Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Man Fully Growed

Poor Cubby Bear.  It was Son3's 19th birthday and the first on which he was employed full-time; he'd be out the door before sunrise on his special day.

Back at the farm, Son4 and Mom were studying American Government and Economics and what to do about sloping floors in a piggledy old house and laying plans for making the birthday boy's afternoon and evening a gleeful occasion.  We struck out of here in the early afternoon to pick up a cake mix and the birthday boy.  If I got the cake baked as soon as we got back home, it would be cool enough to decorate before dinnertime.

We ran into the road grader about half a mile from the house.  This man likes to scrape mountains into the middle of the road before he smooths it, and the last time I tried to straddle the pile, I about took the belly out of my van, so I hugged the side of our narrow gravel road this time.  Error. 

I don't know what was lurking in the grass, but whatever it was had a knock-down-drag-out with my tire and won, which I didn't know until I'd pulled onto the blacktop, where some other crew had made a bumpy, dirty mess digging out a culvert, confusing my travel issues.  I'd no more put the period on the sentence, "I think maybe we have a flat," when Son4 said, "Hey, we're leaning."  Leaning.  Reminds me of when I was pregnant with Son4, his dad had moved ahead of us to a new job in another state, life was not a picnic, and 4-year-old Son3 asked, "Are we tipping?"  Yes, that's what he asked: Are we tipping?  Listen, I can tell you tipping is far worse than leaning, but I'd rather not do either. 

So I slowly coaxed my van to the first street in town, since there is no shoulder betwixt here and there, and I was thankful for that decision a few months ago to join the cell phone world.

"I'm at First and Locust, and my tire is flat as a pancake."

"Is there a can of Fix-A-Flat in the van?"

You know, it was 93º in the shade.  I was in the shade.  I was also leaning and seeking no good-wife awards at this moment in time.  It was Son3's birthday, I needed to get a cake mix, pick up the birthday boy, bake a cake, decorate it, and be ready to go to dinner at 5:30.  "I have no idea whether or not there's any Fix-A-Flat in here, but it doesn't matter.  The tire is flat as a pancake and I had to drive on it like that at least two blocks to reach a place I could pull off."  In my mind, driving on a pancake meant I'd ruined the tire, and no can of anything was going to put me on the roll again.

Well, he really couldn't leave, because he had to start-up "clear" before day's end.  Now don't worry your pretty head with "clear."  Just go with it, because I knew what it meant, and it's all about me in the first place.  He'd send Son3, who was due to get off work in 15 minutes anyway; he could just leave early.  "Well, ask him to stop and get a cake mix on his way."

So Son3 showed up about 30 minutes later with a cake mix and jacked up my van.  All my other flats have presented themselves in our driveway, so Charles has always just thrown the tires in his truck and gone to town for a repair or replacement.  This meant no one had ever removed the spare from beneath the van...and no one knew how to do it.  Calling Charles resulted only in learning that while I was leaning on the road, a water line had broken beneath the plant, and 18"-tall, muddy fountains were dancing through the cracks in the floor.  One area (containing a new $12,000 piece of equipment) already had 6" of standing water.  Fire truck, EMTs, city vehicles, and the water department were on the scene.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I'm leaning here!  Don't make me tip!"Never mind.  We'll figure out something."

So I told Son3 to just put the tire in the truck, go back to town, and buy me another one.  About that time, Mrs. Piecrust called me, and we discussed whether or not I can stand to remain on Facebook, with every depravity known to mankind floating past my face.  You know, sometimes you're just better off imagining it's not out there.  So we explored that for a while, then she needed to get back to work, and I let her know before she hung up that in addition to the depraved state of the world, I was sitting in town, under a tree, leaning, on Son3's birthday, and the plant was flooding.  The birthday boy had been crawling around in the dirt and gravel for at least 40 minutes and was gone to town now.  Hadn't I been cool, hot, calm, and collected during our conversation?  ºÜº

Then Son4 and I took up a game of hangman.

I called Son3 to see how he was faring at the tire center.  When I learned it would be another 20 minutes before the new tire was ready, I told him he better go to the bakery and choose a birthday cake.  I'd make him a real cake on another day.  He agreed it was a good plan.

By this time, two officers of the law, in two different vehicles, had passed me three times in this little zero-horse town.  After all, I'd been sitting there nearly three hours now, and I guess they have to be somewhere appearing to do something.  And now one of them decided to stop.  "Are you getting help?" he asked, with a sober look on his face.

"Yes.  I'm just waiting for a tire," I replied with a big, fat charade of a smile.

"Well, don't let that thing fall," he said in a commanding tone, same sober, official look on his face.

"Ohhhh, no," I answered, eyes big as saucers and trying to align myself with his gravity.  Don't let that thing fall?  Did I seem too cheerful about my plight?  Just needing someone to boss around today?

Son3 showed up with the tire and a birthday cake, and I didn't let the van fall.  [*Sahhh-lute!*]  I made the mistake of asking Son3 if he was tightening the bolts really well and was met with the clown acts from both 3 and 4: (3)"No." - (4)"He's just finger tightening them." - (3)"With my pinky finger."  Man.

Hot, and some of us filthy, we were back home 3 hours after we left the house for an intended 35-minute excursion.  Son3 opened his gifts, cleaned up, and we went to town for dinner.  It was a birthday none of us will soon forget.  Son3 — to be sure — is a man fully growed.  And we didn't tip, but we sure were leaning there for a while.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.  Psalm 46:10, 11


Liberty said...

Well you know, that just made Son's birthday one you and he will always remember. :P At least it all ended well!

And I have to admit...I laughed like crazy. ^.^

Annie T. said...

OH MY!! What a day! :\