Grace under pressure . . . NOT!

I had started to write a blog about a moral dilemma I encountered recently, but events of the last two days blew everything else out of my mind. Something I had always suspected about myself, that I am completely useless in emergency situations, has been absolutely confirmed.

The first emergency was the day before yesterday. The Little Guy woke up from his nap very crabby, so I did what I always do: popped him in the car to go for a drive in the country. He loves to ride in the car and this always cheers him up when he wakes up crabby. (I know lots of moms who have to go for drives in the country to get the kids to fall asleep, but I'm the only one I know who does it to get them to wake up decently. Whatever.) So, we're heading out of town via a very busy five-lane road, when suddenly I realize that over the music I'm hearing a REALLY loud noise. I look around for a car without a muffler, though it doesn't really sound like a muffler problem -- it sounds like a jet plane. Finally I realize that it's my minivan making the noise. I pull onto a side street, get out, check, sure enough, the rear passenger tire is totally flat. And guess what? We had no coats in the car. Remember, we weren't planning to go anywhere -- just a drive in the country. In the middle of a Michigan winter. Well, between the lack of coats and the need to pick up the big kids from school in about 45 minutes, I really couldn't think straight at all. Changing the tire myself was not an option because even if I'd had a coat and gloves, I didn't know where in the van the spare tire is located. I think it's under a seat, but which one? Probably the one with the baby seat. And I couldn't have him loose in the car, no way, not this kid. And I was way too stressed out to even think of studying the manual to figure it out. So, did I use my brand new cell phone to call for help? Oh no. Did I go to the nearest gas station? Oh no. I drove to the dealership! Drove 10 miles an hour with hazard lights on, in the left turn lane the whole way. To be fair, I was probably half a mile or less away from the dealer. But still. And I'm pleased to report, the rim was not damaged. And we got new tires just in time for today's snowstorm, which brings me to the second thing that happened.

The second emergency happened this afternoon. Despite the foot or so of freshly fallen snow out there, The Little Guy and I headed out to Borders to get birthday presents for my brother-in-law. I had called in advance to put the books on hold at the desk because we were in a hurry, and because I didn't want to have to roam around the bookstore while carrying a 30-pound toddler, nor did I want to push the stroller through the snow & slush. I even cleverly pulled my credit card out of my purse and stuck it in my pocket so that when I got to the desk, carrying the aforementioned thirty pounds, I wouldn't have to fumble around, you know. So everything went smoothly until I returned to the car, carrying the thirty pounds and the bag of books into which I had also stuffed my gloves and car keys because otherwise it was just too much to carry and keep track of. I stuffed The Little Guy into his car seat, tossed the bag of books onto the front passenger seat, shut the door, and . . . did you figure it out? In the blink of an eye, my precious Little Guy was locked in the car along with my keys (and gloves). It's about 5:30 p.m., it's getting dark, it's windy, it's snowy, it's freezing cold, oh my god! Well, I ran back into Borders, they called the police, the police called a tow truck, and it wasn't more than ten minutes before the door was open. The Little Guy cried a little, but mostly he waited patiently. The girl from the store who'd called the cops came out with a cup of hot cocoa, bless her heart, and waited with me for a little while. The cop was also great, and I even joked around with him while we waited for the tow truck, but I felt like it was another person doing the joking while I was secretly screaming with horror. The tow truck guy popped the door open in about 10 seconds. Cost? $35.

* * *

Before I end this post, I have to say something about Borders. I almost never shop there! And despite the kindness of the girl with the hot cocoa, I will continue to almost never shop there. The only reason I went there today instead of one of the two remaining independently-owned bookstores in town -- and Ann Arbor supposedly has the distinction of being the city with the most bookstores per capita in the country -- is because Borders has this absolutely cruddy policy of not giving change for a gift card even if there's only a couple bucks left on it. And I had a card with a couple bucks on it. One day I will write my rant against big bookstore chains; I'm too tired right now.


  • I'm so glad both incidents ended happily. It's so scary to have your kids in view but absolutely out of reach.

    posted by Blogger doulicia on 3:03 PM