Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Ryan was standing in the middle of the road next to his defunct, paperweight of a car yesterday morning when I peeked out the window after he kissed us all goodbye and headed for work.  As he explained later, he had tried to push start it three times down our sloping driveway, unsuccessfully, before it came to rest in the middle of the street, completely blocking our culdesac.

I ran downstairs and together, we managed to push it far enough back up the driveway that it wasn't blocking BOTH lanes of the road, just one.  And then I went inside to hastily dress the kids so we could drive Ryan to work in the van and also to give Ryan some time to swear at the car in private.

All the kids were dressed and singing "We're taking Papa to work!  We're taking Papa to work!" when he finally came back inside.  I said with strained cheer, "Hey!  Everyone's ready to go!  This is no problem!"  Except that it was 8:35 and Charlie was going to be picked up for school at 9:15 (ice delay) and there was no way in this universe I was going to be able to make it to Ryan's work and back in time, let alone the fact that I needed to leave for school by 9:00 at the very latest.

Thankfully he agreed to wait until 9:00 when the sitter arrived, meaning I could drop him off on my way to school.  SO SIMPLE!  And HALF the carbon footprint!  YAY TOGETHERNESS!

Because the car was still blocking the sidewalk and the entire right lane of the street, and also because we had some free time and thought it would make a great story, we decided it would be best to attempt to push the car further up the driveway and get it out of the way.  Ryan and I were both needed to push on the back bumper, which meant Charlie had to sit in the driver's seat and man the emergency brake.  It did not take much convincing to get him out the door.

Ryan buckled him into the seat and showed him the lever.  "You're going to pull this up like an astronaut when we tell you to.  Pull it as hard as you can."

Charlie asked "What's this button do?" as he pushed it, releasing the lever and causing the car to start rolling backwards."

"DON'T PUSH THAT BUTTON!" Ryan warned "All you have to do is pull the lever.  Just pull the lever.  Justthelever.  And no steering wheel.  DO NOT STEER.  Got it?"

He did.  So we slowly let the car roll back into the street with Charlie at the wheel.  After a one-two-three, Ryan and I threw a shoulder against the back of the car and pushed as hard as we could.  The car rolled easily across the street, but as soon as it hit the driveway it was like pushing the side of the house.  My moccasins and cable knit cardigan were not the right outfit for pushing a car up a hill in thirty-degree weather, sadly, but fortunately Ryan's wingtips held and we were able to get the back bumper just past the sidewalk.

"NOW CHARLIE NOW!" Ryan called out.  He pulled the emergency brake, but not far enough and the car started to roll back toward the street.  I ran around to the door to fix it, but before I got there he had pushed the freaking button again and the car started to roll backwards.  A neighbor was driving down the street to work, right in the path of the car, but Ryan managed to singlehandedly keep it from rolling out of the driveway and into certain doom like the suburban Jean Valjean.

So AGAIN we did the two-man professional-wear tractor pull and pushed the car up the driveway in front of God and all the neighbors who gently mock us for our fourteen year old car (that is PAID FOR, Ryan likes to point out).  Having learned from the last time, Charlie pulled the lever (AND JUST THE LEVER OMG) and managed to stop the car in the right spot.

Finally, everything was ready, the babysitter had arrived, and I was only going to be a couple of minutes late for my class, when I picked up my laptop bag and swung it over my shoulder.  Unbeknownst to me, James was running up behind me and the combination of his forward speed and the swinging of my bag caused me to clock him right in the face with the side of my laptop with a resounding SMACK sound that I will never forget.  Time stood still for a second and then he collapsed into a screaming puddle on the floor.  It was a great moment.

It took several terrible minutes for him to open his eyes.  It took ten more minutes and a cupcake to calm him down to the point where I didn't feel like a jerk for leaving.  And then a few more minutes to actually get out the door.

We left at 9:25.  My class was at 10:00.  I still had to drop Ryan off.

Even though I left Ryan at the end of his plant's driveway, in the cold rain, a good ten minute walk from his lab (at his insistence), and even though I took some liberties with the speed limit, I made it to my building at 9:59.  Needless to say, it was not the best class I have ever taught.


Sarah said...

zOMG. Poor James! Hope the car situation is resolved painlessly.

Susan said...

Ouch!! What a morning! Hopefully there is a big bag of chocolate in your near future.

CP said...

What a stressful morning! Hope you find out what's wrong with the car!

Brooke said...

It feels so hard to switch from frazzled person to competent professor--at least it is for me. Congrats on surviving a crazy morning.