Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Day to Forget

Yesterday was a day in which I hope the three of us will be able to look back upon and laugh instead of cry, which is how I handled a portion of yesterday.

Where to begin? At the beginning? Do I really have to retrace all our steps back to the very beginning of our very long and very, very bad day? I suppose so. I did laugh as we three sat smooshed together in the back of a gypsy cab while following my car hitched to a tow truck. I told Cesar, through my half hysterical laughter, that this day was most definitely blog worthy. Cesar didn't have much to say at that moment.

The Beginning. My alarm rang at 6:45 am, I chose to ignore it but Cesar leaped from bed in the single bound thing he does so predictably and well, and headed for the shower. I heard his footsteps back in our room and peeped at the clock. 13 minutes had passed and my husband was showered, shaved and in the midst of dressing. Amazing. I rolled myself up and out of bed, headed for the bathroom. The night before I had picked out clothing for Hugo and myself and packed a bag of tricks to entertain him in the car if needed. I knew that all I had to do this morning was to apply make-up, dress, eat and prepare snacks for the short one and we would be out the door and off. Cesar woke and dressed Hugo. Cesar also filled a water bottle for me. I was traveling to the City to repeat part of an anatomy ultrasound appointment for the twins, I was going to need the water to fill my bladder in preparation of the scan. I was uneasy about bringing Hugo to the City. Cesar was going to scout out locations for a commercial shoot and I would be alone with the short one until 12:30 pm when I was to meet a friend who would watch him while I had the scan. Hopefully we would connect with Cesar around 2ish at the latest. As we all headed out the door and down the walk to the car, information of Hugo's not yet emptying his bladder this morning reached my ears. "WHAT??!!!! How could this be?? We can't leave! You march back in that house and tinkle Mister!" I screeched. I was out voted. The door was locked. I had not packed back up undies or shorts or shoes for any of us, let alone for the one who had not tinkled and was facing a long drive with a time limit attached. I tried to be nice in the car, I'm not sure if I succeeded. I was wishing Hugo had stayed home with a sitter. No genie in a bottle appeared.

We arrived on time for Cesar's scout and luckily found parking close by. The short one had made it, his pants were clean and dry. We even had time to spare for the three of us to use the bathrooms in the park. The day was sunny with no rain in sight. So much promise to it that my spirits were lifting by the second. We three smooched and waved good-bye as we parted ways, Cesar into the park once more and Hugo and I up to 86th street to catch the subway down to my old work to pet yarn and yak with my old boss. Promise, sunshine, pretty store windows, cute handbags walking past and loads of compliments for Master Hugo. Everyone loved his shades. He likes to tell me how cool he looks in his Diego sunglasses. People, New Yorkers, went out of their way to say hello to him, it was nice. Remember, I did say the morning was full of promise. Midway up the next block Hugo announced he couldn't walk anymore and put on the brakes like a stubborn puppy on a leash for the first time. I hadn't thought to pack a stroller. I don't think I could have even pushed him in a stroller uphill. Somehow I convinced the short one to walk once more. Another avenue was crossed. Some dogs were spotted. Now his toes hurt. Then he was thirsty. I carried him a block. Finally we made it to the subway and he was entranced. I think he would hop on and off the train all day long. He chatted with people and held onto his pole with both hands. He wouldn't sit next to me. Nice gentlemen offered up their seats for me and my bulging tummy. Hugo wanted to stand, sway, shake and bounce as all good strap hangers do. Once out of the subway the battle to walk the few blocks to my old office was on. He walked and then I'd carry him. We paused for water breaks. We paused to chase pigeons. He hollered at one to get out of the road. One passerby thought that was pretty funny and pointed out more pigeons in the road for Hugo to holler at, lovely. I couldn't believe that the trip I used to make with my eyes closed and had timed down to the minute was beginning to seem never ending. Finally, we made it. Hugo was happy to push the elevator button up to the third floor. Our visit was short but what I needed. The battle to retrace our steps back to the subway up town and to the hospital began.

We made it to my appointment at the hospital with three (3) minutes to spare. I was flat out exhausted from carrying Hugo and walking as fast as the bump and my compressed lungs would allow. Chin-Li was not in the lobby. To the seventh floor elevators we headed. Hugo jumped from square to circle along the mosaic floor patterns while counting in Spanish. The first elevator to arrive was quickly filled without us aboard and meltdown #43 occurred. Sympathetic people around us began telling Hugo that he could push the button for their floors once the next elevator arrived. His alligator tears disappeared. Upon arrival at the front desk of the ultrasound waiting room, I was informed of two things a: my girlfriend had just gone back down to the information desk to look for me and b: my appointment was scheduled for 4 o'clock - not 1 o'clock. No. It could not be so. Hugo wanted water. I haven't mentioned that he had drained all of my water bottle and I had to buy more from the roach carts on the street. Now he spotted the water machine with the cups. Hugo + a massive bottle of water + tons of cups = trouble for his Momma. I so wanted to cancel the appointment and walk out of their with my arm pulling, complaining, begging son as quickly as possible. The lady encouraged me to call my Doc. I only needed 4 scans repeated! They said it would be a short appointment and that it was scheduled for 1 pm! I tried to sit and think. Hugo was a complete booger. I decided to call my Doc. I was all blurry eyed from exhaustion and couldn't find his number in my phone. Where did it go? Had I erased it? Had Hugo erased it? Oh wait, there it is. I can't alphabetize very well. The mean receptionist chic answered. A new strain upon our relationship was created when I couldn't hear her through all of Hugo's complaining. People were staring at our spectacle. Mom's to be were frightened at the picture painted by our display and what might all too soon also be their reality. Then Hugo screamed like a wild Indian. It was a scream which I have not heard from him before nor care to ever, ever hear agian. I calmly hung up my phone mid sentence. I stood and asked for the office telephone #. I would need time to think about canceling or keeping the appointment I informed those behind the desk, they simply nodded their heads in agreement with me. As I walked out of there in the direction of the elevators, all the while dragging Hugo by one arm, I surpressed my tears and left a message on Cesar's phone. "Where are you? I need you as soon as possible." I don't like to alarm him - ever, but each word was necessary and true.

We left the hospital and walked one block up to a children's playground. I don't remember the details of that walk. I do know that we both made it all in one piece. Once through the gate, Hugo smiled from ear to ear and took off running. I was happy for him but quickly realized that this was not a park where I could park myself and watch him. There were far to many play areas and blind spots. On my feet I remained, following my son from play structure to sandbox to the swings to the stone elephants spraying water from their trunks to the swings and sandbox and back. He was in heaven and I was pooped, done for.

Hugo ran up and told me he had to tinkle. Really? I thought. He only had about four bottles of water in him by this point. We hurried over to the lavatory. About 15 minutes later Hugo ran up and told me he had to poop. Oh man! We were just in the bathroom, and I had only moments before lowered myself onto a bench in the shade. We hurried to do our business once more. Inside the warm, tight fitting bathroom stall I began to feel overwhelmed. Hugo was hunched over the toilet seat and I was crammed between his little knees and the stall door desperately trying to not touch the walls. Hugo's stink suddenly got the best of me and I burst into tears! Uncontrollably they came gushing out. Hugo, still hunched over the toilet seat, looked up at me with his big eyeballs and asked what was wrong. Out of my mouth flowed all of my believed tortures of the day. When I had finished and begun to wipe my tears away Hugo said, "Momma, Jesus loves you." He then began to sing a made up song about Jesus loving me. Soon afterward, Cesar arrived at the park. I was able to finally tinkle myself, catch my breath and off we went to grab a burger and fries to fill my empty stomach.

The decision was made between us for me to keep my ultrasound appointment. Cesar and Hugo walked me to the hospital and then headed uptown to retrieve the parked car. My appointment was to be fast. I would meet up with them soon. My appointment ran on time. Baby A was cooporative and showed us her needed profile and the chambers of her heart for documentation. Baby B on the other hand, was quite comfy in her horizontal, face up position and was not budging. The tech woman had all sorts of tricks up her sleeve. She needed views of Baby B's spine and kidneys. I was asked to stand up and bend to attempt to touch my toes. We tried to squeeze the babies into new positions. I was rolled from my back to one side and another, fed orange juice and even had the table inverted so that my feet were way above my head. I was worried I might tumble backwards into a clumsy somersault sort of thing, didn't happen. Nothing worked. We tried for an hour to coax her into a new position but as I mentioned before, she was not budging. The time spent waiting for Baby B to change position allowed us to confirm that we are having girls. Once I was released from the goop on my belly and my full bladder, I ran out of the hospital with my scans in hand and did not make the follow-up appointment that had been requested. Another day.

Cesar met me out on the street in front of Soetheby's with Hugo fresh from a nap in the car. We three began our drive north and snacked on apple slices. Hugo wanted to be home, he informed us of how he wanted to play in his room. Cesar wanted time to relax and prepare for the days of work ahead. I wished to be home to eat some left over quiche which was calling my name and watch the ending of a television show.

Mid way through our journey up the Jersey highway our car began to shut down one system at a time. I sat in my passenger seat in disbelief. This was my car which never gave us any problems. Cesar managed our escape from the fast lane across two other lanes of traffic and part way down an off ramp before the car seized and gave up the ghost. Thank heavens for that off ramp. It had beautiful grass. Really! I kept thinking of how this off ramp had nicer grass than our yard. There were also trees and bushes with plenty of shade from the late afternoon sun. We didn't know what to do. The three of us ranted and raved and questioned and... Cesar phoned up a tow truck. We love our iPhones more and more. We called his friend Calen to be our backup driver home if needed. We weren't sure what our plan was to be or even, should be. Thank heavens I packed Hugo's backpack full of tricks and still had plenty of snacks in my bag. I must say that he was a real trooper through this part of our day. Not always such a good listener but, at least no crying fits appeared. Cesar and I wracked our brains for options. I phoned up John Webb who has worked on our car since it's purchase and described the situation as best I could to him. He recommended checking the batteries connections, if that didn't work he was afraid our alternator had died. That gave us a little something to go on. Was our car now a clunker? We are in the market for a van to fit our growing family so we decided to have my car towed to the nearest Chrysler dealership. While we waited for the wrecker we phoned up local dealers to find out who had what vans and with which options in stock, we would be driving it home tonight. After the wrecker arrived we waited another long, long wait for the gypsy cab to arrive. Once he arrived we loaded up our bags and Hugo's carseat, off to the dealership we drove.

Cesar sent me into the showroom to get that ball rolling while he settled with the taxi and tow truck men. Hugo's wild man side resurfaced. He wanted to play here and there. He wanted to climb in the vans and push the open and close sliding door buttons. He wanted more water. The dealership was slammed. Their were families and couples at every available table. Not one sales person was free to help us. This cash of clunkers program is really moving cars. Will there be any vans left I wondered? Cesar entered the showroom and joined us for a second go around at the bubbler. We waited and waited. Cesar had had enough of waiting. He had ants in his pants. The tow truck guy had given our car a jump and it was running. We almost drove to another dealer. Ideas were flying between us left and right. In the end, we decided to head for home. We turned off and dimmed everything we possibly could to save our battery power. The car began to repeat its dying symptoms about another 30-40 minutes down the road. At least we were back in New York state! I looked up the whereabouts of the nearest Wal-Mart on the phone and Cesar coasted us into the parking lot. Hugo and I headed into the store for water, fruit and goodies. Cesar headed in the opposite direction in search of the largest battery he thought would fit in the engine space plus wrenches and a flashlight. Hugo and I ate and played a quiet game to help Poppa concentrate. Another trip inside for a needed tool and then Cesar was successful. We were off, headed up the interstate for home once more. The drive was a speedy one, of the MPH variety I mean. We feared this new battery dying on us and being stuck on the side of the road once more. I phoned our friend Sheri and she and her new husband Paul met us at the repair shop where we abandoned our car. She was kind and brought snacks and a juice box for Hugo not knowing if we had been able to obtain food or not. It was an enjoyable 20 minute ride home. We all laughed at bits and pieces of our ordeal. We revealed the babies genders to our friends and they were happy with us. I felt lighter and free being shed of our car. Once inside the house, the dogs were watered and fed. The cats bowls were filled. I tucked Hugo into jammies, read him a story and the light was turned off. In our room I quickly made up our bed, pulled on my jammies and brushed my teeth. I could hear Cesar rumbling around downstairs but once under my sheets my body would not allow me to move. The pillows were arranged around my bump and I was one with our bed. On our drive home I knew that Cesar was terribly stressed. He worries about being away from me while I am pregnant and Hugo is so little. I knew that today was close to one of his worst fears coming true. I wanted to help him. I had planned to massage his back and body into sleep. I wanted to do that for him. But Cesar was not in our bed. My brain was still awake as I heard his footsteps enter our room and felt his body crawl between the sheets but my body was not. I didn't move a muscle or utter hardly a sound. So I write this hoping that he will read my words and know that I had good intentions. That I owe him. He got the three of us safely home after a very long and a very, very bad day. And yes, Hugo was right in reminding me and I want him to one day know that I know his simple truth - Jesus loves me.


Pagan Sphinx said...

Those are the days that try mothers' souls. And fathers'. What an ordeal.
I'm glad you're home safe and sound.

Congratulations on the twin girls. How exciting and exhuasting and extremely excellent!

jackie said...

I am sorry for your horrible day and yes i have had them too so I understand. I am glad you are all right.

Audra said...

Oh what an awful day. I feel your pain as I read that. As a mother of three I know there are "those" days-such as you described. It is doubly worse when you are pregnant and tired, and dragging a child or two in tow. But you made it through!

Also congrats on the double girls! I like that family dynamic for you. Big Brother Hugo, and the Baby Girls. Wishing you lots of love and luck! :)

Lora said...

girls! girls!! girls!!! i love baby girls!!!! congrats alissa...and SO sorry for the awful day.