Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What color is your duct tape? (A life lesson)

Did I tell you about that time a month ago when we had a playdate and arrived 2.5 hours late? That's how well we're doing without the newborn that's about to enter our lives. We arrived to a 4pm early dinner/playdate at the home of one of E's best friends at 6:35pm.

We are filled with with win and awesome, we noteverstills.

Anatomy of a late arrival

"Sure," I said blithely, "four o'clock is great. L usually naps 1ish to 3ish, and we just won't nap E. She'll be thrilled."

L didn't fall asleep until 2:40. E, who wasn't meant to fall asleep, fell asleep at 2:30. The lovely husband had been coaxing L to sleep and he fell asleep. I had been reading with E and I fell asleep. We all woke up with a startle around 4:00.

I called our would-be hosts and said, "Soooo, uhhh...how's five o'clock?"

We tried hastily to transform our quartet from Bedhead Hermit Chic to Publicly Presentable. We tried hastily to pour milks, pack a diaper bag, convince two disoriented littles to move with purpose, with haste. Neither was quite collected enough to dress herself so we chucked some clothes on their bodies and chucked them in the car.

I don't remember the reason for the first turnaround, but I think it was that we realized L had no shoes. Several miles from home, I U-turned and quickly pulled into the garage, sending the lovely husband into the house in a frenzied run. Then we set out again.

A little past the point of the first U-turn said husband uttered an epithet, followed by "I forgot the diaper bag on the kitchen table." We hung another U-eee.

It was now well past 5, and have I mentioned that even in weekend traffic our would-be hosts live about 35 minutes away? And that the girls hadn't eaten since before their naps? We got as far as one house down the street and L yelled at us. I need a cheese stick! We were too close to the cheese source and too far from our dinner destination not to accommodate. I re-entered the garage, quickly, for the third time in 20 minutes. The lovely husband ran for the dairy.

How much stress do you experience when you're late? How about when you're beyond-explanation, humiliatingly LATE?

My great-grandfather had a glass eye

He lost his original eye in a pre-American dream religious persecution knife fight. He also died before I was born, and although I never saw his glass eye, that never stopped me from forming a vivid mental image of it. Also, in eighth grade I read the entire works of Edgar Allan Poe, which may have helped me in my image-forming.  In my mind, it looked rheumy, like it was made not simply of glass but of Depression-era (his era) milk glass. It was a floater, destined to wander like a compass to its own true north, with no regard for the cardinal orientation of its master's head.  It was a wandering spirit wandering in a traditional housing.

Is any of that description accurate? I have no idea.

So for the fourth time in about 22 minutes I pulled the car out of the garage. Rapidly. Too rapidly.  I tore the right side view mirror off of the car. It flopped down, de-wired and forlorn. And I put the car in "park" yet again.  What do we do? we wondered to each other and in a fit of no-mechanical-knowledge-whatsoever inspiration we agreed: "Get the duct tape!"

It should be noted that we have no more useful home-maintenance knowledge than we have car-maintenance knowledge. You'd think it wouldn't look soooo horrific to duct tape a piece of anything onto your silver colored car.

And yet.

We had only one roll of duct tape in the house, a roll I had bought for the specific purpose of executing an emergency bookbinding repair job on one of E's favorite storybooks. Her book's cover is green.  Our only duct tape is green as a midsummer day's dream.  To wit: it was very subtle on my silver colored car.

But we had what we had and you laugh so you don't cry and so the lovely husband green-taped the mirror housing back into its upright position and off we finally drove to our destination, arriving One! Hundred! Fifty! Five! impressive minutes late, with a side mirror floating in its socket (hypothetically) like my great-grandfather's glass eye.

After the reassignment surgery

Yesterday I had my side mirror replaced after a month of driving with its hippie Be-the-image-you-want-to-see-in-the-world companionship.  And during all of today's driving I couldn't figure out how to use it, so unaccustomed am I to having what could be a useful reflection out of that shiny plane. I missed its funhouse surprises and the untraditional views of my everyday panoramas.

When I called last week to make the appointment the service rep asked me how the damage was inflicted. I lied. I told him I skidded on the ice in the previous week's storms. "Oh, yes, we've had several of those come in this week, ma'am," he said. "You're definitely not the only one who's done this."

Don't be so sure, nice man. Don't be so sure. Pin It