That's Job. With a long "o". Like the guy from the bible with all the troubles. Not a job. With a short"o". Like something you do for money. Though a job with a short "o" is involved. And I might be being slightly melodramatic. My trials and suffering over the last few days aren't actually biblical in proportion. Nobody is sick or dying, nobody's wife turned into salt. No wait...that was Lot. Now I'm getting my old testament analogies confused. Suffice it to say that the last few days have been a series of trials and tribulations. But I might just be whining.
The week started out pretty good. After a lovely Easter, we decided to take a two day car trip up the California coast to Cambria, a sweet little coastal town with an amazing coastline. We chose to take Jude's friend A.J. along with us, both so Jude would have more fun and so we would have more fun not having to entertain the 11-year old.
Then...Jimmy's back went out. This happens periodically. He'll bend wrong or twist wrong and BAM, he's flat on his back with an icepack for a week. It's sad.
But that was workable. I could drive the boys myself. Just the three of us. I figured they'd hang out on the beach and try to make friends with sea lions, and I could do a little work on the computer.
Here's where the job with a short "o" comes in. I have this once-a-year job line producing a health fair. Glamorous, I know. Basically, I organize and assign and communicate with about 100 volunteers and 40 exhibitors. It's mostly a lot of emailing. Like...really a LOT of emailing. During this last week, I was getting upwards of 30 emails a day about this stuff. And the event was just a few days later, on Saturday. But I didn't think it would be a problem. The motel had wi-fi, and I could just hang out at night after the boys had gone to sleep and do my endless emailing.
So we drove the what the hotel said would be a three hour drive, which I assumed would be more like a four hour drive, but turned out to be like a five hour drive. Because it rained. It never rains in Southern California. Seriously, we're in the worst drought in history. So the rain is a good thing, but damn it, not when I'm driving two whining tweens on a road trip by myself.
I feel that at this point I should point out an interesting new social phenomenon. Since the dawn of the automobile, "Are we there yet???" has been the bane of every car tripping parent's existence. But now, with the dawn of GPS, they no longer ask "Are we there yet?". They look it up on their phones, then say things like "Dude! It's still twooooooooo more hours!" I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But I digress...
We got to Moonstone Beach in Cambria and it's lovely. Really.
And after I got the boys interested in nature...
...I went back to the motel to bang out a little work and damn if their wi-fi wasn't out. Well, not completely out. I could perch on the edge of the bed and lean out the window and get a bit. But it kept cutting out right in the middle of sending emails. After a while, I finally took my computer and wandered around the parking lot and found one spot where the connection was strong, then parked the car in that spot and managed to get some stuff done. But not much. So...I was concerned about the amount of work I had to do when I got home. This becomes more important as this rather long story goes on.
We had fun. Really. We toured Hearst Castle, which I highly recommend.
The boys were hearteningly interested in the history and architecture.
We watched a sunset.
Which the boys deemed "cool". Which is about as much excitement about nature as a tweenage boy can come up with.
We looked at molting elephant seals.
Which was better than mating elephant seals, which apparently we would have seen if we'd arrived two weeks early. So that's a good thing.
And then we started the drive home. Which the motel said would be a three hour drive, but I figured would be more like a four hour drive and turned out to be...brace yourself...a seven hour drive. With the whiny tweens. This horror was caused by five things...
1. Traffic sucks.
2. Whiny tweens insist on stopping at every In-N-Out on the way.
3. I had to stop and make a phone call. Not just any phone call, but a ONE HOUR business conference call for the job with a short "o". I'd known about this call when I planned the trip, but had figured that I could take it while Jimmy was driving. But alas... So after loading the boys up with In-N-Out and plugging them into their electronic devices, I pulled off the highway into a small town, parked under a tree next to a cow pasture, fired up a personal hotspot on my phone, connected my computer and made my call.
4. After finishing the call, I decided to use my GPS to get back to the freeway, and it took me FIFTEEN miles in the wrong direction before instructing me to "turn left" and then "turn left" which was essentially a U-turn and then it led me back to where I needed to be. So...about thirty minutes of wandering aimlessly on a small country road.
5. Traffic sucks.
By the time we dropped A.J. off and got home it was 8:00 pm. Oh my.
Kindly, Jimmy had managed to order take out for us for dinner. However, in a very Jimmylike move, he had ordered me what he wanted for dinner, linguini with clam sauce, which I wasn't in the mood for at all, but I ate anyway, because it wasn't from In-N-Out.
I then tried to bang out some more emails, but was so tired that I kind of collapsed.
I woke up the next morning...with food poisoning. Clam sauce food poisoning. I know. You just went into a full body "ewwww" clench. I spent the entire day Friday communing with the toilet. Oh dear God.
But I had SO MUCH WORK I had to do, that I sat there on the floor of the bathroom with my computer next to me...sending emails to volunteers. Many, many emails. And drawing a diagram of the exhibitor table layout. Please feel sorry for me.
During all this, Jude was preparing to leave for a Boy Scout campout. He managed to pack himself (I say this but truly I don't have a clue what he put in that bag. It looked a little empty to me. I doubt very much that he had underwear. Or a toothbrush. Whatever.) A kind scout dad picked him up and whisked him off to his camp.
About three hours later, I got a panicked phone call from Jude. Somehow, I had failed to print out and send with him the medical release form he had to have in order to be allowed to stay at Boy Scout camp. That's right, without these forms...he had to GO HOME. Which meant I would have to drive to pick him up - three hours each way. Because I had by now stopped vomiting, but Jimmy's back was still so twisted that he couldn't sit in a car. I started to cry. Luckily...the wonderful scout dad who was with Jude talked the powers that be into allowing me to scan the medical form and email it to the director. But of course...I had failed to even fill out the medical form, much less have a doctor sign it. But after a hysterical thirty minutes spent filling in the lengthy form and having it signed by Dr. Gretchen's Left Hand, the boy was saved from leaving camp, and I was saved the drive.
I continued emailing, then went to sleep.
Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 am, took a shower, ate some saltines and drank water (the only sustenance I'd had for 24 hours, and started packing up the car for my big event for the job with a short "o". I could do it. I was weak and shaky, but I could do it. I am, after all, from hearty farm stock, people who traveled across America in a covered wagon. I could deal with car trips, and tweens, and lack of wi-fi, and traffic, and vomiting, and failed medical forms.
I reached down and picked up a box of donated snacks I was hauling to my health fair and BANG. My back. Electric pain up and around my back. I dropped the box and froze.
NO! NO! NO! I actually, really truly threw my arms up to heaven in a dramatic gesture and shouted (seriously, I fear my neighbors heard me) "NO GOD! I DO. NOT. HAVE. TIME. FOR. THIS!" Which was my version of a Job (with a long "o") moment. I took a deep breath, dragged that damned box to the car, drove to my event, and spent the next eight hours working my ass off.
The event went very well.
Is anybody still here? Because this is the longest damned post I have every written. "Helloooo?"
I went home after my event and collapsed. In bed. Icing my back and drinking Gatorade. And wine.
So...how was your week?