After awhile he got into shape, started taking this biking thing more seriously and participated in more rides than just back and forth to work. There were charity rides, weekend rides, the 75th St. brewery ride, the Blue Moose ride, the Brookside group, the PV ride, the Ride ride..............
And I'd about had it with the rides.
One morning after the kids had gone to school and I was getting ready for work, he came downstairs in some of that ridiculous spandex he'd started wearing and said, "Yeah, some guys asked me to ride tonight so I won't be home for dinner."
What???? Again??? Who asked you? What guys? I want names.
"Oh, you know Cliff and a couple of other guys."
They didn't ask you. You went trolling for riders. That's what you do. You go all over town looking for rides to go on.
"That's crazy. I don't do that, besides it's just going to be a short ride."
You're never here. We never sit down and have a decent dinner any more. You. Are. Never. Here. And. What. Are. You. Going. To. Do. About. That?
He went to work. I might have called him names after the door closed. No, wait, now that I think about it I'm pretty sure he was still in the room when I called him names.
I stormed off to work and fumed most of the day about this ride he was going on. At 5:30 he showed up at the store - very apologetic and willing to skip the ride and start dinner. I was so happy to have a decent meal when I got home that I said, "You start dinner. Everything is there for chili. Get it going and then meet your friends for your ride."
Winning! Marriage saved, he gets a night ride with friends, we have chili for dinner, and the kids don't have to worry about an evil stepmother - just their familiar, predictable evil mother.
For the next hour and a half at work I salivated just thinking about that chili simmering at home and when I walked in the door the smell did not disappoint.
The kids told me that some guy had called numerous times and I was to call him back right away. I looked at the number, didn't recognize it and said, "Okay, as soon as I have a bowl of chili."
I lifted the lid and the phone rang.
It was the police department. Mark had flown off the front of his bike and was hurt. Not bad the cop said, and he refused the ambulance but he should probably go to the emergency room. He told me how to get to where he was and pick him up.
It took awhile because I got lost which happens as soon as I pull out of the driveway.
When I finally got to him, we put his banged up body in the front seat and his bike in the back. "He passed out," one of his friends told me. "He says he's fine but he needs to get looked at just in case."
We went to the emergency room of the medical center he's worked at for twenty years. The shiny, new multi-million dollar new ER that had been opened for all of two days. This would not be the ideal time to visit an ER with a non-life threatening injury.
Nobody seemed to know where anything was......essential ER things like an xray machine to look at the collarbone that was sticking up, and all I wanted was to hurry this thing along so we could go home and have some chili.
When multiple attempts to find an xray machine failed, it was decided that Mark would have to go to the old part of the hospital for the xray and a wheelchair was ordered. "I'm fine," he said, "I can walk."
"Yeah, he's fine," I said. "He can walk cuz we need to get home and have some chili." Nobody said anything, not even a polite chuckle but I was serious. If him walking meant getting out of there sooner and going home to a bowl of chili well, let's do it. Better yet I thought, his bike is in the back of my car. Maybe he could ride it to this random xray department. After all, he still had his spandex on.
After much deliberation and the curtain opening and closing around him a dozen times, a wheelchair arrived and we went to some abandoned, empty part of the hospital with one xray room. "I'll be back," the kid pushing the chair said.
"No, no. Just wait here with us. He'll be done in no time and then we can all go back down together and he can get a cast or a sling or a cane and then we can go home. We can. We can go home real soon if you'll just stay here.
Mark got the xray and it was confirmed that his collarbone was indeed broken. We sat in the hallway for nearly an hour waiting for the kid who dumped us there to come back and get us.
Finally I said, "That's it. I'm pushing you back myself. We're not waiting here another minute."
"Do you even know where you're going?" Mark asked.
"No," I said unlocking the brake. "I have never known where I'm going. That's my mission statement in life. No plan. No direction. No clue."
The Wheelchair Pusher showed up just then.
We went back to our curtained ER room and waited for a
And I started to seriously lose it. "What??? Are you kidding me? We've been here all night for that??? I missed chili for something that will heal on its own!"
"There, there," Mark said wincing as he got up. "You're going to be just fine in no time."
We stopped at the hospital pharmacy (which was only slightly faster than the ER), got some pain pills and I drove us home nice and slow so as not to upset the cracked collarbone. At midnight, with my coat still on I sat down and ate a bowl of crusty, overcooked chili that I scraped from the bottom of the pot.
Mr. Tour de Shoulder Smash sat at the table grinning in his slinged arm. Missing were his glasses which had flown off his head as he was falling and were subsequently run over by the ambulance. I gave him the stinkeye for ruining what was supposed to be the saving-the-marriage-dinner.
By then the Percocet had kicked in and he winked back.