Monday, May 28, 2012

Vroom! Vroom!

Dario Franchitti might have won the Indy 500, but Team Reed won in the kid sweepstakes this year when we got to keep Alex Ogden for most of the holiday weekend. Alison and Alex have been pals since their Day Nursery days and they're just hilarious to be around. They have a lot of common interests - video games, Harry Potter, anything involving bouncing, water sports and even (gulp) guns that shoot soft darts and bee bees. They call each other when they get too far a field of the truth when recounting stories and they back each other up when they're trying to wheedle their way toward something. I fall for the one-two punch of Alison's plea and Alex's sweet smile almost every time. The captain is a harder sell. But they get him, too. We got Alex on Saturday. I was finishing up another weeding/mowing tour of duty and Alison was wasting energy practicing her TaeKwonDo kicks in between cartoons while she awaited his arrival. Jeff was off fixing an issue with his Friday surprise for me. (more on that later.) So I'm in the yard, dripping with sweat and covered in yard waste and dirt when Karin, Dale and Hannah show up. Alison runs out, grabs Alex and they disappear into the house with a "See ya later." The Ogdens depart for their various parts unknown and I finish up in the yard. Not a peep do I hear from Ali and Alex. I did have the presence of mind to tell them not to play with Alex's BB gun without Jeff or me around. "Awww Mom." We were planning a trip to Jasonville to celebrate Acacia's high school graduation, but we were stalled a bit. I'd spent the day at work for our annual Derby Day. My team had a Hunger Games them and once again we were robbed by the judges and didn't win. But we had fun. Ali had tattooed me up so I could look like Glimmer, a character who gets killed but does a lot of killing herself before her tracker-jacker end. I guess I had stolen my boss's crossbow as one of my props. It might have contributed to our loss, but it was totally in my character's character. (Not my own, of course...) Anyway, I'm coming home from work, sweaty, tattooed and wearing braids when I check on Jeff and Ali. "What's up?' "Well, I'm here talking to Jen about a Mustang convertible," he said. At first I thought he was talking about Auntie Jen. But no. We'd been talking about trading in our Honda. It had served its time well. But I hadn't really thought he was so close to it. We'd even talked about my hope and dream of one day having a convertible again. I'd gotten to fat when pregnant with Alison to fit into my Honda del Sol. For 11 years now, I've been driving "mom" cars. I'm happy being a mom. Love it, actually. But mom cars are like mom jeans. You might need them, but you don't really want them. I have managed to escape the minivan, which might have ground my spirit right into the ground, so there's that. Anyway, Jeff says he doesn't need me and that he and Ali will continue to shop. So I bike up to the gym to work out. I deliver a sno-cone maker to my friend Tina. I recycle. I start a little laundry. No word from Jeff and Ali. I decide I'll shower because now I'm really gross. I've sweated off some of the tattoo and even I can smell myself. "Hey, will you bring up your Honda key?" Jeff asks. "Uh. I'm kind of gross."
"They won't care." So that's how I find myself at TruWorth Auto looking at a beautiful, 5-speed, cobalt, Mustang convertible. Jeff had told Jen that he was shopping for this car for me, in large part as a reward for working so hard to get back in shape. He'd considered a diamond upgrade but settled on a convertible. She was more than well on the way to being in love with him. Yes. I am fully aware that I am quite possibly one of the luckiest women on the planet.
Men, take note: 1. He appreciated the difficulty I have had in putting down the cheesecake lo these many months. 2. He understands and doesn't resent the time I take to work out. 3. He felt compelled to reward it somehow with a tangible gift beyond mere word. 4. He doesn't scrimp on the words either. 5. Yes, he has been and will be properly rewarded... So I can only imagine what Jen at TruWorth was thinking after an afternoon of Jeff negotiating over our trade-in, the price of the new (to us) car and the reason for us getting it. I'm certain she was not expecting the Sharpie-tatted, sweaty mess of a short girl who arrived. TruWorth is a little too close to the Fishers/Carmel area for me to have arrived the way I was. But in true sales fashion, she regrouped and carried on. Jeff had whittled the choices to three -- 2 on this lot and another in a different direction. Ali wanted the blue one. The red on had a camel top, which offended her artistic sensibilities. The white one was newer but the seats were configured differently and not for short girls. All of them were amazing to me, so it was an easy choice. We bring home the blue one. Ali rides home with me and is introduced to the joys of the open air, the feel of wind whipping knots in your hair and the sound of shifting gears. I know she's calculating how long it will be before she is behind the wheel. Thirty minutes after we get home, Jeff sees fluid under the car. The captain was in full consumer rage. He vents his frustration. He crawls under the car. He fingers the fluid. He smells the fluid. He vents some more. He calls the sales manager, who has, of course gone home for the holiday weekend. The long story short is that a clamp on the radiator hose had come off. It was fixed the next day at no cost to us and we were off to the graduation party. TruWorth proved to be worthy. As we get into the car, Alison asks who's driving. "Oh man," she says, looking at Alex. "I'm scared to death." Jeff was sure we'd get a ticket, but so far, it hasn't happened. It's been years since I drove a stick shift and we've had some jumpy moments. But so far its been so very good. The graduation party was fun. Except for when they found a snake skin and the wind made it move and I thought it was alive. Or the reminder of the time a nest of snakes fell into Nancy's pool. Everything else was way better than that... Yesterday morning we went to SkyZoneSports again and jumped around. I stopped drinking one hour before and visited the ladies room twice before I ventured out...) Later that afternoon, I was waiting in the car with the kids with Jeff who was getting sunblock at CVS when they got into a hitting war. This is something my brothers did and there was often collateral damage. Ali and Alex's version is punctuated with giggles in between but they were hitting each other so hard, I swear I felt it. At one point I reminded them that if they had to do this kind of thing, they had to have rules. "No hitting above the neck." "You are some kind of parent," Alex said, right before giving Ali a chop to the leg. She punched him in the gut. They howled with laughter.
We ended the afternoon in the Jordan YMCA pool, and the kids were asleep before dinner. Jeff woke them up for food and they clambered up the family room steps like zombies.
Today we might be going to the movies. So far they've entertained themselves with TV. I just hear Ali tell Alex to get his face off her butt. It might be time to make them come upstairs again... Happy weekend, everyone. I will be driving again today. Keep that in mind if you're in Indy....

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