So Evelyn has this theory that bad things happen in 3's. She has all sorts of anecdotal evidence but I wasn't truly a believer until last night.
It started, as many things did, with that first blizzard several months ago. You may recall that John's car got messed up when he was pulled out of a snow bank. The body shop kept his car for around 6 weeks. That's right: SIX WEEKS! It was awful. He bummed rides to work, I took shuttles to the airport, we lived with one vehicle, like animals! (A Christine reference that will come into play later. Foreshadowing, so good at the foreshadowing!)
Now without going into all the minutia of the events conspiring to create BT#1 (Bad Thing #1) I'll just do it with bullet points:
- John usually parks on the street.
- One day he noticed that the body shop, in addition to taking twice the amount of time to fix our old car that it takes Ford to build a new one, had neglected to put the front license plate back on.
- John parked in the driveway one night after picking up his license plate, so as to be closer to the tools required to mount the license plate.
- There was an extreme sun glare the next morning.
- I didn't know that John had parked in the driveway.
- I was running late and needed to get Emma to school, pronto.
- I backed the van out.
- I heard a crunch.
The passenger side mirror, while not broken, was hanging by a thread (What? A metal car thread? Is that like a chicken cob?) as I faced the not-so-pleasant task of telling John, recently scarred from a lengthy out-of-car experience, that his car was a little, well, slimmer.
That conversation didn't go well.
The only duct tape we had was white, so he's been driving for a week with a glaringly white duct-taped passenger mirror. I think the property values in our neighborhood went down a little. Maybe I should consider some do-it-yourself window tinting or a cardboard sign that says "Plates Applied For".
I also had to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as Tod, our 3-doors-down and across-the-street neighbor said to me one morning; "Hey Karen, I'm parked on the street down there - is my truck going to be OK?" And then laughed merrily at his own wit. Hilaaaarious!
Which brings us to yesterday and BT#2. Here is my Rube Goldberg recipe for syrup of ipecac:
Tell your daughter to open the garage door on a windy day so you can pull in the garbage cans. After she does this, the wind will make it hard to close the house door so she'll slam it. This will cause the bin of birdseed that's on the shelf near the door to topple over, hitting the folded luggage cart that is also on the shelf. Both will fall from the shelf and while the birdseed will make a huge mess, it will do no damage. The luggage cart, however, will hit the hood of the 1-year-old van, creating a gnarly dent that even takes some paint off. Look at the van and vomit. Repeat as necessary.
I didn't actually vomit, but I felt like it. I called John to tell him that I'm hell-on-vehicles right now. I'm envisioning a rather expensive dent repair and re-paint of the van hood. Did I mention expensive?
This was all happening among another crisis of epic proportions: our cable went out around 3 pm yesterday and didn't come back until the wee hours of this morning! When I told Emma she seemed a little bewildered:
Emma: No TV? No Internet? What should I do?
Me: Try reading a book.
Karl was equally bewildered when he got off the bus:
Karl: Mom, I have just a little bit of homework. I have vocabulary words to define, so I need to use Dictionary.com.
Me: Our cable is out. We have no internet or TV.
Karl: How can I do my homework then?
Me: They make these new-fangled things called DICTIONARIES! They're actual BOOKS with pages and everything. You don't even need electricity.
Karl: No kidding?
So he painstakingly looked up all his vocabulary words at the kitchen counter while I got creative with ground beef. I was missing an ingredient for every one of my beef recipes, so I decided to just wing it.
Emma: Why are you chopping up those pretzels?
Me: I'm going to make a meatloaf with them. I'm not even using a recipe! Cool, huh?
Emma: Uh. I'm not so sure about that, Mom. You're a good cook for the stuff in the books, but I don't think you should try making things up.
Me: Oh ye of little faith. It will be delicious! What's not to love? Pretzels - good. Meat - good. Tomatoes - good.
Karl: Can I chop the pretzels?
So while Karl was chopping pretzels and I was trying to invent a side item, neither of us noticed Emma finishing Karl's homework! She just sat right down, looked up a word, and wrote out the definition! John asked later if I made her erase it so Karl could do it, which I had intended to do, but the phone rang right about then, so I forgot. And then later I spilled vodka on the paper, so I had to wait for it to dry out. I think maybe the booze smell might distract the teacher from noticing the two different styles of handwriting, though, so there's that.
The booze was essential after the phone call.
JOHN ON PHONE: Hey.
ME: Hi. I'm inventing meatloaf. Emma has no faith. Where are you?
JOHN: Well you're not going to believe this, but I just got rear-ended.
ME: What?! Are you OK?
He was OK. Some lady in a large Focus-dwarfing white truck hit John as he was turning right. The fender is all crunched in and his hatch won't open. When he finally got home I had appetizers and a drink waiting. Not particularly stocked in the drink-making-ingredients department, I had to get creative with peach sparkling water and vodka, but I added an orange slice garnish. Nice touch, huh? I was just full of inventions yesterday. The pretzel meatloaf was delicious! I should totally submit it to a cooking contest, or something.
So that's three bad vehicle incidents in one week. We should be safe for a while. Unless, that is, the cable going out was the start of a new series of BT's. Which is totally possible.
The TV with the DVR was toast. You couldn't tune in a network channel even if you tried. (And I tried) But I happen to own a shockingly-old Montgomery Ward TV that gathers dust in our bedroom, and by moving it to just the right angle, we were able to tune in CBS and watch our Monday night comedies with a moderate amount of snow but decent sound. The kids would pop into the room occasionally and we would be unable to hit pause. We had to watch COMMERCIALS! I had to wait for a commercial to refresh our drinks and then run back upstairs before it started again. These were ROUGH TIMES, people!
And then, like they wrote the episode just for us, came the most brilliant of exchanges on The New Adventures of Old Christine. They were watching American Idol when Richard arrived:
RICHARD: Did you vote?
CHRISTINE: Was that today? Oh man, it's too late.
RICHARD: The polls are open for another 15 minutes. You can make it.
CHRISTINE: But . . . Idol.
RICHARD: Just Tivo it.
CHRISTINE: No, the Tivo is broken. We're watching LIVE TV, like animals!
And then John and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and then realized that we couldn't rewind so we told each other to shut up and pay attention to the show, already.
Luckily the cable was back on this morning so I didn't miss Elliott singing on Regis & Kelly. His debut CD is on sale TODAY! I got an e-mail from Mary this morning with a subject line of "Happy Elliott Day!" What a good friend! Plus she also informed me that there are at least THREE different sets of bonus tracks depending on where you buy the album! What marketing geniusry! I've downloaded the iTunes version already, but will, naturally, have to purchase all three, cost be damned. Deductible, shmeductible - this is ELLIOTT.
And speaking of Idol, it's on tonight! (In other breaking news: water is wet!) I'm still waiting for Phil to wow me. I really want him to have a "wow" week before being kicked to the curb with the rest of the guys-not-named-Sanjaya. Did anyone see The Soup last week? They did a segment called "The Melinda Doolittle School of Humility" that was PRICELESS! One of these days she's going to realize that she's good and then maybe her inner diva will claw its way out like an alien escaping Sigourney Weaver. And on that day will come a transformation from humble little background singer to Barry Effing Gibb. Upward "thank-you Jesus" gazes will be replaced by eye rolls. Wholesome smiles will give way to smirky audience nods. Her neck will make its debut appearance and "shucks" will be forever banned from her vocabulary. She'll engage in a backstage smackdown with Lakisha where someone will lose a fistful of hair. Oh it's coming. I think that day is coming.
But not this day. This day is Elliott Day. Go forth and purchase!
RKQOTD: (Emma: Hey Mom, a poster in my school says that the computer is one of the greatest inventions of all times but I think our BRAIN is the greatest invention of all time. I mean . . . we can WALK! Me: Well . . . yes . . . we can walk whereas computers generally don't . . . but still, our brains aren't really an invention. Emma: I know. They're a gadget. Me: A GADGET?!! Emma: Yeah. There's another poster that says "The greatest learning gadget is your brain!" Me: Oh geez.)