be upset that I've told you her age. In fact, even if she were still alive, it wouldn't bother her. Not really. She always told everyone she was 99 and that was that.

I remember the time I sat with her in the new dentist's office. I read over her shoulder as she filled out the form. When she wrote her age, I shrieked, "I KNEW you weren't 99! You're TWENTY-NINE." She shushed me and later told me not to tell women's ages out loud in public in the biggest voice you have.

"Why not?" I asked, admiring the genuine glass ruby ring I'd gotten from the dentist.

"Because it's not polite."

"Why not?"

"Because some women think it's bad to be too old."

"But not you, you don't mind being old," I said in shock.

I must have been a truly obnoxious child.

I found out many many years later that Mom did have one of those "turning thirty" crises. Her good friend died of breast cancer that year. She tried to quit smoking because, she told me with a dry laugh, "I thought it looked tacky to see 'old women' smoking, and old was 30." We both laughed, since by then, I was celebrating the 13th anniversary of my 30th birthday. She was still 99.

It was important to my mother that we remember her birthday. After a few years, she got prickly if we asked her what the date was. She gave me a saving grace, though. She told me that she was one day older than George Washington. At first I argued that it couldn't be true, but she insisted, in the same way she insisted that Santa Claus brought presents, the Easter Bunny laid colored eggs, and Hubert Humphrey would be president of the United States. So I quit arguing. It took awhile. I really was an obnoxious child. I can't remember when I realized that if I forgot the date of her birthday, all I had to do was look at the calendar. George Washington's birthday, February 22. Mom's birthday, the day before.

This worked for several years before the federal government stepped in to make my life more difficult. And although GW always celebrated his birthday on a Monday, Mom wasn't ok with moving her birthday around. I thought it would be very convenient to always have her birthday on Sunday. But she was funny that way.

It was ok as long as most calendars still had "GW's birthday observed" and "GW's birthday." Then many quit including the real date. Once again, I was in trouble. Finally, I just learned the date of her birthday. February 21. Or was it the 22nd?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best laid plans

Last weekend I hibernated. I read two books, soaked in the tub, rubbed on vanilla lotion. It was probably a good thing, because my week was terrible. One small crisis after another. Rather than get anything DONE, I put out fires, outlined regulations to prevent future fires, talked to a whole lot of people, researched minutia, and ran gratefully out the door at 5:00 Friday.

Saturday, I was sick. I thought was a hangover, even though I've had more to drink and felt better. But it was more than that. I had fever, chills, a headache so severe I couldn't lift my head, nausea. As I threw up the last bit of bile in my stomach, my kitten Taz gently put his paw on my arm. I took it as a sign of comfort, although I'm sure he was saying, "Please quit messing up my water bowl."

Today, I feel better but not great. I can move my head, I ate cereal, bananas and oranges. I still have chills and I think I'll crawl back to bed now. One more fire to put out, then off I go.