The Invisible Post About Poop, Pee, Mothers, and Breakdowns

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Mother and Child by Pablo Picasso

Mother and Child by Pablo Picasso

I wasn’t going to post because it’s the Fourth of July, it’s summer, and very few people seem to be around.  But then…

My car broke down.

It didn’t just break down and glide elegantly off to the side of the road, either.

I had just dropped my son off at camp, run my other kid to the FedX station to drop off poop and pee (more on that later), and gave the kid to my Dad.  I stopped for gas, cruised through McDonald’s for a soda, delighted that I was going to get at least one day this week to go to the gym.  Then right at the “t” where the two lanes of McDonald’s drive-through traffic merge, conveniently located so NO ONE could get by me, that’s when all the lights came on.

The car shook a little.

Then it stopped.

My key would not come out of the ignition and I couldn’t put the car into any other gear than Drive.

I got out and apologized to the people in cars behind me.  Everyone was nice about it.  One man offered a jump.

Suddenly several young male McDonald’s employees were pushing my car out of the way.  McDonald’s drive-through stops for no man (or woman in the way). No one was listening to each other.  All I heard as I trailed behind was,”SOMEONE HAS TO STEER IT!” (no one thought to get in the driver’s seat) and “DON”T LET IT HIT THE WALL!”.

I got a jump and the car started and died 10 seconds later.

It was 95 degrees and it took an hour and forty-five minutes for AAA to come.

Everyone said it was the alternator, it turned out that it was a wee bit more than that.  It was an oil leak from a valve that sits over the alternator, and the whole thing was $1,550 plus tax, the day before 4th of July.

This car has 109,000 miles on it.  It had been to the other dealership nearer my home a couple of months ago and all they said I needed was an oil change and four new tires.  We spent $1,000 on the tires, which I thought was crazy considering the age of the car.  Apparently that’s what “good” tires cost these days.

All I really wanted was for the car to last long enough for me to pay it off in December.  I had just been asking it if it would kindly give me another six months or a year of no car payments.

Apparently it thought I said,”Six DAYS.”

Also apparently when your car lights flicker on and off for no reason every few weeks, that is a SIGN and you are supposed to take it back to the dealer even though it was just at the dealer.

Wishing it away wasn’t going to help, I guess.

I got a loaner until Friday, due to the holiday, and it’s a push button car.  My SunPass for the freeway tolls is permanently attached to my car, and my exit has no attendant, so I had to take the long way home after killing the day.  I realized that the one thing the very nice man at the dealership did not think to remind me to take with me was my house keys.

What is it about major changes in life that seem to generate other major changes??

Our house situation and job situation (okay let’s just say “financial situation”) were off the rails for three years and got suddenly solved nearly simultaneously.  We needed extra money for housing, I got a job…and a TON of other bills falling on my head.

The question, I suppose, is would those other bills have come along anyway?  And the job is a solution to a problem?  Is it just that after years of not being able to immediately handle any and all repairs and replacements, things just get old and give out eventually?

Or is it an energetic thing?

I am firmly NOT waiting for the other shoe to drop this time.  Usually that’s my old default position,”Gee that wonderful thing just happened, better not get too happy about it or something else will come around to bite me in the butt.”  Nope, I was thankful, truly glad, and optimistic.

I’d love to say that my last week before work begins was spent tooling around town with my son, but it wasn’t.  The house almost didn’t close because of some open permits that we apparently inherited when we bought the place, but no one told us about.  That’ll be a few bucks to close out.  The dogs had to go for a very expensive annual visit.  Camp for the kids was over $500 a week, and since I’m going back to work I signed everyone up for more weeks.  Every time I turned around I was spending $500 on this and $500 on that, to the point that I realized my credit card had no more limit, and then the car thing happened.

Ironically I got in a couple of checks for, you guessed it, $500.

As I was waiting for the car estimate, I was saying,”Please let it come in under $500!” but in my head I heard,”Eighteen hundred dollars.”  I thought surely my intuition was wrong, it could not conceivably be that much for an alternator, and when I heard $1,550 I thought maybe it was $1,800 with tax?  But no, it turned out that they were suggesting a fuel servicing also, which had I taken it would have been, drum roll please, $1,800.

The funnier part was that, Mercury Retrograde being what it is, combined with having a mischievous five-year old boy in the house, everything started losing itself in the house.  We lost three Nintendo DSes, two flip-flops (right sandal only on each, and yes I would have made him wear a mismatched pair to the pool if only I had a right and a left), a monster box made at camp, and all three remote controls.  I was wandering the house as usual at 2am looking for ANY working remote and actually found myself crawling across the kids’ bed while they slept, with a booklight, feeling around on the floor by the side of the bed where I know he keeps it.  I had scoured the house looking for those flip-flops so when something else would go missing I was shaking my head,”Where could it be??  I just looked everywhere!”

Then the poop thing.  One of the kids needed some medical tests to check for allergies and problems with their gut.  First was the blood work, which required an hour, three phlebotomists, a butterfly needle, and four glasses of ice water to produce.  Then they refused to do the specialist test because it had to go to another lab which wasn’t Quest.  I wasn’t putting a little kid through that again.

Then there were poop and pee tests, which had to be done at home by Guess Who.  You need to time the tests, which means that you have to collect two samples within four days.  Naturally the child, who apparently really does have problems with his guts, cannot do that.  First test scrapped, one 30 minute conversation about poop with the nurse, and a lot of fiber later, the new kit came, and I was determined that this one should get out in time to FedX.

You don’t really want to see me when I am determined.

Miraculously, this time we had success.  You know you are a parent when you can, must, and will, do what was required to get that kit put together for your kid.  My husband ignored me running around like a nut putting saran wrap on the toilet seat, instructing the child how he cannot pee on his poop (or the test will be ruined! Ruined, I say!), and taking the tiniest shovel in the world and getting samples “from multiple areas” in a tiny bottle, and not even getting squeamish when there was an issue with the lid and some spillover.  He just pretended that none of us were there.  Until the screaming started.

I had set the kid up, and he had to pee, so he took the saran wrap off the toilet seat and came to find me to put more on.  His brother came with him.  The goat tried to get in the house AGAIN and so I pushed him out of my way in a race to the bathroom, slamming the door as hard as I could so it would shut (a few years into that needing to be fixed).  The brother had his hand in the door at the time.

I didn’t know what to do first – get a bowl of ice for the screaming child whose hand I probably just broke, or run to the toilet for the other kid.

My husband had wandered off into the garage to tend his worms, fish and hydroponics, and probably just to get away from us.

Meanwhile my friends are posting about their glasses of wine, concerts, trips away for the holiday, but as I say, I was determined.

Then it crossed my mind that the Wednesday overnight deadline would mean that the frozen package would arrive at the lab on the 4th of July and they would be closed.

Well, crossing fingers, I’m sending it anyway.

Then after a trip through the industrial part of town that I didn’t even know was there, we found FedX Central and the lady said,”Did you know this package is kind of wet.”

“It has an ice pack in it,” I told her, and prayed that nothing was actually leaking, rendering the test moot.

Then we went to the car and I heard,”Mom?  Mom, what actually happens if you get a little pee on it?”

“How much pee are we talking about?”

“I think it was two drops.”

“Well,” I told him,”Lets just hope that the samples didn’t touch the pee.  It’s in God’s hands now.”

And so it is.  All of it is.


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  1. It’s raining, it’s pouring… and as the lightning strikes, the thunder rolls, and the wind beats, down, Julie stands firm. You’re not caving, you’re not shaking your fist (too awfully hard!)… you’re rolling with it, baby! At times like this part of us goes into autopilot/survival mode and it’s no B.S., just TCB. Especially for mothers, this is a terrific, valuable asset.
    I thought rainy days didn’t come until one actually had rainy day money put back, as a sort of checks-and- balances system. Somehow we always have just enough to get by, and just by the skin of our teeth–no more, no less. Surplus? Ah, great time for a major upset. Yes, I am one of those who sometimes waits for the other shoe to drop too, because I somehow rationalize that if I’m not too high when I fall, it won’t hurt as much.
    I was holding my breath almost frantically when I read the entire post. And with your closing words, knowing you were able to let go and trust Great Spirit with all of it, I felt myself exhale. Whew! What a time it must have been/still is for you!
    I didn’t realize we were in the midst of Mercury Retrograde. This explains much; everything going awry and the natural inclination to reflect and review are evident. I still get much insight through songs that show up at the right times. There are words of wisdom in this one from Coldplay:
    “You’ll go backward, and then… you’ll go forward again.”
    It makes me think of that metaphor of the bow and arrow, of being stretched to the point you think you’re going to break, just as you’re about to soar, forward and high.

    • Ayla, That was very inspirational! We have to get you song writing 🙂

      Yes, everything is and always will be fine. Sometimes when tragedy strikes we might wish that kind of “perfect” wasn’t the case. But living in fear does no good, we just have to roll right ahead with what we are given and maybe sometimes ask for the ability to see things change. But when it is just day-to-day ridiculousness it just feels good to get it on paper and share it with the world 🙂

  2. Shit, I enjoyed this read Julie..
    Better times ahead for You, I’m sure. Happy 4 july for you over there.

    Be good to yourself
    David Stevens recently posted..When you tire of the Journey, seek The AdventureMy Profile

  3. Hi Julie

    Boy is it sure nice to have a normal life!
    Good luck on all your crazy happenings. I am dizzy just having read it.
    Enjoy your 4th.

    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Contemplating The Power of FearMy Profile

  4. Hi Julie, I enjoyed reading your post! It sure has an eye-catching title that got me intrigued. Glad to know about how things just came together for you LOL!

    Have a lovely week!

    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How to Create Wealth with Little or No Money DownMy Profile

  5. You write some of the longest posts of any blogger I follow and yet I read every word! 🙂
    You are amazing! hang in there! 1800.00 – and you heard it! LOL
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..Do You Believe in Yourself?My Profile

  6. OMG. As usual your post made me want to just go and lie down and thank the sweet Lord that I am not you. But you seem to be up to all of it as usual, so more power to you! I think you deserve a hot dog and a root beer float. Pee-free, of course. Happy 4th, my dear! 🙂
    Jennifer Lynne Flint recently posted..Strange DaysMy Profile

  7. *Sigh* I feel for you. With the whole thing. And I totally related to the goat / slam door / one kid screaming / the other kid needing immediate attention thing. (Not that I have a goat). Is there any other way? Ah, to have the reach of an octopus…

    I wish you a less eventful weekend! 🙂
    Christine recently posted..Common Cold or Life Lesson?My Profile

  8. Julie dearest. First, come here – I want to give you a big big hug. I squirmed, cringed, laughed and cried through your post. I freaked out over the shutting of the door, kid’s hand and all. That scared the shit out of me. I think of you every morning, but I can assure you I am going to squeeze God’s delicate parts to wave a magic wand over you and balance things. Gosh, I’ve been through this sort of thing when I’d get samples of my Mom’s sputum for her TB tests, and all the other samples I didn’t even know existed. Blood tests were the worst with her, sometimes the lab creep would actually try to get it from her ankle. Yes. And then find that the trials and errors on her arms would begin to bleed while she suffered her pain with smiles.

    I am dying to know if the samples were reached by FeDex safely and whether everything is okay with your son.

    Love you lots!
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Inspiring Stories A Life InterruptedMy Profile

    • Hi Vidya! Thank you for the giant hug 🙂 You know that all’s well that ends well (though I am not sure yet what happened to that FedX package! I think it takes 3 weeks to get the test results.) Gosh I am so sorry that your Mom had to go through all that. I will take a magic wand!

  9. How do you do it Julie? Your sense of humour shines through every little twist and turn in your tale…and what a tale it is.

    My take on the whole thing is you’re simply moving into a grander and greater state of consciousness so all the old pooey stuff has to be dumped by the wayside, or sent by fedex, whatever floats your boat. ‘Cos it can’t exist in the wonderful new state you’ve chosen for yourself kiddo. Although, then I’ll miss all these juicy posts of yours. Hmmm what to choose? 🙂
    Elle recently posted..Find Peace In ChangeMy Profile

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