4/15/10

A Long Day

"Your agenda seemed pretty ambitious," said my friend H as I dragged my brood through her front door. Barely over the threshold when Piper piddled in excitement all over the rug.
When we adopted this little bundle of trouble, I mean LOVE, the agreement was that I keep the kids all day and John would take the dog. Well, for various reasons explained to me each morning, this little piddle puppy has remained underfoot every day for the last 3 weeks. And I have 4 more weeks of the same to look forward to.
On a separate topic, I've taken on my usual birthday stress as John's "special day" has finally arrived this week. And with that comes the constructing of a cake, gathering of presents, card and arrangements and general sentiment over the acknowledgement of his birthday. The mental build up for this is enough to bunch my panties. Don'tmisunderstand me here, there is so much personal revelry in birthdays, for example I really enjoy the part where I am the thoughtful and caring wife, where we present a gift that represents the time and effort invested to procur, when our girls hand daddy their homemade cards, lovingly coached into completion by their barking mother. I love all that birthday hodge-podge. But like I said, the build up...
Today was the day where I exchanged the gift I got him for another one with the proper accessories.
But before my dreaded visit to Best Buy, I had a carefully alligned set of appointments that maximized my efficiency as mother, housekeeper, auto owner, birthday gift giver, pet lover and planner. I had to drop my car off at the mechanic, and take the dog to the vet for her shots.
The car problem deserves some explanation, which is this: During spring break, on a trip up to Sierra Summit, the passenger window on my car began acting up. The night before our snow day, the darned thing rolled down and refused to roll back up. I could only imagine the next scene: the blizzard of wind whipping through the vehicle as we climbed to colder temps, icicles hanging from the girl's lips as we barreled up the mountain in the wee hours of the morning, Ana (who sat on the passenger side and hated all things snow) shaking her wind whipped face free of ice and snow, tears streaming and subsequently freezing down her cheeks, her ice encrusted lips forming the words, "But I don' wanna go t'the snow!"
Okay, enough already, I got the window to roll up finally and then pushed the window lock button. Despite our windless drive to the snow, Ana still managed to announce every five minutes for two hours, "But I don wanna go to the snow!"
Fast forward to the part where I pull up at the local mechanic's garage for a fix it appointment. AND, realizing I had an hour or two to wait, I had made an appointment at the vet's office-right next door. It wasn't even 9 am and I was feeling accomplished, already carless and walking the puppy on her leash (whoa! don't bite the leash, piper! don't eat that dog poop!) while holding Ana's hand (stop pinching! don't jump off that curb! watch out for cars! watch out for the dog poop! aughh! scrape it off like this...). It was the longest 100 yard walk ever. The vet's office was quiet and calm and unfamiliar as we had never been before.
"Can I help you with something?" asked a tall brunette in paw printed scrubs. The look on her face blared 'which space ship beamed you down here?'
I self consciously reached up to my hair, it must have sprouted horns and snakes by the look on her face.
I announced our appointment time, 8:45 for Piper's shots. She shook her head, "I don't have a vet here today, ma'm. You must have made an appointment at the other vet's office." (was that a sneer on her face?)
Turns out, there are two veterinarians in town, who are located on opposite ends of the SAME very long street. So far apart, in fact, the vet who was expecting me was located nearly 6 miles from where I stood right now.
I gave a good long look at the sky, yep, there it was:a menacing black cloud right above me, a few bolts of lightning headed my way. It's not even 9 in the morning, my sense of accomplishment just exploded and the shrapnel is stinging my eyes, and I'm beginning to hyperventilate.
The other vet's office kindly rearranged our appointment for later that afternoon, right after we ran the carpool and smack in the middle of Ana's nap time. Great, the ideal recipe for disaster, I decided. A few moments of further panic revealed I was truly stranded for the next hour or two. No grocery store, no library, not with a dog on a leash in tow.
I dialed the local bus, "I need help," I pleaded with the operator. I explained how I was stranded at a greasy garage, carless and strapped with a puppy in need of a vet visit WITH a toddler (who was currently screaming her head off while lying on the smudged linoleum of the mechanic's waiting closet, circa 1968).
"Your dog must be in a container, ma'm." I rolled my eyes and repeated my strandedness. The woman offered some solutions, "How big is your purse, can you fit her in it? Do you have a diaper bag? A backpack?"
I stared down at my 30 lb puppy. No way.
I hung up the phone and stared at the clock. 9:02 OMG I have been catapulted into hell and it has wood paneling, broken office chairs and a collection of grubby Mr. Potato Heads.
10:27 the mechanic shares his discoveries. The problem is linked to a computer that they are not authorized to fix. I must make a trip to my car's dealership (3 hours away), and then they slapped me with a $103 bill for the labor. Yeah, slapped me.
Tears welled up in my eyes. I HAVE TO PAY FOR 97 MINUTES OF SHEER HELL? I HAVE TO PAY $103 FOR THIS??!!!!! The words bounced inside my head but all that came out was a weak, "Okay" as I handed them my credit card. I could feel my face burning with anger.
We loaded up in the car, I practiced my deep breathing, and we resumed our schedule, which was to correct the damaged birthday gift I had unknowingly purchased for John. I spent the drive dividing the mechanic's head into severed chunks with the sharp side of my Mastercard. I pulled up to Best Buy with Ana screaming in the back seat, she had just begun her pre-nap tantrum exercises. The clock was ticking. Did I mention I still had the dog? Who I had to leave in the car? Talk about forcing myself into hypertension.
I explained to the clerk at the counter how I had purchased this widget last week and when I got home I noticed that it was missing one of the accessories. He grabbed a new widget box and rang me up. Last week the widget was on sale for $179 and I had attempted a price matching discount unsuccessfully-the widget was on amazon for $149 but note: Best Buy considers Amazon too competitive to use for price matching, so don't try to use Amazon there. So, the returns clerk rings me up for the new widget and says, "Alright ma'm, that will be $199 today."
WTF? And what's with the MA'M today???
Again, tears well up, my face reddens, deep breathing. And then I muster up my best adolescent voice and argue, "But that's not fair!!!" with extra whine in my voice.
After another 20 minutes of waiting, spent attempting to reason with an over exhausted 2 year old who is laying on the floor (again) rolling under the DVD display box. Just about the time I'm about to fling myself onto the floor and cry, kick and scream, boy clerk arrives with the correct price from last week's sale, $179. My heart is racing, temples bulging, tears stinging.
The rest goes as expected, after carpool and arriving at the vet's office, which is teeming with every dog and pet owner imaginable, we wait over half a hour for the vet who is terrified of our chaos. He talks fast and louder over the kids. Ana's crying the entire time, the dog keeps trying to bite "the white coat man" which he says is truly a bad habit. He can't hand over stickers of distraction fast enough to my whining daughters and finally, before backing out of the waiting room door, he suggests we get ourselves a trainer to help with our "little monster".
Somebody kick me, I am definitely down.

2 comments:

NewportJaime said...

Phew! Even I was stressed out after reading about that day.

There is NOTHING worse in the universe than paying an auto shop to inspect a car but not have it repaired.

H said...

Oh man. Thanks for sharing, makes me feel better about my crazy life.