September 13, 2012

A Relatively Mild Glance From the Face of Adversity

I am not really Rising Up In The Face Of Adversity the last couple of days. This morning I had to be a little stern with myself about it. RISE UP, dammit, or no cookies for you!

The MAIN issue is that the minivan has needed $3000 in repairs in the last few weeks (it's due, it's due, it's hardly needed anything in the over 7 years we've had it, and it was a 5-year-old car to begin with), and then yesterday morning it wouldn't start. Just a rapid clicky noise. And I realize it's not the way things work, that if you pay a lot on a car repair you shouldn't have to pay for a car repair for awhile, but it FEELS like that's the way things work. It's why people get so outraged when something happens right after something else happens. NO FAIR. SOMETHING ALREADY HAPPENED.

But it actually makes plenty of sense that a 12-year-old car having a bunch of problems would have more problems. So I don't know what my deal is.

Part of my deal is that there were things that happened that wouldn't have happened that way if I'd had all the information. So, for example, William was feeling queasy from an antibiotic he's taking for Lyme Disease, so I said I'd drive him to school so he could have another half hour at home to let his stomach settle. I wouldn't have done that if I'd known the car wouldn't start. It makes me a little crazy when there is a largeish consequence for a small and unimportant decision that could have gone either way: he missed school because I said I'd drive him, but he WOULDN'T have missed school if he'd just gotten on the bus. THERE WAS NO NEED FOR THIS SITUATION TO HAPPEN. And then Henry had to miss school, too, because our school system only transports kindergarteners one direction, and because coincidentally my parents are on vacation so I can't call them for a lift as I'd usually be able to.

Part of my deal is that there is a simmering pan of stress already on the back burner, what with the Lyme Disease thing, and some "parenting a teenager makes me think this whole having-children thing was a bad idea" things, and some "5-year-old wearing a hole in my skull with his constant dumb-voice-thing talking and saying 'poopy' and so forth" things.

Part of my deal is that car stuff goes with bank stuff and insurance stuff and medical stuff and dental stuff: stuff I DON'T UNDERSTAND so feel like I'm being INCESSANTLY RIPPED OFF even when I'm NOT. How do I know the mechanics didn't do something to the car so that I'd have to keep getting it repaired? I DON'T. There's all this, "Well, find a mechanic you TRUST!" advice. Well, duh. And just as soon as I can read minds, I'll be sure to do that. Human beings are NOTORIOUSLY bad at judging character, and are CONSTANTLY making dumb "Well, I like him, so my gut is telling me he's trustworthy!" decisions and then thinking they've put a check in the "find a trustworthy _____" box. Not me, though! I live in a pool of unending mistrust and suspicion! That's a way better plan!

Where was I? Oh yes. So we jump-started the minivan after Paul got home last night and we ran it for half an hour. Then this morning before he left for work he started it "just to make sure"---and it did not start. Rapid clicky noise. He was late for work because he stayed to jump-start it for me again, thinking maybe we could drop it at the mechanic's---and then it didn't take the jump anyway, just did more click sounds. So Henry will miss another day of kindergarten, and I guess I will have to have the stupid car TOWED? For a surprisingly high price, if I remember correctly from the last time I had to do this.

And my point is that this has me pretty flattened, which makes a person wonder how a person would do if a person had a more significant set of problems to deal with. Because this is our SECOND car. And we can afford to have it towed/repaired. And wah, wah, I don't have my parents as a net the way I usually do, the way MOST PEOPLE DON'T EVER. I assume from evidence around me that what happens is that we DO get flattened by little things and yet DO also manage to handle larger things.


[Edit: So, as with many such things, it didn't even turn out to be that big a deal: the mechanic we use sent a truck to us with a fresh battery, so there was no towing and only a small fee for the service call. SEE? IT PAYS OFF TO FRET AND GET ALL UPSET FOR NOTHING!]

52 comments:

Nowheymama said...

I am whiny this week because a friend of ours accidentally backed into our van. I don't even have to PAY for the repairs, but I still don't like the inconvenience, etc. Sigh.

StephLove said...

In my book, kids home unexpectedly from school is a big deal. Partly because I work from home, but even if I didn't, I'd need the mental break at the time I am accustomed to having it. I'm assuming the school is too far away to walk/bike to get Henry. Is there public transportation in your neck of the woods?

Swistle said...

StephLove- Our area is great in many ways, but THE WORST for getting anywhere without a car: no sidewalks, no public transportation.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

What drives me crazy is when I try to be nice, a little nice thing like giving William more time at home and offering to drive him to school, and it blows up in my face. Having children home when you were not expecting it causes major mental recalibrations on my part.

I say YES to cookies for you. They just might help you rise up.

LoriD said...

It seems that it's ALWAYS the little things. Example: this past weekend I finally repaired the cabinet in the bathroom (the drawers were both broken and had been for weeks). I was so pleased to get everything back into functioning drawers and off the counter and... the faucet started leaking terribly into the cabinet. So, now all the stuff from that part of the cabinet is up on the counter and all the toothbrushes, etc. had to be moved to another bathroom. I don't even want to look at that stupid cabinet.

Lawyerish said...

This sounds legitimately flattening to me. The unexpectedly having children home from school (twice!), the having to explain absences to teachers, the helplessness of being without transportation for two days now, the having to deal with more (probably expensive) car repairs and the logistics of those. All very stressful stuff. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this crap.

Personally, I've found the self-talk about how other people have bigger problems to be completely unhelpful and, in fact, even more flattening. So I'm of the mind that you have total permission to wallow/fret/cookie-medicate as needed.

LoriD said...

Also, poor William with the Lyme Disease. I understand why you're stressed about that. :-(

Swistle said...

LoriD- Ack, YES, that evokes the same kind of feeling I am feeling! COOKIES FOR BOTH OF US. And you kick a drawer and I'll kick a tire!

MomQueenBee said...

Yes! Yes, yes, yes. I am Superwoman when it comes to dealing with the larger issues of life and a shriek wrapped in a tear gland when I deal with little irritations. When Boy#3 was born he had life-threatening hospitalizations and I was a rock. Dealt with the doctors, dealt with the insurance, boom! Then, when Three was mostly out of the woods, Boy#2 tripped and chipped off his front two teeth and I was a MESS. A sobbing, shaking mess. Over BABY teeth.

shin ae said...

I believe it is always the little things. I want to tell you a story about my friend who has a severe autoimmune disease. She was close to death from it, and has been undergoing treatment for two years. She has four kids. It's been as awful as you can imagine. Recently she found out the disease was possibly triggered by a mistake a surgeon made. She was upset, as you would imagine. But what was she ranting about? THE MILES AND WEAR AND TEAR ON THE FAMILY CAR. Because of all the times she had to drive to another city for treatment? She was in the hospital, NEARLY DEAD, but the thing that made her furious and made her feel the full weight of the injustice of it all was the fact that all this has happened AND the car is trashed and it's hard to afford a new one.

I hope this is your last car problem for a very long time, and that William's recovery is quick and complete.

Lisa H. said...

I feel for you on all levels...particularly the car repair thing. And this is all too late for your current situation, but for our wedding anniversary last month my husband bought me a 2 year membership to AAA! At first, this may seem lame and unromantic, but in reality he KNOWS me and how much I dread something like a dead battery happening to my 10 year old, secondhand minivan. They offer free towing and battery charges, flat tire repair, etc...I assume my van will only be going downhill from here and this gives me a teenie tiny bit of piece of mind. The threat of being trapped at home, with no car and small children is enough to send me into a panic attack. Oh! And the AAA thing was only, like $60 or something like that.

Slim said...

Well, yes, cookies. COOKIES FOR ALL.

Also, do you have AAA? AAA will deliver a battery and install it for you.

Unless it's your alternator. Or, you know, some other car thingy.

zoot said...

You're having a When It Rains, It Pours moment. We had that for awhile (still sometimes feel like I'm in it) and it's really hard to rise out of it. Especially when money is involved. That haunts you in your sleep.

Hang in there.

Judith said...

Maybe you can tow the car yourself? It is a bit tedious, but every car has something in the back to attach a towing rope, and some place in the front to do the same (sometimes you have to push in a little circle and screw in a hook that comes with the car, but that's all in the car's instructions). Depending on how high the surprisingly high amount for towing is, the hassle might be worth it. It all still sucks, though :( I'm sorry the car is piling on all those problems.

And poor William. Boooh! Cookies for all, I agree.

lucidkim said...

I'm not a mechanic. ha ha ha I just cracked myself up typing that because wow, if I'm starting a comment like that WHERE DO I THINK I'M GOING WITH THIS?! I fall apart at every thing with the car. I shut down and just about want to walk away from it and never drive it again - it's betrayed me what with its overheating and click, click, clicking not starting and what not. It's just. Last year I had the clicks with my car - and it was a dead dead dead battery. Driving fine - no hint of a problem. Went to pick something up at the school, came back out - click, click, click. Various people tried to help me jump start it: nothing. Someone took the battery out, drove me to Walmart, found out mine was dead - got a new one, they drove me back out to my car - put it in (in my car, not a huge deal) and it was fine. It was around $85 I think for the battery. Then this summer I was using my boyfriend's truck and it did the click, click, click (and add in the clock went to 12:00 flashing like a VCR) thing in the parking lot of Walmart (I truly do not usually hang out there). My boyfriend told me to go inside and see if they would take care of it from the parking lot - I was sure they would not and was willing to stay there for hours waiting for him to get off work and handle it. (he wasn't so inclined but would have done it) I finally did ask them in the auto department (and it was over 100 degrees that day) and they sent a kid (really, he had about 3 hairs on his chin) out, but he determined it was a dead battery, took it out (much more of an ordeal in the truck...that poor kid was sweating - it was dripping off him) and put in a new one - and I was good to go again. All I'm saying with my rambling boring ass stories is that it sounds like a dead battery. I'm used to the work-fine then the jump-start-run-it-for-awhile-to-recharge then battery-is-dead phase. But both vehicles went straight from never-a-problem to completely-dead without the middle stage. Shrug.

I also have zero trust in mechanics and always feel like they are (instead of fixing my car) sabotaging it so I'll have to bring it back again and again. I try to make sure they realize I AM VERY POOR although in my head the heartless-mechanics-who-sabotage-my-car don't care, they'll figure I can find someone else to pay for the new repairs needed...

That said, I have actually experienced many nice mechanics who've helped me a lot and undercharged me or taken care of things for no charge. They are just people - good and bad. I just always assume I'll find the bad ones.

And yes, I understand the flattened thing. :(

Jen LC said...

oh, i'm so glad that you didn't have to have it towed and have a giant bill. BUT STILL. the fretting can still make you feel flattened. hope you treat yourself to your favorite kind of cookies.

(i also find comparing myself to folks who have it worse to be useless. there's always someone who could out-pain you, but that just feels unfair. no one wins that game. your UGH-ness is just as valid.)

Charleen said...

Wow, that certainly is a defeating series of misfortunes. I'd be wallowing too. I wallow over much less.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Sorry things were stressful. I recommend AAA too - our membership has always paid off because I seem to get some kind of car won't start and/or flat tire about once a year. Plus, free maps, discounts at hotels, and other discounts I never remember to claim.

My Mom once came in a cab to pick us up when it was her turn to carpool! You do what you have to do.

Shari said...

I highly recommend AAA, especially if you have kids. You could have just as easily been stranded at the grocery store with ALL the kids. Total peace of mind.

Tess said...

I have AAA mostly because it automatically eliminates the "knowing what to do" part of crap like this. XXX happens and you can't drive your car. What do you do? You call AAA, that's what! No diagnosing or fretting or relying on others required.

Also, I think the little things are WAY worse for me, mentally, because in some ways I EXPECT a certain number of "big" things to happen in my life, but you never really expect the little stuff. Even though THAT MAKES NO SENSE, from a pure numbers perspective.

MargieK said...

Whew! This makes me SO thankful my husband is mechanically inclined (worked in a mechanic shop as a teen, studied to be an airplane mechanic, and did that for several years when we were first married, until he realized the pay wasn't worth the wear-and-tear on his body, and went back to school to be an industrial engineer). He is my "trusted mechanic," and when one of our cars needs work he cannot do himself (like an alignment), he knows someone reliable to do the job.

While a new battery (or even just a jump) is often all you need in that kind of situation, sometimes it's necessary to determine WHY the battery is drained. If you have a "short" somewhere (or a "bad alternator," which someone mentioned above, meaning that the battery is not getting re-charged as you drive it), that new battery is going to get drained and leave you in the same (potentially stranded) situation. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to figure out what's causing the problem. I don't envy mechanics, who are expected to be experts at every type of car out there.

Despite having a savvy husband who can save me in such situations, I definitely can relate to falling apart when things go wrong with the car. I've been stranded on interstate transfer ramps, parking lots far from home, etc., frantically looking for the # to AAA, crying to my husband (and any friend who would listen while I wait for help), and just generally feeling jumpy and weepy until the car is secured safely on the flatbed and I'm on the way home.

Mrs. Irritation said...

Wait, when did I miss that William has Lyme disease? ACK!

I hate this kind of stuff, too. Adding to my dislike is feeling like the stereotypical "dumb woman" when it comes to these things, which technically I am, but I don't like being treated that way.

Maybe some nice warm brownies, too?

velocibadgergirl said...

I think car problems are extra frustrating because most of us tend to just trust that the car will start, because it always starts. So then when it doesn't, it's almost like a betrayal- are you KIDDING ME? You always start?? Why aren't you starting???

Or, uh, maybe that's just me over-anthropomorphizing my vehicles…

Anyway, hugs and another ack! for Lyme Disease. That sounds pretty scary :(

LizScott said...

UGH. What a pain.

I'm sure you're already at this stage, but in case in helps AT ALL: My husband is one of the people who Understands These Things and tells me it sounds like you just ("just") need a brand new car battery, which at least (very very least) is a relative inexpensive problem to fix. (All things considered, etc.)

That doesn't actually HELP in the sense that you still have to DEAL with it, but at least it's not a multi thousand dollar problem? Maybe?

HereWeGoAJen said...

YES! Like when I took my car in because my seatbelt wouldn't stay buckled (remaining latched is a fairly important feature of a seatbelt) and it cost $150 just to fix that. And then they were also like "by the way, you need new brakes too!" UNFAIR.

And everything else always goes wrong at once. UNFAIR.

Nicole said...

Okay, this:

And just as soon as I can read minds, I'll be sure to do that.

is really funny. And also true. LYME DISEASE. My goodness, that sounds awful.

marilyn c. cole said...

Yay for the edit!!!

Jenny said...

Could you have a Crappy Day Present?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this can make your day any better, but it's worth a shot. I'm one of 7 kids. (Yes, 7. My mom likes babies ;) and my mom assures me 13 is the worst age ever. The age you question why you had the child in the first place... and then it gets exponentially better once the child is past 13. She had a largish pool of personalities to test this theory out on, and so perhaps it has truth behind it.

She thinks it's because the child has to learn coping skills to get through the awkward hormonal surges that is puberty, and the parents/child have to figure out their changing roles.

So, it will get better and perhaps your 13-year-old is not representative of your entire parenting teenagers experience?

Swistle said...

Anonymous- That DOES help! "Why I had the child in the first place" very accurately reflects how I've been feeling! I will set my hopes on things soon feeling better!

Carrie said...

My baby daughter had Lyme Disease last year and it was so stressful! The best advice I got was from the infectious disease pediatrician, who told me to quit looking stuff up. She said to only read the CDC website because it was the only factual site out there. That helped my emotions immensely (my daughter is fine now).

Anyway, I haven't read through the comments and I'm pretty sure someone else has asked, but if not: AAA! With a car that old, it is so nice to have the piece of mind that you can get someone out to you for the low cost of a yearly membership. I've made many a call to the 800 number (mainly because my kids always seem to leave a light on).

Leigh said...

Well, on the bright side, at least you do seem to have found a trustworthy mechanic!

I feel you on the teenager front; my wonderful, sweet, loving little girl turned 14 last month and has now been replaced with a person who rolls her eyes a lot and talks back and isn't always likeable. It has taken us quite by surprise and I'd like to know when I can get my sweet little girl back. Urrgh.

Ashley said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one "live[s] in a pool of mistrust and suspicion." My husband doesn't have this problem, but I do. I think it has to do with where I grew up (NM), but it could just be my personality.

Glad it wasn't a big repair.

Maggie said...

Every September, I seem to find myself feeling stressed all the time. I just said to someone the other day that I'm tired of feeling like anxiety is in every corner of my life: work, school, daycare, bills, the car, etc. Most of these things are not big deals, but they add up and then I seem to spend most of my day feeling drained.

Car things make me crazy too. I took my car in for the stupid 30K service, which should have been only $30, but of course they advise me at the time that I need new tires. It's always something. I cannot wait until my youngest is in school and I can go back to taking public transportation to work every day.

Nervous said...

Ergh. Car trubs are a great way to kick off a spiral of woe for me too. Glad to see the update that fretting pays off in the end! YES!

Gigi said...

Sending you hugs, because it is the little things that seem to be the most annoying. And patting myself on the back, because I was thinking "She just needs a new battery." HOW I knew that is because every time one of our cars has made that clicky noise; that was the problem.

goingloopy said...

I don't know if they have Pep Boys where you are...but if they do, they will tow for a way reduced charge if you get your car fixed there. Bonus because it's open on the weekends. This has come in handy a couple of times recently (I also have a 12 year old car, and it also did the "fixed one thing and then something more expensive broke" routine). And I don't believe there *is* such a thing as a totally trustworthy mechanic...but the best way to find something close is to get some recommendations. My trusted mechanic came from my former boss, who had three teenagers with a propensity for doing dumb shit like going "mudding." Maybe some of Rob's friends parents?

Bibliomama said...

Geez - legitimately flattening indeed. Don't go all 'giant internet hand of spanking' on yourself. (see what I did there?) We bought a Jimmy just before I had Angus which was a bit of a lemon - it did this thing in the winter where I would drive somewhere with the baby, then when we got there the ignition wouldn't release the key for five to ten minutes. Of course my husband never believed me. Angus would have conversations on his toy phone going "Daddy! Pease fix the key!" Then my husband started driving it more and it happened to him too - sweet vindication. He drove it to the dealer and wouldn't leave until they fixed it. Vehicles are a total lifeline when you're at home with kids - and Lyme disease! Jesus! hugs to you.

Michelle said...

How did William get Lyme disease?

Swistle said...

Mrs. Irritation- I think I managed to accidentally not mention it!

Swistle said...

Michelle- Tick bite, apparently. Bulls-eye bite mark / rash thingie.

Swistle said...

Carrie- GOOD PLAN. I looked up the bulls-eye thing on Wikipedia to get enough info to work up the courage to call the doctor, and since then I've looked up nothing. NOTHING. I'm just checking off the little boxes on an antibiotics chart and NOT THINKING ABOUT IT.

Swistle said...

clueless but hopeful mama- YES, I think that was also part of what made me so flattened: I'd felt like I was being so gooooooood to drive him to school when I haaaaaaaate the drop-off procedures and find them super-stressful and also it's so inconvenient etc.---and then even that good, selfless decision BACKFIRED!

Swistle said...

lucidkim- I too have more experience with the "kind of struggling, then finally dying for good" battery! And then now the "no warning, just totally dead out of the blue!" kind today! The former kind MAKES MORE SENSE. They should make them to fail that way!

Lippy said...

I think you should get at least a 6 month pass after you child gets Lyme disease. That's not cool.

Sarah said...

We just had to have our van gone for repairs and I totally get it. Car stuff sucks big time, and especially when you have kids who need to BE places, and when you have multiple kids and therefore your second car won't even fit everybody so you're having to beg rides from everybody you know and.. blech. Not to mention, obviously, all the freaking MONEY, which feels like it may as well have been thrown down a well for all the pleasure you got out of spending it. Car Repair is a very unsatisfying way to spend large chunks of money.

Stimey said...

I would totally be in the hole over this situation. I'm glad that it worked out relatively painlessly. But the stress leading up to that solution would have done me in.

Val said...

I'm sorry for the stress. And I don't know how I hadn't caught that your family's dealing with Lyme too. My mom's been battling it since last May (2011). I hope things settle down for you all soon. ♥

Val said...

Oops. I didn't intend for my comment to cause more stress, so I'll elaborate by saying that my mom never had the bulls eye mark at all after her bite--only 40% or so of people get the mark/ring after they're bit by a tick, I guess--so her case went undiagnosed for a few months, and by the time it was figured out, it was severe. If she'd had the mark/ring like your kiddo, she'd have had a faster recovery.

Belly Girl said...

Okay, it's clearly time for a Lyme post - details needed!

Swistle said...

Belly Girl- The details are so SLIM. William said, "Hey, look at this bug bite." I said, "Huh. That looks weird, like a bulls-eye! I seem to remember that being connected to Lyme Disease!" *calling doctor* *doctor prescribing antibiotics* *Swistle trying not to panic* I am hoping this just RESOLVES and everything's FINE.

d e v a n said...

5-year-old wearing a hole in my skull with his constant dumb-voice-thing talking -- MY 5 year old is doing this TOO! Is this a 5 year old THING?! Please, please say yes because I'm about to find any sharp object to stick in my ears!