It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

So then, I said the thing that always encourages people to calm down and get a grip. I said, Do you think…that you can get through this entire experience today, and handle this situation, without lashing out at the other people in this car?


(This works EVERY TIME. Try it, I dare you.)

But let me go back. Back to the beginning of the day, when I dropped my LittleMan off at school, where he would get on a school bus to his high school team’s first scrimmage. All was right with the world when I watched him disappear into the locker room entrance. He had worked hard all summer and was one of just three freshmen to make it onto the varsity team (freshly fractured arm and all). The older kids on the team were encouraging and happy to have him. His longtime teammate and soccer buddy was now, in a miraculous turn of events, going to be his high school teammate and classmate too.

We headed down to the Furthest Reaches of our little state by car. The Mr. was all about the game, but I had the added perk of the game location being the home of one of my Oldest and Dearest Besties (I’ll call her ODB, and if that makes you laugh, then xo to you), who I had not seen in much too long. ODB was in the early days of the hell of having a seriously ill spouse, just as she was about to launch her eldest off to college for the first time. We had plans for pre-game coffee and catching up. Sister (the child formerly known as Stretch) had even gotten out of bed early and made the trek, so that she could see her friends, ODB’s girls.

All was right with the world. Well, almost all. Okay, many things were not right with the world. But all was right in that sitting beside a dear friend way–the fantastic iced latte, the sun shining, our teenage daughters laughing and murmuring on a blanket behind us (lest they be seen with us) and her LittleMan watching the game with us–just as we all once imagined our best friends’ and our children would do.

All was pretty cool with the world as we watched my Little Man play the entire second half (and not too shabby, either!) and board the bus and take off as ODB’s son pulled up divots of grass and threw them at the girls and Sister fired them back. It was time to leave, time to vow to come down again soon with the other friends and kidnap ODB for a day or evening and do some wine tasting (a euphemism).

And then, tragedy struck. Not even ten miles up the highway, the car broke down (near NOTHING). We pulled over onto the grass and sat there for two and a half hours, waiting for roadside assistance, during which time Sister’s and my phone batteries quickly died, the warm sun turned hot, people became snappish, and we all literally could not even.

That was when, about fifteen minutes into this dark turn of events, I said that thing that makes angry people feel all calm and less hostile. And lo and effing behold, it worked. I mean, not in the sense that the Mr. then felt more calm and less angry, but he did take a deep breath and get out of the car. He stormed walked off to the right and sat down on the grass, facing the woods. Good, I said, possibly out loud. Go and sit over there. I hope a tick bites you.

At this point, our phones were not dead yet, but they would be soon.


Sister and I resourcefully texted away, me to LittleMan’s friend’s mom, to ask her to be there at the school when the bus arrived and please take them to her house–and Sister (gotta love her quick thinking and teen-agenda-prioritizing) to her Suitor-Friend, who would never become a boyfriend because he lives so far away from us, conveniently sort of near the place where we broke down, to ask him to come and get her.

Not too much later, Sister’s friend arrived and she took off with him, ostensibly back to our area, but really NOT AT ALL (that is a story for another day). The roadside assistance arrived and we rode back to our local garage, car in tow, with a most awesome, young tow truck driver.

Two weeks of exhaustive investigation by all the king’s horses and all the king’s men at the Volvo dealership (and at Volvo central) and the verdict is:

dead jim

So now it’s a new car for the Mr., not in a leisurely way, and a derailing of the plan to keep that car for the kids to use.

What is the point of all of this? It’s that the car is still an unresolved issue and the expense has been ridiculous and we really don’t need this right now. But that tragedy is relative, and remembering this is one my life skills. And that my memories of the day are defiantly the great latte, the warm sunshine, the sound of our kids’ voices, the sitting next to a good friend.


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