I woke up Thursday.
The weather was beautiful.
Megan’s one of those super smart, important, amazing peoples who is only happy if she lives in big cities.
Just like my sister.
I don’t understand.
Obviously they hadn’t heard they could attend the stellar Rochester Community and Technical College and not ever move out of their parents’ basement (are you paying attention Finn??).
Who needs Berkeley or Wellsley??
She’s going to go to Berkley for her Master’s Degree starting in a couple weeks. Since she lives in California, I only get to see her for a bit around Christmas and then usually sometime in the summer.
I am petitioning to get Berkley to move to Rochester, MN. I’m pretty sure it’s under serious consideration.
So Thursday. Set to be a great day with a great friend and my favorite person in the world, my Finn.
But then THE.HORRIBLE.THING.HAPPENED. I’m not at liberty to discuss it. It’s a matter of national security.
Don’t look at me like that…hey it works for the government, right?
It was bad. Real bad. Comparable to getting run over by a bus (but emotionally).
Not a great way to start out a fun day. Right? Who wants to get run over by a bus?
But it was OK because it was going to be the BEST.DAY.EVER.
I go to pick up Finn from daycare and we stop at the gas station to fill up the gas tank and pick up some drinks and snacks which are always necessary for me while driving with a 3-year-old.
So I fill up the gas tank of our van (AKA Hanke’s contributions to making the people with oil much richer) and I left the electric part of the van on because Finn wouldn’t get his nap today so I wanted him to chill out and watch a movie, at least for a bit.
As soon as the tank is filled I go to load up on snacks and drinks for the drive. As I’m checking out, I notice a sign for power ball. I think it would be so funny to buy a ticket and win today because this morning I got run over by a bus and that would just be ironic and we could use the money.
This is totally out of the ordinary for me because I NEVER buy lottery tickets. I’ve bought maybe 5 in 10 years. The clerk informs me that I have to buy it with my debit card because you can’t put lottery tickets on your credit card.
Then I remember I just got a new card because I lost my other card and they changed the pin and I hadn’t changed it to the pin I use all the time. Apologizing profusely, I tell her I have to skip winning the lottery today because I have to use my debit card as a credit card because I don’t know my pin.
So she asks for my license, very accusingly. So I have to run BACK out to the van to the my license. She’s unhappy because the corner is clipped (I just renewed it on my birthday). She looked at me like she was very sure I stole my card and she studied the picture on the license. Her eyes flicking from the picture to my face.
Yes, I look different than I did 5 years ago. Thanks for pointing it out. I gained 500 a couple pounds. And I got glasses. And I grew a second head. So I ask her what is your policy for checking ID?
Anything over $25 she says.
I try to stop from laughing out loud. It takes about 2 drops of gas to get over $25.
I want to tell her I can put the gum, corn nuts, Mountain Dew insert some healthy, organic vegetable drink here, and apple juice back but $70 of the $75 we owe is currently residing in my gas tank and I REALLY want to tell her either it’s my card OR I stole it, but either way she should run it or else she was out $70 unless she was going to grab a hose and siphon the gas out of my tank.
She grudgingly slides the card through, I sign my name and I can’t wait to get on the road and get THE.BEST.DAY.EVER started.
We get all buckled up and I turn the key. CLICK.CLICK.CLICK.
Try again. I squeeze my eyes shut and grip the steering wheel and turn my hands so the leather squeaks under my palms. I tell myself to breathe. It WILL work this time.
FUCK.IT.ALL.TO.HELL. Batteries dead. The van couldn’t have been on without the engine running for more than 3 minutes, but there is no doubt about what’s wrong.
I call Josh who tells me to go in and ask the clerk if she can jump the van.
You mean the one who thought I stole my card? Really? Her calling the police on me for stealing a debit card and a van AND kidnapping the cutest boy in the entire world would make my day PERFECTER! What a great idea!!!
I told him I didn’t care if he walked the 15 miles to the gas station, but he better figure out a way to get there and be my knight in shining armor (I’m 78% sure I said it in EXACTLY that way. I know I DIDN’T swear or say it in a mean way AT ALL).
And then I cry.
From the back seat I hear “what’s wrong mama?”
Oh.shit.Kate. Pull yourself together.
I tell my son mama’s just really sad and mad, but I’m fine.
I wipe my eyes and dig my nails into my palms so I don’t cry anymore. I tell him to watch his movie (I mean the battery can’t get any MORE dead than it already is, right)?
I want daddy.
Me too, Finn. Me too.
And then a woman starts walking towards me. She’s staring intently at me. I recognize her right away. It’s a former student’s mom who hates (and when I say hates I mean HATES) me.
I quickly look down intently at my phone as I tell the whole world about my bad luck through the magic of Facebook. I hope she’ll leave me alone if I look really busy.
I don’t look up until there’s a knock on my window.
The clerk. Oh joy.
Is there a problem?
My battery is dead.
Well…can you move it?
Um…not really. Even if I was to get my fat ass out and push it, I don’t really trust my 3-year-old to steer where I want him to go.
I imagine…(a little to the right Finn…NO. You’re OTHER RIGHT! He runs into the gas pump and we all go up in flames.)
I inform her that my husband’s on his way.
15 minutes later (movie is still playing) Josh arrives…my knight in shining armor on his trusty stead my husband being driven by his co-worker in a very nice black car.
He jumps the van.
He looks at me and I can see in his eyes it’s bad news.
Um…I think it’s the starter.
BUT I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE BEST DAY EVER TODAY. WITH MEGAN. WHO LIVES IN CALIFORNIA.
He looks in my eyes and knows he will either get the car started or I will go to live in a mental institution for the remainder of my days.
He takes the cables off and connects them again.
I cross my fingers behind my back (and my toes and eyes for good measure).
The van turns on as if it knew I was going to strip it for parts if it didn’t.
And we were on our way. No worse for wear. And that’s when Megan says…90 minutes late? If it’s too stressful for you I can come down later OR my mom can drive me halfway OR we can just do it tomorrow OR we can just skip it.
And that is when I know even though maybe I had the worst day ever, I have the best friend ever and that is really all that matters.
My mission was fun or bust.
It was FUN.
And then I got the worst leg cramp ever. I had to go to the hospital. And then they had to amputate it. And then it got gangrene. And then I died. So I’m writing this from hell…which IS actually worse than the worst day ever.