Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Minivan’

I Guess I Don’t Get to be Fancy

For three whole days I was fancy.  From Tuesday to Friday I was driving a 2015 model minivan.  I like being fancy.  On my commute, I noticed my fellow commuters were looking at me with envy.  I gave those folks a little smile and wave when I passed.  I’m always gracious.

red van

Good Morning inferior commuters! This van’s so fancy, I can drive no-hands!

Now I’m back to driving this:

bumper damage

Not our van…but you get the idea.

Eddie was rear ended on the highway.  Our van was totaled.   The good news is that Eddie is okay, and so are all his wrestling buddies who were with him.  The bad news is, buying a car wasn’t in our short term plan.  Or, our long term plan.

The insurance lady called me on the phone to tell me the news.  I put her on loud speaker so Scott could hear too.  She told us we could get a small sum of money, and I guess we were supposed to use that money towards a new van.  So, that’s what I thought we’d do.    We’d go from driving a van that was paid for, to driving a van that mostly the bank owned.  We’d “buy” a van that would put us further in debt.  Then I remembered I was married to Scott.

Scott did sign language at me while I was talking to the insurance lady on the phone.   I understood he wanted me to ask her if we could keep the van instead.   I rolled my eyes, and I asked.

Insurance lady said we could keep the van. The insurance company would just write us a check for a much smaller amount.   That made Scott smile.   I think he might be thinking we’re  coming out ahead.  Because, see, he doesn’t mind driving around a heap of crumpled steel.  If you want to know what I think, I believe he might actually even enjoy it.  He’s really not a normal guy.

But, I’m fancy now.  I’ve been driving in the fancy van, and people have noticed.  I don’t want to go back.

Later in the evening, after I had accepted my non-fancy fate, Scott came up to me  smiling.  He said this, “No hay mal que por bien no benga.”  Love it (lying)  when he speaks Spanish.

Translation: There is no bad thing from which good does not come. Another translation: There’s always a silver lining.  Another translation: my husband can be annoying.

I knew it. He thinks a crumpled van and a few extra bucks is a stroke of good fortune.

Have you heard of Malala?  She is the 14-year-old who just won a Nobel Peace Prize.  The Taliban shot her in the face.  Don’t worry.  It’s not like they did it for no reason.  She was trying to get an education.  Who wouldn’t be angry?

malala

Malala wrote a book.  It is called, “I am Malala”.   This is a book I know I will read soon.

In the news this week, there was a story about how men in Malala’s home country of Pakistan were holding an, “I am NOT Malala” day.  These wise men have banned Malala’s book, and they’re trying to demonize her.  Again, don’t forget she has this coming with all the trying to go to school shenanigans she put these guys through.

As I was reading more about this story, and trying to understand, I learned that another reason these men say they hate Malala is because she made reference to Salman Rushdie in her book.  Salman Rushdie is a prize winning author.  He has written 11 books.  In at least one of Rushdie’s books, he was critical of Islam.  For this reason, the Ayatollah Khomeini (Remember that crazy kid? What a hoot.) ordered a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989.  A fatwa means, watch out.  We’re going to kill you.  These guys would make the best diplomats.  They’ve got great ideas. Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding.

The more I read about Salman Rushdie, the more interested I became in him.  I looked up all of his books, and for some reason I couldn’t understand  I was associating Salman Rusdie with humor.  Scott reminded me that I have Jerry Seinfeld to thank for that.  Do you remember the episode where Kramer thought he saw Salman Rushdie on the streets of New York?  I know.  There really IS a Seinfeld episode for everything.

So this long story getting longer is about how I ordered one of Salman Rushdie’s books, “Satanic Verses”,  the book that resulted in the fatwa.  I was so caught up in learning more about all this, that I got hasty (surprising to everyone).  I hit “buy” on my kindle before I read the book reviews.  Once I started reading the reviews, I thought there was a chance I might have a problem.

Readers said this:

“The prose is challenging, but once you become familiar it has an almost melodic quality.”

As a rule, I’m against melodious novels.  Melodious songs?  Fine.  I like my novels more straight forward.

And this:

“This book has many subtle and intertwined criticisms and twists on the Islamic faith. To understand these moments in the book the reader does need a fairly large knowledge of Islam.”

Check.  I got that (again with the lying), so we should be good.

Then I started reading the book.  Here’s the first paragraph:

‘To be born again,’ sang Gabireel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy Earth, at first one needs to fly. Tat-Taa, Taka-thun!  How to ever smile again, if at first you won’t cry? How to win the darlings love, mister, without a sigh? Baba…if you want to get born again’…Just before dawn one winter’s morning. New Year’s day, or thereabouts, two real, full-grown men fell from a great height, twenty-nine-thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without benefit of Parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky.

Are you still with me?  Right.  I know.  I am SO in over my head.  What on this bosomy Earth is Salman Rushdie talking about? I read the first page, and this is how it sounded in my head:

Gobledy gooky,  wahh, wahh, peanuts in my tummy. Forsook you lass of all generations to be the true bride.  Come hither for shall thou ride elephants from sun up to grandma’s?

But, I paid for this book.  Remember Scott?

If someone who likes my blog would please pay me ten dollars, I’d owe you big.  Then,  I do not have to read this book, and I can tell Scott I got a refund. Otherwise, it looks like I’m in for the long haul.  578 pages of this melodic prose.  I should be ready to do my book report by 2025. Ho ji!  Ho ji!

Random Stuff…

Sometimes I order my brain to come up with a good idea for a blog. My brain doesn’t cooperate. Sometimes I’ll start down the path, writing about a topic that’s interesting to me; then it isn’t interesting anymore. I get sick of listening to myself.

I have a heap of abandoned blog posts. That doesn’t surprise me. I’m nice to my brain; I let it off the hook when it refuses to cooperate.

I had an idea that maybe I could record my random thoughts. We’ll see how that works:

Do you like those stickers on the back of people’s cars that tell you about the races they’ve run? You know, they’re usually white and black. They’re written in a modern font: 13.1 and 26.2. The Ironman triathletes have stickers that say 140.6. Braggers.

running sticker

I have been measuring my walks with Reggie in the morning with this awesome new app Olivia downloaded for me. Surprise! I’m not walking nearly as far as I had imagined. My walks vary between 1.5 and 1.7 miles.

I was thinking I might get a sticker on the back of my car with a stick figure walking her dog. Above the stick figure will be “1.7”. Do you think that will seem like bragging? Sure, I’m proud of myself, but I don’t need to be obnoxious about it. It’s just that when you push yourself beyond what the average person believes is humanly possible, you want to commemorate that in some way. That’s why I thought the sticker might be fun. A tattoo would be another way to go.

People will ask what the tattoo means. I’ll say, “It’s just something I look at it when times are hard, and I need strength. I know I can get through whatever challenges I have, because I walk a mile or two. Every.Day.” Then I’ll whisper it again for emphasis, “Every. Day.”

That’s gonna choke people up. Maybe I should just go with the sticker.

Scott ran an Ironman when he turned 40. That was fun. The kids and I followed him around all day. We were nervous about the swim; mainly because Scott doesn’t know how to swim. Knowing how to swim is a super big advantage. Scott spent the summer before the race learning what most people learn when they’re 10-years-old, and in level 3 swim class.

During the race, Scott’s friend was stationed near the water. The kids and I were at the point where the racers were just taking off on their bikes, after the swim. We kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting to see Scott. We couldn’t find Scott. At first I felt okay. He told me that his swim would be the weakest part of his race. After what felt like a long time, we started seeing the great grandmas in the race. They would peddle by on their bikes with baskets and a horn. I started getting nervous.

Eddie had been telling me that he thought he saw his dad on his bike when we first got to the race. I said that wasn’t possible; that was too soon. Scott said he’d be passing by later than that.

Scott’s friend called me from her spot over by the water. She asked if I had seen Scott. She told me she never saw him get out of the water. I continued to ignore Eddie. Instead, I listened to my own irrational, anxiety induced theories. Why wouldn’t I? Those theories never steer you wrong. Scott had drown. I started crying.

I called Scott’s sister to tell her Scott had drown. Scott’s sister is, seriously, like my favorite audience. We both agree that it’s always safest to assume the worst. She started crying too. She was able to check his progress from her computer. Oops. False alarm. Eddie was right. Scott had finished the swim portion much more quickly than he expected. That was actually him taking off on his bike when we first got there. Sorry kids. Dad is alive. Let us rejoice!

Scott’s sister, her family, Scott’s parents, and mine all eventually made it to the race. The atmosphere was so exciting. My brother-in-law kept us updated on Scott’s times, and how he was doing. The swim is 2.4 miles and the bike race is 112 miles. Then you get off your bike, and finish by running a marathon.

Scott was doing better than expected on the bike portion of the race too. We were cheering. Then my brother-in-law informed us that Scott was getting to the last half of the marathon. He was moving at a 12-minute-mile pace. Eddie and I looked at each other in shock. Something must be medically wrong. We both knew that Scott just couldn’t run that slow. We didn’t understand what was happening.

Scott finished the race with an impressive time. Better than he expected. Eddie and I couldn’t wait to ask him what happened out there. Did he break his leg? Did he have to carry one of those Grandmas on his back? When we saw him we said, “You were running a 12-minute-mile pace. Did something happen?”

Scott answered, “Yes. A 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride happened.”

We said, “Yeah, we hear those excuses, but you were running really slow. we mean, really slow.”

Yes. I’ve been known to pull off a 13-minute-mile myself, but we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about Scott. I don’t think Eddie and I thought it was possible for anything to slow him down.

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I should have helped train Scott by taking him on some of my dog walks. I didn’t think of it then.

ironman

I like watching my family do cool things, whether it’s the Ironman or State Wrestling. Do you know how parents feel when their kids wrestle at State? High. Those parents may as well be on crack. The amount of adrenaline flowing through a parent’s veins at State is enough for them to be able to do all that weird stuff you read about. Moms could lift a car off a human at state, and Dads could leap from the parking garage to the Kohl center. Pupils are dilated, and it’s go time. What you can’t do with all that adrenaline is focus on silly details, like keeping your van away from cement polls. I know that for sure.

The first day of the State Tournament I drove Zeke and Olivia in the minivan. We got into the parking garage. I turned a very, very tight corner. I mean VERY tight. There has to be hundreds, maybe even thousands of vehicles that didn’t make that turn that day. We heard a bad sound as I turned the corner. Zeke yelled, “Mom, you’re too close!”

“No worries, Zeke,” I said. I stopped the van, and put it in reverse. Oops. There was that sound again. Whatever I didn’t scrape and dent moving forward, I scraped and dented in reverse. The minivan door looks like King Kong grabbed it and crumpled it like a piece of tissue paper. It’s ugly.

The craziest part of that story is that at the time, I could not even be bothered with that hideous damage I had just created. When we got out of the van, Zeke and Olivia looked at me like they expected me to be shocked or disgusted with the situation. My adrenaline was too high. It didn’t register with me that we had any kind of problem at all. Eddie was at State. Yay!!!

Scott must be better at handling adrenaline. That dent definitely registered as a problem to him. I’ve told you that he rarely drives, so I thought there might be a chance he wouldn’t ever notice, if I didn’t tell him. But, guess what? Blabby McBlabber mouth couldn’t wait to share the news.

We were in the suite at the Kohl center. Everybody was all smiles and having a good time. Then Olivia said, “Dad, you should see what Mom did to the van.” Scott can quit smiling super fast.

I looked at him and said, “Eddie made it to State. Yay!”

I took in many-a-drawn-out-lectures from that point forward. My precious husband wanted to make sure I understood how horrible the van looked. I was hoping he’d let up, but then daylight started lasting longer, and he started getting home a little sooner from work. There that ugly, damaged van would be, ready to remind Scott to run through all the tips he has for being a good driver; Just in case I had forgotten from his morning lecture. It was tiring. Then Olivia had a new friend over.

Scott was heading out the garage door with the boys to go to some wrestling event. At the same time Olivia’s new friend and her Mother were at our front door. The Mom was introducing herself to me, and we were chatting when Scott came to the front door too. He said, “Hello.”

The Mom said, “Oh, Hi. I’m so and so’s mom.”

Scott smiled and said, “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Olivia’s Dad. I just backed into your car in the driveway.”

We’re getting the van fixed, but we don’t talk about it any more.

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