Before Ella was born, and despite the bazillions of books on babies that I’d read, I felt really alone and clueless. Enter the December 2004 message board on one of the popular All About Baby websites (specifically established for moms, like me, of babies born in that month – I thought I’d state the obvious for you).
Even though I wasn’t (and am still not) a message board person, I soon became a regular poster there. Because I didn’t personally know any other moms with December ’04 babies (and I didn’t want to be phoning my pediatrician every twenty minutes), the women there became my sounding board, my reference library, my dear friends, and my lifeline. They were able to answer my every question – Is your baby’s hair totally businessing in the front and partying in the back, but also with a bald spot? How do you put your baby down for a nap without having to dance a two-step? What flavor Gerber Puffs do you prefer (yes, I assume you’ve eaten them… and tried the formula. And probably the breast milk)? Amazingly, they were genuinely interested in the minute details of babydom that even Nick tired of quickly. She reached for an object today! She is droolier than usual! I can snap a onesie using only one hand!
We shared everything with one another… and I do mean everything. I can tell you more about these ladies’ living room furniture, bra sizes, and candy preferences (Reese’s versus Hot Tamales is a very real rivalry) than I can about many of the women I know “in real life.” Nine years and countless birthdays, weddings, separations, deaths, and the birth of many other children later, I consider approximately twenty of these ladies to be extremely close friends – but now we talk to one another on Facebook.
Last week, one of these Dec04 mamas asked if anyone was interested in exchanging valentines – just one, not to the whole group, like a Secret Santa except Secret Cupid (and except it wasn’t a secret). It sounded like fun so I agreed – certainly Ella and Annie could put together a valentine and I could pop it in the mail; all we had to do was get an envelope in the mail on Monday, Tuesday at the latest.
Naturally, as Monday night rolled around, I realized that I’d completely forgotten about said valentine… and if I wanted the girls to actually contribute (which I did), they’d have to do their part after school on Tuesday, meaning our envelope wouldn’t get into the mail until Wednesday.
I am such a good friend!!
After the girls finished their contributions, including several Rainbow Loom bracelets, I decided that a plain envelope wouldn’t do – I’d need to use something larger. I also decided that this called for Priority mailing, which promised a Valentine’s Day delivery; score! I printed out the postage at home and sealed everything up. All I had to do was put the package in the mailbox yesterday morning.
It seemed chilly yesterday when I loaded up my bags to head to school, but I didn’t think too much of it; this winter has been so bizarrely cold, it’s all starting to blend together. I let the car warm up a bit, and then, after backing down the driveway, I rolled down my window to put the package in the mailbox… but when I attempted to roll the window back up again, it wouldn’t budge.
And frozen open.
As the cold began to seep inside, I glanced at the dashboard and noticed the temperature: five below.
There was nothing I could do about it – I had to get to work, like, now. I couldn’t warm the car up anywhere. I couldn’t trade cars with Nick. I just had to go. OH GOODIE. And so I did, window down, heat blasting, looking like an absolute moron with my window all the way open when it was five degrees below zero.
Now, you might wonder why the car was parked outside to begin with, given that we have a lovely two-car garage… And that is because, over the weekend, the cable on my garage door broke, sending the door crashing to the ground and rendering it unusable – so I couldn’t park my car inside and had to leave it on the driveway instead.
Yes, I see the irony in the fact that my window was stuck open because the garage door was stuck closed.
Thankfully, I had loads of cold-weather gear in the car, so I was able to don a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect me against the gale that was rushing in through the wide-open window. If it was five below without the windchill, do you know how cold it was with forty mph gusts blasting into the car? EFFING FREEZING, LET ME TELL YOU. Even with the heat pouring in at its highest temperature, it was like standing outside in a snowless blizzard while trying to use the hairdryer.
Thinking that, eventually, the full-blast heat would melt the frozenness of the door and the window would unstick and roll up again, I kept one hand on the wheel and one firmly on the window’s up button (I had to keep trading hands because the one at the window risked frostbite after about twenty seconds). I also thought that perhaps I could somehow rattle the window out of its frozen grasp, so at every stop sign or light I would pound furiously on the door and then open and close it as firmly as I could.
Yep. Opening the door at a stop sign. And pounding on it. WITH THE WINDOW OPEN IN NEGATIVE FIVE DEGREE WEATHER. I’m sure that didn’t look weird at all to the drivers in the cars behind me.
After a few minutes, the window did start to move… approximately one inch. And that is how it sat for the remainder of my drive to work.
By the time I arrived, my hands and feet were so cold, I had to pry them open in order to gather my belongings and hobble into the building. There was no way I could operate the remote lock on my key fob without removing my gloves – which was not going to happen – but hey! It didn’t matter anyway, because THE WINDOW WAS WIDE OPEN. See anything you like? Then come on over! Help yourselves! Just don’t try to crawl in and warm yourself up because I can promise you it is NOT WARM inside the car.
I’d worried that I’d have to engage in some crazy mechanics to get the window operating again, but miraculously, after it sat in the sun for four hours (and the ambient temperature warmed up to a balmy 17 degrees), it unfroze and just rolled right back up, almost like it was mocking me. Oh – were you cold this morning? PSYCH!
The important thing is that I got the valentine in the mail. Sure, if I’d remembered sooner, none of this might have happened… but then I wouldn’t have this endearing story to share, would I? And I also wouldn’t be me. So, there’s that.
As always, we Dec04 mamas pull through for one another, even if it means freezing to death on our way to work. It’s all good, though; I know they’d do the same for me.