Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “Porsche”

Never Say Never

It took me thirty years to learn this: never say never. If you say you will NEVER do something, you immediately ring bells in the ears of Fate, Kismet, Karma, or whatever power in which you believe that will make you eat your words. Because you will eat your words, you will do the Never thing, and you will feel like a schmuck.

Sometimes you feel like a schmuck, because the Never thing turns out not to be that bad, and sometimes you feel like a schmuck because you had the unbelievable hubris to believe that you were above something, or at all in control of your life.

So let’s examine these Never things of mine. For fun, you can make a list of your Never things that you then proceded to do. Hell, write a blog post about it. Link it here. I’d love that, come to think of it!

Some of my Never things were major, some were minor, but I ate crow every time. Or kicked myself in the ass. Repetitively.

I grew up in Alabama. By the time I hit middle school, I knew that as soon as I was old enough, I was getting out of that state and NEVER coming back. That place was full of ignorant, uneducated, racist, misogynistic, judgemental, gossipy bible thumpers. And actually, that sentence is as true as it ever was. And I did get the hell out. I did my residency in New Orleans, which I adored, research in DC, which I adored (the city, not the research – I despise research) and took my first job out of residency in Atlanta. And I thought I had made it.

The above paragraph actually ties in at least 3 Nevers. Let us continue.

I worked as a babysitter and as a nanny for most of my teens and into my twenties. I liked working with children, but had enough experience with them to know that I probably didn’t want any. Children are little need machines, whose desires and actions completely eclipse any attempt on the involved adult’s part to do something else. Until you get them grown up enough to be useful and entertaining, and then they turn on you. My aunt brought up the subject of children to me when I was in my mid-twenties – at that time I was nowhere near being married, much less procreating. I told her rather savagely that I had no intention of having children – that dealing with them meant an interruption of life punctuated every few minutes by, “Mommy, LOOK!” After my childcare work, I had aggravating memories of “Look, I climbed up a step!” That’s nice, honey. “Look, I climbed up ANOTHER step!” That’s nice, honey. “But you didn’t look! You aren’t LOOKING! I climbed up another step!” After my rant, she looked at me strangely and said I probably shouldn’t have any.

I was never going to live in Atlanta, either. I had had friends for the past decade or so who, at one time or another had moved to Atlanta. And hated it. And were happy to enumerate a list of reasons why they hated it, and why no civilized person should ever live there. I listened to these reasons and thought, yep, that sounds reasonable. I won’t live there either.

I was never going to drink soy milk. Why the hell did the stuff exist? I remembered my Dad in his soybean phase, crunching handfuls of them for his health, and I remembered that they STUNK. Why would you want to drink something that smelled like that, unless you were some kind of rabid vegan, or mentally unstable health nut?

I was NEVER going to drive a minivan. I love beautiful cars – I helped my dad maintain his fleet of 1960’s Chevys – I loved the thrum of a V-8 and the surge of power when you stomped on the gas. When I was living in Atlanta (yes, Atlanta), I was still single and making great money. I bought a brand new Porsche Carrera Cabriolet, Arctic Silver. It was the car I had dreamed of since I was a kid, drooling over Carrera whale tails when they went by. I was NOT a minivan person. Even on the off chance that I might get married, or might have kids, at worst I would condescend to an SUV. Preferably a Lexus. HAH!

I probably should have put marriage on the Never list. I might as well have.

I met my husband while living in Atlanta. And yes, I freaking HATED Atlanta. I only took the job there because it was the biggest city I got an offer in, and I am a city girl, and would have a better chance of meeting an intelligent well-educated mate in a big city.

So, I found one. I got married. We decided we wanted a child. My parents still live in Alabama. My husband’s parents are deceased. We wanted our child to get to know their only living grandparents. So we found a job in, yes, God help me, Alabama, to be close to the folks. Lesson learned: Family always trumps Never List.

We decided after about a year to try to get pregnant. I figured, well, I’m 36, I’ve never been pregnant, and most of the patients I had who tried to conceive for the first time in their 30’s usually didn’t fare so well. I figured it would take at least a year, and then we might have to go the infertility route. I felt fairly comfortable I would not have to deal with motherhood any time soon.

I got pregnant the first freaking month off my birth control pills. We had a baby girl. And she was COLICKY. GOD AWFUL colicky. Enough to put my sanity in jeopardy, and to require consultations with her pediatrician. I was breast feeding, because of course, that is the best thing for both mother and baby, and one of the things we considered as a cause of her ungodly screaming was possible lactose intolerance. Soy milk. Soy milk. Did I mention that I started drinking soy milk? I will admit to eating a little crow here – the stuff is pretty good. It’s sweet, and tastes like vanilla. Know what else? It didn’t help the freaking colic ONE BIT.

When my daughter was 8 months old, the lease ran out on my beautiful Porsche. When I bought it, pre-husband, I had planned to buy it when it came off lease, and maybe retrofit it with a roll cage and a fire extinguisher and try a little track racing. Enter the husband, who hated my car. His hemorrhoidal butt hurt with each road-hugging move of the shocks, which are designed to help you feel the road, not your hemorrhoids. Enter the husband, who could squeeze a nickel until it bled to death, who found it obscenely unseemly that I was making car payments of the magnitude that I was. He made me get rid of my beautiful car. And he bought me a Mini. Van. I tried to console myself with the fact that it was a beautiful shade of red, and had 16 cupholders. I mean, that was cool, right? I remember reading an article in a parenting magazine by a guy who said he didn’t want to be the one with the bald head bobbing in time to Green Day, driving a minivan. At least I am not bald.

I had always envisioned that the Mommy Look thing would extinguish itself soon out of toddlerhood. My daughter is almost 9, and daily my whirling attempts at efficiency in running the household are interrupted dozens of times by “Mommy, LOOK!” And I am grateful that I have a good husband, and a healthy smart sweet daughter, don’t get me wrong, but the Mommy Looks make me bugsucking nuts. I guess she stops saying it when she doesn’t care what I think, and then we have bigger problems.

So, Readers. Never say never. You will eat those words. Daily. And kick yourself in your own butt with your shoe. Because you were either being narrow-minded and the Never thing is OK, or you were right in the first damn place and you should have kept your big Never mouth shut. So Never. Say. Never. And since that sentence now places me in Karmic doom to be destined to repeat Never again and again and eat it again and again, perhaps I will change my statement. ALMOST never say never, unless you really really have to because someone is aiming a weapon at you. Otherwise, leave things the hell alone.

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Don’t Drive Angry

Sophie and Me

I used to love driving.  When I first learned to drive, I was given a 1960 Chevy Station Wagon, white with red interior.  (See The Car On The Porch).  Despite its rather hideous resemblance to a hearse, I enjoyed the heck out of driving that car.  It was heavy, it was solid, and it boasted a V-8 that put most cars to shame.  My folks thought they had humbled me into driving safely, since the car was ugly and they didn’t think I’d want to attract any attention.  But I literally used to try to drag race it.  Some punk kid would pull up next to me and I’d start revving the engine, hinting that I’d like to race.  That thing could go from zero to sixty in… not very much time at all.  And the engine had such a satisfying throaty rumble.  There was the small issue of the brakes not working in park, and the emergency brakes not holding most of the time, but I kind of learned to park her up against walls or Jersey bumpers to keep her from rolling away.

Then I graduated to the 1982 Buick Regal.  That was the last American car I would own.  Buick is just a hideous brand; no matter what the make or model, the ceilings always fall in.  And the engines always stall, usually while pulling across a busy intersection.  This was the only car I had that didn’t really have a name (well, until the current one, because I hate this one too).  It was navy blue, which at this time was the only color car my parents ever bought.  That thing was a piece of shit.  The engine coughed and bucked and chattered on cold mornings.  It was my college car, and a classic college car it was.  My folks had already driven it for over sixty thousand miles, so it wasn’t exactly new.  I didn’t get new cars like some of my spoiled friends did.  Oh, how I wanted a Jeep Sahara instead!  But one wasn’t forthcoming, so The Blue Bomb it was.  I still enjoyed driving.  Except when the engine died.

Next was Lucky.  Lucky was a neat little Toyota Cressida (forerunner to the Avalon, one of which my mother now owns).  She was used but she was actually bought for me.  Again, she was navy blue.  I loved Toyota instantly.  The engine didn’t chatter, or balk, or die.  The ceiling didn’t fall in.  I drove that car until it had two hundred thousand miles on it.  It died just before the end of my final year of residency – the engine block cracked.  And, no, I didn’t forget to change the oil.  I think she was just really really tired.  She was my medical school and residency car.  She carried my boyfriend and I everywhere, since he had a 1978 Firebird convertible that lacked heat or air and that was notoriously unreliable.  The Firebird had holes in the floor where you could watch the pavement whizzing by below.  So whenever we went on road trips, Lucky got volunteered.  She saved me more than once.  One time I was speeding back from the town where my boyfriend lived to my medical school on a rainy Monday morning, and I hydroplaned and spun the car out.  Miraculously, at eighty miles an hour (I don’t do that in the rain anymore, thanks to Lucky’s timely message) I spun out a full 360 and wound up on the median facing the way I had already been going.  There was a bridge and there were signs everywhere, but Lucky was kind enough to save my ass and not hit anything.  I slunk back to my boyfriend’s house, saying this was a sign from God that I wasn’t meant to go to school that day.  Another time Lucky saved me, the same boyfriend and I were driving in the snow to Montreal to see his sister.  We were arguing in the car; I was telling him that he was driving too fast on the solid ice road.  He slammed on the brakes and told me to get out and drive myself if I was going to act like that, and the only car on the road for twenty miles came up behind and slammed into us on that bridge.  Lucky spun around, and damn if there wasn’t a mark on her.  The other car’s front bumper was completely crumpled in.  Well, I blamed my boyfriend for being such an ass, but at least he taught me how to drive on ice and snow while we were up there.  He put me in an empty parking lot and had me spin Lucky out time and time again so I could recover from a spin or a skid.  That came in really handy later.  The third time Lucky saved me from my own stupidity was in the snow again.  The blizzard of 1992 was predicted but I really wanted to go visit my boyfriend that weekend.  I was living in DC at the time and my lovely boyfriend lived in Alabama.  He didn’t say anything to discourage me from driving to see him (he never worried about me at all) so I took off on my usual twelve hour drive to Alabama.  That twelve hour drive turned into about a sixteen hour drive, because the blizzard hit with a vengeance.  By the time I got to Chattanooga, the snow was drifted up and by the time I got near Scottsboro, the road had gotten completely invisible – you could only see where it was by looking at the tops of the signs.  As I reached Huntsville, they were closing off the highway into town and it was three o’clock in the morning.  I was determined to reach my goal, and I took back roads skidding and and spinning, and used my skills from Montreal to get me to the house.  It took me another hour.  My boyfriend, completely unconcerned, was sound asleep and I had to throw clods of ice at his bedroom window to get him up to let me in. I was furious at him for not caring that I could have (stupidly) perished in the blizzard while trying to drive to see him.  But I made it.  When Lucky died, it was a sad day.  I was enroute from Houma, Louisiana to New Orleans, a drive I made often because my residency was done half at Chabert Hospital in Houma, and half at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans.  My car died out along the bayou, midway between the two.  Fortunately, I was within walking distance of Frank’s Bloody Marys, an a-frame structure that contained the best Bloody Marys I have had before or since.  I had a little rose in a pot, so I carried it up the road with me so it wouldn’t roast in the car, walked to Frank’s, ordered a Bloody and called my friend to come and get me.  He found me there about an hour later, several Bloody Marys under my belt, and the car was declared a write-off when the towing crew came to get it.  Her block was cracked and my heart was broken.

My next car, I finally got to pick out myself.  I had to buy it the last year of residency because of Lucky’s tragic death.  I borrowed the money from my folks and eventually paid it back.  I bought a five-speed Honda Civic, because when I finished residency and became rich, I planned to buy a Porsche, and I needed to know how to drive a shift.  I learned to drive the shift as my dad and I drove the car off the lot.  I was a little shaky for a couple of weeks, and then I just took off!  I loved my shift!  I loved my little car Scout, whom I named for Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird.  Fortunately, New Orleans is about as flat as they come, so learning a stick there was easy.  I drove that car until I finished my residency, then I drove it to my first job in Atlanta and bought the Porsche. 

I traded in the Civic on the Porsche, which was kind of funny.  I’m sure they were thrilled to have a used Civic on their lot.  I picked out an Arctic Silver Carrera Cabriolet, whom I promptly named Sophie.  I LOVED Sophie.  I used to go outside at nights and just sit in her, and listen to that great Blaupunkt stereo.  I also used to drive her around Atlanta late at night, when the roads were emptier and I could drive real fast.  Somehow, I never got a ticket.  I loved that car the whole time in Atlanta.  I felt like the shit, driving her around.  I had gotten really good at driving a stick, and love to downshift to slow the car to a stop without ever hitting the brakes.  The car had a spoiler that raised up automatically when you hit sixty miles per hour.  I had idiot kids try to race me at intersections and I would drive away laughing, just leaving them in the dust.  At that time, I was not very happy with my life and I sort of had it in my mind that maybe I would just die behind the wheel; that that would be a good way to go.  Then I met my husband.  We drove my car on our first big date up to Helena, Georgia, which is a beautiful little town that is German in origin and all the architecture is that of a German town.  It turns out my husband hated the car.  He felt it cost too much money and the “feel” of the road jounced his hemorrhoids.  So when we had a baby, and my lease on Sophie ran out, instead of buying out the lease and keeping Sophie as I’d always planned, we got…

The minivan.  The words just stick in my mouth.  One thing I had said, my entire life, was that I would never.  Ever.  Own a minivan.  I would die first.  We went when the lease ran out and we took my eight month old daughter with us and we bought a Honda Odyssey.  There were only two small consolations.  First, the van was a beautiful deep red.  Second, at least it wasn’t an American car.  I’ve had nothing but bad luck with American cars.  But I hated the thing on sight.  Not even sixteen cup holders could make up for the fact that my husband made me turn in my beautiful Porsche and buy a minivan.  I hated it so very, very much.  I missed my stick.  I had to tuck my left foot way far back so I didn’t reach for a clutch that wasn’t there.  I abused that van every chance I got.  I wasn’t really thinking clearly, or I didn’t realize, that this would be the car I would drive until it died.  Or until I did.  And that Hondas don’t die easily.  I hate driving the thing.  It’s huge, unwieldy, difficult to park, and impossible to drive in reverse, even with one of those back up cameras that keep you from running over your kids in the driveway.  I have always prided myself on being a good driver.  And I drive this van, well, like a damn soccer mom.  I park crooked, or too far to one side or the other.  I’m scared every time I back out that I’m going to hit something, or scrape something with my side.  I have destroyed the van in our garage.  I have scraped the side of the van on one side of the garage door, and then the other.  I ran the front of the van into stupid plastic shelves that were full of paint cans, and the cans slammed down on the hood of the van and left scratches and dents.  I just didn’t care.  My husband threatened to humiliate me by hanging a tennis ball up to judge how far to pull in.  That happened some time after I hit the shelves, and after I brought the garage door down on the back bumper.  My van doesn’t have a name.  It’s just the stupid van.  It has ugly scratches all over it, deep into the paint and I hate it and I just don’t care.  I usually keep a clean, neat car, but my daughter has totally trashed it out in the inside, and I just don’t care.  Her dirty footprints are all over the seat just in front of her.  There are french fries and school papers on the floorboards.  I dumped the top half of a pan of baked beans onto the rug in the front seat, and didn’t even bother to clean it up.  Words cannot describe how much I despise driving a minivan.  In an attempt to be cute, my husband got me a personalized tag for the van:  PEAPOD.  We call our daughter Pea, and I once remarked that if she was the Pea, the van was the Peapod.  So he got me the license tag.  I hate it because everyone in town knows who I am.  I can’t even flip anyone off in traffic.  So these days, I drive angry.  I don’t drive like a maniac, because I don’t want to hurt my daughter or anyone else, but I am just plain mad every time I get into that ugly thing.  I look at pictures of my Porsche, and I don’t think I will ever get over it.

Me And My Odyssey

I love my minivan.  Good gosh, what’s not to love?  That lovely, sexy, streamlined silhouette!  The way it cuts back to three cylinders to conserve gas along the road!  I mean, she even has a sexy personalized tag.  My husband got it for me!  It says  PEAPOD on the back, so everyone in town knows it’s me.  And that’s great, because since I know everyone knows who I am, in our lovely small town, that keeps me from getting road rage and flipping people off, previously one of my favorite pasttimes because that’s not a nice thing to do.  I love the fire engine red color – it attracts those nice policemen when I go just a little bit over the speed limit.  Because good gosh, who could resist speeding in a sexy ride like that?  It feels so homely with Amanda’s french fries, and school papers and those baked beans I spilled all over the floor in the front seat.  And Amanda’s wee little foot prints all over the back of the seat!  I feel right sexy riding around in that van, bobbing my greying head to Green Day.  There are napkins stuffed in the side door pockets, and CDs of music that almost make me forget that I’m a chubby 44 year old riding around in a minivan!  And the console is chock full of my driving glasses, and straw wrappers from Sonic, and rusty paperclips in a cupholder, and left over green frosting from a Gigi’s cupcake, all dried up, and it just all adds to that sexy ambiance!  There are sexy mysterious stains on the rug, and stains on the leather seats, and the rear sound doesn’t work any more, so when Amanda watches a movie, we ALL get to enjoy it!  I am chock-a-block full of love and hope when I ride around in that van.  It’s so neat, I don’t even miss the Porsche anymore.  Wow, was that thing overrated.  I mean, all that speed, and the stick shift, and the gorgeous, clean interior, and the pristine paint.  Why, who needs that when you can have a Honda Odyssey??  After all, there are sixteen cup holders!

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