keenchick

Stories and thoughts about family and life

If I only had a film crew

on August 15, 2015

I really don’t understand much of the buzz behind reality TV today.  I can’t bring myself to even watch most of it, despite having several friends who keep me “up” on what’s going on.  I think how silly and mundane everyday life is, and wonder why anyone would care.  Besides, even thought it’s supposedly “reality,” people are fooling themselves if they think it’s not scripted to make the most of it for TV.

I joke around quite a bit that I should have my own camera crew following me.  I’m sure I would be at least as interesting as those Kardashian folks.  I have goofy or interesting things that happen to me all the time, and sometimes probably more interesting and I KNOW more goofy than they should be.  For example, my recent trip to northern Arkansas.

I was asked to go on an impromptu business trip.  I would be gone a couple of days resolving something for a client who was in a pickle and needed immediate attention.  I discuss this with my husband who is totally fine with holding down the fort as I’m gone.  We leave work Friday and decide to make the grocery store run before heading home.  As we’re walking through the grocery story, discussing how many eggs there might be left in the fridge, it hits me that I’m supposed to host Bunco at my house Tuesday night.  I’m also supposed to return home from my business trip Tuesday night.  As panic begins to take over and I weigh out my options, my sweet husband offers to take care of preparing everything and making sure the house is presentable and tells me not to worry.  We purchase our groceries, lecture the kids over which newly purchased items they’re not allowed to touch because they’re for “Mom’s event on Tuesday,” and head home.

Sunday morning I had decided to leave early so I could visit a friend of mine on the way to my final destination.  This friend is incarcerated, and I don’t get to see him much.  It’s quite a drive from where I live and, unfortunately, life just gets in the way sometimes.  At any rate, I’m excited that I’ll get to see him and I set about getting my things packed to make the trip.  I had set out a pair of capris to wear, when my husband points out a pair of shorts I had also laid out.  It was going to be over 100 that day, so I opt for the shorts not even thinking.  As I throw everything in the truck and roar up the street, I begin to think about the things I’ll encounter on my business trip and how I can maybe handle the issues I already know are coming.  I left early enough to stop and grab breakfast on the way, and I had planned it to arrive about 15 minutes ahead of the start of visitation to see my friend.

About five miles down the interstate, I realize I left my laptop at the house.  I call my husband and ask him to have one of the boys waiting in the garage with it.  Laptop now in tow, I set out again, 20 minutes later than I had planned.

I drive an older vehicle–one that’s not really designed to run on ethanol.  For some reason, there is almost NO availability to non-ethanol in my immediate location, so I have to drive 15 miles out of my way when I want to purchase some.  With that in mind, I typically seek out those stations with non-ethanol when I travel.  I stop to buy gas, and as I’m opening the gas door to reach the gas cap, I see my new locking gas cap.  This was something we had purchased a month or so before, after my original gas cap had been lost.  I dislike the locking gas cap a LOT.  So much that my husband almost always puts gas in my vehicle.  After I spend five minutes finally getting the gas cap off, and skinning my knuckles in the process, I’m finally putting gas in my truck and getting on with my day.  Note to self:  talk to husband about replacing gas cap.

Back on the road and traffic has cooperated for the most part, with the exception of the last 30 miles before I’ll see my friend.  I was re-acquainted with the term “Sunday Driver,” as I slowed to a crawl and followed a variety of different cars up through the Ozarks.  The mountainous road makes it hard to pass, and 30 on a 50 mph highway just wasn’t accomplishing my goals.  I ended up showing up 20 minutes past the start of visitation.  I was anxious to get signed in and see my friend, as we only had a couple of hours to visit.

I run through the list as I’m preparing to exit my vehicle:  ID, money, keys.  No phone, no purse, etc.  Satisfied that I’m sufficiently ready, I slide out of the vehicle and head for the building.  Once inside, I’m greeted by a line with about 18 people in it.   I’m always amazed at the glacial pace at which lines like this proceed, especially when there’s a deadline involved.  Ever gone to the DMV on the last day of the month?  Yeah, this was sort of like that.  I stand there in line for a few minutes, trying to hide my anxious frustration over the pace, when I catch the sign on the wall at the head of the line. I’m reading down it (it’s been a few months since I’ve been here) and remembering that I’ve followed all the rules correctly, when I hit the fourth line down: ABSOLUTELY NO SHORTS, TANK TOPS, SKIRTS.  Well, crap.

I’m mentally scolding myself.  I knew better.  I even laid out capris to wear.  I just had a temporary lapse in memory as I got dressed that morning.  I think quickly about my options.  I have capris and dress pants in my suitcase.  I need to go back to the car.  I didn’t want to drag in my entire suitcase and make a big production out of changing clothes.   I opened my suitcase and removed the capris and slid into the front seat of my vehicle.  I laid the seat back a bit, slipped off my tennis shoes and shorts on the slipped on the capris and replace my tennis shoes.  Easy!  Just took about 30 seconds!  I’m a total rock star!  Very satisfied with my accomplishment, I gather my items again, get a small change purse from my purse because my capris didn’t have any pockets for my money or driver’s license, and away I go again.

When I re-enter the visitor station, there are now two other gentlemen who are ahead of me in line.  The line has literally moved about three feet, which means I’m standing exactly where I was when I left.  I decide that I’ve really not lost anything and at least now I won’t be removed from line for my wardrobe choices.  It’s now 12:45.  I’ve been here 25 minutes.  I watch the various people in line and listen to the guard fight with her computer.  It’s 12:55.  As I stand in line, I’m aware that my capris don’t feel quite right.  I fidget with them, and finally realize what has happened.  This particular pair of capris has no pockets, and I was in such a hurry in my vehicle–I slipped them on backward,  I contemplate what to do:  if I leave the line again I have to start over, can anyone tell they’re backward but me?  I finally decided to just go with it.  It’s now 1 p.m., then 1:10.  Just ahead of me the guard dresses down one of the men standing at the metal detector.  “You have on shorts, son, I can’t let you go through.”  The guard then kindly explained to him where there was a “Family Dollar” store where he could buy some decent pants.  I’m silently applauding my realization and remedy, even if I didn’t do it quite correctly.

I finally make it to the metal detector.  I breeze through and the guard “checks” me. It’s 1:15 when I finally reach the last guard and proceed through for my visit.  I enter the visitation room at 1:20.  They finally find my friend and he arrives at nearly 1:45.   Our visit is lovely, and I left at 4 p.m. when visitation is over.  I proceed onto my final destination and check into my hotel.  I decide to run out and grab dinner while my room is cooling down and I drive back to a little restaurant I had passed on my way into town.  The food was wonderful, but I was one of the few people in that early eating dinner, and the music was a bit too loud.  It was like listening to bad soap opera music with an Italian singer in the background.  It was kind of comical to hear, and I wasn’t there long, so I just laughed about the experience.

Upon returning to my hotel room, I noticed the room smelled a little “wet” to me.  It’s important to note here that I don’t smell things the way other people do.  It’s my weakest sense and many times when I think I’m smelling something it’s not the same thing other people are smelling.  It’s hard to explain, but I don’t pay it a lot of attention unless something is really strong.  I relax for the evening and watch a movie and play on my phone.  Around 11, I finally settle for the night, and drift off to sleep around 11:30.  Around 12:45, I awoke in a cold sweat, and realized it was hot in the room.  The smell was even worse, and smelled like wet carpet to me.  I called the front desk and apologized for wanting to move, but that I couldn’t stay in a room if the a/c was going out.  She asks me to gather my things and come by the front desk and she’ll have a new key ready for me.  I jump out of bed and throw everything back in the suitcase and head for the front desk.  Luckily, I realize before I walk out the door that I was standing there in my nightshirt.  Sigh.  After putting on more clothes, I go to the front desk and pick up a new key.  My new room hasn’t had the air on.  I turn it on full-force and sit on the bed waiting for it to cool.  Now fully awake, I can’t go back to sleep until around 4:30.

My two days at work were very busy, and I hardly had time to think about being tired.  I left Tuesday afternoon to head back home and try to be there before Bunco started at 7.  That was going great until I realized I was going to need gas again.  I had purposely not filled the tank on the way up, thinking that I would fill it again on the way back and run as much non-ethanol as possible through the engine.  That was a great plan, until I stopped and couldn’t get the locking gas cap off at all this time.

You’re acutely aware of the lack of chivalry in today’s society when you realize you’re in a situation like this, in a very small town in Nowhere, Arkansas, and no one offers to help in the 15 minutes you’re struggling to get the gas cap off.  I mentally calculate how much gas I think I have left, and jump back in the truck.  I call my husband and pretty much let him have it about the stupid gas cap, not having enough gas, and how he better just HOPE I have enough gas to get somewhere else. He looks up the nearest Auto Zone location to me and I drive there, ever aware that the clock is ticking away and I’m going to be late to my own event.

Nothing makes you feel like an idiot more than having someone walk right up to your vehicle and within 3 seconds accomplish what you couldn’t do in 15 minutes and every imaginable twist on the situation.  The Auto Zone employee very smugly tells me that my locking gas cap doesn’t lock anymore, and that’s why it’s acting the way it is.  I’m sure I looked completely defeated.  He looked at me said “why do you have a locking gas cap anyway?  My gas has never been stolen.” Yeah, thanks for that.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack when he put the gas cap back on again.  I made him take it off so I could at least drive to the gas station.    I filled my vehicle with gas and got on the interstate.  I’m mentally calculating how quickly I can get there and my estimate is that I will be there five minutes before Bunco starts if I can keep my current rate of speed.  That worked great until I got to the next interstate, and found both highways were now a parking lot.  The cause?  A state trooper had pulled over a semi-truck.  I had to laugh as I was relaying that story at Bunco and one of the girls remarked that she wants to at least see something flipped over if she’s had to wait in traffic.

I finally navigate the traffic and pull up at the house right at our start time for Bunco.  My friends were all very patient and gracious, and had a lot of fun out of me.  After you’ve driven like a maniac for three hours and fought the obstacles I had, you do some pretty goofy things when rolling dice and trying to keep count.

Now, wouldn’t that be more interesting and entertaining than watching the Kardashians?  And none of it was scripted!

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