Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Curse

Anna June didn't know what a curse was, so when I mentioned that I thought I might be cursed, she let me know she was confused. I explained it was like a witch putting a spell on someone, and she reminded me that there is no such thing as witches, which I tell her all the time.

So maybe there's not a curse. But here are some unfortunate events that have happened to us in the past little bit.

Our trip to the beach was grand, but I got sunburned. Badly. So badly that when I went to the dermatologist and told her how bad it hurt she gave me some kind of numbing cream they give cancer patients. I'm still peeling. When I saw my doctor today, she gave me another "tsk, tsk" look and a blessedly short lecture.

A couple of days after our trip, I met with a contractor about our floors. He came and took measurements, but Radar got really hyped up at his visit. When I was leaving the house, he bolted. So I called Radar to come and run a couple of errands in the car with me. He liked that idea and came along. The first one was putting gas in the car. He whined while the car was stopped - that dog loves to go! When we made it out onto Crestwood Blvd into traffic, the car stopped. Luckily, it started right back up, because I didn't fancy being stranded with my dog in a hot car on a busy highway with not even a leash for him!

My car was stalling often when we put gas in the car. We'd taken it in to the dealership for this problem a few times, including complaining that it smelled of gas sometimes. They told us to bring it back when it was happening all the time. Eventually, through good internet research Ben found where other cars were experiencing the same difficulties, and I arrived at the dealership, printout in hand, to show them the name of the certain valve that was malfunctioning. That was great, but, a) they'd have to order the parts and b) my car is out of warranty. What? It only has 44,000 miles on it! I was a little frustrated when they told me it had expired (by date) in October. It was truly unfortunate that the dealership couldn't determine the nature of the problem while it was still covered.

Then, we took Ben's car into the shop because it was making a terrible noise, and I concluded that the brakes were not doing well, either. So, the belt got tightened and the brakes got fixed. Our safety and well-being is worth the money, but, ouch.

While my car was in the shop for a few days, we had to carpool, which was OK, except it was VBS week, and we had various things to do. We got the hang of it, though, but on the last day, I got sick at work. Like, I need to go home right now sick. So Ben had to leave his work and come pick me up, since he had the car. That was inconvenient. He was fielding calls as he drove, only to have me say, "Oh, by the way, you need to go pick up AJ. In Leeds." Let's just say he wasn't thrilled. When they called and said it was ready - earlier than they had said on the phone -  we were more than happy to trek to Gardendale, even when I wasn't feeling well, so I could have my freedom back!

Sometime during the week after the beach (pre-curse bliss, as I like to think of it), I finally figured out via an email that the person who had been calling me was my friend Chris, our air conditioner guy. He said the check I had written him didn't go through. Upon further investigation, it was determined that I had been writing checks on my closed account - we closed our checking account as soon as my purse was stolen last year, and we opened another one at the same institution. The new checks are only one digit off (we were out of those) and the old checks had not been shredded. Oops. Times eleven checks. So then I had to go on what Ben calls my "Tour of Apology." We had to visit the a/c guy, the yard man, the dog sitter, the seamstress, the church treasurer, and everyone else who got "bad"  checks from me. Each got charged an additional $10-15 per check, so, it was a pretty expensive mistake, even though our credit union didn't charge us anything because the account was closed.

Sunday, we decided to gear up for AJ's day camp. I had an optimistic, back-to-school vibe, hot off the heels of my girl's night out with my friend. (We ate sushi and went to a rock concert. We're too old to stand up that long anymore, but it was a good show!) We headed to the Outlet Shops of Grand River to see about buying some new shorts outfits for AJ to play in. She still has a lot of clothes (LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS) but I wanted her to have some new things she picked out that would be appropriate for long days in the gym. We hit up Osh Kosh, and she hated everything there. We went over to Carter's, and she got more in the groove. She picked out a few outfits, a nightgown, and a bathing suit. It was going well. It was raining, which is inconvenient for an outdoor shopping center, but we headed to Children's Place. She picked out a long skirt (mourning that she outgrew her favorite long skirt), a fancy scarf (also sad that I ruined her only summer scarf in the wash), and another shorts outfit. It was pouring, and we weren't going anywhere, so I had her try on the outfits from Carter's while we were in the dressing room. (Neither Carter's nor Gymboree has a dressing room!) As it turns out, she hated the feel of the one pair of shorts (like khaki pants, she said) and the romper she had picked out was all wrong for her. She's long and thin, and this shape does much better with two-piece outfits rather than one. So we went back to Carter's to return it. I swiped my card to add the credit onto it. We went on to Gymboree in the rain, only to have AJ freak out and declare that she absolutely would not wear any of this stuff. So we left the outlet mall. I was still sporting my Indian cross-body purse I had taken to the concert, which had lost its button closure. Somehow, the debit card must have slipped out of my unsecured bag - the last place I saw it was Carter's, and, I checked and they don't have it.

So I called the credit union to cancel my "lost or stolen" debit card. It's an easy and straightforward process, which you complete by keying numbers into the telephone. This was quick and easy, and I let Ben know that it was canceled, lest he have visions of Leeds hoodlums cleaning out our account at Toys R Us outlet. Then, I get a text from Ben - "Call me. Important." It turns out, when I canceled my debit card over the phone, it canceled his, too, as I'm the primary account holder and both cards are linked to my SSN. I called and they reactivated it, but it still made for an embarrassing scene when Ben was just trying to get a sandwich for lunch that day.

Is this not enough to prove our streak of rotten luck? I could go on. In fact, I'll tell you one more and then I'll stop.

On Saturday, we had enjoyed a great day, celebrating Radar's 7th birthday. We had done the car maintenance thing for Ben, gone out to lunch, gone grocery shopping, straightened up a (very) little for the party, and even had a nice little setup for our guests. After they left, I went to lie down for a few minutes. AJ came in my room and asked if we could go to walk Radar at the park (actually, she asked if we could W-A-L-K R-A-D-A-R at the P-A-R-K because he gets way hyper when he hears those key words). I told her that, yes, it was fine. When we got there, a church was having a community fish fry, and there were hundreds of people there. There was a bouncy house, and face painting, all for free. We walked Radar a lap (AJ ran 2 laps) and then we went up to the bounce house to play with some friends we saw. AJ was lured into the "little kid" bounce house by her friend Madison. Of course, then, AJ bounced right into another friend and the little one had a small meltdown. AJ went back over and apologized, but their dad had had enough, so they were ready to leave. We went and got AJ a spider painted on her face (her choice) only to have Ben ask to immediately remove it as soon as we got home - I didn't even get a picture, but it was actually one of the best simple face painting jobs she's had done. We saw one of the teachers from AJ's school, so we went over and spoke. We finally got through the crowd and back up the hill to our car. We made it home, and I walked straight to the sofa to sit down. I unceremoniously crossed my legs. "Is that POOP?" Ben asked. Sure enough, I had stepped in it. So I had to spend the rest of the afternoon de-pooping: I had to wash my shoes, then the kitchen floor, then the den carpet, then the driveway and the car, then take out the garbage with the smelly paper towels and wash the smelly rags. I have no idea if it came from the park or if it came from one of our "friends" in our yard. What a great dog birthday, right?

It does seem like I've had a bad streak of luck. Everything from the Rec Center mishandling AJ's swim lessons on the first day to missing a deadline at work to going in to a Monday meeting where I was told, "My grant is due Friday," and having to weigh at the doctor's office seems to have brought on a woe-is-me color to my days. But our pastor has been preaching on gratitude recently, and I have so many blessings that I cannot count them. My darkest, most annoying, most brought-it-on-myself-miserable days have their silver linings. AJ is adorable, sweet, and very smart. My husband is a great guy, making time for us even when we don't make time for him. My family is very encouraging, loving, and helpful. My friends are hilarious and loyal. My bosses and co-workers are always ready to lend a helping hand or at least an ear when I need to vent. They seem genuinely concerned when I say things like, "My life is falling apart!" even though they know it is not. I was reminded that it's what you choose to see that's reality for you. If you think life sucks, then it does. If you think it's great, it is great.

I just won tickets to a cool event, so maybe my luck is starting to change. If not, I'm just going to start writing blues songs instead of blogging.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Laura!! I was almost hyperventilating in sympathy by the time I finished reading this! ( AND , HOW did you manage to forget the sunscreen???????????DId AJ get burned too ??????)
I hope you are feeling better by this writing, both from your illness, and the burn.

I assure you , you are not cursed...this sounds like the normal ebb and flow of life; UP and DOWN. Good news is that you do sound like you are due to experience a real good HIGH soon!!

TAKE CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laura Gallitz said...

Oh, I remembered the sunscreen. We made a few key mistakes. The first one, of course, is that I may be the palest human on earth and am quite predisposed to burns.

We were using old sunscreen from last year (strike 1). We were using the last of the spray sunscreen, and couldn't tell if it was the actual product or just the dregs of aerosol (strike 2). We didn't apply 15 or 20 full minutes before we went down to the beach (strike 3). To make it worse, we didn't reapply.

AJ did not really get burned. She has her Grandpa's olive skin. Thank goodness for that!

So next time, I'm using the old-fashioned cream-style sunscreen, and applying it to myself at least 20 minutes before getting in the sun, and then setting a timer to reapply after the recommended length of time. I wore a hat and my face didn't get burned. And we may go to one of those beach resort places with the big umbrellas to rent (toting one around would be a pain, but not as bad of a pain as the burn I experienced).

SRG said...

She asks "Are you cursed?" /He says "I think that I'm cured" /
Then he kissed her and hoped / that she'd forget that question.
- Josh Ritter

SRG said...

This reads like Daniel Handler guest-blogged for us.

I feel this post should have a subtitle or explanatory title a la 19th century Melville or Dickens.

The Curse,
Kismet and Forget It

Anonymous said...

SRG with his unmistakable thumbprint. !!!!!

(love it !)

Laura Gallitz said...

Yes, it has been a series of unfortunate events, to be sure. said...

You're kin to me. That's what it is. I have times like that quite often, those times when you think that nothing else could go wrong but somehow does anyway. I'm glad things are looking up for you now. I just hope I haven't caught it from reading your story here. I'm headed to the beach in two and a half more weeks. I'm staying in my cousin's apartment, so of course her family will know I'm there, but I've decided that I'm not visiting anyone else until at least Tuesday afternoon. On Sunday evening and Monday all day and on through Tuesday morning, I'm doing the beach thing, running around sight seeing, and taking pictures to my heart's content.

Laura Gallitz said...

Have a great trip to the beach! Wear sunscreen! said...

Yes ma'am. I really don't stay right on the beach that long at the time, but I do wear sunscreen. I never became a "sun worshipper". I tended to get sick when I was out in it for any length of time. I'm a bit thankful for that now. My super blonde parents never even got very red sitting on the beach with me. I always begged to go inside before we had been there too long. Oh, I enjoyed being under an umbrella or sitting up in the pavilion; but I'm thankful that I don't have some of the problems now that some of my very good friends have been having off and on for years. Thankfully, none of them has ever had a permanent problem from a skin cancer; but they've had lots removed.