Monday, August 13, 2007

'Cause you're motorin'

One evening last week, Paul went to visit his brother to see about a tractor (which is not the same as seeing a man about a horse) and in the course of that visit, Paul traded his little truck for a car.

Now, here is the icing on the Come to Jesus cake - He bought the car "for me." Read on and you'll understand why "for me" is in quotes.

It is quite well known that my van is dying a slow and painful death. She's been a good van and I still love her, but I know her days are numbered and then when God calls her home, the Astro will be no more. We speak quite often about selling the boat, the little truck and the Astro so we can get a newer van that I can drive without having a laying on of hands before I leave the driveway. In fact, Paul is so serious about this that he has, after 2 years of me griping at him, finally replaced the rotten spots in the deck of the boat and as soon as Mamacita moves her kittens out of the boat, it's ready to sell. Or sail. Har.

Anyway, he came in from his brother's and said, "Hey, guess what! I traded that little truck for you a new car!" Okay, strike one, bucko - I have made it amply clear that I must have a van. Not only because we have three children and one back seat is not enough for three children, but also because I have a niece and nephew that I like to take places as well and Tater wouldn't appreciate it if they had to ride in the trunk. Plus, if Mom has all three kids, she takes my van so she can go places with them. So I held my tongue (Not literally. That's kind of gross.) and said, "Oh, wow. What kind of car?" He was grinnin' like a possum when he replied, "A Cavalier!"

My first car was a Cavalier. A gold 1986 Chevy Cavalier. A small car, the Cavalier. My gold car was a good car in her time, but didn't they stop manufacturing the Cavalier like, oh a century ago? Or at least 1986? That's what I thought, but nope, turns out they were still making them in 1989.

So I said, "Well, hmh. A Cavalier, eh? Interesting." It wasn't really interesting, but I was trying to be nice. It was obvious he was proud.

"Oh yeah, it's a pretty little car." Of course, he didn't say "pretty," he said, "purty." His redneckspeak is normally endearing, but it wasn't that night for some reason. And I know darn good and well that his idea of "purty" and my idea of "pretty" are two very different things.

Then, proudly he said, "It gets great gas mileage. Yeah, and it's a standard, too!"

That was when I nearly broke my jaw because I was gritting my teeth so hard. I didn't say anything at first. Just stood there with a dish towel in my hand, staring at him in disbelief.

"A standard? Paul, uhm....I can't drive a standard. And you know that."

"You can't? I thought you drove my little Toyota back when we were first married. Didn't you?"

"Uhm, yeah, if you'll think real hard, you'll also remember that the ONE TIME I drove it in town I killed it in the middle of a busy intersection and when I finally got it going again I drove it straight home and told you I'd never drive it again. And I didn't."

"Oh. Well, then I guess I'll drive your car then."

So I threw the dishtowel at him and said, "You didn't buy that car for me and honey, that's really okay that you didn't buy the car for me. But you didn't have to pretend that you bought it for me. It's okay that you selfishly bought a car for yourself when you know that I NEED A NEW VAN WAY MORE THAN YOU NEED A STUPID CAR!" I was having a total, pure, unadulterated, certifiable selfish moment.

I refused to go out and even look at it because I was pretty miffed. But ya know, I got over it. We haven't argued in a long time and I certainly wasn't going to let a stupid car cause us to have a big ugly fight.

Then Saturday night we had plans to go out with Tater, Cousin Courtney and Chad for dinner. When we go out we almost always take the big truck because he doesn't like driving the Astro and I don't like driving at night. But I walked outside in my white capris to find the kids standing beside the new car while their daddy put the boosters in the backseat.

Things didn't start out good when Sam said, "Daddy, how do I get in?" For some reason that really teed Paul off. I explained that not once in their lives had they gotten into the backseat of a two-door car. They didn't know the seats lean forward, but once I showed them they thought it was awesome. So then they all three piled in that incredibly small backseat to find that two boosters and a third child don't fit so comfortably and then there was whining and tattling and complaining. So Paul got more peeved.

Then when I kind of fell/folded myself into the front seat I got dust all over the back of my white capris and had the audacity to say, "Dangit! My white pants!" That when he got really mad. So I bit my lip to keep from laughing at him acting like such a jerk and we were all quiet until at least the end of the driveway and then I began teasing him in earnest.

I mean, I really let him have it. I ribbed him about his new "pimpmobile," I said, "The 80's called - they want their car back," I asked him if he'd go back home so I could tease my bangs up higher and spray on another coat of Aqua Net, I asked when he was going to grow a mullet and start wearing tight leg jeans, I asked if he wanted a large bird or something painted on the hood for his Christmas present this year.....I mean, I was ruthless. He didn't say much. And I just kept on.

But it was when I asked, "What year is this car?" that things started getting ugly. He said it was a '98. I said, " can't be. My van is a '98 and the interior is sleeker. The corners are more rounded. No, this car is from the 80's for sure." He was positive it was a '98 and told me to get the title out of the glove box to prove it.

Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 - 19EIGHTY freakin'NINE. My husband is dyslexic. And lost in the 80's.

I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have a stroke. I laughed because he was SO mad that I would dare to insinuate he had traded a '98 Dodge Dakota pickup for an '89 Cavalier Z24 and got the raw end of a deal. How dare I question the fact that his brother essentially know.

Then he said he'd go home in his 80's car and I could walk. And to be honest, it was hot and I wasn't up for it. So I shut my mouth.

When everyone got to the restaurant for dinner the comment was made that they'd been driving around for 20 minutes because they didn't see our truck or van in the parking lot and I was trying to give everyone the high sign to ixnay on the arcay because he was issedpay at his ifeway. You know, the wife with big bangs and Night Ranger in the cassette player.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...