Let’s see – where did we leave off?
Ah yes, Christmas Day.
Christmas Day started off – and remained – relatively normal. Exceedingly so, in fact, given the events of the previous night. About noon, Liam gingerly, but eagerly, enters our room and whispers with glee, “Santa came!!!”
At this point, Sonya and I have managed about 6 hours of relatively decent sleep (Sonya less so, with pain shooting through her chest and back with every toss and turn), so I throw on my robe and head to the living room. As I gather myself, Liam rouses his sister and they both rush to the tree. As usual, the presents from Santa are displayed prominently on top of everything else, unwrapped: glow-in-the-dark Speed Stax for Liam and Christmas Day Barbie for Courtney - just what they asked for. I revel in their faces for a few moments, then explain to them that they shouldn’t open anything else until mom is up and moving. Between the gifts from my family the previous night that were rescued from the car and Santa’s treasures, they have enough to keep busy while I run to the drug store and get Sonya’s prescriptions filled.
When I return with the best Christmas Gift I could have gotten Sonya – drugs – the kids tear into the pile. Usually, Sonya and I will spend a bit on each other and get a few things. With money so tight this year, we skimped on each other to make sure the kids got a good haul. Sonya and the kids did get me the newest volume of Family Guy, however. The kids tore into box after box, exclaiming with utter delight at each new item, be it fun like a toy or practical like new Spider-Man & Dora hats and gloves.
After a few hours, we head to Flint in our only remaining mode of transportation (Sonya’s Prism) for Christmas with her folks. Dinner was supposed to start at about 3, but given the events of the previous night, things were set back a couple of hours. We arrive about 4ish to find Sonya’s father’s cousins already there. Not wanting to waste their time, we hold gift opening off until after dinner, when they have left.
We have a lovely meal of roast beef, a myriad of side dishes, and the Ferris’s traditional Christmas Pudding, and have a wonderful time chatting and just relaxing. After the cousins leave, we open gifts. I got the big item on my “not-necessary-but-greatly-desired” list of a 160GB external hard drive, and spent much of the rest of the evening transferring media from my overstuffed laptop to my new toy while Sonya naps on the couch. We stay a bit later than usual and eventually head home, content that the whole world has NOT gone topsy-turvy and there is some stability left in our lives.
Thursday, I have a dental appointment. I have a mess of cavities and a laundry list of work to be done, but the major problem I need dealt with is a wisdom tooth that had decayed to a hollowed-out cavern. For some reason, Dr. Jay insists on dealing with another cavity first. So I spend a half-hour in the chair while he does his thing.
I must make this clear: I HATE DENTAL APPOINTMENTS! I’m a good patient and can keep my cool, regardless of the discomfort or downright pain I’m in. I’ve always had good dentists and it’s never as bad as I build it up to be, but between the prolonged shot of Novocain, the piercing sound of the drill, and having sensitive teeth to start with, I have to spend a good half hour in the car calming myself down before I even walk into the office. I sat in the chair, closed my eyes, and went to my inner “happy place” while he poked, prodded, and (shudder) drilled. This one was particularly deep, so he wants me to be aware of it, as it may still become infected and may need to be redone at some point. I make an appointment for 2 days later (Saturday, 8am) to get my wisdom teeth extracted.
Friday, I leave work a few hours early to try and get my car towed from the impound lot to a repair shop (at Sonya’s insistence) to see if it’s at all salvageable. This should be simple. Go in, pay the $212 in towing and various other fees (for a totaled car - what a racket), call AAA and have it towed to the shop that was recommended to me, right? WROOOOONG!
I was hoping to do this alone to avoid long discussions about every little detail about the car with Sonya and not have to wrangle antsy kids, but Sonya insisted on coming along and Liam wanted to see the car. After finding the rather hidden offices in a less-than-ideal part of Detroit, I walk in – cash in hand – to bail out my battered and beaten old friend. Of course, the car isn’t THERE, it’s at their OTHER lot, 5 miles away. Sonya’s mom joins us, we get clearance from the main office and head to the storage lot to unload anything of value that may remain in my mobile second home.
Once we see the car and survey the damage in the daylight, we find several things missing – most notably, my trombone. After a litany of profanity that would rival Lenny Bruce, we unload everything else and head back to the lot's office to complain about the missing instrument. Thankfully, after 20 minutes of the guy checking paperwork, he finds it safely tucked in the office. Still, I’m missing a huge box of AA batteries and my MP3 player (which didn’t work particularly well these days, anyway). At this point, I just don’t care. I just want the ordeal over with so I can get to work by 6.
We drive back to the main office. They say if we can get the tattered remains of my poor car off the lot today, they can drop some bullshit $40 listing fee, otherwise, it’ll be that, plus another $15 storage charge. We call AAA, tell them they’ll need all the bullshit insurance and licensing paperwork required to even ENTER their precious lot, and they say a truck will be out in 45 minutes – 15 minutes before they close at 6pm. Just in time, but still making me late for work, so I call to alert my employer to my delay.
I send Sonya with the kids to her mother’s house in Detroit, just a few miles away, rather than have her and the kids stay, restless and bored out of the gords. I sit at the towing office and wait…and wait…and wait. It’s now 5:55pm and the staff is packing up. I call Sonya. She says AAA just called her to say it’ll be another half hour before a truck can get there, missing my window, costing me an extra $55 in fees, the time I missed from work at both jobs, and the past 4 hours of my life. Thankfully, one of the gals at the office (Maxine, bless her heart) opted to stay a bit late to help me out.
The tow truck shows up about 6:40, we get the paperwork all set, and tow my battered “Fortress of Solitude” to the repair shop in Melvindale. By the time it’s all done, it’s 8:30. I call work, who says just to stay home tonight and be ready to work my sales magic the next day.
"No problem," I think, "I'm just having two wisdom teeth extracted at 8am!"
Coming up next: Part 3 - Oral Surgury, Fear of the Dry Socket, More Christmas, Anti-Santas, and a bleak Automotive Prognosis.