Thursday, September 10, 2009

Warning: Spontaneity Can Be Hazardous to One's Health!

If asked to describe myself with a list of adjectives, it's a safe bet that 'spontaneous' would probably not be found among said list of descriptors. As I've indicated before, I'm not a 'spur of the moment' kind of gal and never have been. Don't ask me why, but I've always been somewhat, er, anal when it comes to planning ahead. If it ain't on the schedule, it's a safe bet you won't find me among attendees.

Well, this Labor Day as I was...laboring...atop the aluminum step ladder that has become my frequent perch this summer applying Country Brown trim, my son roughly an hour away at college called. His gal pal roommate's mum was coming up to visit and go for a bike ride, he told me and I caught an unmistakable trace of 'I wish I could see you guys' homesickness in his voice.

I ended the cell call when a possibility occurred to me. Why not throw the portable grill in the Jimmy, pack some hot dogs, brats, chips and cookies and drive up to surprise the college boy?

Why not, indeed?

It was doable. It was mid-morning. Plenty of time to finish up the trim board I was working on, shower and clean up, pack the ice chest and grill, fill the car up and go. Easy-peasy, right?

If only.

I used my cell phone to call the two girls in the house (hey, if you'd been up and down that ladder as many times as I had, you'd use these shortcuts) and alerted them to the change in plans, advised them to shower while I was finishing up outdoors, and be ready to leave in an hour.

Now, if you know many 19 year-old-girls, you know it generally takes more than an hour to get them to the point where they pronounce themselves ready for public perusal so I felt encouraged that both had actually showered by the time I'd cleaned my paint brushes and put away the ladder and paint--until I jumped in the shower and discovered tepid water due to the girls' hot water excesses.

The rosy glow of anticipation at 'dropping in' on my son faded a bit.

I showered, put on enough makeup not to scare the university students, grabbed the ice chest and filled it with a bag of ice, condiments, etc. and yelled at the girls that we were leaving in five minutes.

Ten minutes later I'm sitting in the garage in the Jimmy waiting.

We head to gas the car up, stop at the store for food essentials, and head out of town when one of the girls asks, "Uh, Mom. Where's the grill?"

I looked at her in the rear view mirror.

"Back home. In the garage," I responded, whipping off at the next exit to head back home for the grill.

Ten minutes later we're back on the road. I'm driving down the road, trying to convince myself this was really a good idea when I hit a particularly deep pothole. Several minutes later I notice a small hairline crack appear above the passenger side windshield wiper where a small round chink in the glass had been. As I drove, it begin to criss-cross its way across the windshield.

I began to get a not-good feeling about the trip.

Still, the girls and I motored northward and made it to the apartment with no further problems. I park behind the kids' apartment at the laundromat. "The plan," I tell the girls, "is to ring his doorbell and yell surprise." We sneak around the side of the apartment building and through the gate into the small fenced courtyard that leads to his front door. We knock. Nothing. We knock again. Nothing. We look at each other.

"Did he have plans?" one of the girls asked me.

I shrugged. "He didn't say. He just sounded pathetic."

"His car is here," the other daughter pointed out. "So's his roomie's."

"But his roommate's mom's SUV isn't," I pointed out, speculating they had all probably gone out to lunch.

By this time it was after one and the girls and I were starving. So, we unpack the food and I get the grill going and throw on some cheese dogs.

"Should we call him?" the girls asked.

"What! And spoil the surprise?" I yelled.

"What if he doesn't come back for hours?" the two 'little Mary Sunshines' asked. "What then?"

Fortunately, he was back in half an hour. Unfortunately, he had just pigged out at a local buffet.
The girls and I consoled ourselves with hotdogs and cookies. Then I notice the garden tiller. And plants. And bags of mulch.The roommate's mom had taken them out to buy supplies to put in a flower bed.

Once the bed was tilled, plants planted, and mulch raked, my son suggested a trip to the School of Design so we could all see the design project (a passageway that reflected movement and motion made entirely of cardboard and twine) he was working on. We load the Jimmy up with the ice chest and grill and pile in. We get to the college. I park. I'm just getting out when I hear a terrible scream.

One of the girls has shut her finger in the car door and smashed it.

Remaining calm and utilizing the first responder first aid skills I acquired during my state trooper days, I examine the mangled finger. Using ice from the ice chest, I apply ice to the finger, drive to the nearest drug store for antiseptic, bandages, and Tylenol, bandage the injured digit, and drive back to the son's apartment, drop him off, gave him a big squeeze and a kiss and got back in the Jimmy and got the heck out of town.

This is what happens when Bullet Hole decides to be spontaneous...and why, future visits with the son will be done via webcam and Skype from the relative safety of my home office.

Have you had any spontaneous moments or surprises that have gone way bad? Are you a planner versus a pick up and goer? Any 'Murphy's Law' episodes to relate?

Oh. And just so you know, X-rays of the poor wittle finger don't show an actual break, so that is good news.

Me? I don't want to tempt fate.

I am so staying off that *#! ladder for a few days.

~Bullet Hole~


TerriOsburn said...

I admit while reading this I was thinking "He's not going to be there when they get there." LOL!

I used to think of myself as a jump in the car and head out on a road trip kind of girl. Now, not so much. I've learned, as you did from this trip, it never goes smoothly.

Some friends and I did this once. Drove across the entire state of PA to surprise visit some guys they (note: I did not know these guys) who had moved to NJ. We were there for less than an hour when the guys ditched us.

We ended up driving right back after napping for a couple of hours. So, we basically spent about three times as many hours in the car as we did at our destination. Saw some beautiful scenary on the drive home, but still blew a perfectly good weekend.

Kathy Bacus said...

I like your 'got the big fat lemon, so I'm gonna make the #@! lemonade' attitude, Terri. I didn't have the scenic vistas to admire, but I did get to surprise the kid (boy, was he surprised!) and got to give him a couple of big ole bear hugs I'd been missing.

Still, I don't think I'll be picking up and taking off spur of the moment again any time soon...


Shel said...

At work, I'm a total planner, but not in my personal life. I have had some really good spur of the moment experiences, but I've also had my share of the ridiculous. I'm pretty easily amused and laid back though, so I can generally find the funny in most situations.

Your trip made me smile. What happened to the windshield?

Kathy Bacus said...

Hi Shel!

I got the windshield replace via a mobile glass unit while at work Wednesday so I'm back in business there.

Like you, I have also come to the conclusion that you just have to laugh some things off.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

I'm definitely a planner. I can't recall any spontaneous trips that went as awry as yours did, but perhaps I've blocked them out :)