The kids were at their grandfather’s in southern California all last week, which was great except that we got home last Sunday from dropping them off at the halfway meeting point (2.5 hours away) to get a call from my father-in-law wanting to talk to me because my 5 year old daughter had claimed I had told her not to be alone with his wife because her ex-husband did bad things to little girls. Now, the fact is, I knew her ex-husband had gone to prison, which is why my father-in-law was able to adopt her daughter, but I knew nothing of the details, nor did I really want to. But evidently my kid hit the nail on the head with why the guy had been locked up and she didn’t hear it from me or hubby so someone else has been talking to her. Add to that the fact that if I did have some sort of restriction in place such as my children not being alone with my father-in-law’s wife, I would have told *him* that and not expected a five year old child to make sure something like that didn’t happen. So, no, I never said anything about any restrictions. I explained that my kid had been curious about why J was grandpa’s daughter but not daddy’s sister and where was her real daddy? My kids understand the concept of divorce since both my parents and hubby’s parents are divorced and they understand the idea that Gram and Pa were married once and are mommy’s mom and dad, but Pa is married to Nanny now. But J’s missing dad was throwing my daughter for a loop. (FYI, father-in-law’s wife is my age.) I had simply explained that J’s daddy was not a nice man and she needed a nice dad so grandpa was her dad now. Easy, simply, not getting into any detail, and no restrictions in place. But that didn’t stop father-in-law’s wife from being very upset and she spent most of that day and the next crying in bed. Sigh.
On top of that, my mother-in-law had called that morning to tell hubby *her* husband was upset because I had not written a thank you note thanking them for the use of their house in San Diego when Robyn and I went to Comicon. The funny thing is that we never have to write a thank you not when we go down as a family, but apparently, even after 17 years of being a key part of her son’s life and bearing her 2 grandchildren, I still do not qualify for the family pass on just saying thanks on the phone. No, I’m expected to write a formal thank you note. Which I did… can’t wait to go see them in a few weeks when they come into the states again. Moan.
So that night I got to lay awake until 1 am wondering how I managed to piss off both sets of in-laws by doing nothing more than drawing breath.
Fast forward to this past Sunday and we go pick up the kids at midway point again. My IBS is acting up all day (which is loads of fun on a 5 hour car trip) and I simply want to crash when we get home. I do a few loads of laundry, veg in front of the tv for a while, then we all go to bed fairly early. At some point in the night, hubby and I both hear someone walk into the room and wait to see who says anything. Anyone with kids knows that feeling of someone standing in the room, beside your bed, staring at you willing you to wake up. Finally I call out my daughter’s name and she tearfully informs us it’s too dark in her room. At this point I’m trying to figure out why I can’t see her by the light of the nightlight in hallway or why I can’t see the alarm clock. Finally, it dawns on me… the power it out. Hubby takes her back to bed with a battery powered lantern and goes to check outside. The entire block is dark, although the teens across the street are out playing with lasers in the dark, so he figures it’s around midnight. Over the next couple of hours, daughter gets up twice to go to the bathroom and knocks over stuff. Son wakes up and realizes it’s pitch black in his room and he wants a light too. Son decides he needs to go to the bathroom. The power finally comes back on at 4:45 am. I know this because the answering machine beside my head tells me loudly to push the menu button to program it. I get up to find my blackberry on the charger to reset my alarm clock, crawl back into bed and try to go back to sleep for the next hour. Evidently the power goes off *again* because at 5:15, the answering machine once again tells me to push the menu button to program it. I fall back asleep only to wake up at 6:50 (instead of 5:40) because the clock radio not only lost the time but the radio station programming and I didn’t hear the alarm going off. So, I bolt out of bed and get into work an hour late.
Monday night I stop at the cheap gas station over by my work, which is in a really crappy part of town (because God forbid we put a federal building in a nice part of the city… no we’re literally two blocks from one of the highest drive by shooting areas in the country). But the gas is literally 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else in town *and* I can use my credit card for the same price). I usually go over during my lunch break but didn’t have a chance so I stopped on the way home and was promptly approached by a homeless man asking for money. I told him no and he immediately started in on me…. Would it kill you to give me five bucks? Yeah, I guess it would kill you to give me five bucks…. And he storms off. Now, I don’t give money to the homeless but I do, on occasion, go and buy them a sandwich. But you give me shit about not giving you five bucks and you are SOL, buddy. I turn around from that guy to see another guy with the squeegee in his hand asking if he can clean my windshield. I say no thanks and he smiles nicely and goes to the next car. I was about ready to climb in my car and lock the doors while the car filled with gas.
I come home and discover at 9 pm that the cable box in my bedroom isn’t working… won’t turn on even. We had this happen with the other box in the living room a few years ago after a power outage. So, I call Cox cable. Now, they won’t let you talk to a live person until you go through the automated bit and try all that crap. I spend the next twenty minutes with the friendly voice telling me they are transmitting information to the box to reset it and it may take up to five more minutes and please say continue when the clock turns on. Of course, it never turns on. At which point I’m instructed to say there is a problem. I do and am told it may take up to *another* five minutes and please say continue when the clock turns on. I *finally* convince it I need a live person and am on hold for another ten minutes before the agent comes on the line. I quickly explain we had a power outage the night before and box won’t turn on. He says, yeah, it’s fried, take it into the service center and exchange it for a new one.
That means during lunch I get to drive over and wait half an hour to spend 30 seconds at the counter getting a new one. I swear, they have the place set up just like the DMV with coded numbers to call you up depending on what you’re doing there. I was greeted by a very nice security guard who looked just like Chef Boyardee with horn rim glasses. Now, he was incredibly helpful, and I’m pretty sure a little bored, and he would have made an amazing greeter at Wal Mart. I just cannot picture a happy little nearsighted canned pasta icon as being a security guard. Fortunately, no one snapped and started attacking me with the remote to their cable box. Finally get the new box and head back to work. As I stop at a red light a few blocks from work, I look over and see the belligerent homeless man from the night before standing on the corner by a different gas station, arms waving, berating another person who evidently would have been killed by giving him five bucks. Well, I think, at least its not just me.
So, I get home tonight and plan to hook up the new cable box, only when I walk in, my daughter tells me something’s wrong with the television… all the channels are gray. Sure enough, the box is on but there is no picture. I check the computers… no internet connect. Crap, the cable is out. Call Cox again and the recorded message tells me there is a service outage in my area and technicians are working on it. It just now came back up after 3 and a half hours. At this point I’m almost afraid to try to connect the new cable box.
Here’s hoping tomorrow night I’ll have better luck. Gah!