We've had quite the eventful Christmas break.
Seems silly to say "Christmas" when it's Valentine's Day in the stores now, but you know...
Anyway, while our actual holiday was good, it was marred by a few things:
*My Dad is one of those people who buys presents but seems to hate Christmas and he gets more agitated and more demanding and moody the closer we get to it. He gets all cranky, and somewhat depressed, and this year, he passed it on to me. I was a little blue throughout, for no real reason other than that the man brought me down. Although, on Christmas morning, when the kids all got their loot and I managed to make the emotional accountant in the family (Ben) happy that it was distributed evenly and they were all thrilled with proof that I actually listen to their "I want" s all year, it certainly helped improve my mood. Audrey in her tiaras getting glitter all over her Dad was priceless, especially when he couldn't get all of it out and I found it later in the day, still on his cheek, after he showered. (At least I hope it was Audrey's glitter, and not something I should know about.)
*On one of our coldest, blusteriest afternoons (the 22nd) I was driving home from work, wrapping up some shopping, grabbing some food for the kids, when my car died in the middle of an intersection. It was an old car, with a ton of miles on it, and I was sentimentally holding on to it as I tend to do...it had no heat, but the a/c worked, and in AZ, that's what matters...at any rate, it'd been acting kinda funny, but not any weirder than usual when bam! the clutch decided it was done, and there I sat, pondering my next move, praying someone might come push me out of the road. It was a little scary, as due to the lack of heat, my windows had fogged up to a degree I'd not experienced since I was fending off the amorous advances of an overeager 17 year old, and I couldn't see out much at all. The bit of smoke coming out from under the hood didn't help, either. Luckily, a stranger, a nice, nice stranger, came and pushed me out of the road. I called Mr W to come get me, and the lovely Jane talked me down while I waited. I hate that helpless, "I'm-such-a-girl" feeling, truly hate it, but you know, these things happen. So Mr W comes, and has a go (to no avail, but apparently, my word is not as good as the car stopping whilst he drives it), and ultimately even Remo was involved in this little adventure. Again, luckily, Remo was very cool about the whole thing, rain, cold, day off, he came anyway, and well, he maintained a kind of amused air about it. (At least I'm hoping it was an amused air, and not the air he reserves for "stupid motorist" calls.) He was quite gracious about the whole affair, made a couple of calls, and poof, it was all taken care of. (I swear, I think Mr W's blood pressure went down a notch or two once Remo got there. It's not like he didn't know what to do, I just think that guys do better, when faced with a car taking a crap like that, when they have another guy on the scene. Must be something about the Y chromosome, as mysterious as the take-a-friend-shopping gene only women have. For me, at least, that day, Christmas spirit showed up in a green fatigue jacket and a baseball cap.) I donated that car and while it pained me to see it go, it was time.
*I had to work on the 24th, which didn't seem like a huge deal when I saw myself on the schedule for that day, I mean, I work Sundays usually anyway. However, I was guaranteed 8 hours of joy--a long day (for me), and the other people working it asked me to come in early (so we could leave early). Fine, done, but then the afternoon had some interesting twists, and I wound up staying later to work on something. Something I've not done in a while, but it involved the sample of a toddler, a sample two days old already, so I snapped on the gloves and had someone talk me through it. I managed fine. It was good to be in the lab like that again, which is what I focused on as I entered the realm of my parents that evening (who were still bickering).
*On Christmas day, we got a call late in the afternoon that Mr W's Dad had been in a car accident. Only him. He had blacked out and wrapped his car around a tree. Broken arm, broken hand, he was in the hospital. He's home now, on the mend, but really, who relishes a call like that on Christmas day?
*Ugh, what was going on with my mood? Bleah! Blah! :p
*My horoscope, that barometer of truth (:p) has sucked at least 3 days out of the week for like a month now. It's not filled with anything but dire news. "A handsome man will pinch your ass" was somehow replaced with variations of "keep an eye on your expenses" and "you suck." (It has continued into Jan with this trend.)
Otherwise, made it through New Year's without incident. And I stayed home that night (Mr W worked) and had a great time with the kids, although I was a little crabby at their late-night shenanigans, have you ever seen a wired four year old at that time of night? Good gracious, that's reason enough to pop a cork at midnight...
But then Nolan caught some weird stomach bug that had him down all last week. I thought one night it might be appendicitis, but he never got passed complaining that it ached, no fever, no other symptoms, so I chose to watch him. He progressed to a cold, which I'll take over appendicitis any day.
As we de-Christmas-ified the house, last Monday, I noticed the van dripping something new, prolifically enough that it was in a new spot almost everytime we parked it. That coupled with a noise underneath, a rattling noise I hoped was not the rattle-of-death, made me really, really worried. I pointed these things out to Mr W enough to make him worry too, and by the weekend, we'd both agreed that we needed to not only change the oil, but get to the bottom of what's what. While I have my Dad's lovely Cadillac on loan as our second car, the van IS our family vehicle, and will be bumped to backup car soon, so we knew we had to get it taken care of.
Oh, and it got taken care of alright. Cha-ching! Let's see, I'll give you the laundry list of repairs, you do your own math: new struts, new rear shocks, some solenoid-transmission-thingy (the transmission was leaking), the oil change...labor...Vaseline (I'm only partially kidding)..
I used to think I'd like one of the kids to turn out to be a doctor, or a dentist, but now, I'd like a mechanic. One mechanic. That isn't too much to ask, is it?
I really shouldn't complain. The van runs much better now, or at least it doesn't jiggle and feel like a covered wagon anymore, even though it still sighs when I shut it off. All things considered, I can live with that.
I guess what I'm getting at is that it's kinda been a lot to handle, these past two or so weeks.
We started school Tuesday. When the alarm went off, I jumped right back into the routine and was happy to do it.
Whew. I made it. I'm putting all that other stuff behind me.
My new year, it starts now.
And I'm switching to fortune cookies. Anyone know how to spell "handsome man" in Chinese?