Friday, October 2, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Things That Are Only Funny if They Didn't Happen To You, Fall Colors, and The Magical Side of Parenting

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


The GPS on my phone wasn't working right, so I pulled over at a Shell station to figure it out. Completely oblivious, I parked right in front of the repair garage until one of the mechanics knocked on the window and asked me to move.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," I say, and in my haste to get out of their way I immediately drive over a curb. And get stuck.

At this point, I think I'm embarrassed, but I don't even know the meaning of the word yet.

The mechanic comes over and starts giving me step-by-step directions to extricate myself from the curb: "Turn your wheel all the way to the right... go forward a little... okay, stop! Now turn it all the way to the left... and back up..."

This takes approximately one hundred years, each one more excruciating than the last.

By now, the other two mechanics from the garage have wandered over to watch the show, and things aren't looking good. My rocker panel cover (the long plastic piece that runs the length of the vehicle at the bottom of the car) is hanging halfway off.

"I'll take that off so you can put it in the trunk," the second mechanic says, retrieving a tool from his truck and lying on the ground underneath the car to remove the remaining bolts.

My face is on fire and I'm ready to commit harikari to put an end to my shame, but I can't because someone needs to open the trunk. So I go to tilt down the bike rack on the back to access the trunk... and it won't budge.

Then the third mechanic  I repeat, THE THIRD mechanic  sees me struggling and comes over to ask if I need help.

So to recap, I've commandeered the complete attention of three mechanics, one of whom is on the ground working on my car because I'm a total idiot and WHY is there not a sinkhole opening up in the earth to swallow me alive this very second so I can escape further mortification?!?

That day, I learned three things: one, it's impossible to actually die of embarrassment. If it was, you definitely wouldn't be reading this 7 Quick Takes. 

Two, the curbs at Shell stations are really high so be careful. 

Three, those mechanics are amazing human beings. I don't even care that they probably laughed themselves breathless after I left. They were saints.


New England is famous for having spectacular fall colors, and I enjoy them but rarely get excited to the extent that I plan dedicated leaf appreciation road trips (yes, that's a thing.) But this year, I just might.

The colors seem way more vivid to me than any other year, and I've had multiple stop-in-my-tracks moments this week.

Take this picture. I was just jogging along and looked over and there it was. This scene is so picturesque it hurts. 

Please note the tractor carrying a crate of pumpkins across the freaking field. I can't. I just can't.


Another family from church invited us over to grill and have dinner in the backyard, and I think it was the first social engagement the whole family has attended since the pandemic began. The kids have done individual outdoor playdates and I've taken socially distanced walks with friends while they stay home, but that's about it. 

We ate outside and the kids played with our friend's puppy, and I realized that even though I'm an introvert this kind of thing was really nice when we used to do it more often.

Meanwhile, my 12-year-old was peppering our friends with questions about all the vents and doodads on the exterior of the house. 

Like you or I would be, they were scratching their heads guessing "Umm... for the laundry, maybe? And that's probably over the stove, and... I guess that's the bathroom...?" It's funny how none of us really know how our houses work. We're like "I don't know, I just live here."

Anyway, it was a really nice evening and our 6-year-old asked to go to their house again about 50 times on the way home.


While reading a book, the 4-year-old saw a picture of Jesus and here was the following conversation: 

4yo: [pointing to the picture] Where is Jesus’s long hair? 

Me: Well, he probably had longer hair than that but we don’t really know what he looked like. 

4yo: But Jesus has long hair. 

Me: How do you know? 

4yo: He told me. 

Me: [long pause in which he stared at me, unblinking] Jesus told you he has long hair. 

4yo: Mm-hmm. 

Me: [raising eyebrow] How? 

4yo: He came down from heaven. 

Me: Jesus came down from heaven to tell you he has long hair?

4yo: [looking me straight in the eye and being totally matter-of-fact about the whole thing] Yep. 

And that is why you should never believe anything a 4-year-old says.


The other day, a house down the street hired a tree removal company to cut down a massive oak, so I walked over with my 4- and 6-year-olds and we just sat across the street watching for a while. 

It was pretty cool how they hauled a guy with a chainsaw up 40 feet in the air with a crane (not in a bucket, he was just dangling there in a harness) and lowered him into the tree. He fastened the crane to a branch and made his cut, then rappelled down the tree trunk while the crane lifted the branch out of the way.

It was probably my favorite part of the whole week. Not because I have a thing for tree removal, but because to me, sitting there watching is the perfect example of a really special time in parenting.

After kids can walk and talk but before school and activities dictate your schedule, there's nothing quite like it. You take meandering walks and stop for 15 minutes to look at a bug or a storm drain if that's what they want to do, and the two of you are just in your own little universe, totally in the present. It's magical.

(Not that I don't like yelling at people to get their cleats on and get in the car because we're already late while a feisty pre-teen rolls their eyes and yells back "I know!" I do, it's just not as magical.)


We were sitting down to Family Home Evening, trying to get everyone listening, and then Phillip distracted everyone with an irrelevant comment. It was probably something funny, but still.

I shot him a dirty look so he said, "Okay, guys. Listen to your mother and not to me."

"We always do," my 14-year-old joked. Then she added, "Except for the listening part because we don't really do that very well, either."

And that's basically what it's like to live at my house.


My family is looking forward to this weekend. It's General Conference weekend! 

General Conference is a live broadcast from our church leaders with messages about Jesus Christ. I always come away inspired and encouraged. 

And in the current climate of worldwide affairs, I think that's something we all need. 

No matter what religion you belong to, you're invited to watch conference with my family on Saturday and Sunday. It's a live broadcast so your time zone matters, but here in New England it's from 12-2 and 4-6 both days, with a women's session on Saturday night from 8-9:30.

Our family usually watches conference on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' website or YouTube channel. We also like to watch while eating snacks, but you do you.

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