Steve and I have a mixed faith marriage: he believes in duct tape and I believe in everything else (except maybe dinosaurs but let's not start on that again; it will only upset you. although... dragon bones - just saying it's possible.)
One of the notions in my extensive catalog of beliefs is the concept of luck. I think some people are more naturally fortunate than others and I think some periods in everyone's life are more inclined toward good things happening than bad. Some days you find five dollars, win a dog show and succesfully use the Heimlich maneuver to save the life of a grateful billionaire; a week later you push the lever down on the toaster and your refrigerator explodes. Steve thinks this idea is bunk. Balderdash. Humbug, fustian, claptrap, hogwash and romantical nonsense. He fails to believe that disparate events can influence each other in creepy cosmic ways and he has made one or two pointedly complimentary remarks about the Victorian era when it was so easy to get a wife committed.
So be it. In deference to his feelings I will not go all First Witch here - muttering darkly about inescapable fates - and I will simply say that after an absolutely lovely visit with my family we've had quite a run of... random occurrences of a less than positive nature.
Misrandoms #1 - #7 within 48 hours
The utility room in the basement filled with water, soaking parts of the carpet and destroying Steve's collection of moving boxes (I was less than heartbroken about that one - we've been giving house space to these boxes for THIRTEEN YEARS. when I have pointed out that we are unlikely to move any time in the next decade, Steve has said "Do you have any idea how much it costs to buy boxes from a moving company?" Whatever. They've gone to a Better Place and I no longer have to look at them and wonder how much of my stuff they'd be moving to the nursing home.)
Steve decided the flood was above his pay grade so he called in a plumber who determined that our water softener had failed in multiple ways - first the overflow overflowed and then the backup failed to backup. A couple of hundred dollars later it was fixed, Steve pulled up parts of the carpet and we had heaters running to try to dry it all out.
Then it flooded again.
Then my sister-in-law reported that we had water coming up through the drain, filling the tub in the downstairs guest bathroom.
Then water filled the room where the electrical panel lives and the water... smelled funny. YOU KNOW. Like the worst possible funny you can imagine happening to a place where you like to hang out? THAT.
So we called the plumber and he referred us to a drain guy who came and referred us to yet another plumber. We also called our insurance company who sent a couple of guys out to take a look at the mess and promptly starting ripping up our carpet and slathering everything else with chemicals.
Meanwhile Steve went to Home Depot to get... something... and he called me from the road to report that our second car has just developed a spontaneous nervous tic: when you lock the doors the car alarm goes off. Every. Single. Time.
I hung up with Steve and found Patrick hovering next to me.
"What's your problem?" I asked, somewhat irritably as I did the math on a car that screams all the time.
Patrick responded by bursting into flames.
Ohhhhhh the poor kid has another fever. Whoops. Also, damn it. Also, sorry, bunny.
- Total aside but Patrick has a cold/virus/whatever and the Flonase is not as effective as we had hoped at keeping his sinuses unclogged. Since part of his nonsurgical release from the ENT was predicated upon the hope that he would not succumb to another infection within two weeks of getting rid of the last one I felt the call for desperate measures. You should have seen me in my bathroom last night trying to convince a bleary Patrick that using a Neti Pot is really not like drowning. The water flows right through, I kept saying, all chipper, and in a sense this is true but in another more real sense a child might panic and inhale and exhale all at the same time until water shoots out of everything but their ears and they choke and make pointedly complimentary remarks about the Victorian era when it was so easy to get a mother committed.
Eventually we figured out that the best way for Patrick to irrigate his difficult sinuses is for him to hold his breath, tilt, pour, stop pouring, breathe, snuffle and repeat.
Holding his breath was key - just in case you need to try to help your eight year old use a neti pot -
Where was I? Right. This morning.
So Steve had a meeting and was running late. Steve hates to be late. It makes him frantic unless it is two in the morning and he is out with the guys and he has told me that he will be home by midnight in which case being late doesn't bother him in the slightest
Steve and his pals went out one night when I was X pregnant with the twins. He said he'd be home by eleven. At midnight he called and said that they had been having drinks across the river but were driving toward home as we spoke. TWO HOURS LATER I had created a fully detailed plan for how I would manage as a widow with a kindergartener and newborn twins and he finally poured into the bedroom. When I acidly reminded him that he had claimed to be on his way home hours before he said actually what he had said was that they were pointing toward our town and it was true. They were heading toward home up until the time they had stopped at another bar.
I said it reminded me of the Clinton's definition of sex and he said I'm kinda tired right now and I said would you like to hear my definition of sex and he said do you mind if I just close my eyes here on the floor and I said NEVER AGAIN, that's my definition and he said zzzzzzzzzzzzz]
Anyway Steve was freaking out in the garage and he asked if I could hand him his cell phone. The twins were also freaking out because someone was leaving in the car without them so I opened the door just wide enough to extend my arm through the crack while I held the twins back with my leg. Steve grabbed the phone, said, oh I need my boots and barreled like a rottweiler on a mission through the door I was holding open. The corner of the door snagged the edge of my big toenail and ripped it right off. Right off. As in, two words: bloodied stump.
Steve looked horrified. Caroline wept. Patrick said oh gross and Edward kissed me lovingly on the ear. Then Steve raced off, Caroline continued to weep, Patrick disappeared and Edward asked if I could help him get a little breakfast.
So to recap: Sick kid, basement flooding with unspeakableness in a situation that we have now determined was caused by not one not two not three but FOUR separate malfunctions, car alarm going off every few minutes and my once broken poorly healed toe is now missing a nail - it's the only part of me that looks like it could play professional hockey.
Steve can clutch his duct tape all he likes but I say we are having a run of bad luck. A doomed period if you will. I would not get on an airplane or invest in a franchise cookie stand right now if you paid me and I'm not kidding.
Do you believe in luck? Lucky people, unlucky people, fortunate times, unfortunate times? We have a side of the family that seems to be plagued by the worst things - cancers and bankruptcy and more cancer. They are the nicest people and all these awful things happen... it just seems like they have a disproportionate share of grief in their lives.
PS Speaking of bloodied stumps I was so charmed by your responses to my question about the fairy tales. You guys really do run the gamut and every time I think I have solved one of life's mysteries to my satisfaction you come along and show it to me in fifty hundred new ways. It is my absolute favorite part of writing this blog. My assumptions get challenged every freaking time and I think oh wow that IS a new perspective. In retrospect I think I was more startled than anything by the decapitated wolf and after I read your comments I did release my pearls and wonder what - exactly - I thought Caroline and Edward would get from Grimm. In a pleasant blog-meets-life moment my mother arrived the day after I posted that last one and at some point she was left to entertain the twins, which she did by poking around the bookshelf. When I came home she immediately mentioned the Cousins book and laughed over it. I asked if she had read it to Caroline and Edward and she said yes. I said, "In its entirety?" and she said, "Of course."
She added that she did make the deaths sound less interesting than the other parts but other than that... she said that Caroline and Edward are three, they could not have cared less about the wolves headless or otherwise and then she gave me a look which nicely encapsulated kids-today-with-their-hothouse-parents-I-swear. I wouldn't have been surprised if she had told me that when we were little my brother and I had actually been held captive in a gingerbread house for six weeks - very common in the 70s - and we turned out just fine.
PPS Luck? Fate? Discuss. I love it when you talk to me.
PPPS I don't care what anyone says. I am excited about the royal wedding. I think it's romantic and she's lovely. So there.