Starting the Day with a Bang

When my son was a month old, I decided to take him and my squirrelly 21-month-old daughter to the zoo. It was the biggest undertaking I'd attempted with both kids at that point, since it entailed a lot of running around on foot/bjorn/stroller, and also involved several feedings for Austin and lunch for Abby.

In addition to my usual morning chaos compounded by packing up our entire home to bring on the outing, the cleaning lady was at the house, making maneuvering a challenge. (Also, it's more embarrassing when you're screeching at your toddler to get out the door.)

To say I was harried… understatement.

But I did it. I was excited because we were going to be on time - perhaps even a tad early. I relished the thought of enough spare time to stop at Starbucks on the way and get a quick IV of caffeine for the road.

I loaded everyone in. I remembered the kids. I packed all of the gear. I backed out of the garage.

Crash. Actually, more of a crunch.

Yep. Forgot Hallina was at the house. I have a strange driveway that is wide at the top and narrows as you get to the street. Hallina was parked perfectly, off to the side, with plenty of room to get by her if I paid attention.

Side note: Sadly, this is not even the first time I've hit a car in the driveway. When 16, I got my parents' cars stuck together by scraping one down the side of the other.

Today, not nearly as extreme. But 3 panels of the front of my car scraped along two panels of Hallina's, including denting in metal around the wheel well.

The other side note: I have a HUGE complex about having Hallina come to our house once a month. I don't have a big house. It's a ranch, for God's sake. And I'm a SAHM, which means that cleaning is right on that ol' job description. I have clearly failed as a Domestic Engineer.

She's incredibly sweet - She had worked in an office for sixteen years and now cleans because she hasn't been able to find a job after getting laid off.

The point is: I feel guilty about her existence in my home. Like a little bit of a worthless human being for not having my shit together. Like the stereotypical flighty suburban mom in big sunglasses.

… And now I've hit her car, which catapults me to a level of assholedom from which I can never recover. (Yes, assholedom. It's a word. Google it.*)

She was way too kind. She looked at it, said she'd talk to a friend about fixing it, comforted me (like I deserved that), and then told me to head off to the zoo.

She totally let me off of the hook. I slunk away to the zoo, making sure I stayed there until well past when she'd be gone, and her reward was dealing with my filthy house.

And after all of that, despite making it abundantly clear it was okay to notify our insurance, she still had a friend basically patch it up (it looks okay, but nowhere near where it did before), for which we paid $200. No insurance hikes. No paying out on our deductible.

As for me, Austin is ten months old now, and I still freeze up a little every time I back out of the garage.

*Assholedom is not really a word. But as a quasi-writer, I choose to take the liberty of creating words as necessary.

Tracy May is editor and contributor at It Builds Character...and other parenting cliches, a group blog about parenting survival.

Originally posted at It Builds Character

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