Momma Forgot There’d Be Days Like These

Because you think you’re having a bad day…
I had a meeting today at one of the college campuses where Todd works. Well, technically he doesn’t work at this campus. I’m doing some grant work and had a meeting about some Veteran Services initiatives that they’re working on. The meeting was at 12:30. Seeing as our accountant is in the Baltimore area as well, I decided to drop off the tax stuff to him before the meeting. We live about 50 minutes north of Baltimore. On a good day. So I left at 10:30, figuring two hours was more than enough time.  Plus, I have GPS. What could go wrong? I also had to stop at this restaurant in White Marsh where we’d had dinner with my in-laws last week, and where Veruca left her prized mint green Justice handbag hanging on her chair.
I had no trouble getting to the accountant. I’ve been there before, his office is literally around the corner from my in-laws, and, like I said – GPS. In and out. Back in the car with 45 minutes until my meeting. I contemplated stopping at the restaurant first, and decided I’d best focus on the meeting.
Well. Missed the proper exit for the direction I needed to go (an exit I take every. Single. Time. I leave my in-laws) and ended up going the wrong direction. Six miles later I was able to turn around, and now I’m going the right way. Meanwhile, the manager from the restaurant calls me about the purse, and apologizes for no one calling me back last week, and tells me to please be sure to ask for James when I come in. Gotta go, James, I’m driving on the beltway and I’m lost again. Seriously.
The fudrucking beltway is a great big circle. Didya know that?  THAT’s why it’s called the BELT-WAY. So, not knowing this, ya know, because I’m not freaking FROM Baltimore, I panicked when I saw signs for a “tunnel.” And now I’m all like – shit! I don’t want to go through the tunnel! How the hell did I get HERE?! Because – and I swear I’m not stupid – I didn’t know there’s more than ONE tunnel in Baltimore. And this tunnel I desperately was trying to avoid was actually going to take me to the town I needed to get to. So, I changed direction and ended back on I-95 going north (at least I know my way this way) and ended up at another tunnel! However, this is the tunnel I’m familiar with and I’m now not only supremely confused, I’m swearing a string of colorful words because I’m now late for this meeting, which is so not a good first impression for the director of Veteran Services.
Long story short, I made it okay. Only 5 minutes late. I apologized profusely and sat down after introductions were made, my face hot and pink from the f@#$-I’m-late jog from my car. Trying to breathe normally, I pull out my glasses and a pen. I click the top of the pen and it springs back – the top flying over my head. I’m momentarily mortified and holding my maniacal laughter in by a thread until the director tells me the same thing happened to her a few minutes ago.
An hour and half later, the meeting’s over. Back in the car and feeling okay now. This is the easy part. The restaurant is around the corner from Todd’s campus. I go in and ask for James and here is a classic example of how you can be so wrong when you picture someone based on their voice. The 7-foot middle-aged giant who greeted me looked nothing like a 30-something preppy guy in khaki pants. He looked more like an off-duty cop. Or a bouncer at a strip club. Not that I know what a bouncer looks like at a strip club. I’m just saying that’s what I imagine one would look like. And after the day I’d had at this point, I seriously had to internally kick myself to keep from sniggling. He handed me some coupons for free stuff, ya know – the standard comp crap they give you when you complain to corporate (not so long story).
I’ve had worse days. I’m just hoping I don’t repeat this on Thursday when I have to find Johns Hopkins.


Overheard in a Fitting Room

A 10-year-old walks into a space-challenged fitting room after trying on a dress, and wedges herself into the corner seat. The click of hangers and whoosh of fabrics … a few seconds of trivial conversation turns to this.
Dad really loves Stephanie.
I hope so. I’m glad.
You want him to be happy.
Yes, I do.
Why did you and dad get divorced?
We didn’t get along. We fought a lot.
But you don’t fight anymore.
That’s because we’re not married anymore.
What did you fight about?
Everything. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on very much. But I’m not sorry we got married – because I have you, and your brother.
You’d still have us, even if you married Todd instead.
Well, I’d still have kids, they just wouldn’t have been you and –
Yeah, cause then we’d look like Todd. Eww!
Well, his face is skinny…
What are you saying?
No – I mean, he’s alright but –
Well, I like him.


Lost and Found

Found 3 things recently that were lost.
  1. A rather brand new cell phone. 
  2. A green “bowl.” 
  3. The cat.


This was all very exciting, though for different reasons. Todd came in from the car one day and showed me this brand new cell phone he found under the passenger seat. He asked who was in the car recently that may have lost it? I’d never seen it before. After a moment or two of reckoning, he remembered how eight months ago Neph had lost a cell phone – which he never found. Neph, like any person of his generation, is quite adept at losing shit. Like his driver’s permit – which, apparently, one needs if one wishes to take the driver’s test. This was quite funny at the time, since he had to get a new one, and later found the original permit at a friend’s house after he got his license.
After the four-foot wall of snow melted from along the fence line, I noticed something green in the corner of the fence from my perch on the deck. It was a large, plastic green bowl and after a momentary lapse – I recognized it as the base to the Christmas tree stand, missing since last year, and not one person in the house knew where it was. Todd said, “probably somewhere in the garage.” If you’ve seen our garage… I wasn’t going in there looking for the veritable pin in a haystack. O blamed Neph – because, well, see above. But all I could say to that was – what would HE want with a Christmas tree stand? So, I went out and found a plastic bin that could hold water and the legs of the tree stand without tipping over.
Why was this bowl in the corner of the fence, upside down? Veruca used it some time ago to climb over the fence – you know – because why use the gate? When I asked her about it last weekend, she said… are you ready for this? Oh. This same child went with me to shop for its replacement. Heard me exclaiming aloud about it. Oh.
Meanwhile, back in the yard…
Todd decided it was time to refill our propane tank and so went outside to unhook it and load it into the truck – because we like to live life dangerously. What I didn’t know at the time was that he’d left the sliding door open downstairs, which I learned upon our return home from having this tank filled. Immediately I worried that Oliver had discovered this lapse, and briefly considered that Todd had done it intentionally. I searched the whole house, every nook and cranny. No cat. I called him and called him. I decided to vacuum the entire house – because if there’s one thing that will flush him out – it’s the vacuum. After 38 minutes of ear-deafening noise, no sign of whisker or tail. Now I was really worried.
I went outside, searching the backyard – which is quite large – and, having also noted that the gate too had been left open, searched the front yard and adjacent properties. I took a can of cat food with me and a fork, and tapped the can and called to him. I wandered into our old horse pasture, all the way to the back where it borders the woods. Two stray cats sitting atop a huge tree stump looked at me with a mixture of curiosity and anxiety. I figured their presence was a pretty good sign that Oliver hadn’t gotten that far. I slipped through the fence and into the woods, winding my way into my backyard. Todd was standing on the deck looking somewhat guiltily at me, and said he still thought Oliver was hiding in the house. He went out to the front yard to look and I went inside the house feeling downtrodden, absentmindedly tapping the can with the fork. When I turned the corner of the kitchen island, an hour and a half after the search began, There. He. Was. The little shit was sitting expectantly by his food bowl, looking gorgeous, well-rested, and completely apathetic about the crisis. I burst into tears. He meowed at me until I opened the can. Dispassionate little jerk.