The One Where My Car is Toast

Let me start by saying that I have never gotten a ticket or been in any sort of accident. Period. Until last week. That is when this happened:



Yes, we’re all okay. My car, as you can plainly see, is not.

We were loaded into the car to go to the grocery store. Seatbelts buckled. Phones put away. John looked both ways before backing out of the driveway. He let cars pass. The coast was clear, so he backed out. Just as he stopped the car and put it into gear to pull forward and go on our way, we felt the impact. We didn’t see a thing. We didn’t hear squealing tires to indicate someone had slammed on their brakes. We didn’t hear a horn. Nuthin’. We just felt the impact. And when I got out of the car, I was standing in my front yard from where the vehicle was hit with enough force that it was thrown there. I was spitting blood and gagging as more and more blood filled my mouth where I had bitten clear through the right side of my tongue. Evan was as white as a ghost and Zachy was screaming his head off.  But we were okay. And then I realized that the other driver hadn’t stopped yet, and so while dialing 911, I was jumping up and down, waving my arms in the air, shouting, “No! Stop!” She finally did by my neighbor’s driveway. And this all happened in one blurry instant. I remember telling the 911 operator to send the police, the no, I didn’t think anyone needed an ambulance, that I was a healthcare professional and would speak up if I thought we did. It was craziness.

So what happened? Well, we live on a connecting road between a really bad neighborhood and a really good neighborhood. About two miles from my house are those metaphorical tracks on which you do not want to be on the wrong side. Everyday, they fly by here, with no regard to the speed limit or that our children might be outside playing. You can tell the cars: older, no mufflers, beat-up. But for some reason, they tend to have really nice sound systems. And so, when John ensured the coast was clear, he backed out. I would say that my car was 3/4 of the way out of the driveway when one of those drivers came flying around a curve that is about 500 ft. from our driveway. She was apparently talking on a cell phone since her boyfriend arrived before the police did. We were nice, as were they. But they struck me as the type of people to observe everything, even remarking  that “Her purse must have been at least $500!”  Yeah, bitch, it was. I work hard for my money. But regardless, we made the police report and I called my insurance company. We proceeded on to dinner, since there was no way I was up to grocery shopping with Mr. Asperger and his toddler sidekick. And I sure as hell was not going to cook. But on the way to dinner, we hear this wop wop wop wop sound. No, that is not an ethnic slur. I’m German/ Italian, so even if it was, I have license. Our only hope at 7PM was to stop at a tire place, which is where we found out that the damned frame of my car was bent, that the back passenger side wheel, though not dramatic, was bent inward. “Dog-legged”, he called it. And that, no, my car was not safe. That I could hit a pothole and have my damned wheel break off. I was upset. Then Evan started complaining of neck and shoulder pain. Enter a trip to the ER with my poor baby for whiplash. He was okay, though. Ice and antiinflammatories for a couple of days.

And then I got kinda okay. Then maybe a little relieved. I mean, we needed a bigger car, right? But I was too stubborn and insisted on paying off this one and making it last as long as possible, since I bought it brand-new 3 years ago. So I started looking online.

And then I found out that they can fix it, that it is not totaled because they can “pull” the frame. So instead, I get a whopping repair bill to the tune of $6K. Well, insurance does. I just have a huge deductible. And I was expecting to not have to pay it. We were still waiting on the official police report, but she was negligent. Speeding, most likely talking on the phone, no attempt to warn us, no attempt to stop, evasive behavior.

Wrong. Fucking Wrongwrongwrongwrong.

Because the police report was wrong. It said we backed into her, not that she hit us in the side. So my insurance adjuster told me to call the police to have it amended. The proof is in the cars: mine is obviously nailed on the side, sweeping toward the back. Hers is on the headlight. There is no physical possibility that we backed into her. And the police? Well they wouldn’t fix it. They said it makes no difference, since we were backing out.

So in other words, do whatever the hell you want to do. If you hit a car that is in reverse, regardless of what you are doing, it will always be their fault. It’s complete bullshit. It isn’t fair.

So now? Now we have a beast of a rental car. And I am awaiting a body shop to give me an entirely new ass end. To the car, that is.

So much for my record.

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%&#! You, Easter Bunny!

Yeah, you read that correctly. I am cursing out the damned Easter Bunny. Well, I am sure there is something sacreligious about that, but, well, we all know I’m a heathen, so I won’t even act like I care.

Here’s the deal: When it comes to Easter, I….”suck at life” would be putting it mildly.

The Easter saga started a few years back. I was in the throes of pre-medicine while working more than any human should work. And since I am a heathen, I just didn’t even think about when Easter was. So I go to work. It’s Saturday night. I work every Saturday night and have for the past six years. Weekends are my gig, man! So I go into work with all of the responsible parents, and they are all discussing Easter. Then damb-ass me, I pipe up, “When the hell is Easter, anyway?” To which I got crickets chirping and blank stares, as if to say, “This bitch produced children?”. So in desperation, I call John. I tell him to take my debit card and go to the store and get Evan an Easter basket right then! There! Problem solved. So I get off in the morning and I discreetly asked him if he, you know, handled business. Yeah, he did in his mind. He handled it the John way. As in, he bought a package of those Reese eggs and handed them to Evan, saying, “Here, kid. Happy Easter.” Seriously? No grass? No cute basket? No waking up to a surprise? Seriously, the kid’s childhood is probably in shreds as a result. So I made a mad dash to the store instead of going to bed. And there were no Easter baskets. The closest thing I could find was a hamper. Yeah. In desperation, I bought the damned thing and ran through the toy section, tossing smallish toys in there and whole bags of candy. And I ran home, left the basket in the driveway, and shouted to Evan that the Easter Bunny must have been in a hurry and dropped it off out front instead of bringing it in. And I swore that next year, I would do better.

The next year, guess who was working! Yeah, me. And this time, I won’t even give you a story. I forgot the fucking Easter basket. I gave it to him in a laundry basket. Not even a pretty wicker one, but a beige plastic Rubbermaid one. He got candy, though. There was always the next year.

The Laundry-Basket-as-Easter-Basket still lives! Here is Zachy playing in it as proof!

The next year–SURPRISE!—I was Pregosaurus Bitch and on bedrest, only permitted to break orders unless I was going to a doctor’s appointment or something. Well, that year, options were limited. Evan was with us as I rode the damned Handi-Scooter thingy through Target. By this time, all illusions of the fucking Easter Bunny were dashed, and I just wanted to get the stuff and go home.

This year…

This year, I was so …GOOD! I was Uber-Mommy. I bought the baskets way in advance. I made them up. I got the boys their Easter gifts. We don’t usually do monster baskets full of candy. I always give some, and then make up for the small amount by buying a decent present–who needs that many jelly beans???) I was good. I managed to conquer Easter. Ah-HA!

So for the past few nights, I have been working. The Easter baskets are hidden in the house and all John has to do is sit them on the coffee table before the boys wake up on Sunday morning. Good to go! Saturday morning, I am sleeping off a twelve-hour night shift. I wake up. I stagger to the coffeemaker, when John tells me, “Hey! Don’t let Zachy touch you! He’s all sticky.” Oh. Okay. WhatthefuckEVAH! I continued my old-lady shuffle in my slippers before thinking about it. Why is Zachy sticky?

So I do a double take. And Zachy has a huge sucker/ lollipop thingy. Hmmmm.

“John, where did Zachy get the lolli?”

“Oh, I don’t know. He brought it to me, so I opened it for him.”

“Yes, but WHERE DID HE GET IT?!?”

“I SAID, ‘I DON’T KNOW’!”

I’ll tell you where the midget got it. He got it from his fucking Easter basket. That he found. And raided. Along with his brother’s. Screw “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. This is the tale of The Zachy Who Sabotaged Easter. I tossed all of the pastel-foil-wrapped shit back into the baskets, tried to arrange them so they didn’t look like the Easter Bunny took a pastel-colored poop in them, and tried to save Easter. The boys still got their candy.

Fuck it.

Next year????? Next year, we’re having a Passover seder. L’ Chaim!

If This is Sexism…

There is a photo I posted on Facebook a couple of days ago. It is the screen shot of my new schedule of my first MBA semester. The comment I put along with it was, “Can I just say how totally kick-ass I think it is that all of my professors for my first semester of my MBA are women?” I think most people got it. Some did not, and one of the comments I got was from the girlfriend of my father-in-law, who prides herself on being more progressive. She asked why this would matter and stated that, to her, I sounded sexist.

Hmmm.

I remember when we moved after I had finished school. We had actually been homeless for a month before hand. We needed money. And somehow, after one of my first job interviews, I had a job making real money for the first time in my life. Complete with a sign-on bonus, relocation assistance, and other benefits. We went from sleeping in a fleabag motel with most of our posessions in storage to moving into a upscale, expensive rental. I did that. John didn’t have a job. But I studied my ass off as a nontraditional student in order to get straight-A’s, a list of professional contacts, and more, to set me apart from all of the other new grads in my field and land a good job. I was so proud. And when I called to get utilities turned on at our new, nice house, what happened? They didn’t want to turn them on, and told me to have my husband call back. I remember my response to this day: “Ma’am, I would be glad to have my Master call back, but when it comes time for a bill to generate and you expect to be paid, you will have to deal with me, as my husband doesn’t work. I am the head of this household.”

But it did something to me. That, along with my upbringing, have shaped me.

My mother raised seven children. Seven of the most ungrateful children in the world. She was married to my father all of her life. And she never had a job outside of the home. She did a good job, as we never wanted for a thing. I grew up with elaborate meals prepared three times a day. I never did laundry or dishes because my mother never wanted us to. Mom made our world go ’round and Dad footed the bill. But then Mom started to get sick. And by the time I was a senior in high school, she was too ill to take care of herself, let alone any of us. What did we do? We got her signed up for Meals on Wheels and a home health nurse. I was just a kid, still in school, but the next child in line from me was eight years’ my senior. And she lived right around the corner with her husband, didn’t work, and her children were in school. Interestingly enough, nobody had time for the woman who had raised them, who had surrendered her entire life to doing right by us. While I was at school, nobody could even be bothered to bring her lunch. She would be hospitalized and in the ICU, and nobody would come and see her. I would try to leave school, but by then I was a freshman in college and prohibited from having a car on campus, so I was reliant on family to get me home when the situation called for it. The night she finally died, however, they all remembered their way to the house to raid her jewelry box of the diamonds and emeralds (her favorite and her birthstone) that Dad had bought her in their 35 years of marriage. One sister even had her 4ct. solitaire into a jeweler for appraisal and sizing the very next morning. And what about Mom’s last days? She would cry because her kids didn’t come to see her. She was miserable because, once she had no more to give, they lost interest.

Never in a million years would I allow that to be my life. I don’t want it. She wouldn’t have wanted it for me, and I refuse to let her down. I am bound and determined to shirk the traditional gender roles and live my life how I see fit. You could call this selfish of me, but then I would remind you that I make my living helping people breathe when they cannot do so for themselves. And while this is most decidedly not a commentary on being a homemaker, it is a testament to the fact that, while my mother may have had limited choices, I do not. And I have made my choice. I will never buy into the idea that my ownership of a  vajayjay means there is a damned thing that I cannot do in this world.

So life has taken me down many paths. I’ve had many plans, some of which have worked and some of which have not. Sometimes I have had to backtrack to where the road forked and take the other path. This is the case with business. I came into the world of business because my life took a turn when I was surprised with a pregnancy right before applying to medical school. Sometimes, I mourn that, but Zachary is amazing and I do not regret the path one bit. I surprised myself with an aptitude for this subject: business. I believe I can reach the top of my game. But if I do, I will be in limited company.

Let’s crunch some numbers:

15.4%= The percentage of female corporate officers in Fortune 500 companies, as of 2011.

14.8%= the number of board seats held by women in the same.

2.4%= The percentage of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

22= the number of female CEOs in  the Fortune 1000 companies.

Out of a thousand companies, only 22 have female CEOs.

(Source: Susan Gunelius @ www.womenonbusiness.com.)

With all of this in mind, I can say that it is “kick-ass” that all of my professors are female for my first semester of my MBA program. At a program that is competitive, nationally-ranked, and highly revered, at least in local business circles, these women are full professors, at the top of their game. I could say that there is a sparkling, crystal-clear ceiling made of glass that I would love to shatter, but these women have done it for me. For my mother, who died feeling like her life had no purpose. It is women like these who will ensure that my sons will grow up in a world where they do not believe that their gender makes them superior or inferior, but equal to their female counterparts. It is women like these who will change those God-awful statistics I just cited. And then there is the richness of the idea that, while women are so outnumbered in top business positions, they can make careeers of educating the men that edge them out for the top spots at these companies.

I thought the definition of sexism was believing in the superiority of one gender over the other, not the equality of the two. Am I wrong? Is it sexist to want more for your life? To have the personality that translates to the desire to challenge yourself and not stagnate? To expect that your gender will not hold you back and be happy when you find evidence that it will not? Is it sexist to believe that, because I have worked my ass off to improve the lives of my loved ones, I can do even more?

If this is sexism, sign me up.

Good Morning, Deputy Carl.

I’m a snobby bitch. I have been all of my life. When I was a kid, I used to refuse to go into any of a number of discount stores, lest one of my friends see me and think I bought my designer clothes there. My poor, poor parents. May they rest in peace. And throughout my life, that has been the trend. I worry about appearances too much. While I realize that the way one looks really isn’t that important in the scheme of things, you have to admit that people judge us by the way we look. Good, bad, or indifferent, that is the truth. And I am seriously being punished for my snobby ways.

Somewhere around the time I started working seventy hours per week, plus managing school, I really stopped putting so much effort into it. Evan was getting old enough to dress himself. In the event that he can’t put a decent look together, I was working all of those hours so one of us parents could stay home with him. (Ahem, JOHN!) Well, over time, Evan’s look has…deteriorated is putting it rather nicely.

Highwater jeans that are not only too short, but may be too small to even button. Shirts with holes/ stains. And it always works the same way: I’ve returned from work and am sleeping. I may be awakened from a deep sleep to run an errand or go somewhere with the family. In a semi-comatose state, I throw on clothes, make sure my hair is presentable, grab my designer bag and make sure the diaper bag is packed for Zachy, and out the door I go.

Somewhere along the trip to wherever, I wake up enough to be aware of my surroundings, and I see Evan in the back seat. And here are some examples of what I have found him wearing:

Shorts that come about 6 inches above the knee with a toddler-sized tee. Proof that the tee is way outgrown? It says “2003” on it. In 2003, Evan was a toddler. And a scrawny toddler at that.

Plaid pants and a striped shirt. And not in the stylish, matchy, quirky way.

Now let me tell you, I buy the child clothes. Expensive clothes. Ralph Lauren. Gap. Calvin Kline. Then he got into skater gear: Element, Hurly, Fallen. They’re expensive, too. And I sort through and get the outgrown stuff out. We keep huge boxes in the basement for outgrown clothes from either boy, and when the boxes get full, they go to a reputable local charity. But Evan resurrects them from the great heap as if he is rescuing a homeless puppy.  And unfortunately, the same applies for Halloween costumes. Yeah.
Well, this past year, Ev’s costume was great.
It was. As he was Trick-or-Treating through our neighborhood, people were taking photos with their iPhones, calling their family members to the door to see him. The police uniform was high quality…for a Halloween costume, not for everyday wear. It was a far cry from the stiff plasticky costumes we had as kids, complete with the masks. But still, the shirt was polyester and instead of actual buttons, had a long strip of velcro. And because Evan is a growing boy, he has already outgrown it. But he saved it from the heap.

He wore that damned shirt everywhere. And with everything. Wake up in the morning? Put it on with your pajama bottoms. Running to the store? Throw it on with some khaki shorts. And we would ge somewhere, and I would discover it by accident. Seriously, my kid looked like this all of the time:
Deputy Doofy from Scary Movie. Yeah, I said it. It kills me. So when I encountered the shirt wadded into a ball under his bed while cleaning his room that day, I did what any loving, responsible mother would do.

I stuffed it into a garbage bag while he wasn’t looking. And for the most part, I got away with it.

Until this weekend. I woke up after a night of work and staggered to the coffeemaker. And John intercepts my path to tell me–no, WARN me—that our son has turned into Carl of Slingblade fame.

And then I see him. Oh, holy shit. He has resurrected another shirt. This one is a blue button-down that I bought him to wear to a wedding 2 years ago. And with a Sharpie, he has drawn his own badge onto it. You know, since he can’t find his police shirt. Logical move. He made his own. But he has it buttoned all the way up. And is rockin’ it out with baggy red sweatpants and grass-green flip-flops. I’m glad John warned me, or there would have been coffee shooting across the kitchen via my nasal passages. So now, picture Deputy Doofy breeding with this:
I swear, I did not ask for this life. And while it may be interesting, can it please just stay behind closed doors? I mean, the screaming and meltdowns are enough attention, already. I just want him to fit in. To make friends. To not be the butt of jokes. And I make every effort imaginable. He is not helping the matter.

Autism Awareness Month

April 1st isn’t just for pranks. Today kicks off Autism Awareness Month.

But this shit ain’t no joke, ya’ll.

This was not supposed to touch my life at all. I had no clue what autism even entailed. I pictured Rain Manand Ju-Ju-Judge Wapner. I had heard of the vaccine controversy, but that’s it. Yeah, I know that’s offensive, but that is the God-forsaken truth of the matter.

Then one night I was googling some of the crazy crap my odd child does. Surely, in the vastness of the interweb, there existed someone who had seen a child do some of these things. Somehow this had an answer to it. Everyfuckingthing has an answer. I did not like what I was reading. But suddenly everything was making sense. The trouble in school, despite his giftedness. The ADHD diagnosis that didn’t seem to explain everything, with treatment that should’ve helped and didn’t.  His irritability and all-out rages. His lack of ability to make friends his age. His harmless obsessions with weird subjects. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. I could go way back and link up trouble he has had his entire life–sleep disturbances, now-apparent sensory issues, temperament…..All of it–every single bit—pointed to what I was reading.

Asperger’s Syndrome. An autism spectrum disorder.

And when I made an appointment with a therapist and psychiatrist, telling him what his symptoms were, they were supposed to tell me it wasn’t so, that I was reading too much into it. Instead, they referred me to developmental specialists who have such long waiting lists that we are still waiting for that appointment six months after the referral.

And I didn’t get to dip my toes into the icy water, aclimating myself to the change. I had to cannonball my way into the shit. And I still don’t like it. The water is still freezing. I have not adjusted to the upset just yet. I just never thought  we would have one of those things associated with our lives. You know, one of those things that they name a month after. Like April and Autism Awareness Month. I mean, my child has an IQ somewhere above 160. He’s gorgeous. He’s funny. He was supposed to go on and be the quarterback of the football team in high school while still managing a full academic scholarship to Harvard.

Okay, so while we wait for an “official diagnosis”, we know he has it. So how do we fix it? C’mon, doc, write the prescription. Only this isn’t strep throat that can be wiped clean with bubblegum-pink amoxycillin. We can’t fix it. It just is. But what caused it? This way, we can prevent it in the future. What do you mean, nobody knows? If nobody knows, then we can’t fix it, we can’t prevent it, we can’t eradicate the damned problem. Is it my genes? Did I do this to my son? Did I hug him one too little times as a baby? Did I let him eat too many Happy Meals? And why is it that one child “on the spectrum” is in diapers and cannot speak a lick, yet my son can do math 4 grade levels above his own, is almost too independent, and speaks like a fucking Ph.D, yet is on the same spectrum? How in the hell is that possible and what accounts for the difference?

And then comes the whopper. This is just how Evan is. You cannot do a thing about it but love him. And would you want to fix it if you could? Isn’t this a part of who he is? There is still so much to learn, so much to understand.

And that is why we need Autism Awareness Month. In honor of the occassion, I have placed a clickable puzzle-piece icon on the top of the right-handed sidebar where you can donate to a worthy autism cause, if you feel so inclined.