Whenever really stupid crap happens to me, I think of Amy.  She must be so thrilled.  So this one’s for you, Amy:

I went to Baltimore today to meet Janet at Ikea.  We’re trying to get this birthday party business going (I’ll fill you in later) and needed to get some stuff.  We had a fun, leisurely time.  Had lunch, chatted, checked out, loaded up.  I checked my phone for the time and saw that there was a message.  I hadn’t put it in my pants pocket and had, apparently, missed a call.  I give a listen.  It’s the school, saying that there will be a two hour early dismissal (I’m assuming a fear of icy roads, it was rainy and cold) and that they can’t get ahold of the Talberts, our emergency ride family.  Two hours early is 1:45.  Current time–1:31.  Time needed to get to school from Ikea–about 75 min. if there’s no traffic, which is a ridiculous notion.  First, I call Caroline (mother of said Talberts) and get her voice mail.  Call the school, tell them that I’m in Baltimore and headed for them (“well we called in plenty of time and there’s no aftercare” yes, thank you) but won’t be there for a bit.  Assure front desk that I will keep looking for someone to take the kids and swear that they can go with anyone that looks familiar.  “If the kids know the family, it’s fine!  Just let me know where they end up!”  This does not seem to sit well.  Which is stupid, but that’s for another rant.  I hang up and Ben calls from his classroom, saying that if someone else is picking him up, he needs a note.  I’ll fax it from the back seat, hold on.  I get his teacher on the phone, explain the sitch, she vows to hunt down someone to take my children and I should just hang up and drive carefully.  I vow my love for her.  She calls back, says she can’t seem to find them a ride, but will just stay with them, in her room, until I arrive.  I vow to make her all the jingle balls she can eat.  I get a call from the front desk, Caroline is there, do I want to talk to her?  Yes.  She says she will take the kids to her house, after making a stop at Home Depot to buy a doorknob (that’s important later.  Hold on to that.).  Woo.  Stress dissolves, I put back on Car Talk podcast, and drive on to Frederick.

I arrive at Caroline’s house about an hour after talking to her.  She’s not there yet.  I knock on the door and her 12/13 year old son answers the door.  He is bewildered by my presence.  I assure him that his mom will arrive soon, with my children and his siblings and he lets me in. I am, however, surprised I beat them home, and just the weensienst bit concerned b/c the roads are supposedly icy somewhere and, of course, someone else has my kids which means they are in constant danger b/c of my neglect.  I tell Owen I’m going out to the car to get my phone.  I call Caroline to see where she is–no answer.  They’re in a ditch.   I go back into the house to await the bad news and to pee b/c I’ve had to pee like mad for about 45 min.  I set my phone down and pop into the bathroom and close the door.  Flip the switch and…nothing.  Okay, light’s burned out.  I’ll just pop the door open, secure the location of the toilet and pee in the dark.  There’s  no doorknob.  Just a latch bar, holding the door closed quite nicely.  I wiggle it.  No response.  Okay.  First, pee, then think.  As I sit down and let go I have the fleeting thought “what if the whole bathroom is broken b/c they’re remodeling and there’s no water and the toilet isn’t even hooked up?”  But I am reassured by the sound of water in the tank, do my business, flush (phew) and contemplate my trouble.  I know that Owen has disappeared into the house again to escape the horror of talking to your mom’s weird friend and mother of the girl you most hate (love, who is he kidding?) in the whole world.  It occurs to me that it would probably utterly mortify him to have to free me from the !bathroom! so I set to wiggling that latch again.  As my eyes adjust to the dark, I get Bloody Mary in the mirror, so that’s nice.  But still no dice.  I accept that I either get help or be trapped in the dark, in the bathroom when the police show up to tell Owen and I about the accident.  He’ll need me there.  I must get free.  With visions of trying to talk him through handing me my phone through the little space where the knob goes or of his dad coming home and taking off the hinges to free my lame butt, I call Owen.  I’m on my knees, shouting through that hole and he finally hears me and comes up and opens the door using the doorknob they keep out there so they can use the door.  He is, clearly, horrified to have to deal with Mom’s friend in proxemity to the bathroom, and scuttles away as quickly as he can.

I try again to call Caroline and and her phone rings on the desk next to me. Oops. So even if she’s unhurt in the ditch, she can’t call for help.  Should I go look for them?  Nah, I’ll just settle in with a book.  Owen shows up and calls his dad, who suggests that maybe she went to my house.  I call there, nothing.  And then they’re home, having stopped for ice cream after the doorknob, truck undented by ditch-time. Caroline is mirthful at my tale, I’m glad to tell it b/c lord knows I was in the dark thinking “Well, this’ll make a good blog post.”  We round up and head out, but I yell “Hey Owen, thanks for letting me out of the bathroom!” as I go.

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