Y’all bear with me because I’m currently in the middle of a stress hangover. My fellow mamas of chronically ill kids know what a stress hangover is. It’s the period of a day or two that follows a hospital visit. Even though my boys are older, I still get hospital stress hangovers. This last trip was CRAZY. I thought I left my crazy broken car days behind when my ex walked out the door, but nope. Crazy broken cars must be genetic.
For 23 years of marriage, save 2 or 3 years between 1999 and 2001, our cars were always breaking down. ALWAYS. I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest and the old jalopy I was driving broke down. I found myself pushing the car through the parking lot ticket lane on my way to my OB/GYN appointment. That was 1994. Things didn’t get better. We would switch cars based on whichever was either running or had A/C. Running being the most important factor. We broke down on road trips, in town and pretty much ALL the time. It was a nightmare and a cause of many an argument. One breakdown is easy to handle, several a month, not so much. When I would become upset while with a broken car, I was told I was being abusive. The wasband often hung up on me.
For 23 years the ex worked on cars. Sometimes he actually fixed them. One night before a vacation, he was up until 2 am working on an engine mount. Other times, he would chose to fix something at 6pm the night before a trip to the hospital 8 hours away. Oftentimes, I would be late getting off with the boys because the repairs NEVER went as quickly as estimated. One of my BFFs and I came up with a formula – take the estimated time, multiply it by 12 hours and add 2. One time, the ex hubster took the front off the car and wasn’t sure the work would be complete in time. I BEGGED him to rent a car. PLEASE….rent a car. No go. The next day, I took off with the three boys a few hours late. Destination: Cincinnati bone marrow failure clinic 8 hours away. We got ONE hour from home and heard, “Clankity, CLANK, boom, bang, clank, ping, bang, bang, bang, bang, clink, clank.” I pulled over and called the wasband.
Car parts are as foreign to me as gourmet food is to the ex. “What is the portobello mushroom looking like?” he would ask. I would reply, “I don’t know what the portobello mushroom is!” Then he would ask me to take pictures of the mandoline and I would start crying and snap, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT A MANDOLINE IS! WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST RENT A CAR!? THEY HAVE TO BE IN THE OR AT 6am TOMORROW! IS IT OKAY TO DRIVE IT LIKE THIS!? WHY DIDN’T YOU RENT A CAR!!!?” He would hang up on me because I was so upset and crying and snapping. Y’all…drive with three young boys in a car to the hospital where they are having surgeries and testing and appointments and, and, and…. then tell me the car wouldn’t be the thing that made you snap. Especially when this was the story of your life. We drove to Cincy with the car clanking and banging and booming. There was a detour around a friggin’ mountain and we got in late due to the late start and detour. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. We got home 5 days later and found out pilot boy had put the part on BACKWARDS. Hence the awful noises. He would tell me I was abusive when I would yell, “Just fly airplanes and bring the cars to a mechanic so it can be fixed properly!”
Another time, the car broke down in Cincy and my friend’s husband (the one who has never met the ex and thinks the pilot boy is a fictional character) helped me. When the ex got on the phone with the mechanic, all three of us were shocked at what the pilot boy was requesting. My youngest had just had a minor surgery and the exter had been asking me a million questions until I snapped, “I don’t effing KNOW! DAMN IT! Middle son JUST had surgery this morning, it is late and I just want to get the car fixed!!!!!!!” He hung up on me because he said I was being abusive. No dude, I was just a tired mama who had been at the hospital all day with her son. I was a mama who was tired of clunkers always breaking down. It wasn’t as if I was calling from the spa where I had just had a massage.
Other times, we would have the cars breakdown on the way to the hospital or from the hospital to the hotel. Like any exhausted mama, I would cry over the broken car. The hospital had zapped me and then he would hang up on me!!!!! He would refuse to answer subsequent calls and there I was stranded with 3 boys either on the way to the hospital for important appointments or procedures or exhausted, on the way back from the hospital. He would tell me that I was abusive! Because I cried and goT mad that our cars were always breaking down!!!!We were once stuck Dayton, OH for several days while the auto shop waited for the part to come in. I was secretly happy because I knew the car would be fixed properly at the shop. Luckily, the car broke down at an eating establishment next to a hotel, so it was just a short walk in the pouring rain. Also, luckily they had vacant rooms!
Y’all, I have told my therapist that I don’t know if I would be able to do things any differently if given the chance to go back. There comes a point in the medical drama and hospital world that you just can’t handle one more thing. Then the car breaks or your flip flops flop and it’s all she wrote. We had such crappy cars for almost the entire 23 years of marriage. In fact, he left me with the 17 year old car he wouldn’t even let me drive to Cincinnati KNOWING we had a Cincy trip coming up 2 months almost to the day after he left! WHAT THE FORK? He didn’t think the car could make it through the mountains, yet that’s the car he left with his wife and children upon his exit. Yep. The night he left, my youngest two were here in my house with me and have never gone to live with him. I got the crappy car. Thankfully, the story didn’t end there and God is bigger than the wasband.
Before he advent of smartphones, I would call and ask him to tell me a shop to tow the car to. I would ask him to search the internet and just give me a name. Oh, no that would be too easy……. I would be standing with the broken down car and three kids trying to answer all of his questions. Sometimes in the heat, sometimes in the driving rain and sometimes in the Cincinnati snow. I would lose my shit and scream, “I don’t EFFING know! I don’t know why it won’t start or run, just tell me where to tow the mother effer!!” He would hang up and tell me that I was being abusive. Y’all, as you can tell by my previous posts, I am a HUGE sinner. I readily admit that I did not handle the breakdowns like I should, but at the same time, would think a husband would have some mercy and empathy. Three young boys at the hospital all day and then the car breaks (sometimes on the way). Again, it wasn’t like we’d just had a whopping good time at Disney World and I called and lost it. H-O-S-P-I-T-A-L-S are stressful!
Abuse is being a pilot, making decent money and sending your wife and three children on a long road trip in a piece of shit car. I know now that it would have been entirely possible to have bought a decent used car with a warranty when he got his yearly bonus. I sold all the purses and clothes my mother-in-law had given me over the years, I sold our used homeschool books and curriculum, I sold stuff I cared about and bought a used Camry and you know what? F-O-U-R (4) hospital trips later the Camry hasn’t broken down ONCE! I now have a new story– When things break, I have a mechanic fix them.
No breakdowns has been a little piece of heaven amid the hospital stress. I thank God every day now for exholes leaving. I am in such a better place. While my car is used, it is decent and I am able to pay people to do maintenance. My house is no longer a conglomeration of cheap rigged fixes. Slowly over the years, I have been able to pay repair men to fix the things exhole ignored and or rigged, but never truly fixed. I’ve come a long way spiritually since the day he walked and I’ve come a long way mechanically, too!
My boys have inherited the genetic predisposition to obtain and try to maintain crappy cars, much to my chagrin. Pilot boy has flown the coop. He was last seen some 3 weeks ago trying to help my youngest fix the starter on his car when he was in port long enough to spend a few minutes with him. Newsflash: that wasn’t the problem. Shocking news right there, given that only 1 in 4 repairs ex ever attempted actually fixed the problem. He hasn’t seen my middle in 8 months- he just happens to fly into the city where my youngest lives.
While we were still married, his paramour praised her boyfriend for fixing her jeep on social media. I thought, “Wow, that’s forking amazing that he actually fixed the problem.” (Yes, the paramour was on social media showing “in a relationship with a clickable link to ex’s name while he was still married to me.) I’ve been successful at getting the middle to bring his car to the mechanic a few times. My youngest is a no go to the mechanic kind of guy. They have some mechanical growth yet to do!
Sorry to be such a Debbie downer, but I share my experience with others as therapy for myself and for others who may be in the same situation to let them know–it does get better. God is bigger than your ex and your life WILL BE better than your life with the exhole. I promise. If anyone is seen reading this, the is– but if you are and you aren’t sure how life could ever go on to be better, keep the faith sister. God has big plans for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Both of my boys currently have broken cars. The day we left for Cincy, I went to work at 5 am and my middle drove to Charlotte to pick up my youngest. When I returned home from work, we left for Cincy. Had one really long day at the hospital and returned home the following day–an 8 hour drive. Yesterday after church, I drove my youngest to Charlotte and made it back home by 3pm. I am exhausted. Completely exhausted. At first I thought it would be nice to have a second parent here to help, but the truth be told, I have been a single parent for over 25 years. The wasband never helped with hospital trips. He couldn’t even make sure there was milk and bread in the home upon my return when I had gone for a week or two at the hospital with all three boys. Once again, our lives really aren’t much different now that he left– I guess my daydreaming in the hospital was wishing my boys had had an earthly father show up for them all along. Thankfully, Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there. It is because of His grace and mercy that my boys and I have survived 23 years of the medical world without the ex. One day, they will have wives to care for them and help them, and until then, I’m it. I’m the mom who will be there forever and always. No matter what. Even if only to pressure them to have some mechanical growth and take the car to a mechanic!