It was a Monday. Typically, I have no issue with the concept of Monday. I love my family, but I do also love my work. I am lucky enough to be doing something that matters and I work with the most awesome team of people one could imagine. Not only do they work really bloody hard, but they support the personal endeavors of Jessica and myself. So, I’m lucky enough to be one of those who looks forward to weekends and weekdays equally and for different reasons.
Since the three boys (‘W’, ‘C’ & ‘S’) have moved in, we’ve had a bit of change to our daily routines. Ashley, our nanny, left at the beginning of the year to pursue her educational goals and we have not been successful in finding a replacement (note here: If you are in the Milwaukee area and know of someone who would make an outstanding nanny, let me know). This means that we really have had to revamp the schedule for ourselves. ‘W’ goes to a school about twenty minutes in one direction. ‘C’ & ‘S’ go to a school about 10 minutes from the house in the opposite direction. Eli and Brenna go to school about five minutes away. TJ is in daycare (or we’d get NOTHING done during the day) and needs to be dropped off. So, the current routine goes like this: at 7:10, I load ‘W’ and TJ up to take them to their destinations. Between 7:20 and 8:30, Jessica takes the rest of the kids to theirs. By about 8:45, our morning routine is out of the way. . . typically.
Then there was yesterday . . .
It was cold. Negative 4 when we had to go outside. Now, normally the cold doesn’t bother me. I’d actually rather it’s that cold because the colder it is, the better the odds are that it’ll be nice and sunny and not snowy. I like the cold better than the snow (you don’t have to shovel cold). I had gotten ‘W’ to school and was on the way to dropping TJ off when Jessica called to tell me that our old neighbor, the one we gave a car to a year ago Christmas, was broken down: dead battery. This was not unusual. She had a tendency to leave the lights on and it wouldn’t be the first time that one of us went to rescue her. So, after dropping TJ off, I went to see about the car. The car was about a block from her house, so I stopped there to pick her up and then off to the car we went. She explained to me that the jumper pack that we got her would start the car but the minute she took it off, the car died. I knew then that it was more than simply a dead battery. Dirty terminals or worse, it could be an alternator. Up until this point, I was only a little annoyed (ok, I admit, I just flat-out woke up on the wrong side of the bed) about having to jump start the car, but the minute I realized that I’d have to deal with towing the car, my mood went pretty sour.
I took our friend to work and dropped her off. Since her job is at the school across the street from our house, I decided to run home to grab some warmer, more work-like attire (did I mention it was negative four out?), grab the gas can (I forgot to mention that she told Jessica that the car was low on gas, too), and figured I’d take a few minutes to relax, have a cup of coffee, make my morning smoothie, and get the day back under control from a mental standpoint.
And then I walked in the door.
In what could really only be described as first-world problemitis, the house was total chaos. The cleaners were here. Now, these cleaners are not the type to just sit around. They come as a team (four of them) and they’re like whirling dervishes. They’re here with a purpose and you better not get in their way. Ya. . . they’re just grrrreat!
I wasn’t in the mood for chaos.
There was no way I was getting either my coffee or my smoothie.
I grabbed my work coat and work gloves and headed back out the door.
I was in a foul mood
I headed back to the car (ten minutes) and called Roadside Assistance.
In her monotone voice, I was asked if I was in a safe place. I answered yes. Her words were, “I’m so glad to hear it,” but her tone said, “I really couldn’t care less. I hate my job and you didn’t turn in all your paperwork from your scares last night.”
The ticket was created and about five minutes later I received a text that it would be 90 minutes before the truck got there. I was not surprised. It was cold and I imagine that there were several people who had issues yesterday. I decided to try to see if I could get the car running, so I threw the battery pack on, started it up and let it run for a few minutes. There was no indication that the alternator was out and when I disconnected the pack, the car continued to run. I waited another five minutes and with the car still running, I decided I’d try to drive it in to the auto shop.
I called to cancel the tow and then got into the car.
I got about half a block.
So, I called back to Roadside Assistance. I am 90% certain that I got Roz again, and if I didn’t, it was her more evil twin.
“Are you in a safe place?”
“I’m so glad to hear it. My life sucks and you still didn’t turn in all your paperwork.”
“I canceled my tow but now it turns out I need it. Do I really need to stay with the car? It’s negative 4 here and it’s going to be an hour and a half”
“Oh, well the cancellation didn’t show up, so I’ll just update the address. And it’s only going to be 70 minutes. Sucks to be you.”
“So you’re saying I need to stay with the car?”
“Well, you could leave the car unlocked and hope the driver will do an unattended tow.”
“Sounds good to me! I’ll risk it.”
So, I leave the keys in the glovebox with the front door unlocked. I then walk back to the Armada, freezing my face off and wondering if it’s really supposed to hurt that much to breathe. I head home.
I walk in the door and tell Jessica about how something so simple was ending up taking my whole day and she then tells me that ‘A’, the mother of the three boys that lived with us last year, was asking for all sorts of favors and that Jessica said ‘no’ to most of them (one of which is ALWAYS about “borrowing” money) but did offer to take her to drop off her time sheets for work.
Neither one of us were chipper at this point and my response was, “We need a vacation. Not a vacation where we go somewhere. We like it here. We need a vacation from saying ‘yes’ to everyone. We just simply need to announce to everyone that unless it’s work or family related, the answer is ‘no’ for two weeks.”
I was only half-kidding.
At about 11:00, I finally got in front of my desk (keep in mind, I am typically there between 8:00 and 8:30). And at 11:45, the texts start coming in. “Did my car make it to the shop?” “I don’t know where I’m going to get the money to fix it!” and messages along those lines. At noon, I called to find out if the tow ever showed up since I hadn’t heard anything. This time, I got Brandon. I don’t mind using his name because he had a good attitude and was more than willing to help. “I’m sorry, Mr. Benzakein,” he said, “but for some reason the tow got cancelled.”
Well, give me a peg leg and call me a pirate, because all I could manage was, “ARRRGH!”
I held my tongue. I simply asked if they’d take care of it. Brandon assured me that not only would he personally take care of it but he’d call me and keep me posted every step of the way. The most I could get out was a very constrained, “Thank You.” It was probably best.
Ten minutes later, I got a call. It would be almost 2:00 before the car would be picked up, but I was assured that it would get picked up and towed.
2:15 and I’m out the door to pick the boys up. I pick ‘C’ & ‘S’ up and then have to drive to pick ‘W’ up. At that point, I then go home and sit with them and work with them on their homework.
Pickup went as it usually does. Pull up front to the first school. Wait my turn since the street basically turns into a one-way street at pickup time, and then drive the 20 or so minutes to pick ‘W’ up. Come home, tell the kids to get their snacks and then get them ready to sit and do homework. It’s usually about 3:30 by this point in time.
3:30, the doorbell rings. There is our friend. Of course her car was not done. Could I give her a ride? Ten minutes of, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if it costs more than a new battery.” Ten minutes of, “I don’t know how I’m going to get to work tomorrow.” (I really don’t deal well with passive/aggressive behavior even when I’m in the best of moods). Ten minutes of me trying not to say something I’d regret later (at least I *knew* I was grumpy).
Of course traffic at the destination was terrible. Another half hour later and I’d be home to work with the kids and their homework.
The rest of the day went fine. I did my 7:00 podcast and had a great time with it. Our guest was awesome and the conversation, fantastic. I then went through the nightly routine of saying goodnight to all the kids in their rooms. It’s a routine I rarely miss and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
Downstairs, I commented to Jessica that the day had kicked my butt. It had kicked hers, too. We just wanted to veg and watch some TV. So that’s what we did.
At 10, Jessica went to bed. I usually stay up an extra hour and watch a show she’s not interested in (Jessica Jones is what’s on the TV menu at the moment). And then, right as I’m about to head upstairs, at 11:00 the doorbell rings.
Do you have an infant in the house? Have you had an infant in the house? Do you know how valuable it is to parents when said infant is asleep?
Really? 11:00 PM and someone is ringing the bell?
I ran to the door before the bell would ring again.
The poor woman didn’t even know what hit her. I swung the front door open and saw her. She was a woman with a snow shovel.
Before she could get a word out, she was hit with something along the lines of, “WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH YOU? IT’S 11:00 AT NIGHT AND WE HAVE CHILDREN SLEEPING!”
“I’m sorry sir. I saw the light on and was wondering if you needed your walk shoveled.”
“NO! IT’S 11:00 AT NIGHT.”
<Close the door as quickly as possible without slamming it. After all, there are children sleeping.>
And that was that.
Upon reflection, and being in a better state of mind today, I realize that I was a bit of a jerk yesterday. I could have handled things so much better (including my own frame of mind). And while it may not have been my best day as a human, it turns out that I am, in fact, just that. Human.