Monday, June 30, 2008
Busy Moms and Empty Tanks and the World's Best Husband
If you had been on Minot AFB around 6:30 last Thursday, you'd have seen the world's greatest husband walking to the Club in his least comfortable uniform, wanting to fume, but instead telling himself how much he loves his busy, absent-minded wife.
I woke up intending to get 1500 words of Live and Let Fly written, but then remembered I promised to blog about it; then I had e-mails, business for the Catholic Writers' Guild, boys to get ready for zoo camp, which included a sleepover, and a teen to nag about studying for his driver's permit test. (I spent $200 on your class and I'm not letting it go to waste! Step away from the TV!")
I think I got a couple of hundred before it was time to get ready for me to load everyone into the truck and head into town, which is about half an hour's drive from the base. Rob had left me the truck so I could pick up a half-ton of rock to finish the anti-garden in the yard. (We hate gardening.) But first, I had to get Steven's documents for the permit test.
We have 3 firesafes with our important information. One is locked and we can't find the key to. I went into the garage...and found all three locked. With minutes before it was time to leave and kids still shouting, "Where are my shoes?" I found the keys and discovered I can now only get one open. Fortunately, it was the right one. I dug through Steven's file and found his birth certificate along with baptism papers (important to God, but the DMV?), old report cards, social security card...
"Steven, does the book say you need your social security card?"
"No," said my son, who just read the entire book for the third or fourth time. I grab the certificate and go.
We dropped the boys off at zoo camp, then headed across town to get the rock. On the way, I realized I did not know where Steven was supposed to take his test. The only address he found was Bismark, but he dutifully read it off for me to put in the GPS. I grabbed the book. It was where you need to report if you lose a limb or an eye.
"Steven, have you lost an arm?" I remembered agian that my son does not always pay attention to details. It's genetic. Remember that as you read on. Fortunately, the salesman at the quarry knew where and it was only a few blocks away. With 40 minutes until my daughter had to be across town for art lessons (only 10 minutes; this is Minot, we pulled into the little mall--
and found the line out the door. So we went to the grocery store, got donuts and the couple of other things we needed and took Amber to the art studio. When we returned, the line was much shorter. Thanks heavens, because we had one hour for him to get his test before we had to get Amber.
"I need your social security card," Brenda, the DMV clerk, told us.
I looked at my son in exasperation.
"The book doesn't say that!" he insisted. His voice squeaked.
"Yes, it does," she replied patiently. No doubt she's heard this all before. "All I need is the number. Do you have it memorized?"
Oh, yeah. think that's on my list of "To-Do." Seriously. One I wrote about 13 years ago.
"Is there someone you can call?"
While I called, we started on getting my license changed to North Dakota--another thing on my to-do list (about a year overdue, but...) I ended up interrupting Rob in a meeting with his boss. Fortunately, all the crisis and craziness of the Air Force changes have subsided and it was a pretty informal one and not on a hot topic. However, he couldn't find it. Brenda suggested our bank. While they checked if they could get all seven numbers (the computer only displays the last four), the put me on hold. I handed Steven the phone while I got my photo. by the time it popped out of the machine, the bank regretfully informed me that they could not give it to me over the phone. Oh, but I needed $10 to get my license. We had to leave, go to the cash machine, and come back.
We had about 10 minutes left before we had to get Amber.
"Does my mom have to stay here?" Steven asked. "Can't she get the card while I take the test?"
That was fine as long as we were back before four, so we dashed to the gallery, nabbed Amber just as lessons ended, drove home with the poor little Honda straining under a load that maxes its weight limits, found the key, got the card, ran back (vroom, vroom! Go Techa, go!), dropped Steven off, ("You need $5 for the test." Glad the machine only gave out 20s, or I'd have had to make another trip.) Ran back to the zoo to get the boys, ran back to the DMV to get Steven, who got an 80 percent, but needed $10 more to get the permit. (Why not ask for $15 and be done with it?) We went back tot he ATM, back to the DMV--fortunately, Kind Brenda let us skip the lines--THEN headed home with a budding new driver staring at his permit and giggling maniacally all the way home.
"Phenomenal cosmic power?" I asked him.
"No, the look on Amber's face when she sees it!" Amber's greatest fear is her brother behind the wheel.
We got home with just enough time to switch cars, leaving Rob with the truck so he could drive it to a formal function while I took the little boys back to zoo camp for their overnight and the older ones out to celebrate Steven's victory. We threw him kisses and left as he was getting into his Mess Dress (the tuxedo of the Air Force) and headed back into town in the van.
Leaving him with a truck that had passed Empty somewhere on I-83 and made it home on fumes. It didn't even turn over for Rob.
Oh, it gets worse. We got home and found the truck there, I was proud of him, thinking he'd chosen to walk. We dropped off Amber, and found a parking lot where Steven got his first lesson. When we got back, Rob met us at the garage in t-shirt and shorts.
"First lesson of driving--read the d*(& gas gage!" he snarled.
I never saw the empty light, never heard a warning, never noticed the needle resting exhausted on the little peg by the E. Yep, genetic.
Fortunately, my man knows what he married and this was my first Empty offense. He forgave me fast and we went into town to get gas, then emptied out a few wheelbarrow loads to relieve the poor truck. Steven, Amber and I finished the truck the next day and I gassed it to full. (Can't tell you how much it cost; I didn't want to look.)
Later that day, we had a picnic, one of our friends who was at the awards banquet Thursday night mentioned how philosophical Rob had been about the whole thing. "I would have been furious, and all he said was, "She didn't mean to."
Yeah, I married an amazing man.