Bad things tend to come in threes, don’t they? I mean this applies to more than just celebrity deaths, right? In the James’ household, we’ve had two really bad luck happenings in less than 24 hours of each other and a spate of other things that have gone wrong. I don’t dare ask and I really don’t want to know, but I’m bracing for whatever the next bad thing may be.
FOURTH ON THE THIRD
The first major thing that happened was with our Ford Explorer. We’d settled into the best parking spot at an office complex to watch fireworks this past Sunday for the Ka-Boom Town celebration, which is always held on the 3rd of July. I have no idea why Addison, Texas, has decided to make the 3rd of July their day to celebrate our country’s birthday, but that’s how it is, so we just roll with it. Addison, btw, is known for their magnificent display of fireworks. Since I was a teenager, my family’s celebrated the 4th on the 3rd at Ka-Boom Town. That’s also what David and I’ve done since we’ve been together.
So here we were in this office complex parking lot — Lauren, David, Ryan and me — in the best possible spot to watch the fireworks show. We were far enough away from the middle of things so that when it was over, we wouldn’t have to deal with hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic, yet we were still close enough to get a great view. I made the comment, “At least our plans are back on track.” The entire morning and afternoon had been one deviation from our plans after another (and is another much longer story.) In hindsight, what was I thinking saying something like that out loud?
We prepared for the three hours we’d spend in Addison this evening. For instance, we brought a cooler with soft drinks and water. We even thought to bring a folding table and chairs so we could play cards while we watched the airshow which started around 7:30 or 8:00 PM. There’s something exhilarating about being buzzed by WWII airplanes that pass right over your head. They’re so close, you feel like you can just reach right up and touch them. You definitely feel their vibration as they get close. At dusk, one of the stunt planes had lights on either side of it that silhouetted its shape in the best possible way while it dare deviled through the air — diving and spinning — leaving trailing white smoke in its wake.
The fireworks show didn’t start until around 9:30, and it was sometime during the eight o’clock hour, when Ry, Lauren and I were at the table playing cards in the grassy area in front of our Ford. Ryan, by the way, was kicking butt at rummy! Then Lauren’s momentum kicked in and she won a game or two. Me? It wasn’t my day. David was invited to play, too, but he declined after sitting with us for a hot minute.
Why didn’t he play?
They sent David straight back into our air-conditioned truck.
All depending on whether I count it or not, the fact that we didn’t have mosquito spray, which keeps both mosquitoes and other biting/bloodsucking flying creatures away, may have been part of our bad luck.
Right before we left our house, David asked me to go to the garage and get the can of mosquito spray. It wasn’t out there. I told him the last time I’d seen it, he’d grabbed it as we were leaving for the Father’s Day get-together, which I discussed here. David determined that he must have left the can of Off at our son and daughter-in-law’s house. Since we didn’t have time to stop and get another can, we went without.
As we were playing cards, our ankles started getting bitten by these big, irritating horseflies. We tried to slap them away. Unfortunately, the flies were faster than we were; and so, ultimately, we ended up just slapping the snot out of our own legs and ankles. After a minute or two, David said, “I can’t stand this! I’m going back to the car.”
As he got up to leave, I said, “Gee, it sure would be great if we had…oh, I don’t know…some mosquito spray about now. I mean if it weren’t at someone else’s house! Oh, right, it is! Never mind.”
LAUREN ACCUSED ME OF BEING SNARKY.
“And your point is?” I asked her. She didn’t say anything else, but she’d had her say. After that, I shut up and focused on the lousy cards I was dealt while David sought shelter in our vehicle. Then I slapped the shit out of my ankle again.
What can I say? It’s July in Texas and 2022 is turning out to be an exceptionally hot summer. As of this writing, we’ve had twelve 100-degree-plus days so far and expect to have at least another ten consecutive days of triple digit heat. So as David is sitting in the relatively cool confines of our vehicle, the rest of us are dealing with sweltering heat, humidity and biting flies while we distracted ourselves by playing cards. The next thing you know, our SUV starts hissing, gurgling and making scary rattling noises. I don’t know if it was steam or smoke, but it rose from under the hood. Then its water broke. Not that our truck was giving birth or anything…that I know of…but suddenly, the cement underneath was drenched.
So we’re thirty minutes away from home, and our SUV, which is now surrounded by a ton of other vehicles, has gone kaput. Plus it’s the Sunday evening of a holiday weekend. Maybe if this were the only thing that had gone wrong, I wouldn’t have started laughing hysterically like a maniac; but we’d already had to deal with things not going according to plan throughout the day, so this was just the proverbial cherry that broke the camel’s hump…or whatever. Of course our car was going to break down…because…why the hell not!
Can you guess what words came out of my mouth next?
If you guessed, “Call Triple A,” you’d be correct.
Long story short (I’ve always wanted to write that), Triple A was a no go. Whoever they’d notified to come and tow our SUV, called and told us it was going to be a five-hour wait before they’d be able to help us. A five-hour wait?
That wasn’t going to happen. We decided to abandon our Explorer and come back for it on Monday.
Thankfully, Lauren is familiar with Uber and she was able to get us one, which showed up about five minutes into the fireworks display. I’m sure the fireworks were fantastic. Not that we got to see them. Well, I did get one picture.
By the time we got home (another whole story on its own), Lauren was exhausted. It had just been one small thing after another throughout the day. At this point, she just wanted to leave and go home to her apartment where she didn’t have to deal with anymore craziness or crazy people. I understood. I was ready for bed, myself.
She started looking around before asking where her keys were. None of us had any idea. After several minutes of frantically searching for them, she determined she must have left them in our Explorer in Addison. She needed David to take her back out there to get them. Immediately. She was starting to panic.
YOU LEFT YOUR KEYS IN THE CAR? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!!!! (NOT THAT I SAID THAT.)
Instead I calmly asked her, “Did you look in the bathroom? I know you headed straight for it when we came in.”
“Yes, I looked there.”
“And the kitchen?”
“What about the garage?” We’d only been in the house for about ten minutes, but our daughter gets around.
“Yes, Mom. I’ve searched everywhere. They have to be in the truck! There’s too much going on and when I’m overstimulated, I forget things! Important things! They’ve got to be there!”
By this time, David had his keys to our other car and was telling Lauren, “Let’s go.”
“Hold on a minute,” I said. “Look one last place before you go, okay? You brought the ice chest inside. What did you do with it? Maybe you left your keys there.”
She decided I was being ridiculous, but she went to the cooler and looked there, anyway — just to appease me.
GUESS WHERE HER KEYS WERE?
You’d have thought my daughter would have been happy that she didn’t have to go all the way back to Addison. Matter of fact, had she, she would have been sorely disappointed and that might have sent her over the edge.
“Oh, good, you found them,” I said.
Instead of being joyous, though, she seemed more upset than ever and started yelling at me.
“YES, I DID. AND YOU WERE RIGHT! THEY WERE JUST WHERE YOU SAID! I JUST WANT TO GO HOME NOW, OKAY?! I CAN’T DEAL WITH ANYMORE AND I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE! IT’S ALL TOO MUCH!”
Welcome to my world! Literally, every day has elements of intense craziness in it. So, as screwed up as it was, today was pretty normal by our family standards. (Not that I said that either.)
As if on cue, Ryan started having a meltdown upstairs, which upset Iggy Bean (Lauren’s dog), which upset Lauren, which upset David.
“Everyone just calm down. Please!” I begged. And for once, as if by magic, everyone did.
I told Lauren, “Okay, I get it. You need to leave. But just sit down for a few minutes. You just need to take a deep breath and calm down before you go. You don’t want to leave while you’re this upset.”
That didn’t help.
“I’M 31-YEARS-OLD, MOM! I’VE GOT THIS AND YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” she said as she sat down. I walked back to my bedroom so I wouldn’t continue to upset her.
Two minutes later, she left. Thank God she made it home safely!
THERE’S TOO MANY THINGS!
On Monday, the 4th, David came inside from the garage (it was still early in the morning) and said that he couldn’t get the garage door to open. “It’s always something!” he said. He’d tried several times, but the motor would just hum and nothing else would happen.
So now we were dealing with an electric garage door opener that had conked out. Between this new issue and having to coordinate with Triple A and whatever tow truck company they were going to send out, we had our hands full. Also, we needed to figure out where we wanted the tow truck to take our Explorer.
Before dealing with the tow-truck situation, David decided to tackle the garage door. He tried to make adjustments, hoping that would fix it. So he went up on a ladder with screw driver in hand, doing whatever he was doing, and he had me stand by to press the button to make the garage door go up and down to see if it would work whenever he told me, “Press it now.” I did as requested. The motor made noises like it was trying really hard, but the garage door stayed put.
After several attempts, David finally decided that it was too hot out in the garage. We needed to go back in the house to cool down. I suggested we call someone we know who used to install garage doors for a living to see if he could come and check it out. David looked at me like I’d just suggested a walrus stop by. “No,” was his answer. He was going to do this himself. (By the way, I don’t know why I chose a “walrus” here. I blame my muse, Penny, for such oddball things…or maybe John Lennon.)
The next thing I know, David’s on the phone with the former garage door opener guy. David puts him on speaker, and they start talking. David tells him what he’s done. Garage door guy asks a few questions and suggests a few things. The talk starts getting technical. All I can think is — David, just ask him if he has the time and how much it will cost for him to come and take a look. (Not that I said this.) I glanced toward David, who gave me a look that basically suggested that whatever I was about to say to him, don’t. I needed to butt out. He was dealing with this. Again, I headed for our bedroom, which I really should rename my safe room.
Garage door guy came out today (Tuesday) and fixed our garage door opener. He didn’t even charge us. GOD BLESS HIM!
Don’t get me started on the whole Triple A/tow truck drama. It was a WHOLE OTHER ABSURD THING THAT MADE ME WANT TO RIP WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF MY HAIR OUT OF MY HEAD! However, perseverance paid off; and our Ford Explorer is now at the auto repair shop. We are now waiting for them to call. According to David, this could take a few days before we hear anything. This is the car I drive, btw.
As I write this, I’m not sure if we’ve had all three bad things happen or more than three bad things have happened or if we still have at least one more bad thing that we should expect to happen before all is said and done. I’ve lost count.
GRATEFUL FOR THE INCONVENIENCES
As crazy as the last couple of days have been, and aren’t they all crazy these days?, there are still so many things to feel grateful for and appreciate — family, friends, a roof over our heads, decent food, the nice things we have, our freedoms, our country! Most things that pile up in our lives are inconveniences. Sometimes I forget that’s all they are, while I’m in the thick of it, slapping biting flies off of my ankles. Today, especially, I’m grateful that’s all my family is dealing with at the moment. So many are dealing with so much worse.
Monday, the 4th, we kept an eye on what was happening in Highland Park, Illinois. My brother and his wife live just a stone’s throw away. I worried. I’m so glad they’re fine even though celebrations were canceled throughout the surrounding towns, including theirs, as a precautionary measure. No one felt much like celebrating, anyway. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just Highland Park that dealt with senseless tragedy this Fourth of July weekend. There were mass shootings all over the place, including one in Denmark.
There’s so much absurdity, tragedy, cruelty, dysfunction and unkindness right now. It’s too much. I don’t know what to do and I don’t have any answers. Who does? May God have mercy on us all! And if not God, then the madmen with guns.
Don’t know about you, but I need music.
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