Sunday, February 19, 2012

Look who turned 200,000!

On January 19, 2012 Mike called me from work. 

"Steph, can you drop the girls off at your Mom's and come eat lunch with me? The car's going to turn 200,000!"
Mike wanted to eat a romantic picnic while we drove around the flight line of Hill Air Force Base watching as the odometer turned to 200,000 on our little Chevy Prizm. (We go for broke on our dates these days.)  So I packed Hannah and Ellie up to my mom's and we celebrated our car's mileage birthday with a little reminiscing.

Our car is like our marriage. It just keeps going. Ummm, that doesn't sound right, does it? Well, how about this: It just won't quit! It may have a few breakdowns, but it always makes a comeback. Or, "200,000 miles later and surprisingly it's still going strong." Okay, I give up on the clever slogan comparison. But it is a good car. A great car. And it is a good marriage. A great one.   

One day in October 2001, Mike and I bought a car together. It was $8,000 (the most I had ever spent at one time and Mike too). We bought it from my Uncle Norm. I remember going to his house with Mike to look at it. We weren't engaged yet, but I do think we had secretly set a wedding date for the next June.  The white 2000 Chevy Prizm had about 30,000 (Mike says 20,000) miles on it and seemed to be a good, clean car. 

The day we signed the loan papers we walked across the street from the America First in Ogden and went to a Kmart photo booth to take our picture together, and Mike taped one of them to the dashboard. We both look young and a little clueless (see above, bottom left). We were. 10 years later and we're still a little clueless, but we are older.

When we got our license plate I made up a funny acronym to help us remember it. We'll always be able to remember our license plate number. I would share it here, but it's not really appropriate for viewer consumption. :) Plus I'm sure psychos would somehow find this blog post, use our license plate number for bad and ruin our lives. So, sorry, no slightly off-color license plate acronym for you. 

Until 2010 this was our only car, and we drove it everywhere. It's seen more trips to St. George than we can count; it's carried our bikes all over; we've taken it to Moab; it's been driven to California a few times; and we once drove it up the coast from Cali to Seattle (we were childless at the time). We also forded a small river in it and have driven on many four-wheel-drive-only tracks. 

We've put one major repair into it. When we were living in California for Mike's UCLA internship we had to replace an oxygen sensor. That's it. Oh yeah, and we had to replace a back window and the faceplate on our stereo when some punk broke into it while it was parked in Salt Lake. 

We've added a few upgrades, the radio that played Mp3s (so novel in the early 2000s), a clicker (that Mike wired in to unlock and lock it) and we've (Mike) replaced the door handle once many years ago.  In October of this last year, for safety and emissions, we did have to tape the passenger door handle on. Isn't that how a car should work? The door handles break before the engine.

Here's to another 100,000 miles little Chevy Prizm!

Look at this cute guy. I'm so glad I bought a car with him. 

If you look close, you can see our 200,000 milestone! (And a zit on my cheek. Thank you pregnancy.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How a Pig Ruined My Day

Today, success was based on whether or not I could find the number two pig from that stupid toy we borrowed from the library.
FAIL. Of course it's due tomorrow (and someone has it on hold) and I have scoured every inch of my house looking for the &*% pig. I have vague memories of the pig in various areas of my house (did I allow Ellie to take it in the van? Why, for the love, would I do that? Didn't I just yell at my children for putting it in their dirty laundry?); but none of these have panned out. And today, that makes me feel like a failure. Let's face it. There were a whole lot of other things that happened today that made me feel like a failure, but the pig--oh that stupid pig--- I think it sent me over the edge.

I'm 8 months pregnant and a pig is unbalancing me. I know I should be sitting here counting my blessings, but that pig, the one with green overalls that built a house of twigs, is ruining my otherwise cheerful recollections of the day. Like the recollection of Ellie sobbing hoarsely ALL MORNING, and wiping snot all over the only clothes I have that cover my belly. Or the fond recollection of having my mother-in-law bring Hannah home from tumbling early because she refused to go. Or the cheery memory of me accusing Kenzie of nefariously ripping the name off of Hannah's new box of crayons so she could steal them (I was wrong).  Or the happy reminiscence of Hannah yelling at the top of her lungs that she was NOT GOING TO! as she kicked at Ellie and Ellie screeched loudly in response and I locked myself in my room. Or the exciting recollection of trying to decide whether moving from the couch caused such pain because either A. The baby has lodged it's adorable head in my pelvis, or B. I kicked a kickball with Hannah two days ago. (I'm going with B since I still have about 5 weeks to go.)

Yeah, that stupid pig. It totally ruined my day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We've come a long, long way together

Let's pretend our children are Chinese food. Kenzie is my Sweet and Sour. Just like in the dish, I'm not sure where the sour comes in, because she's been sweet. She's been easy (and I am seriously throwing salt over my shoulder and knocking on wood as I write this, because I know I am cursing myself.), most the time. This is lucky for her, since she's the experimental child. Being a experimental child myself (firstborn), I can pretend that things will turn out alright, even though I make lots of mistakes.

Hannah is Szechuan. I love Szechuan, but sometimes it's a little on the spicy side. It can give me heartburn. Today, it gave me heartburn. But, but, I'm making an effort right now to think about the good things. Because we've come a long, long way.  I think. Sometimes. And then I think maybe we haven't come a long, long way. I think maybe it's not temporary heartburn. Maybe she's so spicy it's not heartburn, it's heartbreak, permanent style. Maybe it's a horrible underlying chronic condition and something is HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY wrong. And then I start hyperventilating and I become convinced that her entire future hinges on my giving in to her wanting one more minute before she does her chore. So I am firm. "No Hannah. No more minutes." And she throws a fit, and I tell myself not to give in because if I do she will end up staggering homeless through an alley, high on some illegal substance and cursing me and God.  All because I gave her one more minute too many times.

Deep breath. Deep breath. I'm just going to have to make a list. Lists always tend to calm me down and give a little perspective to my heartburn induced nightmares.

Bad things: Hannah told me a blatant lie about using soap to wash down the counter. "I didn't," she said furiously wiping soap bubbles from the counter. "It's not soap." (This was the second lie she told me today. The lies, about stupid things, seem to be increasing lately).  Hannah yelled, "I hate you. You're not a good mom," twice.  She refused to have her hair done until I threatened her with toy loss. She refused to go to school until I took her there. She refused to do her chore until I threatened toy loss. She refused to practice her piano until I threatened toy loss. She kicked Ellie. She made Kenzie cry. She had five timeouts for various infractions of our home rules.

Good things: Hannah played nicely with Ellie until quiet time. Hannah had a great time at school and loved telling me all about it and showing me her papers on the letter P. When I came upstairs from putting Ellie down for a nap, Hannah was sitting quietly on the couch, ready to play reading games. While Hannah was in timeout she chose to make me birthday pictures, coloring and cutting out cakes and making them "chocolate," my favorite. Hannah made me a birthday crown. She practiced her piano. She did her chore. She ate her dinner and lots and lots of corn. She helped Kenzie find some of her jewels. When Mike took the girls to his parent's after dinner, she said sweetly, "Mommy, do you just need some alone time?"

See. It was a good day too. That Szechuan is wonderful stuff.

Ellie is Beef and Broccoli on Noodles. With chopsticks. She is slippery and everywhere and wonderful and messy and sometimes frustrating.  She's still mostly mild, but has the potential to be spicy too. And sometimes the beef can be a little tough.

Mike gets to be the fortune cookies, and I'll just keep trying to be the ham fried rice. Actually I think we're both the ham fried rice--- the thing that pulls the meals together, the essence of the meal.