Because Of Course It Did

I suspect most parents have moments where they stop spinning in circles for a breath and wonder what the hell happened. I’ve been channeling my inner David Byrne (“My God/how did I get here?“) most of this year. While much of the country is getting back to “normal”, the weird and/or hard shit keeps happening here. Here, the land of decidedly not-normal, where we still don’t have indoor seating at restaurants, where I lost two friends in the same week–one to lung cancer and one to suicide, and where God only knows if we will ever be able to go back to work on Broadway.

Robbie, the original A2 on Jersey Boys in La Jolla, 2004.

Friday our minivan died. Two weeks before we need three cars for three very differently scheduled students commuting to schools nowhere near each other. Because of course it did. Thanks, COVID. Also? 2020 is an asshole. If 2020 were poised on the edge of a cliff and started to lose its balance, I’d push it right over. It’s a total dick.

The Zombie Van was a 2007 Honda Odyssey with 230,000 miles on it. It really didn’t owe us anything else. It had already over-delivered. CC took really good care of it, but after the door fell off we accepted it was time for palliative care. We’d make her as comfortable as possible and she’d let us know when it was her time.

She died in the parking lot of the storage unit where we were hauling the last of #2’s stuff, to be taken to her when she moves into her apartment in the Midwest. The shop called with the news:

“Vehicle not starting. Battery failed load test. Alternator not charging. Valve cover gasket leaking oil onto alternator. Transmission dry, fluid leaking out of transmission cooler lines and radiator. Cannot check for codes for engine or transmission due to battery being dead and won’t know if transmission is operating normally. Power steering pump is leaking as well.”

So $3600 to get to the point where we could find out if it also needed a new transmission. My God I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. I guess she had one more gift left to give.

The punchline (no, that wasn’t it) was that we couldn’t get #2’s bed frame out because the back door wouldn’t open. BECAUSE IT’S ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ELECTRONIC. BECAUSE THAT’S BETTER. CC and #5 went back the next day with patience and ingenuity and successfully removed it. Sadly, the 6-CD changer (remember those?) held on to Operation Mindcrime, Clockwork Angels, and Hardwired to Self-Destruct and will take them to the grave.

A super bright spot is that I have an article in the September issue of Stepmom Magazine. If you’re a stepmom, this magazine is a lifesaver. There are regular contributions from therapists, stepfamily coaches, and smart, helpful stepmoms. I only got in because I told them if they didn’t take my piece, I’d send my house-bound kids their way, one at a time.

Don’t make me send them over.

My piece is about returning to a full house in quarantine when you were damn near an empty-nester. While you do have to subscribe to read it, you can subscribe a month at time and test it out. There’s even a free 30-day trial.

Meanwhile. . . have any of you ever beat my mileage on a drive-it-til-it-dies car?


10 thoughts on “Because Of Course It Did

  1. I love your writing chops and mind and photos! I wanted to say I liked this but since I don’t have a wordpress account, I couldn’t. Any advice for adding a heart or check on your post?

    Be well. stay sane.

    xFran (still in martha’s vineyard, sigh…..)

    On Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 10:05 PM JM Randolph, accidentalstepmom wrote:

    > JM Randolph posted: ” I suspect most parents have moments where they stop > spinning in circles for a breath and wonder what the hell happened. I’ve > been channeling my inner David Byrne (“My God/how did I get here?”) most of > this year. While much of the country is getting back ” >

    1. A comment is lovely. It’s a total pain in the ass to interact with posts without a WordPress account. I’ve experienced this myself if I am logged out while trying to do so. Thanks for reading!

  2. Oh man, your car also gave me a good laugh. And if you need a hand with that a-hole 2020, I’ve been lifting weights entirely for this occasion. Also. I LOVE YOUR WRITING SO MUCH.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friends. This year…seriously.

  3. Congrats on the article! May you have many more published as many more magazines.

    I’ve been wondering how you’ve been faring. Congratulations on making it to 230,000. I just walked by the original Honda minivan for sale – 1991 I think? It’s smaller than a Subaru. I could check and see what’s in the CD player for you?

    So so sorry about your friends. Hope everyone stays healthy and 2020 ends with a “Just kidding!”

  4. Good to hear that you are surviving 2020 as challenging as it is. I remember my old ride “Margaret “ named after a former flame that was hard to start cold but warmed up would give you a very smooth ride. She had almost 240,000 on her and even abused, rusted and missing parts went over 60 mph on her way to the recycler WITHOUT ANY BREAKS!

    1. I commented on this over a year ago. Oh my god look at how my brain has dissolved. And I’m not even a stepmom. Working on a rewrite of The Winning Family and finally got to the part on “Bonus Families!” Had to look you up. Hope you’re doing okay. Also: just realized you pronounce 2022 like “2020: Two.”

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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