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Suzanne and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s)

Updated: Jul 25, 2023


It is like the universe knew I needed a really good story to get me back into writing. Well, it certainly didn't disappoint. Settle in, this baby is long (and has many sub stories, they are relevant I promise).


*Substory: setting the stage* Our year round chicken coop has a massive (MASSIVE) mite infestation. I am finding comfort in the fact that they are bad for lots of people this year. On Friday I reached a point that I couldn't handle the sensory overload of having hundreds of tiny little bugs crawl all over me. In an attempt to make me feel better I posted a facebook story about the one time (several years ago) that we had mice in our car. I went crazy, couldn't sleep, aggressively cleaned, dealt with the issues, aggressively cleaned again, and then sold my car because it was dead to me. Remember these details for later.


The saga began on Saturday morning when Enda got stung by a wasp. It looked really good all day Saturday and then I went and ruined it by say something along the lines of "I can't believe how good it looks". So naturally Sunday morning rolls around and his hand is puffed right up, bright red that was slowly creeping up his hand, and hot as all get out. Awesome, I called 811, they said to have him seen (shocker) within a day. Perfect, I could deal with it later.


We head to Mass in Lacombe. As Mat is strapping Izzy in after Mass he says something along the lines of "Zan, we have a very big problem". Remember that little story I shared about the mice on Friday evening? Turns out I am really good at manifesting. There was evidence of a mouse in the van. Super perfect.


Now this is where details get complicated, there are several layers, every single one of them is facepalm worthy.


I had to get Bridget to camp on Sunday afternoon. Naturally I couldn't drive the van, as I didn't want to rack up the KMs on a vehicle I was planning to sell. We headed out in the truck, about 3/4 of the way there the gas light came on. Now, I am used to my Honda that uses that gas light as a gentle reminder. I know I have at least 60 km left when that little baby shows up. In fact I can make it home from town and back when it says "Distance to Empty: 0km" (by the way, this is a great feature of this newly listed van, 2020 Honda Odyssey, priced to sell). The truck does not work like that. If that needle touches the line you have 10km until you are dead. Tuck this little detail away for later.


I get home from camp drop off and decide we really shouldn't wait any longer to get Enda's hand looked at. I go back and forth between the ER in Rimbey (10 minutes away) or the urgent care in Sylvan (35 minutes away). I decided to be a responsible citizen and opt to drive to urgent care. We hop in the truck (because van=dead to me), and first head out to find a pair of shoes for Enda to wear. Yes, this task required driving around the yard to get to his abandoned shoes only to find the dogs stole one of them. At this point in my day I do not care. Whatever, I will just carry Enda the whole time we are there. I am not looking for any more shoes, we are rolling.


Remember that gaslight? It was still on. I called Mat hoping he would somehow be able to make our empty truck make it to the gas station in Bentley without me having to pull out the jerry can that we keep in the box (because we now know better). I am a full grown, capable, competent woman. I could change a tire if I needed to and I most certainly can use a jerry can to fill a truck. Well, I can use any jerry can except the designated "truck jerry can" to fill a truck. This thing has a weird spout that I really struggle with/have never successfully used without covering myself in gas. I was wearing a cute dress that I really like so I decided to keep Mat on the phone for moral support. Now, I would usually just tuck my phone in my bra so I had free hands but was feeling particularly aware of this bad habit as I had a mammogram scheduled for Monday (I'll get to the details of it later), so I did the responsible thing and set my phone on the box cover of the truck. At some point during my successful use of the jerry can Mat tells me he found shoes for Enda. I finish up, throw the can in the back and head up to the house to grab the shoes. When I go to get back in the truck I realized I didn't close the gas cap, no problem. I obviously needed to go back for Enda's shoes so I wasn't the idiot driving down the highway with an open gas cap.


We finally are on the road and about 15km later I think I see a black flash in my side mirror. Weird, I looked again and couldn't see anything. As I turned onto the back road to Bentley I find myself thinking about how I forgot to renew our AMA this year and really hope I don't run out of gas. This gets me thinking that my Mom should be passing by on her way home from Calgary fairly soon so I decide to give her a call so I can formulate a plan for my impending failure. It was at this moment that I realized (surprisingly quickly) that the black flash I saw was my phone flying on the back of the truck, onto the highway. I somehow remained astonishingly calm as I flipped around trying to remember where I saw it fly off. Thank goodness for quiet Sunday nights on secondary highways. I was able to creep along scouring the road for my phone. At this point I was mostly hoping to recover the MasterCard in the phone case so that I could get gas, I figured the phone was done for. I spot my phone on the shoulder of the south bound lane and turned around at the next approach. As I started heading south my Dad just happened to be driving towards me, saw my frantic waving and pulled in behind me. My phone was in perfect condition. The corner of the case was cracked but not a scratch on the phone itself. I quickly looked to see if my MasterCard and license were still in the cover. They were not. As I was formulating a plan to tell my Dad (who hates my habit of running my gas low) I was going to need to borrow 20 bucks, I happened to look down to see my credit card sitting beside my foot.


*sub story about my drivers license* When we put our offer in on the farm I realized my license had expired. I obviously needed to get a new one but was newly pregnant with the babies and was looking pretty haggard. This picture on my license was so good that I couldn't bring myself in to get a new one taken when I felt like I had been hit by a cement truck. Finally I had a good hair day, went in to renew and was told I didn't need a new picture. This encounter gave me a false sense of confidence that when I went in to change my address I wouldn't need a new picture, so naturally I rolled in looking like a hot mess (think 2 month old twins, husband away at school, had done something to make me sweaty, likely hadn't showered in days). Obviously they took a new picture that day to immortalize my postpartum misery. *End of sub story*


I was not at all disappointed to lose my license as I am feeling pretty fine lately and was ready for a redo of my picture. Spoiler alert: when you order a duplicate of your license you can't change your picture. My Dad and I diligently searched both sides of the ditch and decided to move on without my card. My Dad heads home, I head for Bentley. As soon as I pull onto the road there is something very obviously wrong with the truck. So wrong that I couldn't continue to drive. I had about 1 millimetre between the needle and the empty line so I knew I was good on gas. I called my Dad (with my not broken phone) and he insisted it must be the gas so he once again turned around and headed toward Bentley to fill up a jerry can. Sometimes I forget just how rurally we live because I still feel like there are so many people around, moments like this slap me in the face. Obviously the gas station in Bentley was closed at 8:15 on a Sunday evening. When gas stations here close it also means they turn off their pumps so you are super out of luck.


Okay, new plan. My Dad comes to pick us up and we head back to the farm to get more gas. We grab a jerry can and head back to my very dead truck. Yet another spoiler, it wasn’t the gas that was the issue. We try to limp the truck home but only make it a few kms before my Dad decides we won't make it and pulls into a field.


*sub story about my AMA membership* I am painfully bad at admin type stuff for our personal lives. I like to think that because I know that it makes me painfully diligent about it outside of the home setting. The trouble with that is that I have even less energy and capacity to do our admin type work at home. Our AMA membership is a perfect example of this. Our AMA renews in April. Last July, before going on a major camping trip I finally got around to renewing our membership. Around the same time I got a new credit card. In my mind I decided to not set up auto renew because I knew my credit card would be expired by that point and I didn’t want to have to set it up a second time with a credit card that actually worked. What must have happened is that I waited to renew last summer until my new credit card was up and running so that I could set up auto renew. I didn’t not remember that and therefore assumed I didn’t have AMA. All of this thought process was a waste of energy because I was solving a problem that I had already foreseen and dealt with, yay me! *end of sub story*


By this point in the evening I figured Enda’s weird hand would still be weird in the morning if it was actually a concern, so we were going to sleep on it. I spent about 20 minutes trying to find the paperwork with the renewal info for my AMA only to find that it wasn’t a renewal notice but was actually a statement of payment.


Monday morning we caught the inhabitant of our van and I broke an aggressive sweat trying to install the carseats again. Now, normally I wouldn’t comment on my B.O. but for those that have never had the privilege of a mammogram let me just forewarn you that you can’t wear deodorant the day of your imaging. I get to Red Deer and roll up to the registry office (looking like a babe) to get my new license only to find I forgot my whole entire wallet at home. This friends, is why I carry my license and MasterCard in my phone case.


*Sub story about why I was going for a mammogram* In November last year I found a lump in my breast. I had only finished nursing in August so I thought it could potentially be related to that but kept an eye on it. It didn’t change much so I got in to see my family doctor who got the ball rolling with imaging to be on the safe side. A mammogram and ultrasound later determined that we didn’t need to worry but did need to keep an eye on it, which meant more imaging in 6 months. If something is different, get it checked out, you aren’t too young. If your doctor wants to take a wait and see approach ask yourself a few questions 1) Do they have boobs? 2) What is their reasoning for waiting? 3) Am I content with that answer? If you answered no to questions 1 and 3 it is okay to either set a firm timeline, be insistent on imaging, or get a second opinion. You need your girls to be well. *end of sub story*


I rolled in for my Mammo to find they had an emergency come in that morning and one of their machines had broken down. This means they are behind, like an hour and a half behind. I consider a wait time for anything medical to be a privilege. We have been the people who couldn’t wait for care which means people waited for us. I will now sit and contentedly wait any day. It is finally my time to shine, we get going and the machine does something funny. They reset the machine but are fairly confident the first few images they took were alright.


*Sub story about boob imaging* Here is a fun little thing that happens at mammos if you are likely to need more imaging, you get to head back out to the waiting room wearing a housecoat. There are usually only a handful of people so it isn’t a huge deal and most people usually don’t sit there for very long so there is no one to notice if you come and go a few times. On this particular day because of the delay the same crowd of ladies were there for the long haul. This may surprise you but the general demographic of ladies hanging out in the mammogram waiting room isn’t usually 32 year old moms, so I stood out even before making several returns.


I head on out to the waiting room in my robe (that makes it sound classier) while the radiologist reviews my images. Remember those first images they thought would be alright? They weren’t. I get called back in to retake them and head back out to the waiting room, still in my robe. Now this raises eyebrows because no one else has made a second return in a housecoat. I can hear the Grandmas I was hanging out with starting to whisper. After review it was determined we needed a few more specific images. These ones are a real treat, lucky for me I have nursed twins so my boobs can do pretty much anything. One more return to the waiting room in my robe. The Grandma's whispers and stares are increasing in intensity with each of my returns. One more round trip for one last picture and hopefully my last trip to the waiting room. At this point I decided to put the crowd at ease and explain why I was coming and going. I had two options, be inconvenienced by having a group of Grandmas minding my business or I could be grateful that a group of women I do not know and likely will never see again were invested in my wellbeing. They didn’t have to worry about me, they didn’t have to care about the outcome of my imaging, but they did because people care about each other.

I was so confident going into this appointment that it would be a quick in and out and I would be done with this for a long time. That obviously wasn’t how it was playing out. In the end it was decided that we still aren’t worried but need to continue to keep an eye on things, so back I head in 6 months.


When all is said and done the only part of this rough few days I am bummed about is that I still have the same crappy photo on my license.


*Sub story about the truck* For whatever reason the death of the 7th piston lined up with me pulling off of the shoulder. The piston only holds 40 PSI when it should hold hundreds. Apparently it is a "bottom end" issue which means the whole engine needs to be rebuilt to fix it. The truck still runs mostly alright but her days are numbered. This significantly botched my plans of selling the van due to a single mouse that seemingly hadn't been there for all too long. New ad reads "mostly running truck looking for home with a handy owner, priced to sell." But seriously if you know anyone looking for a good project truck, hit us up! *End of final sub story*


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cbouchard.cwl
Jul 25, 2023

I really identify with your story here - the sub-stories, the yuck with bugs and mice, the administrative skills…Thank you for coming back to writing. God bless.

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