Monthly Archives: January 2014

Scene:  my dark, stormy neighborhood at 6:45 this morning, where there is currently no power.  Specifically, my garage, lit only by my weak flashlight and my daughter’s weaker (but blingier) Hannah Montana flashlight.

Problem:  how to disconnect a garage door opener, exactly?  So I can escape my house and go get a desperately needed cup of coffee at Starbucks?  I have already begun to solve this problem by rummaging through an entire kitchen drawer full of appliance manuals (an entire drawer!  how did this happen?!), locating the garage door opener manual, pretending I know what I’m doing by locating the page that says something about ‘disconnecting the blah-blehbetty-blah-blah, and resisting the urge to reorganize the drawer and throw out all the crap in there we don’t need or use anymore.  Priorities, Amy, FOCUS.  You will not get coffee until you free your car from the garage.

Me: Okay, Zoey.  According to this manual, there should be a cord we have to pull…towards the inside garage door.  I think?  Get your flashlight over here?  (I study the black box located directly over my car and begin–no, continue–to panic.  I need coffee.  Like, now.)

Zoey:  (scanning Hannah Montana in every direction but the one needed)  Mom!  What are you doing?

Me: (grunting)  Getting a chair to climb on.

Zoey:  (sternly)  Mom.  Should you call Uncle Paul?

Me:  OH FOR THE LOVE, ZOEY.  We can figure this out.  Don’t talk.  Look for a cord.

Zoey:  Mom!  Is it that red cord swinging right by the big garage door?

Me:  God bless you and your 20/20 vision.  Yes, that’s it.

What follows is a struggle to climb on a chair and pull (harder than what I feel should be necessary) until I hear a clunk that I figure means we’re either home free or doomed until the power comes back on.

Turns out, we’re golden!

I silently high-five my single parent self all the way to Starbucks and thru the drive-thru line.  I just solved an engineering problem at 6:45 in the morning!  With no coffee on board! 

I am greeted at the window by karma, that nasty old bitch, in the form of a good looking barista who normal works at the Starbucks across town and is now getting an eye full of my ratty hooded sweatshirt and my turquoise heart printed pajama pants.  I stop congratulating myself and start cringing instead.  He asks how my morning is going.

Great, Kevin.  It’s just…great.

Safety first!

Remember that I’m-fed-up-with-the-Y hissy fit I had a few months ago?  Part of suspending my membership (‘suspended’ as opposed to ‘dropped’ in case I missed it desperately and wanted to re-join without fees) (and I have yet to miss it) (at all) included a resolve to become a night time runner during the dark dark days (and evenings) of winter.  I bought a set of Knuckle Lights.  (Love.)  Arm warmers.  (Love love.)  And?  A reflective vest.  (Kind of love to hate.)

But running any time after 4 p.m. in December pretty much mandates the safety gear.  Because, as we all know, if I die a tragic early death, my motherless daughter will be SCREWED.  No way am I going to let that happen because of a little vanity…and let’s face it, “she died pretty!” was never going to go on my tombstone anyway.  So every Tuesday night found me wrestling thin bits of velcro around my midsection and (half the time) discovering I had put the thing on backwards.  Then I would trot off down the street, knuckles lit and torso reflective, on my way to meet Amy on the corner.

And OH THE MOCKING.

Seriously, do you know how many crossing guard jokes that girl can fit in to a quarter mile stretch of pavement?

I tried shaming her in to wearing one, too.  I answered her jokes with my long-imagined worst-case-scenarios: embarrassing ambulance rides where my granny panties would be discovered by attractive paramedics (admittedly, death couldn’t be swift enough in this scenario), motherless children, a potentially long stay in the ICU with my mother whispering from the bedside ‘you should have been wearing a reflective vest!’

Good old Catholic shame didn’t work, so I moved to Plan B.  I sent a text to her husband Scott.  Told him I was planning to get Amy an armband for Christmas, but she also needed a reflective vest for our evening runs, she’d actually been begging for one!  (A small lie, justifiable in the name of Safety.)  And would he pick one up for her?

And let me tell you, people.  Scott did not disappoint.  You ask him to pick up a reflective vest for his woman and he’s going to pick the best damn reflective vest on the market.

I’ll bet you he had visions of motherless children and granny panties and ambulance rides dancing in his head, too, because what showed up at my door this evening wasn’t so much a VEST as it was a STATEMENT PIECE.  It didn’t merely reflect, oh no.  It shouted to all drivers near and far KILL ME AND YOU WILL PAY.

My favorite part?  It blinks.

Yes sir.  If you can get past the large swaths of plastic neon yellow that put my shabby velcro strips to shame, you will find blinking red Christmas lights embedded both chest and back.  And?  The battery pack tucks neatly in to its own little pocket buried within The Vest of Shame, so it doesn’t migrate during your run or cause chafing.  Because that’s just the kind of thoughtful guy Scott happens to be.

I don’t know if he planted the Christmas lights himself or if Amazon graced him with this gem when he typed ‘reflective vest’ in to its search engine, but…wow.  Just wow.

So, yeah.  Okay.  I laughed a little.  (A lot.)  Might have peed my pants.  (A little.)  I would post a photo of the two of us that my aunt so graciously offered to take before we left the house, but I’m pretty sure Amy would kill me.

We set off down the street like a freak show Christmas light display, only mobile and more like a wandering circus act.

But let me tell you the best part!  All the hazards of nighttime running fell away in a blaze of blinking glory!  SUVs gave us a wide berth.  (We could see drivers laughing.)  Cars that might have once pulled too far in to an intersection before noticing a pair of mother runners at their side couldn’t exactly use the ‘oops, sorry, didn’t see you there!’ excuse.  I, for one, felt incredibly safe while running this evening.

Pretty sure Amy felt ridiculous.  But I’ll be damned if we’re checking out of this world while wearing granny panties on a Tuesday night three miler.