Sunday, April 09, 2006

Untitled Until I Think of a Title

We have a new phone next to our king-sized bed. And so, that's why I didn't realize it was ringing at first. I murmured, "Telephone," to my husband, forgetting that I've had the telephone next to my side of the bed for years. Then I rolled over, peered at the red digital numbers of the clock and realized that a telephone call at 3:11 a.m. can only mean very bad news.


"Hi, this is Robert Brittingham*. I'm looking for Dan. Is he with with Julie tonight?" The man was a member of our church, calling our house by mistake in his quest to find the location of his 18 year old son. I told him he reached us by mistake and I'm sure he was horrified (he apologized today and told me that his son showed up half an hour after the phone call, seemingly sober, in his right mind, aside from the fact that he lost track of time).

My husband didn't remember that odd interlude in the morning.

I've harbored a terrible sense of guilt these past weeks because I failed to donate candy to the Easter Egg Hunt. The event is put on by our private pool club and all the members are supposed to donate candy. I bought candy . . . but the person I thought was collecting the candy was on a cruise (!) and I didn't know who the real contact person was. Despite my insufficiency, however, the egg hunt featured eggs galore and many happy children, despite the light rain that fell and the presence of the teenage girl dressed as a frightening Easter bunny. My daughter wanted to go back into the van rather than stand within twenty feet of this ominous creature. I even called out, "Please, will you hide so we can go by?"

I took the kids home and then left as soon as possible for my weekly I'm-not-with-kids-for-four-hours-alone-time. And look! Daring Young Mom is not the only one with Superpowers. Observe, if you will, my perfect parking space:

Please note the location: Fred Meyer. There will be a quiz later.

So, after shopping a bit while waiting for my digital prints to be developed (I had a coupon for free developing), I headed for my favorite thrift store, Value Village, where I wandered, meandered and generally wasted time, although you will be happy to know that I purchased my very own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I have never read. *Gasp* I promise to read it next, as soon as I finish the Jane Smiley book which I am nearly halfway through and figure I'll finish sometime in the next decade. Or month.

I found new-looking Dockers and Gap khakis for my boys for Easter, dresses for my daughter (from Nordstroms, Laura Ashley, the Gap), more books (as if I needed them!), jump ropes for Vacation Bible School (we use them to tie up keep preschoolers in line--they all grab the rope and walk), and believe me, MUCH, MUCH MORE! I kept looking at my watch and marveling at how much time I had to myself. Glory be! Time alone, no one asking me for a snack or calling "MOM!" from the next room.

Then I got back into the van and noted the clock in the van read 3:57 p.m., while my watch declared it was 2:57 p.m. Uh, hello? Daylight Savings Time anyone? I hadn't worn that watch in a week . . . and so, I lost an hour of time in the vast black hole that is Value Village. (But I got thirty-percent off my whole order, except for those coveted orange-tag items which were half-off.)

And so then I sped to Fred Meyer to do some grocery shopping before returning home at 5:00 p.m. My superior shopping skills allowed me to finish the job by 4:50 p.m., but alas, other people were s-l-o-w-i-n-g me down, getting in line before me, insisting that their groceries be scanned and that they be allowed to pay before me. I telephoned my husband and reported my progress.

Feeling satisfied with my bargain-hunting skills and my ability to remember to buy dried apricots for the bran muffins I planned to bake, I climbed into the driver's seat, turned the key and . . . the engine died.

I snapped to attention, turned the key with determination and attention this time and the engine started. And died.

I telephoned my husband for advice. Pump the gas? Or hold it down? He advised me to hold it down (he'd had success with that technique earlier) and as I talked, I tried again and it started! And died!

I turned off the phone and tried again. For, oh, fifteen minutes. Finally, I called again and he came to pick me up. I transferred the groceries to our car while he attempted to raise the dead. Then we went home and called AAA. The lady on the phone said the tow-truck driver would be there no earlier than 7:30 p.m. and possibly as late as 8:30 p.m.

At 7:00 p.m., the tow-truck driver called, wondering where my husband was. He grabbed the car keys and hurried out the door.

At 7:03 p.m., my husband called and asked me to call AAA to make sure they'd have the tow-truck wait. I did and the AAA man said the truck had left, but it would turn around and to stay with the vehicle.

At 7:15 p.m., my husband realized he didn't have the van keys. He turned back and AAA said they'd have to cancel the call and start over. He picked up the keys and a friend of his drove him to the dead van.

So, he and a buddy waited in the Fred Meyer parking lot, forlorn and abandoned by AAA. At 8:30 p.m. on a lark, he turned the key and stomped on the gas and the van started. So, he cancelled the call and drove the now-resurrected van home.

This morning he drove it to church.

So let's review. We now own a van which may or may not start. And a car which will always start, but may or may not stop randomly as you drive down the road. Fun, isn't it? The element of surprise, the not-knowing?

And now, I must watch Grey's Anatomy.

(*not his actual name, obviously)


Blogger The Daring One said...

Dude, that does make for very exciting adventures in transportation.

I am SO excited to meet a fellow super-hero. Your photo just thrilled me. We can help so many people with this great talent.

I'd like a bit more of your bargain finding talent, please.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I want to shop with you!

(I'll drive)

4:54 AM  
Blogger aggiejenn said...

What an adventure! At least you didn't have the kids with you during all this drama. :) Have a great day!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Marisa said...

I'm jealous, you went to two of my favorite places (out here on the east coast we have neither Fred Meyers or Value Village). I remember once, when I was around ten years old, asking my mom what her dream car was. Her reply was, "one that starts everytime you put the key in it, and keeps on running."

7:58 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

I would be completely stressed out all the time, wondering when exactly my vehicles would decide to die out on me.

I am a pessimist that way.

Perhaps you should just go ahead and buy a horse and buggy.

And the bonus would be that your kids would be too busy trying not to bounce out to fight.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Never That Easy said...

My daughter wanted to go back into the van rather than stand within twenty feet of this ominous creature. I even called out, "Please, will you hide so we can go by?"

I'm not sure if I feel sorrier for the children she was terrifying or the girl in the costume - I'm sure it wasn't what she would have chosen to wear, and now all the kids are cowering away from her in fear. LOL

Congrats on your shopping trip - and thanks for reminding me to fix my watch!

8:23 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Phone calls in the night are usually never good news! Glad this one was nothing to worry about.
Wish we had a Value Village. I love bargains.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

My middle of the night phone calls are never bad news. It's always some drunk looking for his girlfriend or best buddy or a jr. high kid wanting to know if I have Prince Albert in a can.

I've never read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' either.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

I have never read To Kill a mcking bird either but its not because I havent tried. I've tried to read that thing at least 6 times in my life and I just cant get into it. I fail to see what all the hype is about.

9:22 AM  
Blogger ~Jennifer said...

I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time a few years ago. I started out reading it to my kids, but they lost interest, but I, on the other hand, got right into it and really enjoyed it. Different strokes, and all that jazz.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Dapoppins said...

I would sujest the hourse and buggy too, as a living animal must be more reliable than "vehicles of the Devil" that never work. Car problems are from the devil, you know, as we never had them before the FALL and they are always inconvenient and irrtating.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Mary-LUE said...

We've been fortunate and not experienced too much difficulty with cars. So far... Did I just jinx myself? To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. Also one of my favorite movies. Stories that deal with justice strike a chord with me. Atticus Finch is such a just and good man and as told through the eyes of his daughter, it is a beautiful thing. It is one of my "redo" books which gets re-read every few years. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to finally reading it.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Leslee said...

I love To Kill A MockingBird... makes me want to dig out my copy (that was either my mom's or my older brother's at one time or another) and read it again... but I have about 10 books in front of it and my husband won't let me go back to the book least for a little while.

Sorry you have such funny cars. What is God trying to teach you? Humor?

12:01 PM  
Blogger MissKris said...

How cool to see you found a copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird"! Now, see if you don't find Truman Capote in little Dill! I am reading a new one by Elizabeth Strout called "Abide with Me". She wrote "Amy and Isabelle" a few years ago, her first published novel, and it was great...this one is totally different but very good so far. Ah, dead cars. Dying cars. Cars that are jinxed. Cars that are better left parked than on the road, lol! Oh my...we've had OUR share thru almost 32 years of marriage! I love Value Village, too...I buy my underwear brand new but there's hardly another piece of clothing I own that I haven't picked up at thrift's knowing the LABELS that counts, aye? A Volunteers of America store here in Portland sells most of its paperbacks for 99 cents so I get a lot of my books there. My best friend Lizzee has a copy of "Memoirs of a Geisha" she's going to loan me next time we get together...have you read that??? I LOVE AAA...they've rescued me so many times I've lost count in the 26 years we've been members! :-)

2:37 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

You have no idea how much I can relate to car troubles and losing time. Big hugs!! Hope "Grey's" helped!

7:10 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I hopped into my car 5 mintues later than I should have this morning to find it didn't start. Thankfully, I got it into the garage and back before the end of the work day ($363 dollars later).

That much aside, I so miss Fred Meyer and Value Village! It was nice reading about them and "living vicariously" through your bargin hunting! =)

5:44 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

I LOVE "To Kill A Mockingbird"! Enjoy it!

Sorry for your van worries. I am just waiting for it to happen to us now that our warranty is dead.

7:19 PM  

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