"taleS froM the trencheS

National Guard wife blogging about her adventures with three sons and the unexpected joys of Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS)
....um, yes. They are tears of joy. Really.

Our Squad

Our Squad

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Accident

I had to go home and change my clothes. Somehow I had managed to get all sweaty at the gym. I try really hard to stand against the wall and blend in. It’s a trick I learned in Junior High, but no longer easy to accomplish since I’m in my thirties with a personal trainer.

After I changed and enjoyed a healthy (code for “flavorless”) lunch with Charlie, I headed out the door for work. I tossed my laptop in the trunk and put my purse and bottle of water on the passenger seat.

The next few details are a little hazy.

I know I started the van.

I remember cranking up the radio.

Then there was a deafening “SCREETCH” and a jolt that stopped the van.

At the same time, I remembered Charlie’s pickup truck was also in the driveway. And I instinctively knew I had hit it. Probably something I learned from reading all those Nancy Drew books when I was a kid.

The damage was not as bad as I had expected. I really thought there would be a busted tail light/ head light combination. Apparently, my van’s side panel rubbed up against Charlie’s running board and shaved a couple inches off of it. The black shavings and one chunk of plastic lay on the ground.

There were not any scratches or dents or even broken glass. I think those step stools attached to trucks are just for show, anyway. And it was on the passenger side (my side) and really would not affect Charlie’s travel experiences in his truck. I was not worried.

I went inside the house to break the news to Charlie. Several of my girlfriends have questioned this move and I really can’t explain it. My usual intuition would be to lie and hide the evidence. All I can think is that I must have been in shock from the accident.

Thankfully though, Charlie was not mad. I know he was not mad because he informed of this at least twenty times.

“I’m not mad,” he stated for the fifth time as he walked around the van, in four inches of snow while wearing his slippers. “I’m not mad. I’m not mad. I just don’t know why. Why did you hit my truck?” He walked over to the truck. “There is plenty of room to get around it. I’m not mad. Can you just tell me why?”

There is no defense when you hit a parked vehicle. Ever.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I guess I just didn’t look.”

“I know you didn’t look!” he yelled and then told me he was not yelling.

I do not know if he was trying to convince me or himself.

“I’m not mad. I just want to know why you didn’t look.”

Charlie walked back to the van. “Do you see that?” he asked.

I didn’t.

“Yes,” I replied.

Charlie rubbed at an invisible spot on the van. “That is going to rust,” he informed me.

I am pretty sure the whole van is going to rust. Someday. But I didn’t point out that fact.

“I’m not mad. I just want to know why you didn’t look.”

I let the truth slip out.

“I was turning up KC and The Sunshine Band,” I said.

“Disco?” he asked. The look he gave me told me it was the wrong answer. The shock was still affecting my common sense.

“Actually, I think KC and The Sunshine Band are more ‘funk’ than ‘disco’,” I corrected him.

And then, I'm almost certain, I saw him get mad.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. King

I was attempting to clean the kitchen table before supper.

More like moving The Pile to the counter in order to make a hole for the plates, but I call it “cleaning.” My first grader, Brennan, decided to help by unloading his backpack from the school day. He pulled out a paper birthday cake and laid it on the spot I had cleared. “Happy Birthday Dr. King!” it read.

“Who’s Dr. King?” I asked him.

“Well, he’s a guy that said people could ride on a bus,” Brennan replied.

I was pleased with that answer. Brennan tends to miss the morals of a story and focus on the horrific details.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “you know what else?”

“What?” I was excited to see him excited.

“He got shot!” And there it was.

“Yeah, I know. That’s very sad,” I answered.

“Do you know what happened to the bad guy?” Brennan asked. “He went to jail. Where’s jail? What do the bad guys eat in jail? Where do they sleep? I wonder-“

“What else did Dr. King do, Brennan?” I asked.

“Do you want me to read the book?” The birthday cake had a book stapled to the bottom of it.

“Sure.” I said and sat down at the kitchen table. It is amazing how far his reading skills have come since the beginning of the school year.

“Dr. King was a preacher at a church,” Brennan began.

“BIRTHDAY CAKE!” It was as if Garrett dropped from the ceiling.

He snatched the paper from Brennan’s hands and began to sing. “Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to Garrett, happy birthday to-“

“Garrett!” Brennan cried, “It’s not your birthday. “

Brennan grabbed for the paper. Garrett turned away and held the cake up higher than Brennan’s reach.

“Birthday cake! Yummy, yum. I’m going to eat,” Garrett sang as he made an exaggerated display of bringing the cake to his mouth.

“It’s mine!” Brennan hit Garrett in the back. Garrett swung his leg around in a counter attack and kicked Brennan. I stepped between them and grabbed Garrett’s wrist.

“This is Brennan’s homework,” I said to Garrett and took the paper back.

“NOOOOO!” Garrett screamed. He crossed his arms and stomped his right foot. “Humph,” he snorted for added effect.

And then Garrett turned and stomped off towards the stairs. No doubt in a search for another item of Brennan’s that he would wave above his head and begin Round 2.

Brennan turned to the second page. It was a picture of two hands shaking with a dove flying above them.

“He believed that all people should live in peace,” Brennan read.

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