Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way home from the Orthodontist

After the shocking orthodontist appointment, I was famished, so we went to Taco Bell. Karianne was driving, and I thought it would be good for her to experience a drive through. She ordered successfully, and we pulled forward to the window. As we stopped, we both noticed at the same time that she was about three feet away from the window. She said, "Oh. Do I need to be closer?" I said, "Yes." And giggled.

Unfortunately, there was a car behind us, so backing up and angling closer was not an option. Just then the Taco Bell worker opened the window, and as luck would have it, it was Chelsea Talbert from our ward. She laughed with us about the unfortunate placement of our vehicle. Karianne opened her door and handed over the cash in exchange for our food. Chelsea continued laughing until we pulled away. I think Karianne's head deflated an inch or two right about then.

Seeing as how the dinner plans called for ingredients that I didn't have at home, Karianne then chauffeured Susan and me to Macey's, our family's favorite grocery store (that's their motto--and it's true!). When we got there, she parked perfectly, and we got out.

Karianne and I play this little game when we go somewhere together. Each of the front doors on the van has a master locking switch. We each try to be first locking the door. This time I won. I locked the door from the passenger side just as she closed the driver's side door. She did a little double take, and I grinned wickedly at her through the windows, to let her know that I had won. Then Susan shut her door and we went into the store.

We had a lovely time at Macey's. We smuggled in our Taco Bell bag, feeling all rebellious, and bought a 44oz Sprite to share at a table in the deli. After consuming this ridiculously late lunch (it was 4:30pm), I resisted buying the yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at the bakery and instead put more sensible items into the cart, like egg nog, steak, candy, and ice cream. Hey. At least one of them is healthy. And the candy was for my cub scouts. Consider also the fact that I had two adorable, highly persuasive teenagers which I love with me, and well, you can see that I had no chance. Besides, this post is not about what I bought so why am I defending myself to you?


After handing over the money, we pushed the cart out of the store and to the van. I reached into my pocket for the keys. Nothing.

"Dang! Where are my keys?"

I looked in my purse for the keys. Nada. I turned to Karianne, aka "the driver", and said, "you have the keys, right?"

Karianne did not give the response I was hoping for. Instead, her eyes got big, I mean really big, and she ducked and slunk to the driver's side door while I repeated the futile search again, hoping for a different result the second time around. Who moved my cheese?!

"Mom? The van is still running."

This took a moment to soak into my Sprite marinaded mind. How could the van be running....?

Oh. NO. I turned and frowned at her in disbelief. Say it isn't so.

"Mom. The keys are in the ignition."

That's ok, I thought, since I have a spare key in my purse. My old purse. Which was sitting at home on the counter next to the toaster oven.

I clapped my hand to my forehead and raised my face to the sky in my best Luke Skywalker imitation. "Noooooooooooooo!"

I looked back at Karianne, who had mysteriously transformed from a confident teenager to a frightened little kid. I vaguely noticed the other shoppers in the parking lot staring in our direction. And then I laughed. The ridiculousness of the situation couldn't be ignored. Sure, she'd gotten out of the car without turning it off and walked away, but I was the one who locked the door. Actually it would have been impossible for Karianne to lock the door on her side--the van will not lock from the driver's side if the keys are in the ignition. And because I was just as much to blame as she was, how could I be mad at her? If I got mad at her for something I'd done, then I would be a hypocrite, and I'm trying to set a good example for my offspring, here.

I assessed the situation. There was a spare key at home in my purse. Nathan was at home, so I could call a neighbor to go get the key and bring it to me. Tom was the next idea. I looked at my watch: 5:10. Tom worked out at the gym just a few blocks down the street from ~5-5:40. Perfect! I called his cell phone -- no answer. That meant that his phone was in the locker room.

"Ok," I said, "Dad's at Gold's Gym. We'll go and get dad to bring us back and open the van with his keys."

"What do we do with the groceries"? Susan asked.

Uh... "Leave them here, behind the van."

Karianne looked at me like I was crazy. "Why don't we just bring them with us?"

I snorted. "I am so not carrying several bags of groceries to Gold's Gym with me." Then a new thought appeared. "I know: we'll hitchhike. That will be way faster."

Karianne's eyes bulged again. "We can't hitchhike!" She said it like it was a dirty word.

"Sure we can," I said. "Why not?"

"It isn't safe!" I could hear her think "duh", but wisely, she didn't say it out loud.

"It is if you pick the right ride, "I said. "Tell you what, you and Susan wait here, and I'll go."

"We'll get mugged!" Karianne gasped as an involuntary shiver slid down her spine. "Besides, it's cold out here!"

"Fine. Why don't you two go back into Macey's with the food and wait at the deli. I'll call you when I get back."

With that, I turned and surveyed the parking lot to identify a friendly looking person to ask for a lift. There was a couple loading bottled water into the back of their pickup--no room in the cab for me. There was an older woman getting into her car -- I figured I'd scare her if I approached asking for a ride. Then, I saw her: a young mother loading her groceries and two young children into her four door sedan. Perfect. I approached, explained my situation, and asked if she could possibly give me a quick lift to the gym. She laughed and agreed, and didn't seem scared of me at all. Amazing.

Once at the gym, I had Tom paged to come to the front desk. After a minute, they let me wander onto the workout area to see if I could find him. Where was he? A ward member saw me and came over, and said that I had just missed him. I looked at my watch - 5:20. ?? He wasn't usually done by then. I called his cell again. No answer. I called home. No answer.

Why doesn't he answer his phone? He should have it with him. Why doesn't anyone answer at home? Calling a neighbor was starting to look like the best option after all.

GREAT. Now not only am I stranded without a car, but my kids are stranded somewhere else, with melting ice cream to boot. My sense of humor was starting to wear thin.

Still looking for my stolen cheese, I called Tom's cell twice more, to no avail. Then one more try at home.

"Hello?" Nathan said.

"Nathan!" I yelled into the phone. "Is dad there?"

"I don't think so....lemme look downstairs." I waited. "Nope, he's not here... oh, wait. He just walked in the door."


The ice cream was only partially melted, and my girls will hopefully recover from the trauma of being abandoned at Macey's while their mother hitched a ride with a complete stranger. I have since transferred my spare key to my NEW purse, and Karianne thinks that it will be awhile before she leaves the key in the ignition.

Dinner was late again... but this time it wasn't my fault!


  1. what an experience to write home about. adventures around every corner. maybe i should have a spare key for you :)

  2. You know, from reading this post, I would guess that you were blonde. are. :p

  3. Oh my friend.... Don't we all have experiences like this? And then we all learn to never make them again. :) I have to share about how I locked my keys in my car before heading to a football game (this was when I was in high school). It was an away game in Tremonton so by the time the bus got back to the high school parking lot it was VERY late. There were my keys, dangling from the ignition. Unfortunately, cell phones were bricks in those days and only the very rich had them in big cities. :) I think some guy friends helped my break into my own car and get the keys -- which didn't make me feel very good that it was do darn easy breaking into my car! But I got home and now get the opportunity to "re-live" the experience every time I get out of a car. I always double check whether I am driving or not. :) At least Karianne had you there to help her. :)