Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My "Vacation"

I think I’m to a point now where I can talk about some things that happened 2 weeks ago without plummeting into an emotional pit of despair. Now don’t get me wrong. I truly enjoyed the majority of my vacation. Matt’s family arrived Saturday morning and we enjoyed 3 wonderful days of togetherness. Aaron had such a good time with the kids that I almost wanted to adopt them all just so he’d have some playmates. We had water balloon fights, roasted marshmallows, went to the park, went to Adventureland (amusement park). Then when it came time for Matt’s mom and the kids to head back to Kansas it was suggested that Aaron could go back with them as Matt and I would be going to Kansas the following weekend for the baptism.

I was incredibly torn. On the one hand Aaron would be out of our hair while we worked on the kitchen, plus he’d get to spend more time with the kids, therefore forming an even stronger bond with his cousins. On the other hand the kid is only three and a half and would be traveling and sleeping 6 hours away from home. If he got homesick the first night it’s not like we could just jump in the car and pick him up. After much debate we decided to send him, figuring that he would be so busy playing he’d barely notice the change of locale and parental supervision.

I had no regrets, until of course he called at 8:30 that night screaming into the phone “I wanna come home, I wanna come home, I wanna come home!” I had my suitcase out of the closet by the second “I wanna come home” and the car keys in my hand by the third. However, Matt comforted him on the phone and we decided to give it another hour or so and if he was still miserable we’d make our way down. Turns out he just didn’t want to brush his teeth and put on his pajamas, and was pretty much fine the rest of the week. Only asking for us when he was tired or when he was scolded for doing something he shouldn’t have. It may have been traumatic for him, I’ll never really know, that is until he’s 40 and his psychiatrist discovers that experience to be the root of his abandonment issues.

We shipped Gwen off to my mom’s for the week and got to work on the kitchen. We ripped up the linoleum, took off the countertop took off the cabinet doors and then it just all seemed to sit there disheveled for days and days. The living room and Aaron’s room were piled high with boxes of food and pots and pans. Matt was scraping the glue remnants from the sub floor for two and a half days while his dad worked in the garage crafting storage bench seats, a table and a new custom cabinet. And we never seemed to have enough supplies or the right supplies. We went to the home improvement store more times than I can even remember. By the end of the week it felt like everyone in the store knew our names – it was like we were Norm and they were Cheers.

My brother came to help on day 3 or 4, I couldn’t keep track really, it was all a blur, and helped us put the floor down and put the countertops in. The countertops. Now I’ve got to go back a little to tell this part properly. We got cheap laminate counters, nothing fancy but certainly better than the faux woodgrain laminate tops we had before. Well they need to be ordered and custom cut at the factory. So 3 weeks prior Matt had measured, and measured again, and measured again and he was confident in his numbers. I however, was not and had to fight very hard to keep from measuring things myself. I just really had this sinking feeling that he measured it wrong, but I didn’t want to bruise his ego or start a fight so I stood by my man and we ordered them using his measurements – and guess what. The damn thing was 4 inches too short.

So what were our options at that point you might ask – well none of them were good. Matt’s dad and my brother were trying to think of ways to rig it up – his Dad suggested a custom soap shelf along the wall to disguise the 4 inch gap. It just wasn’t pretty. I was seriously close to tears and that sounds pretty silly but if you’d been scraping glue and painting cabinet doors and living without running water for 3 days because the shut off valves under the sink were leaking, then you’d be pretty frazzled too. In the end I told them just to put it in so I’d at least have my sink and running water back, and we measured again and went to the store to order new countertops for another $200.

We finished things up as well as we could and departed for Kansas on Sat. morning. 3 hours into the trip we stopped for gas and bathroom breaks and it was decided that Matt’s Dad should drive. Not more than 10 minutes later the man had rear ended an SUV. I’ve never noticed his driving skills to be faulty before, but the traffic was slow and he obviously must be an impatient driver in those sorts of situations and was following so closely to the vehicle in front of us that I could see the color of their eyes from their rear view mirror reflection. I even made a kindly attempt to express this concern by saying “Gee, I though Matt followed closely but he’s nothing compared to you”. The hint obviously didn’t sink in, and when a semi cut off the person in front of us causing them to hit the brakes, well obviously we didn’t have any reaction time and plowed into them. Now the good news is that traffic on the interstate was only going about 50 and I think the collision happened at about 45 mph and everyone was fine.

However, we did have to pull to the shoulder and wait for the troopers to arrive while cars whizzed past us, causing the van to rock back and forth in their wake. And I’m the gal who envisions her children dying or being maimed horribly as you’ll recall so I had to take Gwen out of the car seat and stood in the ditch with her while calculating the trajectory of wreckage, should someone plow into the van and stretching my leg muscles so that I would be ready to sprint out of the way of the shrapnel without cramping up.

Not to mention the fact that the entire front end of the van was completely smashed up($3,100 in damage to be exact), and having just spent $900 to get the air and other things fixed on it, the $250 deductible we’ll have to spend to get it repaired now is not really appreciated. Luckily our rates won’t be affected since we were not driving. Now let me just say that to his credit, Matt’s dad was absolutely sick with guilt. I mean the man sobbed, and I think he was close to throwing up at one point he felt so bad and I think he still feels bad about it to this day and really, that’s all right with me. I don’t really blame him – okay I do blame him, but not in a bad way. Yes, if he hadn’t been following so closely we wouldn’t have had the accident, that’s true but he’s genuinely sorry, and shit happens you know – I’d just like to know why it always happens to me and my poor van.

We’ve had that van for four and a half years and it has been in the body shop three times now. I think this time I’ll ask them to place a huge rubber bumper around the entire outside of the van. Could they put air bags on the outside?

So that’s my vacation in a nutshell. You’ve really just heard the bad parts. The rest of it was good (despite the extra $450 it cost me) and I’m enjoying my new floor and cabinet and table and seats. We’re putting the correctly measured countertop in next weekend and I got a new sink for free so I’m excited about that but then I’ll need to buy a new faucet to go with it.

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