Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bumps in the Road

Two weeks ago, on the way home from one round of Listen To Your Mother auditions, our car was rear-ended when our family was stopped at a traffic light. We were all okay, I was definitely the most shook up of the four of us, and the car didn't sustain too much damage. Marc took the car in to be repaired this past Monday morning, President's Day and the start of a week of school vacation for the kids.

We thought it was actually good timing, since the kids left on Tuesday morning to spend a few days in Arkansas with my in-laws, my sister-in-law and her family. With the kids gone, we thought we could get by without a rental car for most of that week, since I'd just have my normal commute by train. Marc and I also thought we'd be spending a lot of time together, since a break from the kids should mean one constant date night, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

The week ended up being an exercise in why work-life balance isn't just for people with kids. What should have been a simplified life ended up even more complicated as we experienced many more bumps in the road than just the original car accident.

After dropping off the car Monday, Marc had gotten a rental car because I was at home with the kids that day, and we didn't want to be without a car since Max had been semi-sick over the weekend and we had put off some errands. On Tuesday, Marc and the kids left the house at 5:30 in the morning so they could make their flight leaving from Hartford. By the time Marc got back to Boston, another snowstorm was already beginning and we were both busy with work. With the roads in poor condition, our first date night opportunity morphed into crabby cabin fever couch potato-ing, since I had spent most of the past four days at home. We didn't end up returning the rental car until Wednesday morning, and since that was after the storm, we had to dig both cars out of the snow and drive them to the dealership. The commuter rail is closer to the car dealer, so I took that train to work instead and arrived about an hour late and $6 poorer after spontaneously buying a ticket on the train. Wednesday night I had a friend come pick me up and we went out to dinner, which had been previously arranged weeks before, but now Marc was getting anxious that we'd have no time together, as we needed to add a shiva call to the following day's already carefully orchestrated plans. Thursday morning saw Marc cramming in an inspection on our other car before attending our friend's father's funeral. I couldn't attend the funeral due to back-to-back morning meetings with clients, but I really did want to make the shiva call, so I figured out how to take a bus to the location, or so I thought, so I could get there earlier. Only the bus driver was ignorant of how the route worked and told me to get out far earlier than necessary, and I ended up walking a long distance on snow-covered sidewalks and not getting there as early as I'd anticipated. Meanwhile Marc was stressed out, arguing with the guy who rear-ended us about the cost of the car repairs, and his stress boiled over into an argument with me. Another date night was derailed, and though we eventually made it to a late movie, we were so frazzled and exhausted that we got up late on Friday morning and Marc ended up having to drive me to work.

Our only salvation? The kids' flight home on Friday was canceled, and they stayed in Arkansas an extra day. Marc and I finally got a decent dinner and time alone together on Friday night, after we picked up the repaired car in a major rain and lightning storm. By that point, having gotten through all of the craziness of the past few days, the time together felt extremely indulgent and wonderful.

It's now Sunday night. The kids are back home, both cars are appropriately repaired or inspected, and we're on track for a more normal week ahead. Hopefully a week with fewer bumps in the road.

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