Posts Tagged ‘minivan’

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

SHORT VERSION OF THIS INSANELY LONG POST: I did not accidentally have a baby while my husband is gone and our van is dead. Hopefully next week I will get a new minivan and a baby. 

Now that this week is 90% over, I no longer feel – both literally and figuratively – like I am drowning. Now it’s more like I’m treading water while holding half a pool noodle and also a baby. It’s been a really, really hot summer here in CT, sauna-levels of hot and humid, except you can’t just sit around wrapped in a tiny towel and the warning not to spend more than 20 minutes at a time in the heat can’t be followed because you can’t leave. In past years we’ve had a week or two of this weather, but not so many days in a row I lose the ability to leave my bedroom. Our house feels both way too big (how can I be expected to walk down a flight of stairs EVERY TIME I have to pee? why is there no way to air condition the open main living space?) and way too small (GET AWAY FROM ME CHILDREN) and I actually cannot wait to go to the hospital to give birth. Not because I like the hospital. I hate the hospital. Not even because I want to meet the baby. Obviously I do. But mostly because they have air conditioning AND a bathroom only 3 steps from the bed. HEAVEN.

Last week was a culmination of everything that could go wrong (besides actual baby-related stuff) all happening at once. It was hot (did I mention that yet?) and I had to drop Evan off at Seaport camp every morning with 2.9 other children in tow. There is not drop off line. You park across a busy street, take everyone in with you, sign one kid in, then have to convince everyone else to leave again when what they really want to do is play at the Seaport. Last year I had no problem staying. This year I felt like I was going to die just from crossing the street, so spending several hours walking around just wasn’t possible. I am literally unable to chase Linc if he runs away and he is deep in a running-away phase. Have I told you he also refuses to wear shoes? Because that’s also true. So no shoes, doesn’t listen, bolts at every chance AND at a waterfront location is just asking for trouble. What I’m saying is that week was already stressing me out.

Then our downstairs fridge stopped working. Good news: we hardly ever use that fridge. Bad news: we hardly ever use that fridge, so I have no idea what was in it or how horrific it currently is. Pretty horrific, I’m guessing. I can’t deal, so I’m waiting for E to get to it so he can deal. In the meantime, I’m just not opening the basement door.

Anyway, back to camp, sort of. On Thursday when I dropped Evan off, the oil light in the car kept turning on and off and on and off. Since we had the car serviced and the oil changed LITERALLY 9 DAYS AGO I planned to call the car place when we got home and ask them to take a look. But by the time we got home it had stopped happening and I figured it was a glitch, the way my airbag light and my tire pressure lights are always on (I’ve had them checked multiple times, there’s actually nothing wrong). On Friday, on the way to drop Evan off, it started happening again. This time I called E at work and asked him if he could call the car place and make sure I could drive straight there after drop off because maaaaaaaybe this was an actual problem. But how could it be? We JUST changed the oil. Surely they would have noticed a major issue. He called, they made an appointment and told me to bring it in. After I hustled the children back to the car, I decided to take the fast way – the interstate – back to town instead of the back way – country roads – because I wanted to get there as soon as possible.

I’d been on the highway less than 3 minutes before I realized my car wasn’t accelerating. It was barely running. I pulled onto the shoulder and burst into tears because I KNEW how screwed I was. The engine wouldn’t turn over. I was stuck on I-95 with 2.9 children.

Luckily, E was still in his building and not unreachable (he is very often unreachable at work) and someone found him and he came to rescue us. Or at least he came to provide a car with air conditioning that worked to sit in while we waiting for AAA to come. And waited. And waited. And waiting. Eventually the state patrol truck came to check on us and suggested we put oil in the van. A while after that I called AAA back and they couldn’t find a record of my call (of course) so they put in the request again (of course) and then I got a text saying my request had been canceled (of course). So when the van started, we decided I would put the kids in E’s car, he would drive the van, and we would try to get to the car place. We made it to within 5 miles of the car place before the van died again, for real. So dead. RIP Minivan. We used the car to push it off the road into a parking lot where we could wait for AAA. AGAIN. This time, they managed to actually put my request through and we got updates from the tow truck so we knew we had time to run home, let Caroline pee, grab lunch and go back to the parking lot to wait some more. After we got the van to the car place and the kids home (Evan was still at camp) we both made calls to reschedule the rest of our day.

Later, the car place called to confirm that our van was in fact a giant blue brick and replacing the seized engine was going to cost twice what the van was worth. It turns out there was a huge hole in the oil pan. I’m still not exactly sure how an oil pan that was looked at NINE DAYS AGO can have a huge hole in it, but they assured us it wasn’t their fault. I don’t have the energy to argue, especially because I am SURE the only way they would agree it was their fault was in small claims court and I can’t prove anything. I mean, Judge Judy would TOTALLY be on my side, but I don’t know about real life judges.

So after we took a break from that disaster to go see the show at Foxwoods on Friday night, we spent Saturday looking at new vans. It was horrible, because car shopping is horrible and children are horrible. Plus it was a million degrees and most car dealer lots are already as hot as balls, so when it’s even more hot than usual standing around looking at cars is almost unbearable. And there’s no good way to test drive anything when it means moving over 3 car seats every time. We did not buy a van. Our current car is a Ford Fusion, which means yes, we do all fit in it well enough to drive around to dealerships, but NO, we are not going to fit as soon as I have this baby. We have to have a new vehicle. We definitely want another minivan. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to buy something. But we failed on Saturday.

But why didn’t you just buy a car on Sunday? you ask, like a normal person. Oh, right, because my husband left for a week on Sunday morning. Because who doesn’t schedule work travel when their wife is 38-39 weeks pregnant? SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO BE HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. (It’s not his fault, just add it to the list of ways the Navy DGAF.) On the one hand, it means I can use his car this week while we browse internet listings for a van. On the other hand, if he was here we could just buy a van. Putting 3 kids across the back of a mid-size sedan is awful, especially because we still have Linc rear-facing aka perfect head-kicking height for his brother. Plus there’s not room for things like “the groceries a family of soon-to-be-six actually needs to feed themselves for more than two days”. It’s stupid. Everything is stupid. I just want a car that works.

Also, we have a fruit fly invasion, the garage door isn’t working, the a/c is about to die from overuse, the shower drain is all backed up, the shelf over the washer and dryer collapsed, the dog won’t stop eating used diapers, Linc has a rash, I’m pretty sure I have a mild kidney infection again, my heartburn is unbearable, the kids are ALL sleeping in my room, my pelvis feels like it’s going to split apart and I am still pregnant. Plus last night I realized I have done NOTHING to get ready to have a baby. I didn’t buy a new Boppy – the only thing I was actually going to buy – I didn’t find the bin that has the baby clothes, I don’t have any diapers, I haven’t even begun to pack a hospital bag. I am an actual disaster who probably should not be adding another child to her life but IT’S TOO LATE NOW.

I keep trying to focus on all the ways I am very, very lucky. We can (mostly) afford to replace the van. It’s not ideal, but it won’t be impossible. The day the van died, E was here and reachable and able to take over 90% of Dealing With It because I didn’t feel at all capable. No one got hurt. We do have a space in our house with a/c and we aren’t suffering from heat stroke. I’ve been able to put almost everything on pause and just keep the kids ALIVE this week while waiting for E to get back. I didn’t go into labor with no back-up plan while he was gone. In a week my mom will be here and she can help with finding the bin of baby clothes and making sure the kids eat something besides carrot sticks and popsicles while I lie down not handling things. And soon I will have a nice, new, clean, van with FOUR car seats installed so I can have this baby without also having a panic attack. I’ve gone from completely overwhelmed to at least capable of talking about it without crying in the course of a week. I feel like that’s about all I can ask for right now. My goal for today is the hospital bag, finding the rock-n-play, putting away enough laundry I can see the nursing chair and once again, keeping my children alive. Tomorrow, van shopping. Then I can be just plain whelmed.

p.s. Still no name for this baby.

p.p.s. God bless the lake for keeping me from completely losing my shit this week, so please enjoy these lake photos.

lake life august 2016

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lake life august 2016-5

lake life august 2016-7

lake life august 2016-11

lake life august 2016-16

lake life august 2016-18

lake life august 2016-21

lake life august 2016-22

lake life august 2016-25

lake life august 2016-27

lake life august 2016-29

lake life august 2016-32

lake life august 2016-33

p.p.p.s. My new updated WordPress says the readability on this post “needs improvement”. CAN YOU NOT, WORDPRESS?

Thankful Day 10: Things that don’t suck

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Yesterday was a perfect example of why I am trying to focus on things I am thankful for this month, instead of spiraling into my dark hole of hatred and rage just because things don’t go my way.

Of course, having your grandfather die and then getting sued aren’t exactly small potatoes in the “things not going my way” category. But I’m going to start with the thankful parts.

I am thankful that my husband has a stable job and can support our family. I am thankful Little Evan wore underwear ALL DAY (in public and during nap!) without a single accident. I am also thankful he understands sad faces and did his very best to cheer me up with hugs and kisses until my face was happy again. I am especially thankful for Motrin and Oreos.

So now, the stuff that sucks. My mom’s dad has been in assisted living, then memory care, then a nursing home for a really long time now so his passing wasn’t a surprise. Alzheimers is a terrible disease. He was such a terrific Grandpa when we were growing up – he always worked so hard to make sure we had a good time when we came to visit. We called him “Tricky Grandpa” and his favorite joke was giving “fisherman’s handshakes”, where he’d grab your hand and wiggle it and reel you in. He was still giving them a couple years ago when we took Little Evan up to meet him, even though he didn’t really understand who he was.

My mother’s family doesn’t do funerals, which is kind of a relief (traveling alone with 2 kids sounds like a nightmare even though I would absolutely do it) but until we have his memorial service (probably in the spring) I won’t really get to say goodbye. So instead I’ll focus on some of the very best memories of my childhood.

My siblings & I with Grandma & Grandpa at their cottage

AND THEN. I came home yesterday morning and discovered papers stuck in my front door that said I was being sued because I am a terrible, horrible, negligent person who caused all sorts of damages and pain and suffering when I crashed my minivan into someone’s car. Except that NEVER HAPPENED. More than a year ago I was in a fender bender in a basketball court that was being used as a parking lot for our polling place. I had put the van in reverse and was drifting backwards slowly (it was a crazy scene with tons of pedestrians) so a truck a few feet to my left could get out of his parking spot. The driver suing me backed up out of HIS parking spot at the same time (except faster, with his foot on the gas) and my back bumper dented his back driver’s side panel. We exchanged insurance info and left – because it was such a TINY THING no one wanted to call the police – and after we both gave our statements to both carriers they BOTH DECIDED I wasn’t at fault. Since I was in a lane of traffic and he was backing out of a space, he had the greater responsibility to not back into my way. I thought it was over.

Now he says I owe him $15,000. Seriously.

In the paperwork from the lawyer, it specifically says I was the one backing out of a parking space. How can someone just lie like that?! Especially after I’m sure he made statements to the insurance company saying that wasn’t the case. It sounds to me like some ambulance-chasing law firm told him he had a case (although the damage to his car couldn’t possible have cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix and was entirely cosmetic so I have no idea why he even CALLED a lawyer) and they had to change the story to file it.

Angry doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

After a few frantic hours on the internet, the state’s legal site and a couple emails, it looks like my insurance company is going to reopen the case and represent me. (True fact: I had no idea they did that. I had already figured out how to file the Appearance paperwork with the court, printed it, filled it out and was putting the kids in the car when my agent told me they would help. I was all set to represent myself, Elle Woods style. I object!!) I have no idea what happens now and no idea if I will have to go to court and testify. As much of a hassle as it would be, I would LOVE to get up and show his lawyer my photos (because yeah, I went back the next day and took a dozen photos of the location AND a dozen photos of my car, all timestamped, so you can see the complete lack of damage because I am smart. Lawyered!) and also point out that since the insurance company said it was HIS fault perhaps I should be suing, seeing as how I was 7 months pregnant at the time and gee, my back is starting to act up.

And now I am thankful I have somewhere to get all that off my chest, because bottling up my rage was giving me a migraine.

This wouldn’t happen if I drove something cool. Like a Prius.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I’ve been having really bad luck lately, which all seems to be car related, which also all seems to be somewhat my own fault. OK, maybe entirely my fault – this pregnancy brain thing is REAL, no matter what “science” might have to say about it. “Science” also says alcohol is bad for you and we all know THAT’S not true. But seriously, pregnancy brain plus bad luck is the worst thing ever.

On Wednesday, I did my daily morning juggle of baby-water-bottle-purse-yoga-mat-stroller out to the car minivan only to discover the doors were locked and my keys weren’t in my purse. I dragged everything back inside and spent 10 minutes tearing apart the kitchen to find my keys before I remembered I put them in my other purse. THEN I remember I had just seen my other purse. On the floor of the car minivan. The locked one. So instead of a morning workout followed by an hour or two of playground time followed by a nice afternoon nap, I spent my day trying to entertain Screamy McScreamerson, King of the Split Personality who thinks smacking you in the face just so he can kiss the boo is HI-LAR-I-OUS.

Thursday was better. Besides the screaming match E and I got into about what the definition of “on top of the stroller” is. True story – we might be the first people to ever put “irreconcilable differences re: stroller anatomy” on our divorce petition.

On Friday afternoon I needed to run to the post office and finally mail those Lbaggies to my giveaway winners (sorry it took so long guys, they’re on the way!) so I left E with a napping baby and hopped in the van. As I was backing down the driveway I thought I felt a little…lopsided. Normally, being the super-responsible very automobile knowledgeable person I am, I would have convinced myself I was imagining things and run my errand anyway. But this time I got out and looked at my front left tire. My totally – TOTALLY – flat front left tire. Flat like a pancake. Flat like a board. Flat like my chest in the eighth grade when I bought that bathing suit with the built in cups and then couldn’t go in the water for fear they might collapse.

It was really flat. It sort of looked like it might have been flat for a while.

And then I remembered how the car scraped on the bump pulling into the driveway.

And then I remembered how the car scraped on the bump pulling out of the Wendy’s drive thru.

And then I remembered how the car sort of…pulled to the left on the way TO playgroup.

And then I remembered the “low tire pressure” light that’s been on pretty much since we bought the car.

I am a genius. And pretty lucky I (probably) didn’t permanently damage my axle. Or cause an accident.

In my defense, the light was on when we actually bought the car and the guy said “Oh it’s just because of the temperature. Once the weather cools down you’ll be fine.” Which is why I yelled “The salesman said it was OK! Tell them he’s a lying liar!!” in the background while E talked the dealership into replacing our OBVIOUSLY PREVIOUSLY PATCHED tire for free. I’m going in at 8 am today to sit in the waiting room with a hyperactive toddler for probably several hours until the mechanic tells me they don’t even have that tire in stock so they’ll have to special order it and can I come back in two weeks? And bee tee double-you, that’ll be $150.

Did I mention the part where the van FELL OFF THE JACK while E was changing the flat and I had to call AAA to come with their special heavy-duty jack? Or the part where the van FELL OFF THAT ONE TOO? Apparently the jacking mechanism is all…jacked-up.

Maybe the universe is telling me to just stay home. Which is the kind of advice I think I should follow – as soon as I go to the store for chocolate ice cream jelly beans milk and bread.

Get Off My Lawn You Crazy Kids

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Signs you are no longer cool or hip or happening or whatever those crazy kids are calling it these days and are instead just plain OLD:

1. You drive a minivan.
2.You drive a minivan into a city you used to be terrified of driving in.
3. You think $7 for valet parking is a great deal, especially because it means you don’t have to PARK a minivan in a city you used to be terrified of driving in.
4. You have to eat a First Dinner at 5 pm because Real Dinner isn’t scheduled until 8 pm.
5. You are totally baffled by the fact that people don’t go “out” until after 11:30. What are they doing until then?!
6. You don’t know all the words to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok.
7. You had to look up both the name “Ke$ha” and what that song was called. And had to double check it twice because is there really a dollar sign in that child’s name?
8. You buy a round of shots (and a Diet Coke) for $27 and can’t believe you were ever too poor to buy your own drinks.
9. You think all the guys look like douchebags and can’t understand what they’re wearing.
10. Your feet hurt even in flats.
12. You stab people with your car keys to get them out of your way when you want to leave.
13. You leave by midnight.
14. You wake up the next morning hung over – even though you didn’t drink any alcohol.
15. You can’t wait to get home to see your husband and baby.

Goodbye Twenties

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Goodbye twenties hello minivan,
Look out thirties I’m becoming my old man,
The keys are in my pocket,
I got the title in my hand
Goodbye twenties Hello minivan.
-Sterling Waters

Although I’m still technically only 28, the news we were going to soon be a family of 4 + one stupidly large dog was the final straw towards minvandom. While it was quite inconvenient and generally a huge pain in the ass to own only one car-seat compatible vehicle with one baby, it’s virtually impossible with two. Unless, of course, I plan to take both kids with me every single place I go for the next 10 years or so. NO THANK YOU. So down to the dealership we went to look at reasonable, grown up options, which ended up being…not so bad.

Still, someone please tell me how I’m supposed to give this up without being heartbroken:

Oh hai guise. Why yes I do have eight cylinders and a leather interior, thanks for noticing.

DO YOU SEE THAT BUMPERSTICKER???? Best gift ever from my friend E.W. She had it made special just for me, since I used to shout "take your top off!!!!" at convertible drivers. I'm classy like that.

The Mustang was my 23rd birthday present to myself from my wonderful husband and the car I dreamed of owning since I was 15. It was like going from being the timpani player in the marching band to head cheerleader overnight, with a really great tan and cool sunglasses thrown in. I swear it even made me look thinner.

The truth is I haven’t driven “my” car in more than a year, besides once or twice to the grocery store, and even then all I could think about was how inconvenient it was for buying giant boxes of diapers and value sized Swiffer refills. E drives it to work while I drive “his” Jeep, a car I like but never loved. I needed something new.

E had dreams of crew-cab trucks and full-loaded sedans when we first headed out car shopping. Navigation systems! Tow packages! Two-tone leather (which was one of the absolute UGLIEST things I had ever seen but he seemed to love)! But all it took was 30 seconds in a minivan – Fourteen cup holders! Room for the dog! Surprisingly good gas mileage! Extended warranty! – to realize it was practically inescapable. So it’s not glamorous or sexy or sporty. I’ll never pull up to a light and have the guy next to me try to race. I don’t even think anyone’s going to mistake me for the “hot babysitter”, despite what the minivan manufacturers might claim in their commercials.

But, dudes, I love my minivan.

2008 Dodge Grand Caravan - ironicly, almost the exact car I learned to drive in. Just 19 years newer.

Both side doors and the tailgate open at the touch of a button. Lots of buttons in fact - by the review mirror, on the key fob, or right inside the doors. I never have to slam anything every again.

Both side doors and the tailgate open at the touch of a button - lots of buttons in fact. On the key fob, near the rearview mirror, or right inside the doors. I never have to slam anything ever again. American car companies really GET my epic level of laziness.

Look at that storage! That giant stroller used to take up the entire back of the Jeep. I can fit a double stroller in there no problem. Or a dead body. Just sayin'.

DO YOU SEE THAT SPACE? And not only do all the seats fold down, they totally fold down into the floor so the whole back is flat and open. E fit a full sized chest freezer in the back and still had room for the car seat.

DO YOU SEE THAT SPACE? And not only do all the seats fold down, they totally fold down into the floor so the whole back is flat and open. E fit a full sized chest freezer in the back and still had room for the car seat. No more struggle to make the groceries fit.

I was actually sitting in the car for the test drive when I said "The only thing I hate about minivans is that the back windows don't go down so on long car trips you feel like you're trapped in a tube." AND THEN THE WINDOWS WENT DOWN. SOLD.

I’m actually a little sorry now for people who don’t have minivans. Suckers.