Monday, August 22, 2005

Shattered glass; or how a jar of salsa can foreshadow your day

Saturday, I grabbed my Mom and we snuck out the door sans kids to go to the store.  I was making tacos for dinner, and we needed to go pick up a thing or two.

I was so enjoying her company and chatting her up in the parking lot, that as I loaded my bags in to the van, I didn't notice I had grabbed three handles and not four.  I saw my error, felt it as I turned with the bags in hand and had that whoooosh sensation accompanied by lightness that I knew meant only one thing.  I could feel it suspend slightly in the air, as if to protest its downward descent, and heard crash-splat! as it hit the pavement.

"Oh, mija,"  Mom said.  "lastima, it doesn't look like you'll be able to save that."

She didn't need to tell me what it was.

Here lies a jar of salsa, shattered and splattered to bits.  Its tart, spicy goodness wasted on the pavement.

I swiped some offending shards away from the tires of the van.  Instead of driving off, I found an employee gathering carts in the parking lot and told them of my mishap, lest anyone else drive through it and make it worse.  

I was surprised and annoyed as I drove away and a feeling of dread wove itself into my heart.  Oh, come on, silly girl, I told myself.  It's a jar of salsa.  You are a big spaz <notoriously so>.  You were due to drop something anyway.  It's not a big deal.  

Yet the feeling of dread would not pass.

Sunday, I'm on my way home from work.  I'm so happy on the road, singing along to my iPod blaring my faves and enjoying my moment alone. 

The car feels funny, like it's shimmying to the right or something.  I initially dismiss it as the bumps in the road or just me being paranoid.  A little better.  I guess I should pull over and check this out.

As I'm approaching the next exit, I look in my rear view mirror just in time to see the outer tire tread on my front tire shoot out from underneath my car like a rotten banana peel.  Well. It appears the mystery is solved.

I'm sitting in the pseudo-safety of the gore point, and contemplating my options.  I'm close to home.  Good.  I haven't changed a tire in ages, and never done it unsupervised.  Bad.  At this point, off a busy freeway, it's not exactly the best time to go for the brush-up in car maintenance.  Bad.  So you know what I did...that's right. 

I called my husband, like a girl, and let him know what was up.  I offered to nurse it to the next exit so he could meet me.  "No, stay right where you are, I'll be right there."  :) Good. 

I realize I should've used the bathroom before I left work.  I'm never making an issue of it with the kids again, I promised myself, if I can make it through this next bit of time without peeing my pants.  Calling Mr W to help me with the tire, I can live down.   Peeing my pants on the side of the road, I could never live down.  Everyone would definately hear about that...four times over.

Ugh.  I hate having to call Mr W on these things.  It's so "the little missus." 

To his credit, and not surprisingly, Mr W loaded the kids up and was there relatively quickly.  He changed the tire, a somewhat amused expression on his face in spite of the heat and my inconveniencing him.  Uncomplaining. 

He's a good husband that way.

Unfortunately, the donut was low.  So I followed him, and we went to the nearest place that had air, where I was appalled to see that air, while free to breathe, is .75 if you want it for your car.  Is it just me, or is that ridiculous?  Especially in light of the fact that usually, those machines don't work, but you don't find that out until you've plugged in your last quarter and are stuck with a dud? 

Mr W and I are communicating across the parking lot in our own sign language, like couples do, and I realize I only have a quarter.  (mental note for next time:  keep some change hidden away from children in glove compartment for you can forget it's there when you need it)  As I go into the convenience store to get Mr W a cold drink and some change, I notice two ladies approach Mr W.  As I exit the store, I feel my heart skip a beat as I notice him helping the two ladies with the wretched machine.

He's a good guy that way.

Once we get home, he deposits me into the house with the kids, and off he goes with the traitorous treadless tire to get a new one.  A few minutes later, he's back.

"They're closed,"  he explains.  "I'd have been back sooner, but I also had to stop and pick up some oil, because you're car is low."  My poor neglected-by-both-of-us car.  A few minutes pass, and I go outside to find him still out there messing with it.  "Start it," he tells me.  We both grimace as we hear a noise that sounds like a can is rattling in my engine.  That car is 14 years old, it's has 186,000++ miles on it, and has served us well.  While I've grown accustomed to its noises and sputters, this one, which has been nagging at me for a bit, sounds like it's a death rattle.  "Turn on your lights, I think one of them is out, and I'll get another when I go back out for more oil."  I do it.  "Turn 'em off!  Turn 'em off!!"  I get out of the car, "what's up?"  as he says, "the light started smoking."  Fabulous.

Stress-o-matic is the button I can see pushed on my husband's forehead.  I can tell I'm in for a delightful day when he stomps on my next words.  "Anna, don't even joke about this right now,"  he gruffs.  Fine.  Let's just wallow in desperate misery, shall we?

Someone pass me some Tylenol.

I know he just needs time to wrap his head around this.  We've had a wacko streak lately, first the van (x2); then the garage door opener went kaput; we came home last night to a slightly leaking toilet tank; he has to rescue his damsel only to find that her horse needs to be shot; throw in the day-to-day craziness and it gets to be a bit much.  

I know he didn't mean it to upset me.  But I still take it a little personally, retreating inside before I start shedding a tear or two.  I left him out there to work it out.

He's a loner that way.

After I recollect myself, I go back outside.  He's on the ground, sorting out pieces...of the new garage door opener.  He's decided to tackle it, right now. 

Gamely, I jump in to help him out.  Hold something here.  Get a wrench there.  Hand me this or that.  You get the picture.

I'm spending the afternoon getting all hot and sweaty with my husband.  Too bad it's not in a more enjoyable fashion.

We make an intuitive team, too.  Just when I sense his frustration, I read the troubleshooting instructions in the manual.  Just when he senses I can't hold the damn thing over my head another second, he lets me know that it's almost over or to put it down.

So ultimately, we get it hung up... then down...  then up... "What about?"  "Try this."  "Move that over..." Curse.  Try again.  Sigh.  "But what about.."  "It says here..."  Finally, 7 or so hours later, after another failed attempt, I hear:  "Call someone out tomorrow.  I have no idea why this isn't working."  We're hot, sweaty, defeated.  But we're in it together.

We're good at sharing the burden that way.

Now, I'm not a superstitious girl.  Much.  (Okay, maybe I am.  You just can't grow up around all those older Mexican ladies and not be.  I'm not as bad as some; I just consider it a personality quirk of mine and call it even.)

Yet, as I sat in the gore point awaiting my knight; as we struggled with our garage door, my mind kept going back to that jar of salsa.  I fought it, because no one really wants to admit it.

Sometimes, a broken jar of salsa is just an inconvenience.

And sometimes, a broken jar of salsa can be a weird portent of the day to come.


screaminremo303 said...

I know where you can get a school bus for a good price.

I hope it wasn't 505 salsa. That's a felony.

mum24boyz said...

wow, what a day....Darn salsa!  what a nice hubby to come on out and save you! I just would have rode the darn rims! why?? because my hubby can't change a tire...or fix the sink,  or paint , etc.. the 2 of us are the most home-repair challenged people you have ever met! lol!

Robyn :)

tillysweetchops said...

What a true Superhero Mr W is. Isn't it true that in a baga full of stuff, it's always the glass jar that hits the ground?

jckfrstross said...

You and Mr W sound like my hubby and me lol Sorry about your string of bad misfortune:)



suzypwr said...

Sorry about the salsa....etc....what a string of bad luck!


nicurnmama said...

I have to confess I don't know how to change a tire. I have never had to....wait, one time I did have a flat when Daniel was a baby. I called AAA and felt it was okay since he was still so little and fragile. My DH has decided his girls will know how to change a tire if they want to drive, unlike their mother.   LOL

autumnsavril said...

Your journal, and moreover your story-telling capabilities, are fantastic!!!  You have a wonderful way with words and easy-to-swallow humor.

Sorry about the salsa, et cetera.