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?

Things You Think in an MRI

Does this sound more like a jackhammer, or a hangover?

Good thing I’m not claustrophobic or I’d be totally freaking out in here.

Hmm. If I did completely freak, how would I get out? Like, there’s not even enough room to bend my knees to skootch myself down the tube.

Is this more, or less, room than I would have in a coffin?

Ooh, bad thought. Better not think about coffins. Better close my eyes and pretend like I’m in final savasana at the end of Bikram class. Savasana. . . translates to Dead Body Pose. Dammit!

If I have glitter on me anywhere, is it going to ignite? 

I wonder if my feet are sticking out of the tube. I can’t tell how far out they are.

This headphone cable is cutting into my carotid artery. I think it’s doing it on purpose. Maybe my headphones are possessed. They remind me of the headphones in the language lab in high school. We always made a mad dash to claim  the least disgusting set of headphones. The ones without Dippity Do or Jheri Curl all over them. Wow. I totally just dated myself there.

Oh no, not Freebird. Wasn’t I hearing Alicia Keys a minute ago? Did they change the station? God I hope so. Otherwise I’ve completely lost it.

I haven’t listened to Freebird in its entirety in so freaking long. Nobody ever sits through this entire song on purpose. I can remember exactly two times in my life I have listened to this whole song.

There was that time in our driveway in Bloomington, me and K out of our minds and for some reason sitting in the car listening to the radio. We could have gotten out any time we wanted to, but by then we were thinking how good a song it was. Stockholm Syndrome. This song is long enough to give that to you.

You know what? MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which is kind of misleading. It’s very accurate in terms of the test itself and the visual aspect, but in my world “resonance” has a somewhat pleasant connotation and very specifically refers to sounds. Nowhere in the name of this test is implied the sound of a jackhammer, and really, it should be stated outright.

The other time I heard all of Freebird was working the Laughlin River Run with Milk and Genevieve when the new Skynyrd was headlining. We had a morning free so Genevieve and I went shopping at the flea market in the parking lot and picked up leather biker chick halter tops. I had to have Milk alter mine by shortening the halter a couple of inches with a piece of tie-line because it was made for someone with much bigger. . .attitude than me. We wore them for the gig and when we did the band changeover Genevieve and I got applause, which was sort of embarrassing, but sort of cool. Though I don’t remember hearing all of Freebird then either. I think I may have gone to the bathroom when they played it. Which is probably what the DJ is doing right now.

You always need a bathroom song when you’re a DJ, the song you can put on and have time to run down the hall to the bathroom and come back before it’s over. I worked on the high school radio station for two years. Our bathroom song was Metallica’s One (seven minutes, twenty-four seconds).

Why do I keep thinking about high school?

This is quite possibly the longest guitar solo ever in the history of guitar solos. This song has been playing for the majority of the time I have been in this jackhammer tube. Tapping? How did I not ever know there’s a tapping section in this solo? Oh right, because I never listen to this song all the way through. Because nobody listens to this song all the way through. I don’t have anything against the band. Given the choice, I could easily have picked three Syknyrd songs that I like in place of this one.

Three songs that would be over by now.

If I ever get out of here, I’m going to ask everyone if they’ve ever listened to this entire song on purpose. All the way through. I’m going to ask everybody if they understand that there’s a tapping section in the guitar solo. I bet nobody will believe me.

I hope I’ve been holding still enough.

I wonder what they’re going to find.

I wonder if I ever get buried alive, if I’m gonna have Freebird stuck in my head because of this. If I have a choice, I’m gonna pick something else. Like maybe all of 2112. 

When is the last time you listened to Freebird all the way through?

If you got to choose, what song would you pick to have stuck in your head if you got buried alive?

Hummingbird by beccapuglisi via WANA commons, Flickr
Hummingbird by beccapuglisi via WANA commons, Flickr

A Post for #3

Last night I experienced one of the less cool aspects of my job: not having a sub trained in my position, and having to miss a certain 8th-grade graduation.

Sometimes because of the timing of a show’s opening in relation to the Tony awards and when Tony voters are coming to see it you can’t train a sound sub, which is at least a two-week process, for a while.

And sometimes the show gets a closing notice before that even happens. Sadly, we did get a closing notice for July 1 but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is dedicated to #3, whose 8th grade promotion I missed last night, who is attending her very last day of middle school today.

She is beautiful and she makes me laugh and I am pretty sure that neither she nor I are ready for her to be in high school yet.

I am also certain that neither her father nor I are prepared for her to look this grown up, but it’s happened.

Isn’t she lovely?

***********

Text exchange with her earlier this year after her field trip to the Franklin Institute:

Me: How was the field trip?

#3: Mmm the busss ride was rlly good. The actual place not so much.

Me: Oh that’s too bad- he was a really interesting dude. Guess they didn’t really bring that through?

#3: Mmm noooo maybbbe they should paint his statue pink.

**************

Texts we exchanged yesterday:

Me: Hope you’re enjoying your last day of middle school!

#3: the last day is tomorrow… haha but thanks

Me: Well it’s kinda silly that you have to go in after you graduate, isn’t it?

#3: yeah but we also have the pool is party 2mom.

Me: That’s worth going in for.

#3: I guess… all the guys r obsessed with one of the teachers with big boobs so now theyr even more obsessed since she’s going to the pool partyy

Me: That’s pretty much how they’re going to act for the rest of their lives.

#3: Ugh!

I was pleased to note that her text spelling has improved somewhat over this year, and that even though she still seems to have something against apostrophes, she did use more than one ellipsis.

When I came home from work Tuesday night she had just finished up a collage for one of her teachers: on a background of crazy colored and patterned tape, she had cut out and artfully arranged all her test grades for the year.

She had a bunch of writing on her arm and at first I thought it was some sort of home-made tribal tattoo. Then I thought it was a cheat sheet for a final.

“No,” she said. “I’m done with my finals. It’s the mean, median and mode of all the Facebook Likes on the pictures we put up from the 8th grade dance.”

Just in case you teachers thought they weren’t paying attention. . .