So Today Was Hard

Today was hard, which started two days ago. 

Two days ago, we spent $1400 on car repairs. All needed, all good, all regular wear and tear, and we did a whole bunch of things all at once. It still hurt. 

Last night, someone stole the catalytic converter off of one of our cars. This is the second time this has happened to us, the first was several years ago. I was awakened last night to the awful sound of the saw bad guys use to snatch the catalytic converter from a car's undercarriage. One quick growl-whirr got me up and to the window, wondering who the hell was using machinery at 2 am. On my way to the window, I heard the second growl-whirr, for just a bit longer, and realized what was happening. Pulling the curtain back, I couldn't see anything right in front of the house, but then a car sped past my window coming from the left, from where our two Priuses (Pri-ii?) were parked out of my line of sight. 

Rick went outside and started all of our cars -- successfully. So we went to sleep thinking that the theft had been foiled somehow. But alas, Prius cars start just fine on battery. When Rick started his Prius again this morning, and it kicked over from battery to gas power, the telltale sound of a car without a converter echoed through the quiet, smoke-and-ash-filled street. 

Yes, smoke and ash, because we are in California, which is currently battling over 300 wildfires. The air is thick, with a yellow tinge, and the girls' pod-style soccer practices (thanks COVID) are canceled because of air quality. We are also experiencing a heatwave, and our only respite from that is to open all our doors and windows and catch whatever breezes may come. But in wildfire season, that means inviting ash and smoke into the house, along with headaches and sore throats. So our house is sealed up tight and hotter than hell. 

For weeks and weeks, the only safe place to go (thanks COVID) has been outside – walks, hikes, soccer practices, socially distanced cocktails on decks and patios. Now, with the fires raging, the open air is also a health risk. Even the outdoors is closed to us. 

Oh, and I'm worrying about friends who are being evacuated in Napa County and other places. Again with the Nixle alerts and consulting maps for air quality and checking on dad in Sonoma, and generally experiencing the clutching fire-anxiety that is now an annual, weeks or months-long experience. 

Also eighth grade started today for Big T (formerly Little T but that's just not descriptive anymore). It was bumpy, not gonna lie. Distance Learning is just plain hard: teachers and schools are doing their best to do it right and do it well, and it's just a beast of a process. Today's Distance Learning experience featured three or four utterances of "I can't get into the Zoom," a few of "I don't have the right link," one of "My teacher keeps calling me Jimena," and several "I HATE THIS" blood-curdling screams, while on mute of course, or during the five-minute breaks between classes. I've got one extremely perturbed 8th grader on my hands, who I am trying to support and encourage while also attending to the demands of my own work. Also, we've got this very cute and very restless dog (no walks for us today) tearing through the house barking and burrowing into our legs and laps as we sit at our laptops.

Are you sensing the chaos?  I can't wait for the 11th grader to start the same process in few weeks, followed by the UC Santa Cruz frosh beginning her college days here at home, in the room her sisters desperately want her to vacate so that they no longer have to share. 

Today's kicker -- the thing that has me crying UNCLE -- was logging into my health insurance portal to pay a bill and discovering A SECOND BILL for over $1,000 that we didn't know existed and that NO ONE had mentioned to us as we were deciding on a course of treatment for my migraines. That one expense was for the first of four total treatments, and no one thought it might be important for us to know that we were accepting a $4K+ total expense? And I asked SO many questions about having this treatment done in the first place...except for how much it would cost and I'm kicking myself now.

So, a recap: 
  • Distance Learning going awry, with more in the forecast;
  • Speaking of forecasts: heatwave;
  • Then we've got the fires fires fires and the worry worry worry about where they will go next; ash and smoke and hazy skies pressing in on us; 
  • Expensive car repair;
  • Stolen converter, which is going to be hella expensive to fix; 
  • Outrageous health care bill; 
  • A global pandemic raging unabated (thanks Trump); 
  • Oh, and that guy is still our president. 
2020 hates us all. 

I figure there's really only one response to this cluster of a day: pour myself a stiff drink, pull out my violin and drunk fiddle until Obama's address at the DNC.  If I get nothing else out of this day, at least I can torture my teenagers.


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