This morning’s first activity was flopping into my daughter’s bed after I roused myself from my own, obeying the siren call of “Mommy, I’m awake. Mommy I’m awake. Open the door, Mommy. Open the door, Mommy.” When I come into her room in the morning Zoe is almost always sitting up, smiling, and ready to announce something she’s been thinking about or doing or ask you a question. She might serve you some pretend ice cream, or comment that there wasn’t a thunderstorm last night after all. It’s often an amusing and pleasant way to start the day, a period in which I avoid thinking about the requests, pleading, and negotiations that will surely follow and escalate rapidly. Note that the requests, pleading, and negotiations are from me, not the toddler.

One of the next activities was throwing towels on the bathroom floor and trying to keep Zoe out of the bathroom when the toilet suddenly and surprisingly overflowed (since it was not stopped up, but just started spewing water, which thankfully was clean). Seeing that the water had stopped, I was content to let the towels do the work and we went downstairs.

Downstairs I observed a smallish puddle of water on the carpet surrounded by a damp area, directly underneath a water mark on the ceiling. Zoe said “that’s where I peed on the carpet.” But I told her that no, she hadn’t peed there, that it was water leaking from the ceiling. While she has, in the past peed on the carpet, she was fully diapered when we went downstairs. I’m not sure how she might have thought she peed there, but that’s another story.

So I called our handyman service, which kindly sent someone over pretty quickly. I answered the door in my pajamas. The handyman, Mike, who has done a lot of work at our house, asked if my the green Honda Civic in the parking lot was ours. It was. He pointed out that the front right tire was low. So noted.

He came in and assessed the toilet situation and determined that there was no leak and no ongoing problem. “It was just an event, and it’s over,” he declared. I was relieved.

On his way out Mike inspected my tires further. He decided that the tire was actually nearly flat. He asked if I had a spare. Sure, but I don’t know how to change it. He asked if Randy would know. I said I doubted it, but Randy was at work so it was moot. We discussed possible options. I decided to take it to the gas station a couple blocks away. Mike said it should be fine to go a couple blocks, and that if I wasn’t able to do that I could call him later and he would come change the tire for me. He is a seriously nice guy.

I drove to the Texaco and as I pulled in three mechanics who were standing outside the garage, evidently bored, looked at my tire and their eyes widened and they laughed. It looked serious. Turns out there was a nail in my tire. On the one hand, I was irritated by the toilet, but on the other hand, if it hadn’t overflowed and I hadn’t called Mike and he hadn’t noticed the tire and told me about it, I would not have noticed and I might have blown a tire or broken down while driving, or had an accident as a result. So I was relieved.

Of course the mechanic told me my brakes were low and needed replacing, so the minor repair ended up being not so minor, but oh well. Are you really going to say you don’t want your brakes fixed and you’re going to drive your two-year-old around and not be able to stop quickly enough? No.

I walked home from the Texaco and took care of administrative tasks for my family members. If I didn’t have my own business, I would make a damn good intern for somebody else. When my car was ready, I walked back to the gas station. On the way I saw three police cars clustered across Columbia Pike from my house and noticed that a man was being arrested. I realized that his day was already much worse than mine. I was not being arrested, nor was any member of my family. I was relieved.

I ran some errands and stopped for fast food on the way home. As I was in the middle of ordering, a bug crashed into my cheek and I thrashed around, certain I would be stung or bitten. When I recovered and pulled up to the window I saw it was a ladybug that had swooped in, and was now trying to escape again. Ladybugs are lucky, right? I was relieved.

After a very stressful July, maybe August is a fresh start. The problems haven’t all gone away, but there are small things to be thankful for. My sister and brother-in-law are coming to town tomorrow. My dad is coming home Wednesday. We’re going on vacation next week. It won’t be for long, but it’s reassuring that we’ll be together again for a few days. People go away, but then when they come back, it’s that much better. I will be relieved.