Sunday, August 10, 2008

Threes and Ones

People say that bad things happen in threes. I don't know why we don't expect the same of good things, why they are considered singular events. When something wonderful happens we give a "Whoo hoo!" and move on, while we seem to wait for a series of three bad things before taking a deep breath and declaring, "Phew! That's over!"

This past week we experienced the 3 vs. 1 phenomenon.

Bad event one of three: Tuesday Nora went down the street to play with her friends. She parked her scooter up against the friend's house at the top of the driveway. An hour later I stopped by & shared a cup of tea with the mom. An hour after that we had to go home for dinner. We walked out the door. Nora's scooter was gone. Stolen.

Wednesday we drove to the Chesapeake Bay. We took this excursion last year on a lark with friends to enjoy a day in the sun and (mild) surf only to be delighted to find that the beach was littered with shark teeth. A swimming expedition turned into an all out shark-tooth hunting spree, and the kids came home with more than 50 shark teeth. They were tiny, but teeth, nonetheless. So we went to another beach this time, closer to Calvert Cliffs (but with only a 1/2 mile hike to the beach instead of a 2 mile hike) to check out the shark tooth situation there.

Now we have to backtrack a few months. One day Nora and I had to go to the Guitar Center to have her guitar fixed, and the guy who did the work sat in the back office surrounded by guitars... and shark teeth. Big ones. And a map of the Chesapeake Bay. So we got to talking about the teeth, what kinds they were, where he found them, etc. He told us of a few places to go hunting, but that most of them were only accessible by boat (and in one case it would be better to know the park ranger at a particular property). He had a few mighty big teeth on display; it was awesome. So Nora and I were determined to go back and find a big 'un. I told her the story of when I was in junior high school and went on a field trip to Calvert Cliffs, and part of the time we searched for teeth. I found none, but a lady who was just there on her own found one that was 4 inches long.

Back to last week. We searched around Flag Ponds park and found nothing but a lovely beach, lots of fish, lots of jelly fish, and many, many dead crabs. Dominic wanted to take a bucket of crab body parts home and had to be convinced that was not an option. So we hiked the 1/2 mile back to the parking lot, had our picnic lunch (we were going to have it on the beach but there were too many biting flies) and headed back to Breezy Point Beach, where we had so much fun last year.

Good event #1. Daniel started finding little shark teeth right off the bat. He totally has an eye for them. He was combing the shore. Dominic decided to give up tooth hunting and swim in the netted-in, jelly fish free swimming area. It was all only about 3-4 feet deep, and he was having a ball. Nora went into the edge of the surf to hunt. I came over and sat down next to her, stuck both hands into the sand just below the water's edge, and pulled up a big shark tooth. "WHOO HOO!" As I walked down the beach to show Daniel, many people stopped to check out the tooth, so I experienced a heady five minutes of beach fame.

In the end we got out of there with a number of small teeth (less than last year... it's better to search after a stormy day when stuff on the ocean floor gets tossed around) and the one biggie. Nora was determined to find one at least as big as mine, but I told her that finding a large tooth is a rare occurrence, and were couldn't stay to hunt for a few more hours, we had to get home! (rush hour approached. showers were necessary.)

Bad event #2 of 3. Traffic was moving at full speed on the highway going home, but it was starting to fill up as we neared rush hour. I was in the third lane from the right when I saw the rock in the road. Big rock. About the size of a cauliflower. I swerved to avoid it but couldn't swerve too far because there were cars on either side of me. It missed the front tire but hit the rear with a loud bang, followed by a hiss and that horrible rumble you get when you're driving on a flat. I steered over to the side of the highway where the shoulder was wide enough, but not too wide. I pulled over as far as I could so that I could still change the tire safely, but was unhappy that we were still so close to the traffic.

I have changed many tires in my life, but never before on our minivan. I got out the booklet, figured it out, and told Dominic that he was not allowed to leave the car under any circumstances (he was playing his Nintendo, I don't even know that he noticed we stopped). Daniel and Nora helped by holding on to the wheel lock bolt, holding the spare ready, etc. Of course they were fascinated by the procedure. Also, Daniel will get his license within the year, so it is important that he knows how to change a tire, just in case!

Many cars & trucks beeped at us, but none stopped. A few minutes into this I realized the reason we were getting beeped at... I was wearing my bathing suit with a t-shirt over it. No pants. And while that's fine for the beach, I'm sure it made an interesting view for passing vehicles. Nora wears a rash guard shirt with a bikini bottom. Same thing. We were the pants-less family. Well, except for Daniel. Luckily, he was wearing his pants.

Oh, and a Prince George's county police car drove right by us. Thanks.

As Daniel helped me lift the damaged tire into the back of the van, I noticed that not only was the tire shredded, the rim was damaged. Ouch! The kids got back in the car, I got the bracket that held the spare back into its proper place and replaced the tools in their little cubby. Then I drove away. About a mile down the road, I realized that I had left the wheel lock on the tire when I tightened the lug nut. Yes, it was gone.

So... next day it was off to the insurance estimator & car repair place. Got a rental for the day because I had to get to work. The car would be ready Friday.

Friday I dropped Daniel off at work, then went downtown with Dominic & Nora to pick up her painting from the National Press Club (see my July 31 posting). Hand lunch with my mom & dad there, then headed back to drop off the rental car & get mine back.

Bad event #3 of 3. First of all that )#(%*)($% rock cost me more than $500. Those rims are expensive! We got our stuff out of the rental car (Dominic was carrying his Nintendo, Nora had a book, I had the painting). The kids got a couple of treats from the candy vending machine and then we piled into our minivan. We headed to the grocery store to get milk & eggs & a couple other things. Dominic went to the bathroom to wash his sticky hands. We went home. Dominic got out of the car and said, "Where's my DS case?" Even though he had been playing it in the car, he had no idea where he had it last. Went back to the van. Searched. Called the car place & the grocery store. Drove back to the car place and the grocery store. Nora remembered him having it at the grocery store (I didn't). He may have put it down when he went to wash his hands. In any case, it's gone. The DS and a number of games in the case.

Daniel had registered all our Nintendo equipment on the Nintendo site (and all the games) a number of months ago, so that the id number on the DS is tied to our name. But I'm sure whoever is using or selling the DS now doesn't care about that. I've checked eBay and Craig's List, but haven't seen it for sale. But if I do...

So there. Three bad things and one good one. Today starts a new week. Let's see what happens.


Isophorone said...

But you have a working laptop, so that's another good thing, right?

Naomi said...

True. I'm considering whether or not I should put more money into it and buy a new battery...

Thanks for the phone call. I knew about the Sweet Sin Bakery and have talked to the chef before. Yummy but very expensive!

Cara said...

I hope you get everything taken care of and settled down!
By the way, aren't cops supposed to stop and see if you need help?? I thought that was their job.