Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Sticker shock. I have never ordered a cake from a bakery. Never. I like baking. To me, it is a BIG stress buster and since I am always stressed, I am always looking for opportunities to bake. But what with Chip’s upcoming birthday and his school banning home cooked food in fear of allergens like peanuts, I had to resort to ordering his birthday cake from a bakery. That also would bake egg-free cakes. Because Chip is allergic to egg.

Last year, at gnd’s house, at T2’s birthday party, I ate the most amazing egg-free and diabetic cakes ever. E-v-e-r. You could not tell. They were soft, moist, light and unbelievably delicious (I’ll sell my soul for those recipes, lemme tell ya) . So, I got the name of that bakery – it is hard to find a bakery that bakes egg-free cakes and delicious ones too - and went there yesterday to twist arms and get the recipes order a birthday cake. For his preschool. 18 kids. Nothing fancy. A simple quarter sheet cake. Vanilla. White frosting. With a Giant Panda AND a teddy bear. That’s what His Chipness desires. Panda and Teddy. Both. He has been very specific about it. Aesthetics be damned.

The baker, a big, nice guy, greeted me and I gave him the specs. “You want two bears on the cake?” he boomed. “Yes, my son wants both bears. A panda and a teddy.” He was scratching his head. Putting two bears on a rectangular cake that is pleasing to the eye is not easy. But he wasn’t thinking of that. “Ok. What does a panda bear look like?” he was asking. I should have brought a picture. Dang. “Well..its like a black and white teddy bear. Black paws, black eyes, black back.” I replied. “Ok. Let me show you” he went to the printer and made a copy of the teddy bear picture he was holding. “Like this?” he showed me a black and white copy of a teddy bear. It did not look like a Panda. It looked like a black and white copy of a teddy bear. But I am not a fussy sort. And I said OK. Black + White + Bear = Panda. To Chip anyways. “With two bears, you will have to pay for two artworks.” The baker warned me. “That’s OK. It’s his birthday.” I said.

We sat down at the little table and he pulled forms. Stamped NO-EGG and NO –NUTS in large, reassuring, red letters over them. And started to fill out.

Cake (quarter sheet, yellow)- $42.00
Frosting- Vanilla
Filling – None
Artwork - $13.50
Tax – Illegeible
Total – $58.00

$58 for a sheet cake? “Is that 58 dollars?” I asked. “Yes m’am. And its only one artwork. I can add another one if you want.” “No, let’s just do one big panda bear.” I could not believe I was paying so much for a yellow sheet cake. Is that what it is out there? For birthday cakes? Wow.

So the cake has only one Panda bear and all plans of ordering cake for a second family-and-friends party from that bakery because my schedule was going to be too-crazy-to-be -baking has been promptly abandoned. I am rolling up my sleeves and baking cake layers this weekend and freezing them. I’ll also make pandas AND teddies out of chocolate ahead of time. Fill and frost, add bamboo shoots, put the bears and we’ll be good to rock and roll come party day.

And lest I forget and incur His Chipness nuclear tantrummy wrath, I have to find a plastic teddy bear that goes on top the bakery panda cake. Where to put it I don’t know. Prolly on panda's head. Or mine.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chip’s Fishing Expedition

Only, this one did not involve a creel or a bait or a rod. Maybe I am wrong about the bait. I was the bait. Chip loves fish. In every way. To watch, to eat. Mostly to eat. The first time he saw live fish swimming was over a year and half ago in a store that old adventure gear and clothing. The store has a huge stone aquarium filled with, I think, Koi fish. Chip ran excitedly to it, he was only 18mo then and I pointed the fish out to him. Chip saw them for a bit, then promptly asked to eat them.

A few days ago, bolstered by the wild birds coming to our back yard, I decided to give in to Chip’s demands for getting a fish tank at home. We got a small plastic one, a live plant to put in it, some gravel, water conditioner, some food, a thermometer, a net and of course some live fish. We set up the aquarium last Sunday, put the fish in and Chip promptly asked to eat them. As he had asked a few days ago, to a rather chubby bird sitting on the fence, “Birdie, will be you be my dinner?” He was asking the same question to the fish now, his mouth watering. “Chip”, I explained patiently, “Remember those bushes with red berries near you school?” “Yes.” Chip answered. “Do you eat those berries?” Chip shook his head “No.” “Why don’t we eat those berries, Chip?” “Because they are for show only. No eating them.” Pat came the reply. “See? These fish are for show only. You can’t eat them. OK?” Chip agreed. “They are your pets, you have to talk to them, feed them. Not eat them.” “Let’s give them pear to eat.” Chip was excited. “They don’t eat pear. They eat this fish food.” I said showing him a jar of stinky fish flakes. Chip sniffed them. “Mmmm.. they are yummy, Aie.” Before he could grab and eat a few I dropped some for the fish. The fish came up to the surface and gobbled them up. “Isn’t this fun?” Chip wasn’t impressed. He walked away bored.

The next day, when we got home from school, he did not glance at the fish tank. “I want to go out and ride my scooter.” We went out, he rode his scooter, got back home, I fed the fish, Chip was still not interested. Wednesday evening, one fish died. I was upset. Well, not a whole lot upset, but just a little.. I had no idea why it died. It could have been old or diseased, it had been eating well. I did not want Chip to see a dead fish, so I sent him out to play while I cleaned the tank. Two days later, I caught him looking intently at the fish. “Do they have ears?” “I don’t think they do” I replied. “A mouth?” “Yes they have a mouth.” “Look they have eyes also, Aie. And hands. They don’t have legs.” “That’s right Chip. And those are not hands... they are fins. There, that’s a new word for you.” Chip sat looking at the fish as they played hide and seek. I went inside the kitchen to fix him his dinner when Chip came rushing in, excited. “I just gave them their dinner.” He ran back out and got the jar of fish flakes. “I gave them this. Not pear.” I ran outside to the aquarium. There was more than a teaspoon of fish food in it. I cleaned it out, changed some water to decontaminate the tank and explained to Chip that the fish were so tiny, they needed only 1 flake per fish. Not more. He wasn’t buying it. “They were very hungry.” He insisted. Yesterday morning, same thing. He ran down stairs and dumped some fish food into the tank. I did the clean and explain routine again but he was too fascinated watching the fish eat the food.

He probably is too little to care for the fish himself, but he remembers to feed them everyday. And he watches them and talks and sings to them. That’s saying something. Perhaps we can graduate to getting an iguana in a few years!

And now for something entirely different. Nobody asked me what the last post was all about. Not even BigGeek or my dad or other people who I assumed read my blog. Either they don’t read or are convinced I have finally gone out of my mind. But I shall still give an explanation, nevertheless. This is what it is all about. Over 70+ bloggers gave an online virtual shower to 10 bloggie mothers-to-be. Spearheaded by Tharini, the idea was carried forward by Gauri to include a treasure hunt and she along with Altoid (who I met for the first time yesterday and what an amazing person she is, so gentle and the personification of nice), Sue and Kiran came up with these Potteresque rhymes (They are giving Rowling a run for her money, I am telling you). MayG designed the amazing website and DDMom, a signature book. We all helped and posted riddles and wishes and gyaan and it was the fun-nest Friday ever. I think kids went unwashed and hungry, deadlines set aside as the 70+ of us watched with bated breath the treasure hunt unfold. A lot has been written about this, so I am going to link to one that summarizes it all and links to others as well (Sorry, I am down with a cold again and the posts are uninspired, so please bear with me)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Riddle-me-ree, who can she be?

Greetings wonderful MTBs!!!
and good work to all of you!
For having solved the riddle before
I give you all this clue.

The letter " N "

Write it down, add it on...
And let’s move on to the next little song.

“Happiness is a choice she tells
Slimy food she repels
Her blog is a colorful band
Her daughter and son are her dears
Old things she does gather
This is how we are, she cheers.”

Solve it and you get your lead
Misguess, and you lose your speed
Solve it slow but solve it now
And before you go, take a little bow

Go to 'Comments' and leave me a clue
Tell me which blog you are off to.
Good luck! Good luck! Be on your way.
You have your work, cut out for the day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Labor on

A puzzle swirling in my head, well not all the time, but in a now on, now off mode, was precipitated while surfing my new Verizon FIOS cable service. I am a sucker for TLC-like channels and food p**n and house p**n like Food TV and HGTV. After making sure FIOS was giving me my daily dose of fat chefs, home designers with six figure budgets to decorate a backyard and fashion stylists who did unbelievable makeovers on pretty but dorky women and I turned to their other offerings. And guess what? They had another TLC-like channel. Forgot what the name is. But when I surfed, there was a show like the baby story and bringing home baby. This one was about delivering the baby. The mother-to-be was in the LDR and discussing her birth plan on the camera. She wanted to go “natural”. OK. But what amazed me was her ferocity about it. No epidural. No c-section. No intervention. I have met plenty of people like that. She is not alone. In birthing classes, at work on the parenting message board I am a part of. They are everywhere and they are growing fast.

Women who want to have babies at home, who forgo an OB-GYN for a midwife. Are these women forgetting that the leading cause of deaths in women until the turn of last century was, take a guess, childbirth? What gives? What drives them to make these stupid choices? Is it the implicit promise that if something goes horribly wrong while giving birth, they can dial 911 and get proper medical care? There are several issues than stump me and I am going to discuss them in a systematic fashion one by one. Starting from what I feel is the craziest.

Giving Birth At Home
This trend is growing. These women want to give birth in their own beds. Many times supervised only by their husbands. Or perhaps a doula, not even a trained midwife. This is insane. Things can and have been known to go wrong at the last minute. What then? Do these women stick to their principles and go all natural then? No matter what? Of course not. I am sure they are too chicken to deal with the baby trying to push his/her elbow through their cervix and call 911 putting undue stress on the emergency response system and the baby. Will they go to a remote area where there is no emergency response whatsoever and let nature take over? I don’t think so. I think it’s a sham. All that go-back-to-your-roots, lets be organic earth mothers. Yeah, right.

No intervention: No c-section, no vacuum pump, no episiotomies
When I was about 30 weeks pregnant, my OB-GYN waned to discuss my birthing plan. I had read about birthing plans and not just single paged ones but 4-6 paged long ones detailing how every step of labor and delivery must be handled. I had no birthing plan. I just wanted my baby and me to be healthy and safe. I told so to my OB-GYN and asked her if women actually put their labor and delivery plans to paper in such detail. Her answer amazed me. Most of them do, she said. Now I don’t know if this is a trend triggered by momzillas reading too many mommy-to-be books. It very well might be. She said there are a few who want to stick to it no matter what and it took a LOT of her time and energy in convincing them to go for a c-section or a vacuum pump or whatever because the baby was in distress. I trusted my doctor. Not my mother, not my husband. For my delivery I trusted my doctor. If she wanted to do an episiotomy, she would not really need my permission.

No Pain Management
This one really, really stumps me. Why do women hesitate to get an epidural? I don’t think it’s just because it’s risky to the baby, which it is NOT. They are safe. Many, many studies show that and epidurals have been around for half a century now. I think women feel guilty and selfish taking something to alleviate their labor pain. Contractions are natural, yes, but not all things natural are necessarily good. What’s wrong with alleviating pain? Epidurals were not common when my mother gave birth more than a quarter of a century ago in India. But she knew about them then. But it was assumed a woman had to suffer to give birth to her child. WHY? Why should we suffer when there is a remedy?

A long time ago, in the 1940’s when epidurals were introduced in the USA, doctors told women that labor pain what the price every woman paid for the sins of Eve. Really? Now that puts a whole new spin on no-epidural, doesn’t it? We have sinned by carrying a child? And now must atone by undergoing labor? This doesn’t even merit a response from me. BigGeek assumed I would be taking an epidural. I had told my mother I would get an epidural. She told me the contractions are not that bad and you don’t remember them. She said to wait and see if I really needed one. My contractions were very bearable and I took it at the last chance offered. Because yes, despite all opinions on the issue I felt selfish. BigGeek wanted me to get out of pain. And I am glad I took the epidural. It did not prolong my labor or delivery. Chip was out in less than thirty minutes. And yes, I still remember how the contractions felt. You don’t forget them.

So. It’s out of my system now. This post had been welling up inside for a long time and I just did a core-dump.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mama's Mojo

When I was pregnant, I poured over parenting books. How to put your babies in a feeding schedule, how to discipline them, how to encourage them to sleep on their own. Books that pigeon holed babies and children into neat categories and then gave advice on how to “deal” with them. Deal with them? Like they are some sort of a problem that got in our way? These books I felt, did not really acknowledge me as a parent who had feelings and instincts and did not acknowledge my child as one with a distinct and a unique personality. No, my child did not fall into Tracy Hogg’s six categories. And I thought the Ferber and the Brazelton methods bordered on child abuse.

What was missing from this advice? I asked myself. It was only later, many months later, I realized that the books had been written by nannies and pediatricians. Eminent, capable professionals. Not parents. That was the problem. You can be the world’s greatest nanny or the pediatrician, but you can’t remotely come close to becoming a parent. Parents are not only responsible for health and safety and education of their children, they are responsible in imparting values, a sense of moral code, ethics and a sense of spirituality. And I found the parenting books that I most identified with were on the ones written by parents. Like Dr.Sears and Marguerite Kelly. Who did not chastise you or brand you as a bad parent if your child did not sleep through out the night at six weeks of age. Who had been where I was right now, and they imparted parenting wisdom, not just advice.

Adding to this line of brilliant parenting wisdom is a book I read a few days ago. Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising a Houseful of Successful Children. This is written by the star comedian Chris Rock’s mother, Rose Rock. She raised 10 children of her own and 17 foster children. She would know a thing or two about parenting now. Mama Rose, in a charmingly old-fashioned way, gives it to you as it is. She is not the kind who minces words. You know that kind, don’t you? And I like that. Too many too politically correct parenting books out there. Too many parenting books not quite in touch with reality. This one is refreshing.

Written in an easy conversational style, Mama Rose narrates incidents from her children’s childhood and the lessons she learnt as a mother and the strategies that worked for her. She says she wanted to raise successful children. How does she define successful children? Those that turn into kind, responsible people. Not star basketball players or actors or surgeons. Everyday people that leave behind a trail of goodness. Although the book is aimed for parents of slightly older children than the almost-three year old Chip, I enjoyed it. It’s best to dig a well way before you are thirsty, no? The Rock family was not privileged. Money was tight, the family large. Living in a neighborhood where education was not quite a priority, teenage pregnancies and drugs a norm, all 10 of Mama Rose’s kid became successful. They stayed out of trouble, had successful careers and became good responsible adults. That says for something.

So all you moms out there, read the book, it’s an easy read. Peppered with tales and snippets of this mama’s wisdom you will be smile and marvel how this woman did it all. After all, we could all use a bit of her mojo.

Cross posted on DMZ

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Bird Feeder

Chip, ever since coming back from India has been suffering from a lack of random audio-visual stimuli. Operative word being random. Looking out of any window in India reveals a smorgasbord of sensory delights. People walking. People chatting. People calling out. Cats. Dogs. Crows. Pigeons. Cars. Bicycles. Scooters. All this in a much greater quantity than what can be seen from any window of our quiet, back-to-woods suburban home. There is simply nothing to see here. Sure, the view is pretty, a red-stained deck with flower baskets opening out into a nice green lawn edged with maples. But there is no activity. Save for the odd squirrel - who have decreased in numbers thanks to a neighbor’s newly installed ultrasonic deer/squirrel repellent. The front windows are no better. Sure, they face the road and other homes, but save for an hour or two in the morning when the children walk to their bus stops and parents leave for work in their cars and the evening when they return home, there is really no activity. Kids play basket ball or skateboard but it has been cold and nobody has been doing anything outdoors that much.

So, to alleviate Chip’s boredom while waiting for consistently warmer temperatures, I decided to beckon the wild birds to our backyard. Now I had a make shift bird feeder I had been using for a couple of years. It was a large terra cotta dish where I just dumped in birdseed and let it sit on the deck. That, while effective was messy. Rain ruined the seed and I had to replace it ever time it rained and the birds made a royal mess. As did the squirrels who, I suspect ate most of the seed anyway. So, this year, I decided to upgrade to a proper bird feeder. Chip was thrilled, of course. A small house for the birds and food for them to eat in it? That was enough to make him go completely crazy.

Off we went to the hardware store. We got a plastic feeder, a shepherd’s hook to hang it from and some birdseed. What ever happened to putting out stale bread and other old grain for the birds I don’t know. I can’t believe I paid $5.99 for a bag of birdseed. But Chip was excited and we drove back home. I hammered the hook in our back yard. “Let’s put their dinner for them in their house.” I said. Chip jumped up and down. I unpacked the birdfeeder, opened the bag of birdseed, planning to pour it. But Chip wanted to help and in his enthusiasm dropped more birdseed on the deck than what went into the feeder. The feeder filled, we hung it on the stake. “And now the lil birds will come and sit here on the perches and eat” I announced. I went to keep the birdseed in the shed and back to work on my vegetable bed. Chip, who I thought was pottering around, came running a minute later. “The birds aren’t coming”, he was worried. “Give them a few minutes.” I said. “They don’t know we have put out some seed for them.” Chip had no patience. He ran back to the feeder and standing right beside it started to sing “Birdy birdy come here, birdy birdy come here.” I tried telling him the birds will not really come if he stood there like a scarecrow. But he spent the afternoon calling out to them and wondering why they would not come!

This morning, the minute he got down for breakfast, he looked at the feeder. “No birds there.” He was a little dejected. He hemmed and hawed at the crumpet on his breakfast plate. It was the perfect evil mom moment. “Chip, if you eat your breakfast, the birds will come and eat their breakfast too!” Chip found that logic to be impeccable. He gobbled down the crumpet and drank his juice. And lo behold. At that instant, a cute red breasted robin sat on the feeder and feasted on the birdseed. He flew away and returned with two more of his friends. Chip was delighted and looked at his mother with a new found respect. “I ate my breakfast and that’s why the birds came to eat theirs. Wow, Aie.” He was beaming. And awe-struck. Relieved, I said a silent prayer convinced somewhere out there is a guardian angel for all moms. Even for the sometime evil ones.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Out of sorts

It has been a rough week in the kingdom of DotMom. I have been down with a horrible sinusitis. It is so bad that I feel my eyeballs are going to just pop out. But, no I won’t bore you with my tales of cold and sinuses and nasal drips. I shall bore you with tales of Chip. These are not amusing tales. Far from it. These are the tales when a mother throws up her hands in the air and howls for providence to rescue her. OK. I am exaggerating here. But hey, I am a blogger.

On the issue of Chip. Chip has been out of sorts since we got back from our trip in India. And he had good excuses too – jetlag, stomach bug, cold, getting back into a boring routine. But since all that is behind us now, there are really no more excuses left as to why he is so cranky and tantrummy and most importantly, very unfriendly towards BigGeek. He refuses to let BigGeek brush his teeth, run his bath, warm his milk, put on his clothes, feed him breakfast. The first sentence out of his mouth when he wakes up is “Are you going to office?” When I reply with a yes, he insists I dress him and feed and drop him to school (which if I do, he simply clings to me and cries and refuses to let go)

Even during bedtime Chip refuses to go near BigGeek. If Chip is asleep and BigGeek happenes to stroke his forehead or give him a kiss, Chip stirs and says he doesn’t want Baba. Only Aie. Even when he is half asleep. I have tried to ignore this thinking it’s a phase. He had a very anti-Aie phase when he was about 18mo. But never this long. I am at a loss what to do. He is cranky too. All the time. There are tears for everything. Coming back home after play, asking him to finish his dinner, bathtime. I asked his teacher if he has been acting out in school and she said no. I have asked him if he is unhappy with something, but I don’t know if he can quite express it yet. Last night I asked why he doesn’t like Baba, he said it is because Baba has thorns and he pushes me. What???? The thorn bit is obviously from the times when I have asked in exasperation – “Does Baba have thorns?” And obviously Baba has never pushed him. Baba rarely yells at him. I am the stricter parent. So it’s all very perplexing and annoying. I don’t know if this is truly a phase and it will all sort itself. Or if I need to do something to help. But I don’t know what to do.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Better late than never

Apya and Bubbu tagged Chip. This tag is so long overdue, its not even funny. I have been down with a mother of all colds, so blogging has been super-light. Will resume when the wretched virus has let go of its congestive clasp. But here's this for now.

8 Things I am passionate about (right now):
1. Lawn mowers
2. HVAC Units
3. Pressure Washers
4. Tractor trailers
5. Giant Pandas
6. Dumpers
7. Back hoes
8. Airplanes

8 Things I do that drives My Mom crazy (Just 8??)
1. Assume later = no. Make a big fuss about it.
2. Eat a few bites of breakfast/dinner and then twist Aie's arm to narrate endless stories about one of the above things I am passionate about, changing location and characters. All the while forgetting to eat.
3. Tell the overhead light fixture in the foyer to not fall on my head. Or to scold me. About two dozen times a day.
4. Make strange connections. E.g. when Aie tells me the above mentioned light fixture is not a person, I ask if it is a pizza. (Aie is not making this up)
5. Assume any black, semi-circular object is a nipple. Pronounce the fact loudly in stores.
6. Make my own plans and throw a tantrum when they don’t come to fruition. E.g. I will wake up from my nap and tell Aie I plan to go to a friend’s house. I will further more decide I will wear my jeans and take my truck. When the plan does not materialize because I have forgotten to check with Aie dearest if the family has plans for the evening, I dissolve in a crying heap on the floor.
7. Throw tantrum when Aie says no. (this deserves a post of its own)
8. Did I mention run, run, run. Everywhere?

8 Things that I say often:
1. Are we going out right now?
2. Are you happy, Aie?
3. I am tired of eating this.
4. That means no [insert object/meal/activity] for Chip.
5. Yay!!
6. Thank you
7. I am not happy, Aie (when my plans are thwarted)
8. Will Baba fix it?

8 Books that I have read:
1. Goodnight Moon
2. Silly Dilly Duck
3. Best friends in the snow
4. Elmo’s Easy as ABC
5. Winnie-the-pooh
6. Autumn Leaves
7. Big Book of Airplanes
8. Big Book Of Trucks

8 Things that make me the person I am:
1. Boundless Energy
2. Endless Persistence
3. Gentle Affection
4. Slapstick Humor
5. Curiosity about how things work
6. Love of Nature
7. Hard rock / prog metal fan
8. Intense

8 things I have said or done this week to crack my family up:
1. To my father while driving-“Drive with both your hands on the wheel.”
2. Set a table properly when asked to and immediately collect dishes and play with them.
3. Get very, very worried because the Roomba is stuck under the table and can’t find a way out.
4. Stick my hand into the hollow of a speaker and pretend for about 10 minutes it is stuck badly, to the point Aie has almost called a fireman to come and get it out. Then laugh silly.
5. Stand in the middle of the road in a parking lot to wave to passing cars in acknowledgement of them stopping to let me cross. But cross the road I won’t. I just stand and raise my hand.
6. Enter a grocery store and head over to the water melons and plonk one in the cart. Then head over to the bananas and get a bunch, then pasta, then the olive bar. You get the picture. Ah. But I do pick a bottle of very expensive wine for my parents.
7. Refuse to speak in English with the neighbors, insisting they speak in Marathi.
8. After Aie steps out to use the restrooms in his daycare ask in a very loud voice– “Did you finish peeing, Aie?”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two Tired

I am glad I am done with the morning. What started as yet another boring, hour long, commute to work went quite the other way. I was on the interstate cruising after what seemed like an eternity of bumper-to-bumper traffic when I hit a small piece of something black. A piece of shredded tire, I thought. Or something like that. I hate these flotsam and jetsam on the road – especially interstate. But this was a piece of something soft and it was around a bend so I could not see it clearly even I wanted to avoid it. But I couldn’t avoid it and drove over it. A minute later a strange clanking sound started to come from the car. Portentous metal grinding. I thought the little black piece was caught somewhere. I drove for a few yards and felt the car drag. I pulled over to the shoulder- the left shoulder as I was in the left lane - to take a look. It was chilly and windy and I stepped out to the cars whizzing by. The driver’s side seemed ok. No flat tires there. I tried to get over to the passenger’s side, but with cards going at 65mph+, I could scarcely get a view.

Okay, I said to myself. Time to take the car over to the right shoulder. The flashers were on and I slowly eased into the fast lane. I could still sense a drag and I didn’t want my rims damaged if this was indeed a flat so I was going at about 20mph trying to cross four lanes to get to the right shoulder. When I see this b**** in a yellow truck honking. And honking and honking. And honking. Complete with hands up in the air and mouthing what must have been expletives. I can’t lip read. I know we all get annoyed with fender benders or cars suddenly breaking down in the middle of the road, but honking is not going get anyone anywhere. What’s the point in honking? But only if her IQ was as developed. Only if. Anyway, I found a spot in the traffic and eased my way, flashers on, to the right shoulder where I got down and saw I had a flat.

Now what does a modern, independent woman of the 21st century do when she has a flat? Call her husband, of course. BigGeek was dropping off Chip to daycare when I called him. He offered to come over and help me change the tire but it would have taken him 40 minutes to reach the point where I was stranded. Not to mention 40 minutes to get back to work. “Call AAA” he suggested. Our membership had expired over year ago and we had not renewed it thinking we had two new cars that were well maintained. “They might charge you a fee for the service but at least someone will come over. I called AAA but I had to renew my membership for someone to come change my flat. Ten minutes later I called BigGeek and told him to not come over as help was coming in about 40 minutes. I chatted a bit with him lamenting that this did not get me my 2 second of spotlight on the local traffic coverage on the radio station. Nobody rubber necking to see what the matter was. No cop pulled over next to me. I was being so ignored. But then a tow truck pulled up. I was perplexed that AAA had sent in a tow truck. They tow away a car because of a flat? The driver got down and beckoned me. Odd. I stepped out of the car. “Is there something wrong with your car?” he was asking. “I have a flat.”I said. “Do you need help changing it?” “No thank you. Help is on the way.” “I could help.” “Yeah, but I already called AAA.” “Oh! Good then. I am not AAA. I was driving by and saw your car with the flashers on and stopped to see if you needed help.” Now I want to think he was a Good Samaritan but since he had a tow truck I also suspect he wanted to make a quick buck. This is what happens when you live in a big metro area. You refuse to believe in the inherent kindness of another human. Sure sucks.

But the AAA guy came soon after and changed my flat. Which is so easy really. I should have done it myself. Could have done it myself. Only I wouldn’t do it myself. Fear gripped me and I chose to pay $94 and wait for a better part of an hour than change a flat tire. My father, if he is reading this is slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. He told me I HAD to learn how to change a flat before I could drive. And I know how to change a flat. Or at least used to know. Haven’t changed one in over a decade. Oh well. It was cold and I was in fancy shoes and had no gloves or a hat or a heavy jacket that would have allowed me to work in the “elements”. At least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

And a simple flat it turned out not to be. My tire was shredded. Not just the flat one. But also another one in front of it. I called BigGeek. “What do I do?” He thought I was best with getting new tires right away at the nearest tire store. Before I put any significant mileage on the unflat shredded one and the one that was freshly replaced with the spare donut. He, being my right hand man, quickly found a Tire Kingdom 4 miles away and the address was punched into my GPS, its soothing robotic voice guiding my frazzled brain to rescue. It took 75 minutes and $432 to get new tires installed. And yeah, this time I said “no” to all the extra things they wanted to do to my car. But, ack. What an expensive morning it turned out to be! (Who can I sue? :P )