Our day began dark and early yesterday, when Ruth came into the bedroom reporting that she had thrown up, and Jeff was struck with a nauseousness of his own. Jeff was supposed to have a meeting in Austin, and the kids and I had a field trip planned to the same city. As it was still VERY early, we decided to sleep on it a while and decide whether to cancel these outings at a more reasonable hour. Jeff got up around 7:00 and decided that, while he wasn't feeling 100%, he would be able to make his meeting. And, he left for Austin around 7:30. Ruth hopped up around 7:15, not exactly hungry for breakfast, but swearing she felt worlds better. We decided we could still make our field trip, and we left the house around 9:00. (Much scheming had gone into trying to get us all to Austin in one vehicle, but alas, we just couldn't make it work). Ruth slept most of the way into Austin, and just as we pulled into a heavily trafficked construction zone on the edge of town, Ruth woke up reporting that she felt much better. Two minutes later, she knew with certainty that she did not and begged me to pull over. I managed to find a break in the orange construction barriers just in time, but I knew for sure that I couldn't expose the other kids on the field trip to her icky germs. I called Jeff around 10:30, just as his meeting was ending, and asked if he could possibly come get Ruth, so the boys could still enjoy the day. It turned out that he was only about 15 minutes away and was able to pick her up.
The boys and I enjoyed a performance at the Zach Scott Theatre about monarch butterfly migration, had a picnic lunch with our friends, and then headed over to the Texas Music Museum for an interactive program. We had a blast!
And, then, around 3:30, as we got ready to leave the museum, I realized that my keys were nowhere to be found. A quick trip to the parking lot revealed the keys sitting nicely on the console of my very locked vehicle. Jeff (and his spare key) had long since left Austin, heading for my parents' house in Belton, and, of course, I have no spare key hidden outside the van like I should. I ran back inside to report my situation to the other moms on the field trip, and we all put our heads together to come up with a plan. One of the moms claimed to have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, and recommended that I call Yellow Cab, because they are cheapest. I think she means for me to catch a cab, but then she explains that they have a locksmith service. I decided to call Jeff to see if he might have any words of wisdom for me. That's when I realized that my phone was seriously low on battery. Several precious minutes of battery life later, I reached Jeff and the Yellow Cab Company. The Yellow Cab people promised to send someone but didn't give any indication of how long it would be before that someone arrived. In the meantime, my boys and the other kids were getting a bit stir crazy in the parking lot. The other mommies happened to know that IHOP was serving free pancakes, and they offered to take all the kids over there while I waited for the locksmith.
About 30 minutes later, the locksmith arrived and got to work. He tried the driver's door first and was unsuccessful after several attempts. Then, he tried the back sliding door and was able to get it open. Immediately, the alarm started blaring. I asked if it would shut off, and he assured me it would. I then asked if it would come back on in increments until it was reset or something. He assured me it would shut off after a few minutes, and that would be the end of it. I paid the man, and then off he went to rescue some other damsel in distress. The alarm had gone off like he said, but when I put the key in the ignition, it started up all over again (with the locksmith nowhere in sight), and I began to freak out, thinking this was what was in store for me all the way to Belton (along with an arrest for an obviously stolen vehicle). Well, the alarm stopped after a few minutes and I was able to make it to IHOP to collect the boys. When I put the van in "Park," though, the alarm started up again, to my mortification. I left it unlocked and screaming in the parking lot and just went inside. The boys sat happily covered in syrup, and my friends insisted that I eat something as well. And, that's when I realized that I had tummy problems of my own. I choked down a few bites to be polite, but pleaded the need to get on the road in order to make it to Belton at any reasonable hour, as it was already 5:20 and Austin traffic is TERRIBLE at that time of day. One look at I35 confirmed this, and one of the moms suggested heading east toward the 130 toll road to avoid the intensity of rush hour on 35.
I was sure that my van would go berserk when we got close to it but was pleasantly surprised to find that the alarm problem had worked itself out. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that my friend's advice about getting out of town was golden.
So, around 6:40, I arrived at my parents' house, where my tummy troubles manifested themselves in earnest. And I put myself to bed around 9:00. I'll spare you the gory details, but will tell you it was a very short night. If I wasn't up taking care of my own needs, I was attending to Ruth, who still had a few lingering issues, and Weston, who was screaming bloody murder because of an obviously very real nightmare.
But in all my ups and downs, as I thought back over the day, I couldn't muster up any anger or resentment about the crazy day. I was only able to see all the things I had to be thankful for:
- A break in the construction at just the right time, and getting Ruth out of the van before she threw up.
- Our best laid plans to be in Austin in one vehicle not working out.
- Me needing Jeff just as his meeting was over, and his being so close to where we were. And, his being able to come and get Ruth and take her with him.
- A fun day with my boys.
- Having enough charge on my phone to make the phone calls I needed to make.
- A locksmith who could take a credit card.
- Not being seriously financially burdened by having to pay someone to open the van.
- Friends who helped out by watching my kids for me--and even making this little set back seem like a fun part of the day for my boys.
- Free pancakes at IHOP.
- The alarm taking care of itself.
- An easier way out of Austin.
- Making it safely to Belton before my tummy problems got serious.
- A sweet husband.
- Parents who pampered my kids and me.
- Unlimited access to a washer and dryer, even in the middle of the night.
- The psychological benefits of a small dose of children's Tylenol.