It was a sad day packing up all the holiday decorations at the Yuma house because they honestly represented some of the only bit of decor we had there. But once we realized that no one was ever coming to visit us in America’s dirty asshole, despite our fancy three-car-garage-turned-batter’s-cage, we decided feng shui wasn’t going to be our biggest concern. We were content to let the seventy white walls just scream “insane asylum,” and it served us quite well when we had meltdowns about the impossibility of keeping up with the bills. If we ever felt that we needed to be committed, we’d just go into one of the empty spare bedrooms and cry our eyes out for an hour – completely bypassing the need for any professional help or extensive medical bills. Okay, I guess if we’re being honest, I’m the only one who did that while Anthony updated his fantasy football roster in the living room, but I’m proud of my cost-saving innovation and we were pinching pennies people! (Say that three times fast).
You just tried to say it and failed miserably, didn’t you? Sucker.
I know I said no one would come to visit us, but you didn’t think Mama D was going too long without seeing her son did you? I guess if you did, then my super fan excerpt about her showerless, two-day, cross-country haul went right over your head. And you’re clearly a mama’s boy, ’cause that small piece rung loud and clear to us fixer-upper women who grapple with the fine line of ‘caring about’ and ‘taking care of’. While Mama D was there, Anthony had to work a few shifts slinging pepperoni pizzas so she was forced, I mean able, to spend some quality time with me at home. It was always a strained effort for us to find some common ground – not because we didn’t want to chat, but because I watched Real Housewives of Everywhere and she preferred Sports Center. We had barely managed to find a talk track about the books we were both reading when my phone rang. It was Anthony in a frenzied panic about having a flat tire.
Before I go into the details of how he got the flat tire, now would be a good time to share a little something about his driving skills. If you ask him, he’s a better driver than whatever honkeys out there race at Nascar. Or is it for Nascar? Or with Nascar? I don’t know. Either way, he felt he was invincible behind the wheel because he had never had an accident before – at least not a documented one – and he took every opportunity he got to remind me of his squeaky-clean record. But here is the honest to God’s truth: he is a MISERABLE driver. The kid can crush a baseball and I’ll happily admit that, but drive a car?? No. Just no. I’m not sure when he drives that he looks much further ahead than the emblem on the hood of the car. He has very little street smarts (pun intended) about general road rules, and don’t even get me started on how entitled he becomes while driving around the grocery store parking lot. I have to legitimately close my eyes while he zips up, down, and across every single aisle before pulling into the smallest available parking spot known to man. By the time I squeeze my no-longer-college-sized ass out of the sliver of the door jam, I’m ready to bash his ankles with a shopping cart. He’s reckless and I’ll never support a single other theory. Especially the one on this particular night.
When he pulled in the garage with his light blue, ’98 Buick, it was clear that the poor girl hadn’t just hit a nail on the road somewhere. The front, driver’s side tire had been replaced with one of those awkward looking doughnuts (is there some logic behind that name besides being round and having a hole in it?) and the fender right above it was completely jacked up. It looked like it had been torn away from the car with a can-opener, and then it hung sadly toward the ground. Anthony mentioned to us that it also rubbed against the tire while he drove, but he decided to wing it just to get home. Smart. I have to say that the look on Mama D’s face was priceless. It might have been the first look of disappointment I’d ever seen from her regarding her son, when she said, “What the hell happened???!” I couldn’t contain my laughter when I glanced over at Anthony who also was unable to avoid breaking into a fit of hysterics. He managed to muster up, “I hit a pot hole. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the size of it!” Mama D insisted that if there was a pot hole in Yuma big enough to break the whole front end of the car wide open, then she wanted to see it. This was the desert southwest, not Maine in the dead of winter. I had to excuse myself from the entire situation and let the two of them duke it out in our fabulous garage. There was undoubtedly some work that needed to be done, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to foot the bill. Welcome to Yuma, Mama D. Now, where’s that emergency credit card been tucked away to?
The next day I had work appointments and the dynamic duo headed off to find a quick repair option for good ‘ol baby blue. Sometime in the early afternoon I got a text from Anthony that everything had been fixed and he’d see me at home after mini golf. I wondered how that worked out so well. “Hey son, let me pay for this mess on my vacation, and when we’re done, do you want to have a friendly game of putt-putt?” Where do people find that kind of patience?? I pulled my BMW into the the garage between the jerry-rigged hitting net and the Buick and just stared to my right. The tire had definitely been replaced with some real tread, but the fender was not exactly “repaired.” The entire left front fender had been completely sawed off, leaving a gaping hole where the tired apparently needed room to fit. I just remember thinking, “Well, I guess there really is more than one way to skin a cat” and headed inside to hear about the brains of this operation. Long story short(er), Anthony and his mom had found quite possibly the sketchiest tire establishments in Yuma and had them throw on a twenty dollar replacement. They obviously specialized in body work too, according to Anthony, who explained how they just went to town with a jigsaw power tool and carved up the bumper.
The rest of the visit was very anti-climatic. They played about four hundred more rounds of mini-golf and Mama D pitched the occasional batting practice to Anthony, insisting he needed to see live pitching before the season started. I think they both knew at this point my days of shagging his fly balls in the outfield were over, but I still wanted to know who was going to help me prepare for my own third season of Mexican baseball.