Friday, January 07, 2011

Suburban Freak-Out

Even though the holidays are well past now, the stress of it all still has its evil, bony fingers wrapped around my chest cavity. Things came to a head today like a 14 year old’s chin pimple.

Besides the normal hustle and bustle of the shopping season, the sticker shock of Christmas expenditures, and the simple fact that the kids are home from school ALL DAY, EVERY DAY for TWO WEEKS arguing, fondling my remote control and leaving small piles of snack residue on every table top space available (all occurring with a Hannah Montana soundtrack behind it), everything - and I mean EVERYTHING – in my house has needed repair.

A brief list:
- The cable went out.
- The local phone service became loaded with static.
- Laptops needed to be set up.
- Laptops needed to network to printer.
- Netbooks needed fancy reconfiguring to play kid games due to screen size/resolution.
- Loft beds needed assembling. Instructions inadequate.
- Dressers needed assembling. Instructions inadequate.
- The stove doesn’t work correctly.
- The garage door froze shut.
- The modem failed.
- The kitchen faucet seal is leaking.
- The light pull cord for the basement laundry room snapped off the chain.
- My son’s desk chair screw is stripped.

The list goes on and on and on. I blacked out at one point and couldn’t recall what exactly I was repairing anymore. When I came to, I had a tire iron and was whacking the side of the washing machine. One or more of these things would happen every single day during winter break. They’d go off like a timed bomb set to the exact moment I would sit down to watch Cougar Town football. I’m no Mr. Handyman. In fact, “fixing things” is right up there on my list of least favorite activities right next to “watching another Godforsaken Twilight movie”. But I’d lug out the toolbox and hammer or screw or drill as necessary before finally freaking out, yelling obscenities, and smacking the broken object repeatedly with a wrench until it started working again. It really is amazing how often that actually works.

The kids are back in school but things haven’t stopped breaking. On my way to drop my filly off at school the other morning, the car door latch was frozen open so the door wouldn’t latch the door shut. I toyed with the idea of having her hold the door closed and driving anyways but the judge’s “one more chance, Mr. Nitmos” warning kept ringing in my head. Better not. Fortunately, we live ½ mile from school so we walked/ran up the road to make it. The latch unfroze later that day.

This morning, I felt the cold, deathly fingers pump again constricting my heart and causing temporary shortness of breath as I turned on my windshield wipers – and ripped half the rubber off one arm that had become frozen to the window.


I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth and tried to look calm and pleasant as my filly, backpack attached, looked at me through the windshield on her way to the car. No sense upsetting the kid even if I did feel like ripping the wiper arm off the car, dousing it with gasoline and burning it in effigy on my driveway.

There was a brief moment in which I considered pointing her to the OTHER door so that we wouldn’t have the whole 'latch fiasco' again this morning. But it wasn’t as cold as the other day and the problem never recurred after that so, what could be the problem right?

“Dad, my door won’t shut.”

"FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!" I screamed.

Three weeks up pent up stress come out in one basketball sized profanity-laced explosion that bounced around the car, through my filly's ears, and out the partially opened, unlatched back door. SWISS! I freaked out. I super-freaked out. Rick James has nothing on me. I jumped out of my seat, grabbed the outside of the door, and slammed it repeatedly harder and HARDER and HARDER until I thought I’d cave in the side of the car. I’m pretty sure it went up on two wheels at one point. A steady stream of cars with school bound children was parading by my home as this wild man hurled this metal door against the car repeatedly with a crazed look.

You know what? The door finally latched. We drove to school without further incident. I went on with my morning in my nice quiet house with a warm cup of coffee. I’m relieved. I do not feel the hand of death squeezing my lungs. Now, as it is my nature, I’m attempting to reconcile how I can use that explosive anger to decrease my race times. There’s a lesson there somewhere. How can I harness that primal anger? Perhaps a nice freak out every now and then is good for the soul. It's cleansing.

Meanwhile, I’m quite sure my filly will have a few choice words to say today when the orange glue tip doesn’t uncork in art class. She’s an impressionable gal.

I await your call Mr. Principal. Meanwhile, why won’t the garage door go down…..??

Happy trails.


Andrew Opala said...

So basically you are living in the Amittyville Horror ... nice knowing you!

leave me your remote in the will ... if it's programmable

Ian said...

You know what sometimes helps unfreeze a frozen door? Pee on it. Perhaps you could even incorporate it into part of your highly inapproprate tantrum.

ShutUpandRun said...

Every kid needs to hear their parent say the F word on occasion. It makes you real. Way to make a connection this morning!

Lily on the Road said...

LMAO at Ian + SU&R....too *F*ing funny.

Sorry the Filly had to actually walk to school and be seen with her Potty Mouthed Sire, oh well, at least she didn't tell YOU to F off...

Happy New Year!

David said...

Ahhh, the "teachable moments". Best not to waste them.

BrianFlash said...

You would think that someone who lives in a cold weather climate such as you would have long learned not to turn on the windshield wipers until the ice is melted.

That's rule #1 in surviving winter!

Reluctant Runner said...

Sounds incredibly frustrating. And cold.

By the way, if you were burning the wiper in effigy, you'd be making a representation of said wiper and setting it on fire. Not burning the actual wiper. Just trying to be helpful.

Jess said...

Oh man, never moving north again.

I have this great image in my head of a little girl hitting an orange glue cap repeatedly with a wrench and screaming at it.

The Sean said...

This is why I leave my wipers in the upright, smug position.

Ace said...

the garage won't go down so the horde of mice and rats can more comfortably live in the garage....

Ironman By Thirty said...

"hammer or screw or drill as necessary" - is that how you solve all your problems?? Poor Mrs. Nitmos. :-/

But what I am really wondering is why, if the school is only a half mile away, do you even drive the kids in the first place? They have two good legs right? I don't care if it is uphill, into the wind both ways.

Elizabeth said...

sounds like you could use one of my "spiced" hot teas...

Nick said...

I really tried so hard no to laugh during this entire blog but to no avail I ended up of the floor holding my gut. I am sure the people here at work are wondering what the hell is going on.

Good luck my friend.

PS I'll give you my login to so you can watch Cougar Town err I mean football.

Sana said...

I am laughing! Sounds like my family life!

Aka Alice said...

OMG...I feel so much better now because everything in my house is breaking (or vermin infested), but at least THERE'S NO EFFING SNOW!

BTW...that meltdown moment of uncontrollable rage? That's what menopause feels like. Just thought you should know...

Anne said...

Like a sitcom trailer (13+)
...hilarious! Don't go getting all mad at your filly when she drops the F bomb :)

Ainsley Drew said...

You need to move to a warmer climate. And ban Hannah Montana from your house. (Until she's on Cougar Town.) Your blood-pressure probably scores more triple-triples than an Olympic figure skater.

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

Reminds me of A Christmas Story. FUDGE!

Lisa said...

My daughter picked up some choice words from her dad when she was 3 or 4 yrs old. I didn't know whether to laugh at her or strangle him when she decided to repeat said words one day when having trouble putting on her shoes.

Anna said...

OMG, I laughed out loud - more than once. Thank you for an excellent post.

Al's CL Reviews said...

Excellent post. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has emotional outbursts!

Vava said...

Do you drive a Volkswagen? We put up with that crap for ten years. Now we're Honda drivers.

No more latch crap.

Good luck with the fixing of things that need it!

FinnyKnits said...

Yup. Forcing it totally works. My beloved calls me, The Queen of Forcing It, and you know what? I'm proud.

The title becomes me.

And when you lay on a good frosting of swears it just makes the slamming force-fest all the more effective.

Meanwhile, I'm glad you taught that fucking car door a less because you know what? Fuck frozen card doors.

Stuart said...

I find a judicious use of impact technology goes a long aka hitting it with a hammer!