Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I left work at 10:30 tonight (last night?), and got about two blocks before my truck died. Two blocks isn't nearly close enough to the 25 miles I needed to go to be home, and I was not pleased. But luckily Stacy the Intake Girl was behind me, and she stopped to see if I was okay. She conveniently lives in my town, so after determining it was not going to be a quick roadside fix, I gathered up my book, my satellite radio and my hospital badge and got into Stacy's truck. She dropped me at home. She's a good girl...she's engaged to one of the cafeteria guys who, she says, requires a constant supply of Pop-Tarts to keep his strength up.

See what you can learn when your truck breaks down?

When I got home, I tentatively tapped on Carrie's door, in case she was asleep. Heck no! She and Tyler were just getting their first wind! Drive you to Carbondale and tow your truck home? No problem!

So Carrie, in her boxer shorts, flip-flops and punk band T-shirt hops in her truck and drives me back 25 miles to fetch my truck. We hooked an absurdly short chain that I probably lifted on one of our various U-Haul adventures from her bumper to mine, and she started pulling. I stayed in my truck to steer and brake if need be.

Except for the down hills, on which I rear-ended her 40 or 50 times, it went smooth as silk. We made it home at 1 a.m. with both trucks intact, and after the sun comes up I hope to be able to diagnose my poor truck's woes.

But really, the point of this whole story is to heap praise on Carrie's perky little pony-tailed head. She's growing up to be one of those people who takes things in stride. Nocturnal drive to town to drag home a dead pickup? No problem! She on it like white on rice! She's got a plan "C" that's all ready to go after plans "A" and "B" fall apart.

Why? Because she's inherited the "Don't freak out; it'll be okay" gene from her father and I. Problem are not crises, they're merely inconveniences...puzzles to be solved. There are workarounds for everything. And later,they'll make great stories to tell at family gatherings.

My theory about almost everything is that whatever it is, there are people who do it for a living. And I'm as smart as they are, whoever they are...so I can do it too! Occasionally I overreach a little, but mostly, as a life strategy, it's served me well.

So tonight, in the middle of the night, coolly hooking up chains in her flip-flops while cracking jokes and making fun of her co-workers, I was as proud of Carrie as I ever was when she was kicking ass at a swim meet or bring home straight A's. Anyone can excel when the parameters are laid out in front of them...followX path to success. But I'm much more impressed by people who can think on their feet, who don't lose their heads, and who can laugh under pressure.

When you're raising kids, you always wonder...how did I do? Well...whether it was good parenting or native talent, she's grown to be a hell of a woman.

(Personally, I think it was the good parenting :-)


Anonymous said...

I remember the gerbil cage that you were fixing - HOURS after I gave up and walked off in disgust (while you kept making pithy comments about breaking eggs to fix an omelet), and HOURS on the phone w/the tech service people, your (Robbie's?) gerbil habitat was up and running. I think it's good parenting too! :-) Robin

Kwach said...

Did she mention that the air conditioning has been out for two days and three nights and it feels like a convection oven in the house? No, I notice she didn't.

I'd love to laugh at adversity. I promise to start doing that, just as soon as I wring out my underwear and fill the tub with cold water and crushed ice.

Oh goody!! I think I just had a hot flash, although it's a little hard to tell. Yep, my ears are melting.