8/30/08

Kiddie Math

My day began with a phone call..."Hey, G, are you up for an adventure?"
It was my hippie friend, A, and she was calling, no doubt, from her converted vintage Mercedes named Minnie who now runs on "grease" (reconstituted veggie oil). Realizing there was an uncomfortable silence on my end of the line I responded with, "Uuuuhhhhhhh....."
The reason for my less than enthusiastic welcome to her opening was because I was in the midst of mentally running through today's agenda. I had just clothed myself in running gear and was FINALLY prepared for the challenge of muscling their combined 65 pounds around the neighborhood-I haven't done this all summer. I had also realized that I had to teach piano lessons today at my house and my babysitter cancelled last night. This left me with two too many children for an hour of lessons and an unavoidable recipe for disaster. Need to solve THAT problem pronto.
"...uuuuhhhhhh, what's goin' on?" I finished.
"Well, Minnie died. And the kids and I are stranded on a stretch of Highway near Cayucos. Could you come get us?"
I am rarely called on for help. And I am not leaving my friend and her kids stranded on the highway, obviously. But, the problem I'm grappling with before I respond is how to squeeze two more children and an adult into my already packed vehicle. And, OMG, I don't have time to change my hideous workout outfit. Nice.
Before I can think any more, I tell her, "I'm on my way."
And then, I take inventory of my options. My backseat is so narrow that the two "Britax Thrones" for my children take up more than half of the sliver of remaining seat. There's no way in hell any car seat is fitting between them. Maybe a kid. Definitely not a car seat.
No problem, it's just several miles on a busy highway with the most precious cargo packed into my car without safety restraints!!!!
Think, think!!!!
We were already in motion as I conducted this mental exercise in my head. Pulling out of the driveway, I thought, I have the luggage box up top- I could ask A to ride in...okay, too creative. The trunk?
I need to drop one kid off somewhere right now-this will solve my problem. Like a Mapquest page, my brain drew up a neighborhood map and tiny yellow stars appeared where families lived. Three tiny yellow stars. It's just a few minutes-I have to find somewhere to leave my kid. Probably my oldest kid. This is starting to feel a little Darwinist.
Did I mention I STILL don't have a cell phone? So I'm driving and can't call A to explain the hold up and I'm driving without knowing who's home or giving them any warning.
First house-no cars. They're not home. Second house, cars in driveway. Car leaving driveway. "Hi!" I yelled from my window, catching the mom's attention. In an attempt to sound casual and not 'could-you-take-my-kid-right-now-desperate', I asked, "What are you guys up to?"
This mom has a 4 year old and a 4 week old. She is currently in the darkest depths of motherhood, clawing her way back to some level of functional insanity. With deep circles under her eyes and a semi smile, she raised her coffee cup and said, "We're headed to Story Hour at the library." No dice.
I had semi success at the last house. The mom was home but the kids were not. Okay, honey, be good, I'll be back to get you someday. I mean, in a few minutes.
I revved down the highway to save my friend and her kids. And now, I have enough seats for them all.
(Stay tuned for the final episode of this Adventure Tomorrow)

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