Wednesday, Jan 22
It has been fifteen days since I’ve posted. That’s the longest I have ever gone without having something to say here on Sometimes Martha, Always Mary. I wonder why? Could it be that last week the Little One was cutting her first two teeth and had terrible congestion to boot? Or perhaps it was the “post holiday slump” that I experience so deeply each year once the Epiphany is over. It could have also been all those snow days that came right on the heels of Christmas Break, keeping the children at home and inside for way.too.long.
The reasons I haven’t written aren’t all bad. There has been plenty of mirth and merriment thrown in with all the blahs. Friends of ours had a Christmas Party the weekend after New Year’s. Can I just say how much I love it when people celebrate Christmas during the Christmas Season? It’s not that I’m against parties during Advent, but man, is it fun to have a night out after all the hubbub of the holidays! This party was even black tie, so we got to get dressed up. Have I mentioned how much I love getting dressed up? I thought so.
The next day, Grandma had us over to her house for a home Mass and brunch followed by Christmas presents. It was so lovely, I think it will become a new family tradition.
The next weekend The Hubs took me to The Hamilton in D.C. for dinner then to The Warner Theatre to see Jim Gaffigan!
And look who we ran into? College friends of mine! What a great couple they are. Too bad they live across the ocean in Maryland. Otherwise we would definitely love to get together with these two and their six beautiful kids more often.
We laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Jim Gaffigan, we love how you help us laugh at parenthood. A good sense of humor is a great thing to have when raising a family, and you show us how.
Then, all of a sudden, it was time to get ready for birthday season here at Casa del SMAM. Social Butterfly mid-January, The Hubs at the end of the month, and Bright Eyes at the beginning of February.
And this is where the NV saga begins. You remember the NV, right?
Well, after an extremely successful maiden voyage to New Jersey to visit all the Joneses, we returned to Northern Virginia with a hand-me-down American Girl Doll given to us by our sweet cousins. Santa was kind enough to grant Dimples’ wish and brought her Marie Grace for Christmas. We had a hunch that Social Butterfly would like one too, but didn’t want to put a perfect little brand-new doll into the hands of a four year old. Too much responsibility for her, too much stress for me. So when I mentioned the idea to my sister-in-law, she immediately offered us Nicki. Unfortunately, I erased the before picture, but suffice it to say, Nicki was in serious need of some love in the hair department. I don’t know the first thing about taking care of a doll’s hair, so, after turning to my trusty Facebook Friends for advice, I put it on my calendar to take a trip to the Tyson’s American Girl Doll Store to have the professionals take care of it.
But when you have five children, nothing is ever as simple as that, is it?
That night, The Hubs and I were going to see Jim Gaffigan. This would require me to take him to the bus stop so that we wouldn’t have to pick up his car at the bus stop late that night. The kids all had a two hour delay that day, so we all piled into the NV in our PJ’s to drop Daddy off. Then it was back home to play, make lunches, get dressed and head over to school at 10:00. Back home for 45 minutes to play, get the preschooler dressed, pack her snack and take her to school by 11:00. Pick up time at preschool would be at 1:00, so that would leave just enough time to drive the NV to Tyson’s and get this doll’s hair fixed. After all, Social Butterfly’s birthday was the following Tuesday, and we all know what Tyson’s is like on the weekends. Friday was my only chance to run this errand.
Let’s make this long story short. Too late for that, I guess. I’ll just keep up with the excruciating details.
I drove the NV into a parking garage just outside the AGD store. As I was driving, I could hear the horrible sound of the yellow metal bar scratching the roof of my pristine new vehicle. I stopped and did not move. My stomach sunk and my heart felt as though it stopped. I jumped out of the van and called to two young men passing by. “Could you help me? I’m stuck.” The guy not on his cell phone looked right at me and shook his head, “No.” Then an elderly woman walked toward me. “Are you okay?” I think I said something to the effect of, “No, I feel like an idiot. I don’t know what to do. What was I thinking? I literally forgot I was driving this car. I just got it for Christmas and I haven’t parked in a parking garage with it before. Oh my gosh, my husband is going to kill me.” She proceeded to say all the comforting, consoling, loving things a mother or grandmother would say and then said, “Well, I have to run into the American Girl Doll store for fifteen minutes. I’m going to check on you before I go back to my car.” Ha! Yeah. American Girl Doll. That’s what got me into this situation in the first place! What a kind woman.
I quickly got my head together and looked on my Smart Phone for the mall website, found the number for mall security, and within five minutes or less a security guy was at my window. He assured me that it was a good thing I stayed put. He said that if I had continued driving, I would have hit something else, given that there are lower points on the garage ceiling than the bar I drove under. Well, that’s consoling! Sheesh. Little One was sleeping soundly in her carseat during most of this ordeal, thank goodness. And I was texting and calling The Hubs. It was silly of me to say to that sweet woman that my husband was going to kill me. I believe his exact response was, “Are you okay? Is anyone hurt? Then who cares about the car!” What a guy.
Eventually the Security Guard called a mall maintenance worker. He was the kindest man! He let some air out of the rear tires and helped me to back out without doing further damage to the roof of the NV. Then he instructed me to go straight to the gas station around the corner where I could fill the tires with air to get home safely.
I got the tires filled and came right back to Tyson’s. There was no way I was getting out of this situation without doing what I went there to do! It was an education, I’ll say that. I’m not gonna lie: The American Girl Doll Store scares me a little. I was completely overwhelmed. After touring the entire store, I went right back to the “salon” to watch the ladies fixing the dolls’ hair. Spray bottle of water, lots of brushing with their special metal brushes, and curling the hair in sections on the brush handle. Easy! I also took a good long look at the catalog of hairstyle choices. Conclusion: You can pretty much do anything with an AGD’s hair. Sky’s the limit.
Looking back, I can not get over how many folks drove by me and honked. I tried to keep my eyes down so I couldn’t see people laughing at me. I felt stupid enough already. However, when my friend, the grandmother came back out of the American Girl Doll Store, she came right up to my window to check on me, just like she said she would. “Oh honey, I’m so glad you’re okay. I was going to get you a snack in the cafe, but I just couldn’t decide what you might like. I figured a treat would lift your spirits.” Little did she know, her smile and kindness was all I needed. That and the laughter and humor of my friends Katie and Frank. I knew I would never make it back to preschool in time to pick up Social Butterfly, so I called Katie to see if she could pick her up and keep her for the rest of the afternoon. Let’s just say that those two knew just how to make me laugh! “I don’t think anyone watching will envy you.” Funny, Frank. Very funny.
The funniest part of the entire ordeal was when I happened to look behind my car from the driver’s seat at the traffic behind me. As soon as I looked, the first thing I saw was a woman driving an NV, exactly like mine, window down, cell phone up to her ear, AUDIBLY LAUGHING. I’d like to imagine that she was talking to her husband saying, “Honey, you’re not gonna believe what I’m seeing right now. Remember that time when I drove our NV into the parking garage at Tyson’s? ….” It’s consoling to me. A girl can dream.
When I told the story to another friend after it was all over she said, “There’s a reason why there are black scratches all over those bars you drove under. People do it all the time!” She’s right! I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself. I suppose it’s my long history with car accidents (before I was a mom) that brings out this sort of reaction. I don’t know. In the end, the Hubs assessed that there was little to no permanent damage done.
He was able to clean off most of the paint that the bar left behind. The red reverse light cover popped off, and will be an easy fix for the dealer to take care of for us. In order to avoid future catastrophes, I have installed this little label on my dashboard:
So there ya have it, folks! The story many of you have asked for and a little update as well. We’re on day two of having the children home from school due to the snow. And if all goes as planned, we’ll be hitting the road again soon for a wedding in NYC! More to come on that later.