Guess what I did yesterday? I mean, besides the obvious.
Tires on the Alero—Check. Lifetime alignment—Check. $600 later the car that has almost as many miles as the Saturn (252,000) was up and running as it should. So we decided to go spend more money at the mall.
I had a coupon.
We swung by Old Navy and The Children’s place so that Mia could pick out something special (and cheap) to wear for her first day of second grade. She chose about 8 different outfits pretty quickly, so the tough part was narrowing it down to under $20. It was during this haggling time that Mia decided getting her ears pierced in honor of her up-and-coming 7th birthday would be a pretty dope thing to do.
Caleb and I let the idea simmer. Sophomore Cheyenne spent her $20 on a Buckle bargain while the little kids played with ruffians and thugs on the indoor playground. 2 hours later, Mia was dead-set on having some real-live August birthstone earrings all up in her ear lobes. And so the whole fam trekked down to Claire’s.
The 12-year-olds that worked there were pretty friendly, and knowledgeable. Mia hopped up on that stool with such enthusiasm and I just knew in my heart that she was ready for this ever-so-important rite of passage. Caleb and Merrick sort of stood by watching in horror, waiting for the inevitable scream that came with the (slight) pain.
Mia did not disappoint.
The clerks stood on either side of Mia, earring guns at the ready. “Now, you’ll feel a little pinch on the count of three,” said the leader of the clerks. So on the count of three, the girls fired away, simultaneously, on each ear, and Mia. Teared up. Sobbed. Cried out. Screamed bloody murder that we were hurting her, it burns, she was being forced to do this, and “TAKE THE EARRINGS OUT NOW! I WANT THEM OUT NOW! MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Okay, so she never said that last part. But girl wasn’t happy with anyone in that store, and she let us all know.
Unfortunately, one of the guns misfired, leaving Mia with one beautiful sparkly Peridot earring in one ear, and one half-hole in the other ear. Caleb and I tried and tried to convince her to let the girls fix their piercing-fail, but she was beyond hysterical and it was no use. It was all we could do to keep her from yanking out the good earring right then and there. After she calmed down a bit (read: NOT), we decided that maybe it would be best if we just left the empty hole the way it was for the time being. We paid (“Mia, do you see this $50? Watch me set it on fire!”) and slinked out of the mall, bummed out, irritated, and ready to go home.
But it was not meant to be.
About a quarter-mile down the road, the Saturn began to feel hot. I mean, hotter than it normally does after it’s been sitting in the blazing sun in a crowded parking lot in the 105 degree heat with its vinyl seats and jank air-condition and fail windows.
The dashboard lights lit up and the coolant temperature arrow menacingly pointed to super-duper-hot, so I did what any normal level-headed woman would do—I called my husband and casually mentioned it in conversation.
“Pull over now.”
“Uh, I can’t. I’m on the road and it’s busy and there’s nowhere good to stop.”
“Just pull over.”
“Um, let me call you back.”
What to do, what to do? I could have pulled over on the side of a busy road right next to a giant car lot with rows and rows of gleaming new Fords staring me in the face while the kids overheated in the backseat…or I could try to make it a little further down the road to the ice cream store.
After I pulled into a parking space with smoke pouring out from underneath the hood and a foul stench filling up our nostrils, the kids and I gathered our things and hopped out of the car just as fast as we could, just incase the Saturn was about to explode. (Ha! Only in my wildest dreams.) We inched past the pool of orange liquid that had come from the car, and went inside the ice cream store to wait for Caleb. Plus, we had ice cream.
Long story short (whatever, right?) the seal on the cap of the coolant-holding-tank-thingy had melted. MELTED, people. So thankfully, all Caleb had to do to fix my car was walk over to the auto parts store that was right next to the ice cream store and purchase a new $5 cap. He also picked one up for the Alero, which was having the very same problem.
Man, I just love old cars with maintenance issues and ridiculously high mileage.
We made it home in one piece. Nothing caught on fire, no tires blew out. Mia stopped crying and started admiring her one earring. By 8:00 at night she had decided to go back to Claire’s and have the second piercing done after all. At 8:30 we sat outside in a small patch of grass and watched giant black clouds roll over our house. We saw lightning all around and we heard thunder and we felt the wind pick up. God was bringing us rain.
Like, 2 drops.
We could see it pouring miles and miles away from us, in other towns to the north and to the east. The kids rolled down the hill and the dogs played.
It wasn’t until 11:30 that the thunder picked up again—Caleb and I went outside to welcome the storm, and no, we didn’t care if we were struck by lightning. We just wanted to see it rain. Pour. The sky was menacing, the wind was blowing, and we were just sure that at any minute, the clouds would let loose and we would get soaked with big, fat raindrops. We let the dogs out for one last potty break before the storm. Caleb and I stared up at the sky.
“Any minute now,” I said softly.
“Yeah, we are soooo going to get it,” he agreed.
“Oh, look. The dogs are barking at the wind. How cute,” I noticed.
“Yeah…Darcy. Darcy. Calm down. Darcy—nononononononononoNONONONONONONONO! Darcy! Leave it—alone.”
“Tee hee. Leave what alone?”
And no sooner had the words left my mouth, I knew. And before I could stop them, the dogs came running up the hill, sneezing and shaking and throwing themselves down on the ground, writhing in agony. The perp could be seen by the light of the lightning, making his getaway towards the safety of the road, probably on to the next house to gas the next dog. Darcy sneezed and shook skunk butt-juice all over the lower half of my body and I cussed. I cussed a lot. I didn’t really stop cussing until I went to bed 3 hours later.
What’s more fun than bathing ALL THREE of our big skunky dogs at midnight out in the front yard in the garden hose in the rain with lightning all around? Bathing YOURSELF at midnight in the front yard in the garden hose in the rain with lightning all around. Some might call it the perfect ending to a perfect day. Caleb poured peroxide on my legs. We used dog shampoo on my legs, and we tried dishsoap and baking soda as well. Finally we tried vinegar, and besides causing agonizingly painful little red bumps to appear all over my thighs, it worked. I stripped in the laundry room and went off to take a 45-minute shower. Caleb laughed at me all night long.
We set the dogs up with old towels and a fan—and those little pissers slept in the garage. I think we got the smell off for the most part, because of our fast response, and Smokey and Noah seem okay…but Darcy took it in the mouth, and this morning she is pretty much still unbearable to be around.
The worst part? We got some big fat raindrops and the driveway glistened a little bit, but this morning there’s not a cloud in sight, and it’s just as dry as ever. I am glad for the rain that we got, though.
Today is new. Today the dogs smell a little better. I smell a little better. I haven’t said one cussword all morning. We’ll cook some breakfast, throw on some clothes, and get stuff ready for Open House Night up at the school. We will head to town again for more Adventures in Ear Piercing.
If our cars make it that far.