September 28, 2020

still with the universe & say cheese

More on how things were getting nutty over here, or nuttier than usual: 

We had our grad party Saturday August 15th, and then Sunday night, the shit hit the fan.  

The teen's KIA died - right at the same place that the Tribute died back in March.  Lad was picking up Mini at a friend's house.  He called to say the car was dead.  Huh?

If you are following this, then you realize we had one car in the shop, a loaner car, the great white, and now a recently purchased used car that was dead.    

Coach was grilling dinner.  He sent Tank to go pick up Lad and Mini who were stranded in the dead Kia.  They couldn't get the car over to the side of the road.  Tank came home with Mini.  Lad waited with the car.  Coach and Ed scarfed down dinner and then drove over. They stopped by a friends' house to borrow jumper cables.  No go.  Damn it!

Mini's phone broke, she needed me to take her to Walmart, my least favorite place.  On earth. 

We recently decided Reg should play golf for the high school, since it's one of the only sports still happening in the fall.  He just participated in the high school soccer camp, but soccer was bumped to spring.  Tank plays on the high school golf team.  This made sense, right? 

Coach winced:  I haven't worked with Reg all summer.  The older boys like to golf and they always want to go.  Reg might be pretty bad.  

Mini:  See, isn't this what I always say?  Reg is the forgotten child.  

That doesn't make me lose sleep or anything, seeing as I grew up glossed over.  Shit.  

Coach planned to take Reg to the driving range after dinner, but now he was trying to jump a car that wouldn't start.  A car that we just bought in May.

To keep things interesting and stress-free, I insisted that everyone get dressed to take a family photo.  I know, I know.  I never pretended to be sane.  

Backing up the bus:  my sister, Ann, used my SLR camera to snap 20 photos of our family during the grad party.  She does a decent job of taking a photo, usually.  I didn't bother to look at the pictures . . . till the next day.  Um, a portion of Lad's face was cut off by Curly's mop.  Hello?!

I was hoping to use this pic for a Christmas card, but the missing part of Lad's face was a little distracting . . . so I begged everyone to prepare to pose for another photo.  Nothing fancy.  Ed was heading back to school a few days later, so I wanted to get it done.

Some of the kids were like, it isn't THAT bad, just use it.  It doesn't look too bad here, I admit BUT if you could see the full photo you would find it odd that Lad's face was partially hidden when all the other faces were in full view.  Full disclosure:  my hair also looked thin as a Jennifer Lopez dress with the light shining behind it.  Even Curly cringed.  She was confused because she swore I had a really good hair day at the party, it was the lighting or something - but it was icky.

I struggled to lock down a picture time, so earlier in the day I just assigned 'after dinner'.  Well, our after dinner time became a tad more tense than initially anticipated with the car thing happening and Coach trying to get Reg to the driving range.  

I failed to line up someone to take our picture.  I thought about calling Betty, Coach's former office manager, but I decided it was tough to call a friend and ask her to be here at an undisclosed time, so I didn't bother.  I hoped a neighbor would be outside.  As a last resort, I thought I could just use the automatic timer feature.  

Those of us not off messing with the car were poised and ready, translation:  I messed with my hair, put on the same dress I had on at the grad party.  Everyone else looked fine, I always need a bit more effort. 

Lad, Ed, and Coach walked in from the car ordeal.  Lad was on the phone talking to the tow place.

Me:  OK everyone, get in the yard for the picture.

This is where everyone hugged me and told me how much they appreciate my efforts to get a Christmas photo taken in August, then they skipped outside with arms linked.  

Lad was hoisting a chair on top of a table on the deck instructing me to put my camera on it.  I was peeking through my camera and telling my eager-to-help people to back up as they were too close to the camera.  

I started to feel the pressure of pulling this off.  I haven't auto-timed on my SLR in forever.  I couldn't find it.  Believe it or not, there were hecklers in my yard.  I may or may not have given birth to them.  Just as I was about to give up, a voice called out:


No, it was not Mary Ann.  Good guess though.

It was a car I didn't recognize.  It was a woman with sunglasses on.  I was so confused, till one of my kids hollered, "Hey, it's Betty!"  

I have NEVER seen her drive down our residential street before, but apparently her boyfriend's mom lives nearby and they drive past our house sometimes.  When Betty used to work for Coach, she used to say that she wanted a live feed to watch as we road-tripped to a national park.  She found our family dynamics/antics entertaining.  I assume that she  drives by our house sometimes because she misses the nonsense.  

Not gonna lie, I miss the glory days when I could call Coach's work and get instant advice, assistance, attention . . . like:  "Oh, you don't want Coach to know that?  OK, I will work it in somehow, but I won't tell him that you called.  Don't worry." 

So, Betty saved the day and snapped a bunch of photos.  I mean, Reg looks like he's social distancing from us, but at least his face isn't hidden.  Ann has no problem barking at family members to take a photo, but barking isn't Betty's style.  I was happy to check that take-photo box, so thanks Betty for saving the day just like the good 'ole days.  

ANYWAY, Coach raced off with Lad and Reg to hit balls.  Mini and I went to Walmart to replace her phone.  It was a quick and painless trip to Walmart, praise the Lord.  

Coach came home, bummed that the golf place closed before they arrived.  Nuts.  

The Kia update . . . good news and bad.  The engine is blown.  But, the manufacturer was having trouble with these engines and they are replacing them for free with a brand new engine. 

In closing:  Our used car will have a brand new engine.  Our Christmas card photo is taken.  Coach came home at lunch on Monday and took Reg to hit balls an hour before tryouts.  Reg made the golf team (which is essentially no-cut), and was grumpy about it initially because he is a perfectionist, but a week later he is improving and has stopped pouting.  The car situation got a bit more interesting, because of course it did.  That's a story for another day.  

Anyone else ever have two cars in the shop at the same time?  Or have you ever had someone take a photo of you and they cut off your heads, or otherwise screwed it up?


Kari said...

I think it would have been funny to have a six feet social distance picture of all six of the kids for your Christmas picture this year. There's always next Christmas.

Sorry, COVID humor.

Betty saves the day! Although it would have been pretty hysterical if it was Mary Ann. If your book gets made into a movie, they might change it to Mary Ann for dramatic effect. :)

I can't believe with your crew that you haven't had two cars in the shop before all of this! We haven't had that happen to us YET. I almost don't want to tempt fate but Mike did work for a dealership for years so we got lucky for a long time because we had an "in".

Busy Bee Suz said...

I ditto Kari's thoughts on the six feet apart Christmas card pic; I might steal this idea!!

Thank goodness for Betty and I did not for a second think that Mary ann would be of any help at all.
You had me rolling this only you can. "my hair also looked thin as a Jennifer Lopez dress"

It never ends at your house and I have a feeling that will be the norm for many years; cars, kids, craziness. ;)

Because of my husbands love of vehicles, we will never have a shortage here, but then again, there are only two of us.

Kara said...

We did a very Goth Christmas card last year (which according to my Mom meant I RUINED Christmas for everyone). The kids are still throwing around ideas of what they want to do this year. Old Timey Western was on the table last I heard.

We have been lucky to not have two cars in the shop at the exact same time, but this year in the span of 6 weeks we did have to replace three batteries and buy two sets of tires. The Firestone people love us because we are frequent flyers and help us out when possible. When my battery died, they were able to get us in at 7 AM on a Saturday for a quick switch out.

Ernie said...

Kari - that Christmas card idea is funny . . . but we would have to do panoramic if we were going to social distance all of us.

I agree - Mary Ann would probably have to make an appearance in this scene if it became a movie. Stranger things have happened, right?

We have only ever owned 3 cars, so there must me some kind of mathematical calculation that would explain what the chances are that 2 of 3 cars are impaired at once. If we each owned a car, much more likely - but dear God . . . 2 down? That was ridiculous.

Ernie said...

Suz - I can imagine what kind of creative stuff people will come up with for their Christmas cards this year. We often just have the kids in the photo, but if I am going to make an appearance I will be damned if my hair is going to look as thin as Jennifer Lopez's fashion statements. (hee hee)

Betty showing up was so unlikely . . . she has always lived in the city and recently moved in with a boyfriend not far from us, but we still haven't really bumped into her in our neck of the woods. I would have been less surprised if Jennifer Lopez happened by. It was just that crazy, and TIMELY.

It really doesn't ever end over here. I spend a good chunk of the day thinking "Oh, I have to stick this in my blog" and I jot things down on slips of paper all day long. If only I had time to blog everyday - then you would really get a snapshot of a day in the life of the wild and crazy.

The car shortage was just about the death of me this summer. When my mom got her jag they GAVE her old car (Buick LeSabre or something) to my sister's kids in Milwaukee. I think I am getting ahead of myself - but this will give you a clue about my frustration in my next post.

Ernie said...

Kara - If I tried to get my kids to cooperate in a themed photo for our card, it would end up being me standing alone. You guys are more fun that we are!

We have certainly had phases like that when cars have seemed to need repairs one after another. The two in the shop at once was a new low for us.

Charlie said...

Goodness, I need a lie down for you Ernie after all that! No cars in the garage same time (yet) but this month is insurance claim month - my iPhone stopped charging, husband’s iPhone cracked back cover, daughter’s (not a month old yet) laptop (nail varnish remover spilled in the keyboard), washing machine buttons failed, tumble dryer making horrid noises. In fact I definitely need that lie down! BTW during lockdown our fridge, cooker and TV all needed replacing too! I’m not able to relate when people tell me how much money they are saving with less socialising, no travel etc!

Ernie said...

Charlie- Yikes! That is a lot of breakdowns over there. Our kitchen was new 3 years ago (still not quite done, grrr) and the high end appliances have not impressed me at all. What happened to built to last mentality? Good luck with all of that.

Amy said...

Yikes! Car troubles suck so hard. We like older vehicles, since the hubby is handy and doesn't mind working on them. As such, we keep a spare vehicle or two in our fleet at all times. It's happened though, where we've had multiple vehicles be out of commission at the same time and only 1 vehicle still running. (It's usually in the winter, when the hubby doesn't like to work on the vehicles since it's cold.) Hope your car troubles are resolved soon!

Ernie said...

Amy - What's this 'fleet' you speak of and where do I sign up? We could use a fleet. The dealership that is replacing the engine in the Kia has had the car since Aug 17th. We have a loaner, but seriously!

ccr in MA said...

Well, those dramas ended a bit better than I was afraid they would! Getting a new engine and better Christmas card photos would take some of the sting out of it.

Nicole MacPherson said...

We always take our Christmas card photo with a tripod and timer...and it's hard enough to get four people organized. I can't imagine with eight!

Ernie said...

Ccr- yes, the new engine makes me feel a little like we won the lottery. It'd be nice if they gave us back the car. They've had it since Aug. 17th! And having the photo accomplished is one less thing to worry about.

Ernie said...

Nicole- I need to re-learn how to use the auto timer on one of the 364 days I don't need it. I'm sure the internet would spell it out for me. By December I often find it easier to take a new pic vs sifting through all the previous months. But now it is done.

Ally Bean said...

I don't usually like family photos on Christmas cards, but this year I'm hoping to see some less staged, more entertaining cards. Get creative people, think outside the formal portrait look.

I'm sorry one of your cars is acting up. I find car issues to be among the most annoying just because they happen at the worst times and there you are. Stuck, literally. I hope it's a small problem.

Amy said...

We've downsized recently - we had 2 Expeditions, a Dakota, an F-150, a Quest, and a CRV, not to mention 3 motorcycles and a damn boat. See what I mean about a fleet?! lol! We ditched the Quest and one of the Expeditions, and will be selling 1 of the motorcycles soon. The F-150 is down for an engine rebuild, so we currently only have enough cars for drivers. Except for the CRV, nothing is newer than 2000, which is why spare cars are mandatory. lol! Hubby keeps them in good repair, but still - 20+ year old cars probably have issues a little more often than the newer ones. And the CRV is leaving when the oldest kid (19) moves out later this week. Eek, can't think about that.

Ernie said...

Ally - I think it might be because I am not into Facebook but I enjoy seeing updated photos. Last year I inadvertently sent out a card with extra photos on the back . . . Reg scooted over on the sidewalk at a garden we were visiting in Vancouver. It ended up looking like his leg was amputated because of how the shrub sort of enveloped him. It was HYSTERICAL!

When the Kia broke down, as inconvenient as it was, I did reflect on how much worse it would have been had it happened days earlier when we were still in Michigan. Bullet dodged.

Ernie said...

Amy - you were not kidding about your fleet. Smokes. I am green with envy over here in car-shuffling world.

Beth Cotell said...

Yay for a new engine AND having your Christmas card photo checked off the to-do list. I was just thinking the other day that I needed to get on that!

Ernie said...

Beth - yes, the new engine is like a gift. Not sure what the hold up is, but they have had the Kia since Aug 17th! Um, it's October. The only issue is that we struggle a bit to juggle cars because only Coach or I can drive the loaner car, but with Ed back in school and Lad recently purchasing his own car - that has been less of a problem.

I write a lengthy poem every year an insert it in my Christmas card about all the stuff we have been up to and I am nervous that it will be so bland this year because we haven't gone to water polo games, or Irish dancing competitions, or college visits. I won't even have the usual abundance of photos to insert along the edges of the poem. Sigh.