Death! Sort of.

First, it was our computer. Our beloved new iMac, so modern, so lamp-ish, its keyboard so not-yet-encrusted-with-food (although I’ve been working hard to amend that). Scott was doing something fancy with video when it made a noise like fehhhhh and its screen drooped on its base* and then everything was dark; so dark, and so so cold. Our attempts at resuscitation, which I shall enumerate below, all failed, although as you can see they were failproof! They were:

- Cursing at the dead computer.

- Pleading with the dead computer to come back to life.

- Watching Scott attempt to run various programs that purport to bring computers back to life.

- Yelling at Scott to call someone who knows what he’s doing.

- Thinking about all the stories, and all the Henry photos, that were never backed up.

- Crying.

- Pleading with the tech expert who arrived to fix the computer to please, for the love of God, just fix the computer.

In the end, it is only a bad motherboard (I so want to tell someone it’s a bad mother... and then have them say "Shut your mouth!" but so far no one’s been quick enough, damn it), which can be replaced with no loss of precious, precious data. But the motherboard has not yet been replaced, and I am forced—forced!—to write on this piddly little laptop, the laptop that until a few months ago was the only computer in the house, but that now seems so primitive, so loud and droning, and so very, very slow.

We were still reeling from the loss of our computer when our rental car died. We were on our way back from a wedding when the car began to sputter and retch (its front bumper actually became a frowny mouth and its headlights turned into heavy-lidded eyes and it said "kaff, kaff" YES IT DID) and Scott shrieked "As god is my witness, we will not die on the New Jersey Turnpike" and with that, he maneuvered the dying car toward the nearest exit, and we put-putted our way to a glorious Hess Express in scenic Edison, New Jersey.

Have you ever been to this Hess Express? Oh, it’s a marvel! You can buy M&Ms there! And Combos! Which we did! Because we were there for over 3 hours!

If you visit the Hess Express in Edison, NJ, here is what will happen:

- If you are a lady, you will have cause to visit the ladies’ room. The ladies’ room appears to be clean but there is almost certainly uncleanliness afoot; I say this because of the stench of death that makes it exceedingly difficult, after the first gag-inducing visit, to stomach the idea of a return. And when you’re sitting in a car for over 3 hours eating PayDay bars and drinking bottled water, you will have to return to the ladies’ room. There is no avoiding it.

- If you are a man, I have been assured that the men's room is "not that bad." Perhaps you will also get a death-whiff as you pass by the ladies' room. I hope, for your sake, you do not.

- A closed Blimpies counter will announce an exciting new Blimpies treat: The Bluffin.

- You will make "Bluffin" jokes for the next three hours. Bluffin! Because it just sounds dirty.

- You will see that kids hang out at the Hess Express. It’s the place to be, if you’re in Edison, NJ. You will rethink any ideas you ever had about living in the suburbs.


Luckily, Henry was at his grandparents’ while we paced the perimeter of the Hess Express (there is nothing outside its perimeter, YOU CANNOT LEAVE THE HESS EXPRESS). Eventually another car was brought to us. Unfortunately it was the same exact make, which in case I didn’t mention it previously, and I see that I didn’t, is the Suzuki Swift, a terrifying tin-can of a car designed to make you feel as vulnerable as possible. It's like wrapping your body in aluminum foil, strapping a couple of Hot Wheels to your feet, placing yourself at the entrance of, say, I-95, and having a friend give you a helpful shove. Only more so. That is the Suzuki Swift Experience. I recommend it!

So we managed to make it home with this new Swift, only to have it die, yes, DIE (do you see a theme?) the next day.

All of this death was worth it, just for this: the day after our Suzuki Swift adventure, Scott was congratulating himself for his manly decisiveness in the face of adversity. We were walking down the street, and he was nattering on about how his quick wits saved our lives, and how apparently this was due to his extreme manliness; so caught up was he in this delusion that he began to demand that I pay homage to his masculinity, which I did, halfheartedly repeating, yes, Husband is manly, Husband is decisive, blar de blar—when he began slapping at his glasses and shrieking. I would call what he was doing "girlish shrieking," but it would be an insult to girls everywhere. Let’s just say that he was shouting "Oh jeez oh jeez!" and his voice might have been a few octaves higher than normal. Before I could ask him what was going on, he removed his glasses, looked down, and said, "Oh. It was a, um, ladybug." I laughed, of course, really hard, and there might have been some pointing of fingers on my part, and he got all defensive (again with the girlish rising of the voice) and said, "It landed right inside my glasses! It looked really big!"

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*It didn't really do that. Please don't send me angry emails accusing me of lying. I embellish because I love.