“Mom, can I take that Christmas CD into my room to listen to?,” Gracie asked, as we all piled out of the car.
“I don’t think so,” I told her. I know I shouldn’t have chosen that particular battle, but we had a bunch of stuff to get done and I could just see me forgetting to reclaim my new CD that night and then I would be sad panda the next morning in the car as we drove off without the music. Yes, I said no because I was being selfish! The important thing is that I am very sure I said no. Yes, this is important later.
But first: my car has been having a few issues lately. I hate complaining about them out loud, in case they take offense and my few little issues become great, big, pricey issues. Still, I’ve noticed recently that the Eject button on my CD player isn’t quite working like it used to. Sometimes it will only offer up the tiniest sliver of CD before sucking it back into the dash. Sometimes it will work just fine. Sometimes it will offer enough for you to grab the CD and yank it out, but you’re working against the mechanism that has already tried to reclaim its prize, and I know pulling against the motor probably isn’t going to help matters much.
I wasn’t very surprised when this started being an issue. For one, the car is almost twelve years old. Probably a few things are going to be issues when your car is that old. Two, there is the well-established Christmas Car Curse, a lovely hand-me down tradition from my days back at my parents’ house. We’ve experienced everything from cracked windshields to popped tires to broken wheels to fuel lines to… well, a bunch of things. A fritzy CD player? That would fit.
Which is why last night when I went to switch out the Pentatonix Christmas CD for the Peter, Paul & Mary (shoosh with the judging of my taste in Christmas music), I was utterly unsurprised when I hit the Eject button, heard a whirring – and then nothing happened. I tried again, and didn’t even getting the whirring. Panicking slightly, I went to fetch my keys and started the car. Maybe the poor CD power was just lame enough to not want to function without the car being on. It had always worked before, but – twelve years old. So I turned the car on, hit Eject again – nothing. I tried turning the CD on – nothing. Hesitantly, I tried feeding the new CD into the opening and – it took it! The CD started playing. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO CD IN THERE TO BEGIN WITH.
That’s when Gracie walked out into the garage to see what in the world I was doing, turning the car on.
That’s also when I remembered that I had said no.
Readers, I’d like to say I kept my calm. I sure did a lot better than I have on other nights; there wasn’t yelling. But nearly. There was certainly irritation in my voice when I demanded of Gracie whether she had taken the CD out of the car. And maybe lectured her about her listening skills as of late (because truly, they’ve been horrendous) and how she had better turn that right around if she knew what was good for her and then I demanded she give back the CD. She was already hurrying to take it out of her CD player, and that would have been that if she hadn’t have tried to worm her way out by insisting she didn’t hear me. Really? She asked the question and didn’t bother to listen to the answer? Oh, I was a little hot. I lectured her some more on not ignoring answers she didn’t like, and if she thought that was how to behave when she was a teenager, she was going to have a lot of early bedtimes.
It’s hard to stay mad at your tween when she comes out and makes a very sincere apology a few minutes later, topped with good, long hug.
I couldn’t help but give the car a sideways look when I got in it this morning and it shuddered and balked at my simple request to run in the cold. But at least I don’t have to make any decisions about whether I can live without a CD player. Yet.