Last Friday night, I went on a quick trip with a friend and our kiddos.
We left the school after the kid's Halloween parties and headed on our way. The trip was a quick one and we arrived back to town just over two hours later.
On the return home my friend and I was talking about all the excitement that our small town had seen in the last week; One, our hometown bank was robbed at gunpoint and two, there was a high speed chase through several counties ending just five miles from town.
During the course of the conversation, my friend mentioned that she wondered just how the interstate could be closed off ....especially allowing enough time for the spikes to be laid down. (You know, the spikes that deflate the tires.)
I told her that, indeed, they do shut the interstate down and that I knew this first hand. Many years ago, on my way to a gynecologist appointment (of all places), I found myself on the interstate with NO ONE around except a couple other cars. Moments after realizing that something was amiss, I noticed the car, presumably the one causing the pursuit was heading down the interstate, in my direction, in my lane, followed by the most Highway Patrol cars that I have ever seen in one place.
Needless to say, I was fine, spikes were laid down, traffic was stopped....but the car jumped the median, ended up on the outer road and wasn't stopped until many hours and counties had passed.
The point of this story is that, although my friend has only known me for a little over a year, she wasn't surprised that I would end up in this, less than stellar, situation.
She dropped me back off at my car and the kids and I headed home.
I got home and started to unload the car and sort and divide the candy, treats and costumes. Amid all of the shuffling it became obvious that I had forgotten my camera....somewhere.
Normally I keep it in my purse but when arriving at school, in time for the party, I had transferred only the essential items over into a pumpkin basket....keys, phone, camera.
I took tons of pictures and tried not to be too sentimental over the fact that my baby was in the FIRST GRADE.
As the party started to round up and kids started getting ready to leave for the day, I helped the teacher pick up and then headed down to my friends classroom, and we then left on our escapade.
Because of this I knew my camera was either in L's classroom, my friends classroom or in her van.
I called her and left a message because I was really needing some piece of mind. I was already constructing a "call list" in my mind of parents I could call to see if they had any of the pics I would have lost....B's preschool party, B's daycare party and L's 1st grade party....
My stomach hurt just thinking about it.
She called back and she had checked her van...to no avail.
Then, she told me that she was needing to run to the school and she would just meet me up there. (Likely story)
We met and I ran into the school to retrieve my camera.
It wasn't there.
I checked both classrooms. We scourged her van, again!
It wasn't there.
In an effort to calm my fears....the fears that I thought I was doing a good job of hiding....my friend called some of her school contacts to get the number of the elementary secretary (on a Friday night, at 8:00 pm) to see if my camera had been turned into the "lost and found"....
No one had her number and it was unlisted.
Without me knowing who she was calling, my (sneaky) friend called the school principal. She found out that, indeed, a camera HAD been turned in. Then she was told where it was put.
I was relieved and felt indebted to my friend. She ran into the school and returned a few minutes later. Her words WEREN'T comforting.
She informed me that, once inside, she discovered that something was locked and, you guessed it, the principal had the key. While inside she called the principal, and she said that she would return to the school AT EIGHT O'CLOCK ON A FRIDAY EVENING, to get my camera that I had left in my absent mindedness.
OK, the absent mindedness part was my own thoughts....but still.
My friend suggested that I get my car and pull it around to the closest entrance and that we would wait for her there.
I got into my car and realized that I couldn't even turn the key.
You see, a little over a year ago, we bought a car. My primary vehicle had been a Ford F150 quad cab and when gas reached $4 a gallon.....well, it wasn't a very economical choice, especially when I was driving several miles to work, three days a week. One day, while looking around Craigslist I found a four door Saturn for $1500, with only 91,000 miles.
I put a "pen to it" and figured that if the car made it until October (2008) that it would have paid for itself just in the gas money saved alone.
It wasn't a fancy car...obviously, but it wasn't in bad shape and it ran well.
The only complaints that I had was that the dark green color was NOT a good choice when living on a gravel road, the small size and the fact that occasionally the steering wheel would "lock", preventing the key from even turning in the ignition, then without reason, it would turn and you could go on your way.
Friday night, of course, the key didn't even want to turn. Not even a little bit. As I sat in my car, after what felt like hours, I could just imagine that the principal would arrive, not only to retrieve my camera but to give me a lift home.
I jerked the steering wheel, this way and that, hoping that something would give.
As the panic started rising, the key turned and the car started right up.
I breathed a little easier and pulled the car on around.
The principal came, the camera was retrieved, thanks was given and I was ready to get home.
My friend told me she would wait and see if the car would start again.
It did, without hesitation. We laughed at my luck and went our separate ways. I noticed that the gas tank was low and pulled into a gas station. As I looked inside I noticed that a girl I had went to school with was working the counter. Considering the fact that I had jumped out of the bathtub and headed to town when I got word, I knew that I was looking pretty haggard and worn. I decided that the "pay at the pump" option would be best.
You see, this girl, back in Jr. High, had made my life miserable. I was a follower. I wanted desperately to be accepted. It seemed like some girls picked up on this immediately and manipulated it to fit their agenda.
She was one of these girls. My experience with her was not a good one.
I heard the familiar "click", jumped out of the car, grabbed my receipt, jumped back in and shut the door behind me.
After what was supposed to be a short trip had turned into a hour and a half escapade, I was ready to get home.
I held my breath and then breathed a sigh of relief when the key turned. Thankfully it wasn't locked.
My relief was short lived when I realized that when it turned....it turned ALL THE WAY, and nothing.
No crank, no fire, nothing.
Lights shining brightly, radio blaring loudly. Obviously not the battery....but nothing.
I tried again.
I glanced over my shoulder to see my schoolmate walking back and forth, occasionally glancing outside, probably wondering why I hadn't left since I had already paid.
I called Steven and in a very condensed and exasperated version, told him what was going on. He told me he would be there shortly.
Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I glanced inside, waited for her to move behind some food display, and then opened the car door and with ONE foot outside I pushed as hard as I could.
You know the small size that I had cursed before? Well, this time it came in pretty handy.
With one foot out, I pushed my car out of in front of the convenient store, until it picked up momentum, allowing it to coast to a stop in front of the nearby Laundromat.
I laughed at the absurdity of some of the situations I get into.
I called another friend who has known me since college and shared with her my current dilemma.
As I waited for Steven she got a play by play account, and when reaching the part of the story depicting the key turning without so much of a hint of its intended purpose, I turned the key again, as if to make sure that this was actually happening to me. It was. I said, "Can you believe it?" She laughingly replied, "This is you we are talking about....of course I can believe it!"
As Steven pulled in beside me I hung up and waited for him to come to my side. I opened my door and said, "Let me show you the symptoms..." He tried to tell me that he would see for himself but I beat him to it by turning the key myself.
The freaking car started right up!
He looked at me, shook his head, turned silently and got back into the truck.
In separate vehicles, we both drove back home.
The next day I forgot my camera at the church's Halloween party.
Folks, I can't even make this stuff up.