Friday, March 21, 2014

Never Ask: "What's the Worst That Can Happen/"

I'm glad that I've decided to start doing this again.  It's a better venue for stories that are a bit too long to post on Facebook.

As most of you know, I own The Beast -- a 2004 Ford Expedition with a honkin' big V-8 engine and capacity for 8 full size people plus luggage.  I get gallons to the mile, not mile per gallon, but I LOVE MY TRUCK!  

This is the back of The Beast loaded for the trip to RSCM in August, where it hauled two adults, five kids and luggage from Philadelphia to Newport and back.  During the course of the last 10 years, the Beast has served me well.  Transported kids, dogs, furniture, etc.  I really haven't had to do much to it, other than routine maintenance.  Until yesterday.

As I was driving Mom to radiation, a flashing message comes across the message center -- CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM.  I have no idea what this means.  The car seems to be running fine.  I continue to the hospital with Mom and do the 21st Century thing when I get there -- I google it.  What I find out is something is wrong with my electrical system.  Ok.  Drive Mom home and head to teach my knitting class in Haverford.

More strange flashing lights.  The radio goes on and off by itself.  The anti-lock brake light flashes.  The dome lights come on and off.  I am not touching any of this.  At this point, the car is still driving fine and I'm wondering if I need a priest for an exorcism or a mechanic.

On the way back home from knitting class, the entire dashboard goes dark. DARK! Speedometer doesn't work.  No gas gauge.  No radio, no heat, no lights.  Now, I'm really starting to think I need a priest.  Get home and call the mechanic who says -- "Don't think I can fit you in tomorrow, maybe Monday."

Well, it's Thursday.  So that means I need to pick up Daughter 2 and a friend and school and drive 20 minutes over to church for Chorister practice.  BTW, I'm also coordinating dinner for 70 that happens between Choristers and Adult Choir rehearsal.  So, I get the in the car and head to car line.  I figure, what's the worst that can happen.  Shouldn't have thought that.  I paid for it.

Those of you who have children know car line.  At Daughter 2's school it is run with military precision.  You do not mess up the flow of car line.  So I pull up into one of the two lines and the car promptly DIES blocking one of the two lanes.  Yep, I am now that mother.  The one blocking car line and screwing things up.

I call AAA.  I endure threats, dirty looks, curses and daggers.  But, there were many who as I directed traffic around the Beast, rolled down windows and asked -- can I help?  Do your kids need a ride?  Do you need a jump?  So for each idiot, there was at least one nice person.

Truck gets towed to mechanic.  Fortunately, Hubby was able to come get kids and then get me at the mechanic and take us over to church for rehearsal.

Mechanic just called.  It's the alternator.  Could be worse.  Car will be ready this afternoon.
No exorcism necessary.  Just a check for the mechanic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From the Middle of the Sandwich

I'm prompted to start writing again thanks to a friend who muses about my Facebook posts -- most of which these days involve being in the middle of the sandwich generation.  So, here's a quick update and I'll try to be better about blogging.

Three years ago, I learned that God did not mean for me to work full time.  My mother's health was in decline and my girls needed me a bit more.  Therefore, I am practicing law part time and being a full time sandwich.

Here's what 2013 brought for me:

  • May - Mom has a stroke same week Daughter 1 graduates from 8th grade.
  • June - We convince Mom she needs to move from the Jersey Shore to the Philly area, since living by yourself after you've had a stroke which causes the doctors to say you can't drive isn't a good idea.  
  • July - Pack up Mom's house
  • August - Move Mom into a lovely Philadelphia area continuing care community in her own beautiful one bedroom apartment (which for the first month, is referred to as The Prison).
  • September - Daughter 1 starts high school.  Daughter 2 starts 5th grade.  Back to school craziness.
  • October - During weekend that Dear Sister is having baby shower for Wonderful Niece, Dearest Brother-in-Law has a major heart attack, necessitating triple bypass and valve replacement.
  • November - Mom has a stroke on hubby's birthday and spends a week in the hospital.  Doctor's release her to rehab and she wants to know why we put her in this New Prison!
  • December - Mom has a couple of TIAs.
  • January - Philadelphia gets snow, snow and more snow.
  • February - Mom spends 10 of 28 days in the hospital and gets a new diagnosis - cancer.  A week after the cancer diagnosis - we had two strokes (including a nasty fall.)

So, anytime I can string two weeks together without having to visit the ER or be at the hospital with mom, are good times for me.

In the meantime, this winter has worn me down so I broke down and ordered seeds from Burpee. Below is my soon to be lovely lettuce blend.  Let's hope I don't kill them.