HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Snow Blower. Last winter, my van became stuck on ice ridges, half in the alley and half way in my garage. Despite the heroic efforts of most of the neighborhood men, it remained stuck until a tow truck pulled it out. This winter, I asked Cole (aka my teen) to find a snow blower within our budget on Craigslist. He did. Naturally, it was ninety minutes outside Chicago.
Road Trip. We made arrangements to pick it up early Wednesday morning. Before we left, I counted out the cash and handed it over to Cole since he would be making the purchase. I would be sitting in the warm car watching him make the purchase.
As I drove, my teen slept, and I mulled over our holiday season . . .
My Poor Van. Cole left the second week in December to visit family in the Sunshine State. The second day he was gone, my van overheated. Holy smokes! My van would need to be serviced and the day campers rescheduled. This was accomplished, with the exception of one camper’s family, whom I couldn’t reach. Plan B: I could pick the camper up using Cole’s car before taking my van to be serviced.
Problemo. The next morning, I remembered that the driver’s seat in Cole’s car was locked in place to accommodate his long legs. I could barely reach the peddles, which include the clutch. What to do? I decided to put pillows behind me to help push me forward so I could reach the peddles. Yes, it was awkward trying to shift, but the camper and I made it home with a minimum of drama.
My van was in the service bay by 8:00 a.m. I was in a rental van by 8:30 a.m. By 10:00 a.m., the dealership called with the bad news that the repair was major and that it would take at least two days to repair. Oh well, I liked the rental van, and business could carry on as usual.
(Meet my rental van – Chrysler something or another)
The Key Saga. The next day, I picked up our day campers as planned, and that night, I loaded them in the van for the trip home. All went well until I realized that one of my leashes had fallen out of the van. I jumped out to retrieve it, shutting the driver’s door behind me. Rascal (my Parson Terrier) jumped up to see where I was off to, hit the door lock, and locked me out of the van!
Six day campers, Rascal, my keys, my phone, and my wallet were locked in the van—a rental van, which meant no spare key. I ran
screaming into the house. Breathlessly, I explained what had happened to Vickie (our friend and camp helper), who listened calmly and then waved her Triple A card under my nose. I took a deep breath as she made the call. It was a miracle. Triple A arrived in short order and retrieved my keys. Vickie, our hero.
Onward. My campers and I blazed a trail towards their homes. Last stop, downtown. Two pugs.
(I was parked in front of this building)
Pulling into the loading zone, I ever so carefully removed my keys from the ignition and put them in my vest pocket. I exited the van, opened the side door, wrestled the leashes onto the pugs, helped them out of the van, and closed the van door.
Rascal hit the car lock—again.
“No worries, my keys are in my pocket,” I thought. I reassured myself by checking my pocket.
Wait for it . . .
My keys fell out of my pocket and lay beside the crate the pugs were in. My purse and phone were on the passenger seat of the locked van.
Smile at doorman. Keep cool. No worries, I have it all under control.
Drop off pugs at their beautiful condo, resisting the effort to close the door behind us and hide under the bed. Forever.
Bravely return to the car. Smile at doorman confidently. Check passenger door. Locked. Check driver’s door. Locked. Back doors. Locked. Check hatch door. Epic miracle. It opens. Crawl into van, slither over the top of crates, grab keys, and throw Rascal into an empty crate. Doorman and I smile at one another. Crazy lady drives off.
More Problemos. The rest of the week continued with one adventure followed by another. The garbage disposal threw up, circuit breakers blew, the garage door jammed, the vacuum went on strike, and I shouted at Jehovah witnesses.
The Howladays. On Saturday, I was overjoyed to pick my son up at the airport. By Monday, we were in full holiday mode. I love the holiday season, but at my house, it’s not a time for the faint of heart. My Fitbit registered over 20,000 steps before I ever stepped away from home to take day the campers on our weekly field trip to Prairie Wolf. We run from dawn to dusk, greeting campers and their families, making sure every pup has a good mix of playtime and naptime, fixing meals, bribing reluctant eaters, soothing stressed campers, reassuring worried fur parents, taking pictures, posting pictures, returning calls, and doing laundry. We were fortified by all the delish Christmas treats that covered the kitchen counters and frequent Starbucks runs.
Christmas eve and day was spent with friends, family, and food, tucked in around keeping our campers in good health and spirits.
New Year’s Eve arrived with a cascading waterfall from yet another leaky pipe in the basement. What the hell—I put a bucket under the leak and imagined sipping a rum drink adorned with a pineapple slice, stretched out on colorful beach towel on a beach somewhere. Just beach. No water.
We rang in the New Year with best friends and our tradition of dinner at my house, followed by a movie, and ending with a Champagne toast to welcome the New Year.
The weekend after New Year’s, my campers began checking out and returning to their home sweet homes. I played match the leash, harness, collar, and dog to the correct camper owner. There isn’t an app for this.
My campers were happy to see their families. (kind-of)
I hugged families hello, kissed my campers noses goodbye, and whispered to each one that I loved them best. It’s true—even the camper puppy that pulled my comforter into his crate and destroyed it. Cole came out to give me the bad news, and when I said, “Oh something or another,” he reassured me that the pup didn’t eat the comforter filling. He knows our priorities. The crate should have been further from the bed.
Hello 2015. The first week of the New Year.
Snow Blower. Again. I pulled into an oasis, and Cole rubbed his sleepy eyes and smiled. Starbucks! He happily jumped out of the car and went to buy our drinks. He returned to the car, panic-stricken. The money I had given him for the snow blower was missing from his pocket. Securing the drinks (first things first), we searched the car and retraced his steps. No luck. Cole never loses anything. He never has. Even as a little kid, he always kept track of his belongings. Nary a mitten was lost.
We both fell into despair but decided to go forward with the snow blower purchase. I hit up an ATM and we said a prayer to St. Anthony. Maybe Cole left the money at home.
Home again with the snow blower. No snow blower money in sight. I was engulfed by fatigue. Totally and completely engulfed. I was all out of good cheer. Time to put life on hold and take a nap . . . a long nap. Maybe for the rest of winter.
After my nap and after Cole had taken the snow blower for a spin, we felt a bit better and decided to make a Cosco run to fill up the car. What about those gas prices ($1.89)!
Before we left, I went downstairs to empty the bucket under the pipe while Cole changed clothes and put on his shoes. I jumped when I heard a blood curdling “MOM” and started to run. What NOW. Cole met me at the top of the stairs, waving the snow blower cash in his hand. The money was in the back pocket of the first pair of pants he had put on that morning. He had changed them when he deemed another pair more suitable for the snow blower road trip. The money had not changed pockets. We hugged, whooped, and hollered. Thank you St. Anthony! We promised to fulfill our promise to give $20 to the first homeless person to ask us for money.
I’ve been gone. Now, I’m back. I’ve missed you like crazy. And you know how I miss crazy! On that note, thanks for missing me! El Morno will return next Monday alongside a few more holiday stories, if you can even believe that.
Happy New Year! How were your holidays?
Odd Loves Company,