If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.






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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Deck The Brawls. Part II


 When we left off, Ron had decorated our house in white Christmas lights and I'd apologized for not finding a wrench because he has two tall toolboxes beside two different garage doors and I'm the bigger person. There. You're officially caught up.

The following morning, I was greeted with the beautiful lights on the house, glowing in the dark of the early morning, when I walked outside to climb into my mini-van (because the mystery death smell did indeed go away), to leave for my annual appointment with my gynecologist.

Granted, you don't really need to know I was on my way to the gynecologist, but considering what happens next, I think knowing I had to then turn around and go get cranked open and violated with a super-long q-tip should garner me a bit of sympathy, so please keep that in mind.

As a cradled my steaming travel mug of coffee, I was gazing up at the lights, took my foot off the brake, and began backing out.

No, I wasn't looking behind me, because why should I? Nothing is ever behind me. It's my driveway. Yes, my new van has sensors that began beeping, but it's also always beeping right now because my oil needs changed, so maybe my mini-van should stop crying wolf. And since you're probably wondering, yes, there is also a camera view that appears on my dash when I'm in reverse, but again, I was looking at Christmas lights, in my own damn driveway, and why do I feel harassed by you right now?!?

When I crunched into something, I snapped out of my Christmas trance, jumped out of my van and that's when I remembered. My daughter Aubrey left her vehicle parked in our driveway the evening before. A luxury, fully-loaded, vehicle. Also, it's not actually hers, but a rental. Probably should've led with that. And I had just scraped the dark burgundy paint off the side with my new van.

A Christmas season laced with profanity. My wish list complete.

So I started frantically rubbing it with my hand, because that obviously makes paint grow back.

Then I gave up and left for my pap smear.
(Your sympathy would be appropriate right about now.)

As the doctor walked me back to the exam room, she asked, "How's your day so far?" And then before I could answer, she followed it up with, "Well, I guess it's only 7:30 in the morning, how bad could it be?"

Oh, you'd be surprised.
So I told her I crunched into my daughter's luxury rental car, then she stood me on the scale, and then took my now hypertensive blood pressure because that's what those people do there. It's almost like that system should be fixed.

On the way home, I called Ron. He told me he'd take care of it and then he earned major supportive husband points when he said, "I almost hit it this morning, too." Then it occurred to us that I should call Kearstin and warn her not to hit it when she left for work. And then I went ahead and texted Zac and Barbara, because what if they decide to come over and ram into it a few times, too? Can't be too careful in our family.

I also broke the news to Aubrey's husband, who took it like the patient and understanding champ that he is, and then he mentioned that Aubrey should have never parked behind me in the first place. I knew I loved that guy.

Later that evening, I came out of Zumba to find a text from Ron that he fixed the rental car.
Wow, how?
"Spray paint."

Remember that part in Meet The Parents when he spray painted the dude's cat and you sit there covering your eyes because you just know that's not gonna end well? Welcome to my life.

Apparently calling our insurance company and filing a claim would've been far too easy. And legal.

For future reference that I hope you never need, spray paint from Walmart will never dry to match the color of a luxury rental vehicle...unless it happens to be Pepto Bismol pink, in which case, maybe.

He worked on that thing for several days and then returned it to Aubrey who looked at it and wasn't convinced. Neither was I. Then he explained his options of either returning it in the dark of night...or he could spray paint the whole car...and that's when I put my foot down. It was time to call in a professional.

My daughter-in-law voiced her concern that it might go against the rental agreement to allow a professional to paint a rental car before returning it. I pointed out that it was probably already breaking the rental agreement to crash into it with a mini-van and spray paint it, too. Some ships have already sailed, my dear. Best just get on board at this point.

So Ron texted Dylan the car salesman.
"My wife ran into my daughter's rental car in our driveway with her mini-van."
Because getting Dylan the car salesman to add 'Total flake' to his ever-growing list of adjectives for me was all Ron wanted for Christmas this year.

Dylan gave him the number to their detailer, Ron scheduled it to get repaired, took 2 hours vacation time, and drove an hour to get there, and then the detailing guy said he didn't have time to do it.

Ron was fuming and everyone involved should rejoice that I wasn't the one who took it there to get fixed, as was the original plan. The odds of me bursting into tears would have been astronomical.

So it sat in our driveway untouched, undecided, and due to be returned to the rental agency whenever they called.

In an unrelated twist, Caymen arrived home predicting the rapture because she heard trumpets at school and she was pretty convinced it was Jesus and not the high school band.

As Ron sat contemplating driving the car through the cornfields to "dust it up," Caymen was explaining to him that Jesus is on His way to pick us up.

Ron replied, "Well, He better hurry, because I need Him to get here before we have to return that car."

So. The rapture hasn't happened yet.
BUT. As it turns out, perfectly timed snow and dirty road salt are an effective disguise for a scraped up, spray painted, luxury rental vehicle.
 And you don't believe in Santa. Psh.

...over salt on the roads,
under hard falling snow,
back to the car rental place they did go.
They dropped it off in the dark,
and then sped outta sight,
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!



Friday, December 15, 2017

Deck The Brawls. Part I.

Christmas season has been pretty exciting around here. I'm not talking parties and Christmas parades exciting, although we've had a lot of that too. See, when I say exciting, I mean Christmas lights, public fights, and fender benders in our driveway, exciting.
It's the Courter way.

Here's what you need to know. Ron refuses to hang Christmas lights.
He's scared of heights, the lights blow off, the ones that don't blow off need taken back down after Christmas, you get the picture. But I love Christmas lights. ALL white lights. Nothing against the multi-colored lights, but those are obviously Christmas lights. But white lights can pass as 'New Year lights', and as far as I'm concerned, you can squeak by with 'Valentine's lights.'
(That's where I draw the line. 'St Patrick's lights' is stupid. Take 'em down, already.)

Anyhoo, his answer to me is always forget it.
A long time ago in our old house, I tried hanging lights by myself, ended up trapped on our super tall 2-story roof afraid to climb back onto the extension ladder, and begging him to call the fire department. He refused. A fight broke out. Our marriage survived. Barely.

But this year, everything changed with one word. Grandchildren. They hold all the power, in case you didn't know. And on Thanksgiving Day, our neighbor's house lit up with Christmas lights and their little toddler eyes lit up right along with them.

Chuckles, who refuses to be outdone by anyone, came home with bags of Christmas lights the following day. (White ones, obvi.) Then he went to work. He put up his ladder, filled a cooler with the lights, attached it to a long rope, climbed onto the roof of our garage, and pulled his cooler of supplies up to join him. He's slightly redneck, albeit a brilliant one.

Awhile later, I heard him yelling my name from the roof. I figured he needed his cooler refilled, but no. (And here's where the story takes an unfortunate turn.) He remembered that our chimney grate had blown off a few weeks ago and asked me to hand it up to him. No big deal. What became a big deal was when he asked for a wrench. And a certain sized one at that.

*sigh* So he's decided to punish me and test our marriage all in one moment. Merry Christmas.


He gave me detailed instructions: In the big toolbox by the garage door, in the 2nd drawer down, I'd see a set of wrenches neatly fanned out. Then it was simply a matter of choosing the one that fit around the screw he'd tossed down to me from the roof. The screw that I caught. On the first try. Not that I got any credit for that, but let's not digress here.

I went to the toolbox by the door, opened the 2nd drawer down, and found total chaos. Neatly fanned? What the hell's he smokin'? I dug
through, found a few little wrenches, none of which fit around the screw (that I caught on the first try), so I reported back to him. Can't find it.

He then enunciated every word...toolbox. by. the. door. 2nd. drawer. neatly. fanned...he might've still been talking when I walked away. I retraced my steps, followed his instructions (again), and voila. Still a drawer full of crap. So I checked every drawer because maybe he was confused, but all of them were in a state of upheaval.

I went back outside, told him he'd need to come down and find it himself, and that's when the 'Christmas Lights Fight Of 2017' officially broke out. Not to be confused with the 'Christmas Lights Fight Of 2003.' Equal amounts of screaming and yelling, but this time, I was on the ground, and he was on the roof. And just between you and me, I wouldn't have called the fire department if his life depended on it.

Him yelling about my inability to find things.
Me yelling about his piss-poor idea of what neatly fanned means.

Be jealous you're not our neighbors.

Things escalated to a final blow when he said to me, "You're better than this."
Why, you son of a .....

Between gritted teeth, I calmly said, "Get your ass off that roof, come show me your organized wrench drawer, and I'll say I'm sorry right here right now." Then I crossed my arms and waited while he slowly made his way down the ladder, both of us gloating, because he was sure he was about to get an apology from me and I knew we were approaching a major milestone in our marriage and I was about to never ever ever apologize to him about anything ever again. Ever.

Then he walked to the tall toolbox by the door. A different toolbox. A taller toolbox. By a different door.

Sh*t.

Then he opened the 2nd drawer down. Of the different taller toolbox, by the different door. And he turned to me and said, "Come here."

I don't wanna play anymore.

But he insisted that I come over and look in his drawer of wrenches that could only be described as neatly fanned, and then I had to tell him I'm sorry because sometimes he's a jerk and marriage isn't fair. 

But our house is trimmed in beautiful white lights, complete with frighteningly bright and distracting rapidly blinking lights around the trees at the end of our driveway that most certainly draw the eyes of our grandchildren, if  not run the risk of receiving a cease and desist letter from the mayor when accidents happen and the Amish start to complain. It's only a matter of time.

And speaking of accidents, you may remember me mentioning a fender bender.
Well, unfortunately this entry is already a bit long and I've starred as the family moron enough for one day, so I think this calls for a Part II.

Tune in soon for tales of collisions, spray paint, Jesus, and more fighting. Because, you know. Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Man Demands

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
But what if your second impression is actually worse than the first? And then every impression after that sucks even more than the one before?

Lemme cut to the chase. I think our car salesman hates me. These are things I think about.

So why is this bothering me? Well, it has nothing to do with the fact that he's hot. Not like hot hot, but hawwwt. So forget that. And while we're at it, let's forget that I'm old enough to be his mother and probably too old to say things like hawwwt.

It's not like I'm new to haters, but this one bugs me because he couldn't be more wrong about who I think he thinks I am, but in every interaction we've had so far, my husband proves him right.

Are you confused? I feel like you might be confused.
Let me clear things up and get this on the record for you, me, and Dylan the car salesman:

I am a stable, low maintenance human being, whose only requirement for a vehicle is that it runs. I'm nice (unless provoked), kinda smart sometimes, I may have a sensitive gag reflex, but I do NOT cry easily, dammit! I'm also not spoiled and I dance hard and massage people for money to contribute to our income, but I realize how unfortunate that sounds, so we'll strike that part from this particular record.

So, why do I think he thinks otherwise? Well, partly from bizarre circumstances and then also because every time my husband interacts with Dylan our car salesman, he sets me up for failure.

It started uneventfully. Ron wanted a Pilot. He got connected with Dylan the car salesman who found him a Pilot. We met with Dylan, Ron test drove the Pilot, and he bought the Pilot. After we left, Ron told me I'd need to bring it back to the dealership to have the luggage rack and DVD player installed, and the nicked windshield replaced. No big deal. It might surprise you to know, when it comes to Ron, I generally do what I'm asked.

Feminists don't want me as their spokesperson, nor should they.

I knew it'd be an all-day thing, so I took plenty to do to keep me busy. Everyone at the dealership kept apologizing for the time it was taking, but I patiently put their minds at ease. I expected this. No big deal. See? I'm nice. Stable. Low.Maintenace.

But things went south at the end when a female employee I'd never seen before found me in the waiting area and dramatically told me that the luggage rack and DVD player were installed, but I'd have to take the Pilot to a different location to get the windshield fixed "and HURRY, because YOU'RE late."

Nice, stable, and low maintenance aside, I have buttons and I have limits, and within a matter of the 2 minutes it took her to rush me to the car, she'd pushed and exceeded all of them. Then in a lame-ass attempt at "customer service" she asked "Do you have any questions for me?" The only thing that came to mind was, do people frequently punch you in the mouth?

But before I could ask, she walked away. Probably for the best.
I opened my door and that's when I saw all the trash. It would seem that every part of the DVD system came wrapped in tiny pieces of plastic that had been strewn all over the seats and floor of Ron's new Pilot. And an hour later, I was calling him. Crying. And moments after that, Dylan the car salesman was receiving an enraged text from my husband demanding answers as to why his wife left their dealership crying today.

Piece of free advice? Don't make me cry. You're welcome.

The following day, we returned. They fully detailed his Pilot again and then I was sitting in the front seat with Jordan the tech guy as he carefully answered any and all questions I could possibly ever have about every single feature on the Pilot and DVD player while my husband silently supervised from the back seat. Not a great demonstration of my stability.

So, I can't make a worse impression than that, right? Hold my beer.

Recently, we needed a newer mini-van. Ron contacted Dylan with what he was looking for, and when Dylan found one, we went to take a look. He took us around the van, noting all the special features, while directing them all to me specifically, making special mention of the color of the van and "key-less locks so you never have to fumble in your purse."

Hold up. Purse? Do I look like someone who carries a purse?

I listened politely and oohhed and ahhhed, because nice.stable,low.maintenance. Not crying. 

We decided to buy the van and agreed to pick it up the following week to allow them time to install the luggage rack and hitch Ron wanted. On our way out the door, Dylan told Ron to please make sure we come on a day he's there to "ensure that everything goes smoothly for her." Oh lawd, he thinks I'm a crier. And hello...I'm standing right here.

On the way home, I asked Ron if he noticed how Dylan was describing all the van details to me, specifically. He replied, "That's because I sent him a list of all of my requirements for you." And then he showed me the text:
2015-2018 Odyssey, any color (except black, brown, or white), heated leather seats, Navigational system, luggage rack, hitch, sunroof, DVD player, and premium sound.

So, now he thinks I'm a crier and a spoiled brat??
And I decided to make it my goal to casually mention to Dylan that I don't even know what "premium sound" means, and too bad the van's not black...*sigh*...

The following week, while Dylan finished up the paperwork, he told us to go wait in the van and he'd bring Jordan the tech guy out to explain everything to me. Poor Jordan...stuck with the job of programming my phone contacts into our vehicles and then inevitably having to say the words, "Call Sexy" when he demonstrates how to call my husband while I'm driving. I should tell him I'm normal, too.

But, I never got the chance, because in a horrible twist of fate, I climbed into the front seat of the van, caught whiff of the smell, and jumped back out dry heaving.

When Dylan and Jordan walked out of the building, Ron was sitting in the backseat sniffing deeply, and I had my back against the wall of the garage, covering my mouth and nose with my hands.

Dylan's eyes got big and he asked, "What happened?!" as I'm sure visions of losing this sale spiraled through his head.
Ron answered, "She smells something."

If dude continues to throw me under the bus here, he's gonna find himself permanently riding in the backseat of my not-black-brown-or-white, heated leathered, sun-roofed, premium sounding van.

This was followed by Dylan sitting in the backseat, with Jordan leaning through the front, breathing deeply. Dylan agreed with me that something smelled "off" but I'm also pretty sure Dylan is under the belief that agreeing with me is a general rule that must be adhered to for survival.

He asked me what I thought it smelled like.
I said, "Death."
Because heaven forbid he think I'm dramatic on top of everything else.

Ten minutes later, the vents of the van were covered in brand new air fresheners and a manager was assuring me that if I still smelled death in a few weeks, I could bring it back and they would "neutralize" the smell, which means I'd smell nothing, which he went on to explain that the smell of neutralized nothing can sometimes be off-putting.

As opposed to the smell of death.
Quite the convincing argument.

Before I could burst into tears and say, then I guess I'll just overcome the smell of death through happy thoughts and yoga, I heard my husband cheerfully respond, "Ok! I'm sure it'll go away."

Then we left the dealership and lived happily ever after.

He in his mini-van.
And me in my Pilot.