…and I’m afraid I’m gonna blow. Well, not anymore. I think the danger has passed and the damage has been done, but I must say, I was worried about myself yesterday. Here’s what happened. About six months ago I was shopping with my family at an outlet mall in Charlotte, which is a 90 minute drive from my house. While there I purchased two giant batteries from the Black and Decker outlet for my POS Dust Buster. I was dubious, but the man behind the counter assured me that these batteries were intended for ALL B&D rechargeable products, so I bought them in hopes that my handy mini-vac would do more than sigh pitifully and pass out every time I tried to use it. Later that evening I set about trying to install one or both of them, but I could see no possible way that these missile-like objects were going to fit anywhere inside my vacuum. In fact, I never even took a single battery out of it’s packaging–after trying in vain to access the very small battery compartment, and after getting all sorts of cuts and scrapes on my hands from trying to force the alleged battery pack from its hard plastic casing, I threw the Dust Buster on the floor of the garage. The battery pack came flying out, and attached to it was a warning: Danger–do not remove this battery! There you go. In retrospect I should have sued the Black and Decker outlet. That was 5 months ago, and I have since purchased a new turbo powered Dust Buster that kicks ass.
Yesterday I had a class in Charlotte, so I knew I’d be passing by the outlet mall for the first time since December. I had planned ahead, making sure to put the Black and Decker bag in my car, and then I proceeded to drive to Charlotte on a quarter of a tank. I pulled into the outlet mall lot on fumes that evening. You see, I paid 25 bucks for the batteries, and I was planning to use the returned cash to fill up my gas tank. But when the cashier opened the bag the receipt was gone. Now this sack of sh–I mean, bag of batteries has been sitting on a shelf in my hall closet since late December, and I know I didn’t ditch the receipt, so God only knows what happened to it (yes, I searched my car and have since searched the hall closet–nada). The Black and Decker policy for returns with no receipts is to assign the customer a store credit. Well, I didn’t want store credit, I wanted fuel. I tried pointing out the wall-o-batteries just like mine right behind the cashier desk (“Look, that’s what I bought. See, they’re 25 dollars.”) but that didn’t work. Enter the store manager, who said, and I quote, “You just need to look around the store and find an exchange.” I didn’t like his tone. I explained that I didn’t want to look around the store. He explained their policy once again. I explained that he could keep his batteries and his store credit, and I slid the batteries across the counter toward him. As I left the store I had an Ally McBeal moment where I imagined what would have happened had those cylindrical little missile-looking batteries actually been missiles. The explosion rang in my head until I got to my car, and then I sat in the driver’s seat and cried.
I’m not normally like this. I’d like to blame the egg-growing hormones I’m taking in an effort to get pregnant on my last remaining vial of “Joey” sperm, but that’s only part of the problem. The water in my teapot runs much deeper, and you know what happens when you put too much water in a teapot. Let’s consider the following:
- Last Saturday my youngest sister graduated from high school. She’s 17. My other sister is 19 and will begin her second year of college in August. They are, each in her own way, the answers to every prayer I ever prayed as a kid. I was an only child for 11 years, and I didn’t want to be, and they were worth the wait. I have loved watching them grow up, loved sharing our similarities and discovering our unique differences. They are beautiful and funny and brilliant. But I have not always felt worthy of the answered prayers. There are so many things I’ve missed, so many hours I let slip by, and now that they’re both on the short end of the road to adulthood I feel the weight of those lost opportunities in a way I never have before. My rational mind reminds me that there’s nothing to be done about the past. My heart hopes the future is full of new possibilities.
- On Wednesday I attended a funeral service for the five-month old granddaughter of one of my dearest friends. The baby, Alice, was recently diagnosed with what we all believed was a reparable heart defect, but last Wednesday her little heart just stopped beating. Both of her parents are from my town so they brought her home to the church where they both grew up to bury her. The sanctuary was so full that people were standing two deep along the outer walls. My friend, with tears streaming down her face, kept reaching up to wipe her weeping husband’s cheeks. I’m not sure what was harder–mourning the loss of an infant or watching my friend suffer. It was a difficult day.
- Sometime late next week I will use up the last of the sperm I purchased back in April. If this attempt doesn’t result in pregnancy I will be back to square one, and with considerably less money than when I started this process. That’s not to say I won’t keep trying, but I was painfully naive to think it would all work out on the first round. Now the clinic is talking drugs and ultrasound to make sure I’m actually producing eggs, a possibility which had never occurred to me. Why is it that the only people who get pregnant quickly are the ones fooling around in the backseats of old cars?
Needless to say, the water has been rising all week. Who knew that the manager of a Black and Decker outlet would be the boiling point for me? I am happy to say, however, that the long drive home did improve. After talking with a few pals who cheered me up a bit, I called an old friend with whom I normally only communicate via email. When she found out I was trying to have a baby she insisted that I call her so we could properly catch up, but when I called yesterday she wasn’t at home. Her husband, whom I’ve never met or spoken to at all, was quite possibly the nicest man I’ve ever had a phone conversation with, so genuine and friendly was our brief chat. No doubt he was just practicing the Southern Way, but he spoke to me as if we’d known each other for years. He ended the call with, “You take care now, and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.” I was almost glad my friend hadn’t been home.
Later I put in a mix CD I’d made for a road trip a few summers ago. Songs I’d forgotten existed came pouring out of my speakers, songs I love and enjoy singing very loudly with the windows down and the sunroof open. (Note to Jen: I must add to my favorite songs list “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.) And while I was delivering a particularly energetic rendition of “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” an 18-wheeler passed me, and there in the open driver’s side window on the lap of a huge bearded trucker was a tiny miniature pinscher, its little head bobbing happily in the wind. It was one of the cutest things I’ve seen in a long time.
Today is a better day. I’ve been taking a lot of deep breaths. I’ve been meditating on my ovaries, sending them positive messages about making lots of eggs. I’ve been listening to fun music and watching the birds feed in my yard. Today my friend who lost her granddaughter is on her way to the beach, and I can think of no better place to begin the healing process. Next week I think I’ll go find a sister or two to hang out with, and hopefully that last vial of sperm will meet an egg and make a baby. But right now I’m going to go vacuum my kitchen with the Dust Buster that actually works and try not to think too much about how I basically gave Black and Decker 25 bucks yesterday and nearly sent myself over the edge. After all, my missile fantasy just may be worth that much.