A Daily Dose (Caliente)



Happy Monday!  I have a lot of things to tell you, but first and foremost I should tell you that it is remarkably strange not to write a blogisode.  Charlotte and I were just washing dishes in the kitchen and she said, “So wait, are you telling me the blogisodes are over?  Forever?”  After reassuring her that I was just taking a short break from blogisodes to try out a new format, she nailed me.  “But the new format you are trying is just what every other blog is, right?  I mean, you are just writing random thoughts?”

Right.  She’s right.  I know part of the reason she is upset is because I was just getting us to Las Vegas in the Broadway West story, and she really loved living in Las Vegas.  I think she even had an idea for a blog post.  So, I told her, and I will tell you, and I am telling myself, we will get back to Vegas.  It’s just on simmer for a while.  So, if you are new here, you should go back and read those blogisodes to catch up.  Capisce?  Capisce.

Moving on.

Now we have a short little story about my weekend.  I can totally do this Daily Dose in one Dose.  I can name that tune in two notes.

It all started with a Dora Kitchen.

Don't even get me started.

Trouble maker.

This weekend was blissfully less eventful than last weekend, and if you’d like that translated into Wheatley/Meffe lingo, we were kinda, sorta bored.  Rob had work stuff all night Friday, and then again all afternoon and evening on Saturday, so the girls and I were just looking at each other and wondering what to do.  As Charlotte said, “Mom, we’ve done just about everything we can do in this apartment.  The crayons are colored down to nubs.  The toys have all been played with.  We need to go do something.”

So, I did what any good New York City Mom would do on a cold February Saturday night, I packed the kids in the car and headed to Jersey.

Before we’d even made it onto the entrance ramp of the George Washington Bridge, I looked down and saw it.  The car was over heating.  Crap shit damn.  But before you freak out, let me tell you why we didn’t.  We’ve got this whole overheating car thing down to a science.

Let me break it down for you.

1)  I curse really loudly and start touching my face (at least that’s what Charlotte says I do).

2) Charlotte looks at the temperature gauge without even asking what is wrong, then immediately texts Rob, “Car is overheating.”

3)  Charlotte rolls down her window.  This might seem like an odd response, but keep reading.

4)  I turn the heat on full blast, which apparently sucks the heat out of the engine?  Cools the radiator?  It does something, and the truth is, I’ve been doing it for so long that I can’t remember why I do it, but it works.  My Dad taught me this trick and many others because we frequently had broken down cars when I was first driving.  I can also start a stick shift car with a dead battery (if I am parked on a hill).

5)  Charlotte and I watch the thermostat gauge like hawks, praying it goes down.  Rob texts back, “AAAAARRRGGGGHHHH.”

6)  Beatrix continues watching Tom and Jerry in the back seat without ever noticing a thing is going on.

7)  I try to avoid stopping as much as possible, which is nearly impossible given that we are driving in Manhattan and in this case, into very crowded Bergen County, New Jersey on a Saturday night.

8)  Eventually I find a place to pull over and load the car up with coolant and water.

9)  Everything is fine.

A Wheatley/Meffe staple

A Wheatley/Meffe staple

Except this time everything was not fine.  I filled the car with coolant, but the temperature stayed up.  At some point in here, Beatrix, now overheated in her down coat and hat started to fall asleep in the back seat, which is bad news….because as you remember, it is 7pm.  As in, 2 hours from bedtime.  As in, if she falls asleep now we were all going to be watching Saturday Night Live together and then the Late, Late Show.  Therefore, Charlotte is moved from thermostat gauge watching duty and texting Rob duty, to keeping Beatrix awake duty.

I should tell you the whole reason for this late night excursion was to blow some of Beatrix’s birthday money.  She had a penguin birthday card full of cash from various friends and relatives, and her heart set on a brand new Dora kitchen.  I have things to say about that Dora kitchen, but we’ll get to that in a bit.  The point was, I was already in an overheating car, on my way to buy a gigantic play kitchen I was going to have to lug from the parking garage 1/2 mile from my apartment (for real), so there was no way I was going to add “insomniac child” to the list.

After about 20 grueling minutes on Route 4, Bergen County’s busiest road, we finally made it to the parking lot of

Potential ride home.

Potential ride home.

Toys-R-Us.  The car, I should mention, was not steaming, but was on full tilt HOT.  Not good.  So what did I do?  Why, I went shopping, of course.  I did have a back up plan, worst case scenario I could always buy one of those Barbie electric cars and Beatrix could drive us home.  I’m not sure if the Barbie car trunk could handle a Dora Kitchen, but I’d cross that bridge if I came to it.  Or the Barbie Car would cross that George Washington Bridge if it came to it.  Hmmmm.  I wonder if Barbie cars fit on the bike path, thereby eliminating the need to pay the $12 toll.  Yes.  $12 toll.  As my Father likes to say when he visits NYC from Cincinnati, “What is it with all these tolls up here?  In Cincinnati I pay tolls and they are called taxes, and then I get to drive around for free.”

But maybe in a Barbie car it’s always free?  I mean, it’s little but it’s economically friendly (electric), easy to park, and just slightly smaller than a Smart Car.  It even has a radio (only one station, “Barbie Radio”, but maybe I could get Sirius installed.)

This is suddenly a serious option in my head.

Help me.

I digress.

So, we get into Toys-R-Us with an almost asleep Beatrix, who is suddenly revitalized by the florescent lights and rows of toys.  She grabbed her penguin card full of birthday money and headed for the kitchens.

In a glorious stroke of luck, they no longer sold the Dora kitchen.  Both Charlotte and I breathed out a huge sigh of relief and I will tell you why.

She's so cute but she's a yeller.

She's so cute but she's a yeller.

It talks.  Loudly.  Have you ever heard Dora the Explorer talk?  No, you haven’t, and I will tell you why, because she only yells.  She yells everything.  And according to the online reviews, the kitchen is just phrase after phrase of Dora screaming things every time you get near it.

And look.  The last thing I need in my life is Dora the Explorer yelling “CALIENTE” twenty four hours a day.  I’ve been a parent for 14 years, and Dora has been a part of my life for about 10 of those years.  Enough is enough.

Speaking of caliente, after an hour of shopping for kitchens, choosing the HEAVIEST one, (I’m not kidding, it’s a wooden one, it’s huge, but it’s cute and was on sale), after choosing food, choosing pots and pans, and after watching Beatrix zoom around on a Princess bike, we went out to check on the caliente car.

I decided the engine was probably cool enough to add water to the radiator (NEVER open the lid of a hot radiator), and I filled it with water.  And threw in more coolant.

And it worked!

And we made it home, starving, but without a screaming Dora kitchen and WITH a pretty wooden kitchen, and we even got it upstairs without any help from a guy.

Completed.  Requires no batteries and it doesn't yell "caliente", although I now yell that at the car temperature gauge.

Completed. Requires no batteries and it doesn't yell "caliente", although I now yell that at the car temperature gauge.

We rock.

And then Rob built it this morning, so he rocks.

And we all rock.

And the car is going (back) into the shop.

And the Giants won.

And I have an audition tomorrow, and I am fighting a sinus infection. (booooo)

And I still think that Barbie Car is a great idea.

And I will see you tomorrow.

(Tomorrow we’re talking about NBC’s new TV show, SMASH, which debuts tonight at 10pm.  Set your DVR’s and join me tomorrow as we talk about what’s real on the show, and what’s made for TV.)



About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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8 Responses to A Daily Dose (Caliente)

  1. David Cleveland says:

    Wow! Everything I could have ever dreamed of in a blog, and more! Car stuff, toll stuff (12 bucks really?) mall stuff, Barbie stuff, Mother Against Decent Driving stuff, Rob tool stuff. Neat!

    • sswheatley says:

      Oh Dave, and to think I forgot the very best part. I scored the GREATEST parking spot on 43rd and 8th Avenue at 3pm on a Saturday. I thought of you. It doesn't get any better, especially because I'd resigned myself to spending $14 on parking because who can find free parking on a Saturday at 3 pm.

  2. Tracy Bristol says:

    That kitchen is adorable. I would love a full sized version of it!

  3. Jenny Aleson says:

    I remember your VW Bug in high school when you told me not to put my feet on the floor of the passenger seat cause I think it could fall out! And did it have heat? I’m not sure if it did!
    BTW, love the relatable mom and crazy times (and sometimes crazy mom) blogs! I think it makes some of feel a little more understood in our crazy times!! Keep up the great fun!

  4. That is the exact same thing I said when we were considering kitchens and the Dora kitchen was suggested. Why would I want and additional source of yelling Dora phrases when I already get to hear them regularly from her shows and the massive ton of Dora DVD's my husband so lovingly bought my daughter. Love the kitchen you got!

  5. Mary Jo says:

    The kitchen is wonderful!! What happened to the old one? I can’t tell where it is in her room. Something had to go. The car…….don’t you think we all have had enough of overheated cars!!! Remember the Jeep and the Smokey Mountains? UGH. At the time it was annoying with all the junk we had to put up with when you were growing up but it has helped you get through just about any car problem. I am proud of you for not whinning and just went on with the next task. Remember when we had to open the hood of the car and jack up the engine with the baseball bat just to get it started?

  6. Nancy Stevens says:

    What a fun “girl’s night”! You are a great mom, Sharon! Maybe you should do a blog on auto repair sometime! That kitchen is the cutest one I have ever seen and I would also like to have a life size one! Hope you’re feeling better and that your audition went well!

  7. nkirchmar says:

    Thermostat… that is all I can think of at this point. That is what happened to me and my truck. Some yahoo at firestone said I needed a new radiator (at $1800 installed), I decided I needed a second opinion, the local garage guy said thermostat and I should probably have the rear brakes done as well. Total $300 and my Truck has been overheat free for 2 years now.

    Oh and yay for malls, and wooden kitchens and rocking girls and rocking rob. Steam a lot tonight and have a cracker jack audition!! You know, You could almost make a million from these daily doses. xoxo

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