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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Road Side Assistance x2 - One of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those slightly less than perfect days.   It was a huge reminder that 1. Mommy needs to get some sleep. 2. When you try to do a good deed, it sometimes back fires. 3. A Mother's best friend when you have to be on the road with a sick child is undoubtedly "Road Side Assistance."  Here's my story:
I agreed to give my brother a ride to work because his car got a flat tire the previous evening right before the auto shop closed.  He was able to get his car to the shop thanks to a tow truck and was advised that new tires were being delivered in the morning.  They would probably be able to fix the car before it was time for him to go to work, but he didn't want to take any chances.  I welcomed the opportunity to take him to work so we could talk and catch up on the latest work related gossip. (Seriously, his place of employment shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.  I am secretly recording the details to turn it into a novel.)
So I arrived at his residence well before we had to depart.  I should have just remained right outside his door, but ended up parking on a downward slope.  That's just the way the parking lot is designed.  My crazy mini van is jacked up enough so that the gas tank's position is affected when it is at a severe downward angle.  I didn't think it would be a huge problem at first since there was more than one-third of a tank of gas in the reservoir.  First mistake:  Never assume!  Lesson:  Trust that gut feeling.  Something felt wrong about parking the mini van like that, but I did it anyway.

When it was time to depart, the van wouldn't start.  I looked at the gas gage and it read "empty."  Liar, liar.  "You are not empty!"  I shouted out loud to the vehicle.  There was no way I could even push the van backward to allow the gas to level out in the tank.  I apologized to my brother and immediately called road side assistance.  I advised my brother to call the tire shop and see how fast they could get his car ready for action. 

I have to admit that the whole episode was frustrating.  My six-year-old was in the van with me because he had been home sick this week.  To his credit, he was remarkably calmer than his sleep deprived mother.  My brother was able to walk to the tire shop and convinced them to quickly get the new wheel in place so he could get to work on time.  Road Side Assistance arrived 30 minutes later and added 2 gallons of petrol to the tank.  Still, the van struggled to start.  A few "Hail Mary's" later and I was finally able to back the van away from the parking space. 

Unbelievable!  That tank now registered more than one-third full since it was on a flat surface.  Crazy "A" vehicle!  That's the last time I park that way!  My sweet child was by that time quite hungry.  Since he had not eaten much due to a decreased appetite, I was relieved that he wanted food.  I was eager to let him eat whatever he wanted.  So we ended up at McDonald's for a Happy Meal. (Some of you have read my previous posts so you know how I feel about "Happy Meals.")  But I was desperate for him to get anything into his I acquiesced. 

Everything seemed to be going well.  My little one ate.  He marveled at the Lego Movie cup that accompanied the Happy Meal.  There was even enough time for him to download an "App" on my phone.  Then it was time to leave.  Panic ensued.  I have a habit of clipping my keys to a loop on my purse strap as soon as I get out of the van.  This habit prevents me from digging around in the depths of the "Mom purse" when I need to find the keys.  This time they weren't there.  Usually the van gives an auditory warning sound if keys are left in the ignition.  I didn't recall that happening.

I looked everywhere in my purse.  I returned to the counter where I ordered the food.  No keys.  I looked by the drink dispensers.  No keys.  I went outside and checked the inside of the vehicle.  Drats!  Dangling from the ignition - That's where they were.  All the doors were locked.  I'm pretty good at locking up every time.  So....I called Road Side Assistance again.  I probably would have felt more embarrassed had I not been so freaking tired.

I was so appreciative that the operator who accepted my request was so professional and reassuring.  That's the way customer service should be in every arena.  The stress was eliminated immediately.  I had help within 20 minutes of making that call.  The gentleman who assisted me said, "Don't worry. Things happen."  Sebastien, my six-year-old, was impressed by the way the gentleman was able to open the door so I could retrieve my keys.  Within minutes we were on our way home.

We can have all the best intentions in the world, yet things can still go awry.  How we handle those moments is what matters.  I have to admit that the first episode this morning got the better of me.  I wasn't the most patient individual and I said a few words that shouldn't have been exposed outside of the confines of my own head.  But in the end I realized that it's OK when things don't turn out perfectly.  Having a backup resource is critical to successfully navigate the solutions.

As we drove home following incident #2 my sweet baby said to me, "It's OK Mommy.  You're still a good Mom."  Ultimately, that's what matters.  My child saw that I solved the problems, it was OK to ask for help, and the world continued to spin.