I was not trying to be an alarmist in my last post. I was feeling very alarmed, so that probably was evident.
And, completely justifiable.
I had just had a near miss head-on collision, lost the driver's side front wheel off my vehicle, and come home to someone who was silent and sullen, as opposed the the guys at the tire station, who were all praising my luck that I survived such a risky situation, and patting me on the shoulder consolingly.
Just a couple of weeks ago, dh changed all the wheels on the car. You see, this was cheaper than buying a new tire for the other set. I do not pretend to know anything about cars or the changing of their wheels, so I rely on him for this sort of thing. Sexist? Not so much. More of an issue of, 'I don't want to keep track of this and it's not my area of expertise, so I would rather pay someone or - oh you can do it? - okay, or trust my partner to do this.
On Saturday, I drove Supergirl to her holiday parade downtown and the car was making this horrible knocking noise. I pulled right into a tire place and asked them to please look at it.
When I came back a few hours later, they asked for $20, told me it was not a safety issue, but I should get it into a transmission place on Monday to be looked at.
I drove home, and when I got home, asked dh if he was sure he had put the new wheels on correctly, and he was insulted that I would ask such a thing - especially after the tire place had already seen it.
I asked him to drive the car and he refused. Probably out of sheer laziness and defiance, but this decision had drastic consequences for him later on.
I drove back to town (25 miles; 10 of them on steep winding mountain roads) on Monday for a meeting. When I got to town, the noise was horrible - it started to jiggle my steering wheel; seeming far less innocuous than before. By the time I found parking, it was creaking and knocking beyond any safe zone. I made it to my meeting, calling dh on the way to beg him to find me a transmission place very nearby to my meeting location.
He called back and told me to take it back to the tire place. I was exasperated and late, told him that the car was not going to make it anywhere at all and to come get me because I would probably call AAA and have it towed somewhere, sighed heavily and went to my meeting.
Two hours later, I emerged, remembered my dilemma, and crossed my fingers as I looked across the street and saw the tire place two blocks away.
I called dh - "Take it to the transmission place! Or wait until Wednesday when our own mechanic can see it!" he chirped back.
OH..........KAAAAAAY!! Clearly the man was not on my planet.
I had to make it one more block, and snap! the steering went and I veered into oncoming traffic. The oncoming car was going about 30 and I was going about 3 mph, so he was able to stop in time, but not without a lot of screeching and cussing and honking and screaming at me to follow. I was trembling, knees shaking, and pulled (knock, knock, knock, knock, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK) into the tire shop, where they looked at my ashen face and they again told me to take it to a transmission shop - it was only 1/2 block away! I was utterly confused at this point, and so I went back to the car, reversed about 2 feet, and - snap! clunk! - a sickening thud brought me to a halt. As I opened up the door to see what was going on, three guys came running out of the tire shop.
"STOP!" They all shouted at once.
"Don't go anywhere!"
"I'm not!!" I cried back, climbed out of the car, and saw my tire at a 90 degree angle to my car. Three guys ran out of the garage, and one guy reached for the tire and spun it. It came right off.
I thought about the 14% grade I had just driven down to get to town. I thought of the drive on Saturday with both children in the car. I thought of the cliffs oh-so-close to the road on my way to town. I thought of my propensity to speed.
I burst into tears. Heaving, sick to my stomach, sniffling.
"Do you need a few minutes?" one of the guys asked me, patting my shoulder.
A minute later, the guys from the shop came out, one by one, and as they looked at my car and the wheel lying next to it, each one told me I was lucky to be alive. One asked me where I lived, and I said that I had just driven down from my mountain community. He looked at me with an expression that nearly mirrored my own.
The manager of the shop came out and said that whoever it was who changed the tires, was not capable of protecting me and I needed to know how to do it myself. Fair enough.
Still trembling, I left the car there to be fixed and called home, sobbing, "I....need.......a......ride......wheel.....off......car......"
The response I got was, "Well Bubbles is sleeping, what do you want me to do?"
Walking downtown towards a place with wi-fi - any place - it was dark and cold already, I was shaking and sniffling. I had called him two hours before to tell him I could not drive home.
I hung up and called a friend, who immediately came down the mountain to drive me back up the mountain.
When she came to pick me up, she hugged me, and said, "I am so glad you are okay! That is so scary! Are you okay? Are you?"
I was wondering at this point why dh wouldn't drive the car when I asked him to. The whole way home, she calmly convinced me that of course this was not sabotage - it was grossly irresponsible, but really, calm down, not sabotage... And by the time we arrived at my house, I believed her. She dropped me off, I walked into the house, and dh ignored me. Not one word. No apology. No concern. No 'oh I am so glad you are okay'.
Nothing. Wouldn't even look at me.
So, then I started thinking....well....I don't really have any reason to believe otherwise, do I?
When I said 'Just wondering...' I was just wondering. There was no hidden meaning in my question. It was just 'what would you think?'.
Between us remained silence and hostility; he was angry with the tire place, and I was angry with him. There was nothing. And frankly, I deserved more in that situation.
On Tuesday, new information came about. When I went to pick up the car (having had to borrow money to pay for it myself), the manager let something slip.
Seems they had not actually checked the tire or wheels on Saturday because they could not get it off - couldn't find the wheel lock! But never told me this. Until I picked up the car the second time. On Tuesday. After they charged me nearly $200.
Can you say gobsmacked?
This information made me feel like I was a teeny tiny baby spinning helplessly in a black hole. But I am not a baby, I am an adult who can only chastise herself for trusting someone who did not have their back. Twice. In one week.
Dh saw this as his vindication, when it really would have taken so little effort on his part to clear this up before it happened. He also saw this as an acceptable excuse from apologizing for being grossly irresponsible.
It would be an understatement to say that this serious situation was handled poorly, and it would be an unreasonable expectation to believe that I would come out of this situation feeling calm and or safe.
It is interesting to me that it would be fine for most people to read about statistics of families who break up after losing a child. That would be an acceptable read, because it is far enough removed from most readers' immediate reality and seems like a story about someone else. And sensational. And supported by statistics and books who warned us this would happen.
Or it would be fine to post about how we beat statistics, leaving out all the pain and anquish and unlikely endings as I stumbled forward to the part where we succeeded! We beat out all the statistics! Behold our awesomeness.
I have always tried to prioritize the protection of family members over my need to share. Sometimes we are faced with decisions that are difficult. Sometimes that line is hard to determine. But when I am knotted up, my stomach a pretzel and my mind terrified for what could have been, and I am alone....I must go somewhere to remind myself that I am here.
Do I want my family to remain intact and unbroken?
That would be my preference.
Will it come at the cost of safety, care, and respect?
No it will not.
Everyone has discord in their relationships; some of it is shared with friends, some of it is shared with those who care to hear about it. Our discord is no different from yours, yet it is worlds apart. Our discord is tinged with anger and regret and resentment and so is yours. Our discord carries with it the experience of parenting a child whose life is now over. Our discord represents a failure to survive that tragedy.