Mimi Schmir: Here are the things not to do when a giant old tree falls over in a windstorm and crushes your Volvo SUV to smithereens (and it is pitch-black dark).
1. Don't answer the door. The neighbor at the door might be so excited that he tells your small, terrified children to run and find flashlights because "Who knows, there might be a power outage, too!"
2. Don't take your camera outside to snap pics and let your 8-year-old son go outside with you while the wind is still raging, even if he is wearing a baseball helmet "just in case."
3. Don't crack a joke about ex-husbands when the girl cop who comes to the door asks you who the car is registered to (this joke is never effective, especially if you don't have one).
4. Don't try to get out of an uncomfortable situation with the cop by saying, "Oh, I never liked that tank of a car to begin with."
5. Don't Google the famous actor who lives next door as he comes out in his pajamas to commiserate.
6. Don't feel that sorry for the seven raccoons that run out of the tree trunk because you know from past experience they are evildoers who ... bite.
7. For obvious reasons, don't try to stick your arm through the shattered back window to rescue your traumatized son's very first, mutilated copy of "When You Give a Mouse a Cookie."
8. Don't yell at the hundred or so people who get out of their cars to take pictures or who walk by staring at midnight, "Come on, PEOPLE. It's JUST A VOLVO."
9. Don't tell your children this is a once in a lifetime occurrence and can never happen again, just as a giant frond snaps off a palm tree on your front lawn and spikes down into the grass with the strength of a gladiator throwing a spear.
10. Don't think about what could have happened if the tree had fallen in the other direction. Even if you do want a new house.
11. When the tree guys come, don't pretend to be an "arborist" without doing a Google search first.
12. Don't decide to spill red paint over the side of your flattened car to simulate blood and place witches' feet sticking out of the tree stump to take advantage of the fact that it is almost Halloween.
13. And don't send accident pictures to your mother, no matter how far away she lives. Take it from me. Just don't.
|Mimi Schmir is a television writer and producer. Her "Hot Flashes" blog, originally written during the 2007 Writer's Strike, is being adapted as a novel for Penguin/Putnam and she is currently developing "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" for television. She lives in Los Angeles with her Writer-Producer husband and their two young boys, the youngest of whom just started kindergarten. She fantasizes about sleeping.|