Sorry for the lame title. I wanted to connect today’s post with the one from last week about our trip to the water park. Before I start making comparisons, let me take a moment to describe how I ended up at the water park on a Tuesday afternoon instead of at work.
It all started with an oil change.
My husband has a good friend who is a mechanic. We usually take our cars to him because Peter helps as much as possible thus reducing labor costs for minor repairs and maintenance. Unfortunately, said friend’s business is over sixty miles from our current home. It is worth the drive for most work, but for a routine oil change, it makes more sense to stay local. This is especially the case since there is a local shop that offered a package deal of six oil changes. We can use them for either vehicle and the business is about a twenty-minute walk from our house.
Yesterday morning, Peter and Philip dropped off one of our cars for an oil change and then walked home. The oil change was prepaid as part of the package, so the trip should have only cost us time.
A couple of hours after dropping off the car, the owner of the shop contacted Peter who in turn called me. It turned out there was a major oil leak plus a problem with a tie rod. Suddenly, we had gone from no expenses to “a couple of hundred dollars.” I put that in quotes because by the time we paid the bill this afternoon, the amount of money we spent on repairing the twelve-year-old car would have made a nice down payment on a replacement.
The reason the bill kept climbing was that, as the mechanics took the vehicle apart to make repairs, they kept uncovering new issues. The more problems they found, the more it cost us in parts and labor. And the more time it took.
Now, ordinarily, my mom takes Philip to his sensory class on Tuesdays. Unfortunately, my dad was scheduled for the first in a series of surgeries to remove cataracts from both eyes and to repair some other issues with his eyes. This obviously meant that my mom couldn’t drive Philip to class. Not a problem, originally. Peter was planning on driving Philip this morning.
That was the plan until we realized that our car would be stuck in the shop overnight. With only one vehicle, we had to choose between taking Philip to therapy and me going to work.
Gee, twist my arm.
Having let my boss know I wouldn’t be in, Peter, Philip and I were preparing to get in the car for our drive to therapy. My mom called Peter’s phone and was surprised when I answered. It turned out that my dad’s surgery was canceled last-minute. She was now available to take Philip to class. I hesitated, but knew that I needed to be around later to pay for the car repairs. We decided to continue as planned.
I was glad that I got to go along this morning. I listened to Philip “squawk” as we entered the building so that he could her his echo. I witnessed how Philip had mastered the routine of entering the classroom, removing his shoes and putting them away before playing. I got to see him jumping onto his crash pad. I was there for the therapist’s report of how much progress Philip has made over the last two months. If only I had remembered to use my camera . . .
Not only was I glad to be there with Philip, it was also nice to be there with Peter. I can’t remember the last time we had such a block of time just to talk without the distraction of Philip, our computers, the tv or driving. In addition to commiserating over the costly car repairs, we made a to-do list for home and then dreamed of where we might like to go on vacation. We haven’t been on a vacation in five years, so we had a lot of dreaming to do.
After Philip’s class, we drove toward home, stopping at Walmart to do some shopping. We had Philip push the cart. Next, we swung by the repair shop to find out the status of the car. At that point, one of the employees was at the junkyard picking up a part that had been damaged while they were making repairs.
It was time to go home.
I was hoping that Philip would be ready for his nap soon, so I fed him lunch and then put on a movie.
He wasn’t tired yet.
I took Philip to the backyard hoping that the fresh, warm air would bring on sleep.
He wasn’t tired yet.
Finally, I decided waiting for Philip to sleep wasn’t working, so I took him to the spray park. That brings me back to the title of today’s post. Last week, Philip didn’t really play at the spray park. He was mostly interested in the visual stimulation of the water. Today, he was there to play.
He kicked the water. He put his hand into it. He stood closer and closer to the sprays and even got brave enough to stand beside the contraption that dumps buckets of water. He laughed, smiled and giggled. He had fun.
After thirty minutes, I took him home and changed his clothes. He immediately laid on his pillow and was soon asleep.
I tried to make the most of the time off from work. While he napped, I started working on the to-do list that Peter and I had created that morning. The repair shop called, so I went to pick up the car.
Soon, it was time to make supper. After that Philip and I dropped Roscoe off at my parents’ (they’ll keep him overnight since Philip’s speech therapist is coming to the house tomorrow and shouldn’t have to compete with the barking). Next stop was the library to turn in our final “Read to Me” slip in exchange for a prize (Philip did his squawking/echoing routine there, too). Then it was onto the grocery store where Philip pushed the cart while I filled it up (we didn’t carry out anything to the car this week). Finally, we returned home for our evening rituals.
A simple oil change sure snowballed, but I won’t regret how I spent my day. In fact, I’m sure that I’ll be dreaming of vacations and the water park while I sit at work tomorrow.