Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Disastrous Mission

Okay, not so disastrous but certainly an eye opener for us. April 15th. Tax time. Instead of using the $200 accountant, Wayne decided to do our taxes himself. It was just a day or two before he was to take off for AZ for his yearly cowboy ride, and taxes were not high on his priority list. I absolutely hate thinking about doing them, and I wanted to scream and whine and nag at Wayne to get them done. I don’t because I don’t want him to tell me to do them myself, so I stay contained.
       Finally, he’s finished. We write the shared exorbitant checks, sign the documents, and stuff it in the envelope. Signed, sealed, and stamped. Without changing out of our in-house grubby attire of sweats and flipflops, we head for the car to get to the post office. It’s only around 6:30pm, shouldn’t be too big of a crowd. We’re wrong. The post office is about 8 miles from our house. The line of cars started about 2 miles from the post office. Impatient as usual, I suggested that I take the envelope and run to the building rather than wait any longer. Surely I can run there faster than this snail train was going. We take about a half of a second to decide how we will do this. A half a second got us to the point of Wayne getting out to take the wheel while I run up to the PO; nothing about where we will meet up after the delivery. Shoot, we’ve been married 30+ years, we read each other’s minds, right? Wrong!
      We do a Chinese fire drill at the next light, and I sprint over to the PO a block away. Drop the envelope into the slot inside and snicker that we beat the crowd. On to the corner to meet Wayne…
      Only, he’s not there.
      Why didn’t I pick up my cell phone before we left? Well, I’ll walk on to the next corner where there is a street light. Surely he will see me there, and I have a good view of all the places he could be. I wait. I watch. My expertise of car identification kicks in. (read sarcasm here). I’ve had my Subaru for 4 years, and it’s nothing more than a “silver car” among the masses. Expertise, my eye! Did you know that ¾ of Highlands Ranch residents drive “silver cars”?! This is no good, I can’t just stand here; I’ve got to move. Surely he didn’t go into the PO parking lot. That was what we were trying to avoid in the first place. Going “around the block” covers a park, a driving range, and a big apartment complex. It would take him quite a while to do that, and again, the traffic was bumper to bumper. No he must have gone straight through the light, and maybe to the catty-cornered shopping center. I start a jog over to Walgreens. Not only do I have no cell phone, but I don’t have a purse, identification, or money. Maybe someone will let me borrow their phone. I get to the store and ask the clerk if I can use the phone. “Sure, what’s the number?”
      “Uhh… I can’t remember.”  My god!! Speed dial is the Devil!! I can only remember his business number, and I know he doesn’t have that phone with him. I go through mental contortions trying to remember the number. The clerk gives up and leaves me alone trying to recall his private line. I’m beginning to read everyone's mind? Is this woman all there?  Wait! I think I know Stephanie’s number. Punch in the numbers…voicemail. I leave a weirder than weird message that I am lost at Walgreens and I can’t find Dad. So, now what? I can’t just stand inside, I’ve got to be visible at least.
       By this time it is almost 8 o’clock and getting dark. I cross back over to the PO corner where the line of cars are still snaking (at a steady pace, mind you) through the parking lot and dropping off the confounded envelopes at the drive through lane. A couple of employees are there picking them up to make the line go quicker. If we had only been a little more patient, we would have been through the line and home eating supper by now. A patrolman is nearby and sees me walking up. How am I possibly going to sound coherent? I feel so utterly stupid. Through his genial conversation, he is obviously checking me out. He suggests that I go to the back of the building to check out the parking lot back there. I thank him and go off to see if that’s where Wayne might have stopped, thinking all the while that he would not be there, and besides I really didn’t want to wander around a dark parking lot alone at this hour…stupid cop!
      As I am walking back on the sidewalk, Wayne beeps the horn, and I climb in. He’s frustrated; I’m more on the verge of frightened, but relieved that the ordeal is over. He had gone into the parking lot and had even walked around looking for me. How we missed each other was really hard to believe. We just were not in sync. As for wishing I could remember his number, little good it would have done… he didn’t have his phone either. So we silently drove home vowing to never do that again. What exactly is “that” needs a little clarification. Never leave home without your cell phone? Communicate a little more clearly? Actually my “that” is to be a bit more patient and things will probably go smoother.


  1. This is the most hilarious thing I've ever read! Anyone our age is fearful this is where we'll really end up. My own mother was brilliant, witty - and a writer. When she was in her late seventies and I found her once wandering in the grocery store parking lot looking for me. For you, obviously chipper and able to run up to the post office, this is far in the future, and I hope for me, too. Did you think of stealing some chocolate from Walgreen's and running out of there? This story is the stuff sitcoms are made from. Your story is proof that the really funny things are true!

  2. Suzanne, How many more things and about us women, relationships, the Tax Man, obtuse husbands, details like a bad dream, humor where I am sure we "had to be there", (everytime I worry about punctuation, knowing you taught English - parenthesis, etc., I think of the book, Woe is I), running into possibly gorgeous but skeptical law enforcement can you touch us with? You have a great ability to make people laugh and cry and the many things in between.(Here's another: ending a sentence with "with". Or "ly"? This piece is entertaining at the beginning, gut wrenching in the middle and at the end left me a little tired and pensive, trying to put myself in sync with your experience. It was all too real and hit many nerves but you put into words. It makes me think of how many things in life I can't change - almost nothing - except myself. The last sentence says it all, about being patient and accepting. Also, seeing the pictures you've posted, I can see this pretty little woman with curly hair going through stages of the evening and it makes it even more funny and poignant at the end. This was really a winner. Elise

  3. Elise, The Woe is I book is a favorite of mine, and although I know I am breaking many grammar rules in my writing, I don't care. This is the way we think and talk. I quit writing for my 8th Grade English teacher years ago. I'll save my perfect grammar for my cover letters, CVs, and doctoral thesis (like that's ever going to happen!)Suzanne

  4. Suzanne PhD - I know a woman who got her doctorate in philosophy at 75 - still alive - a physicist who became a MFCC. You would think I don't have a life. Soon enough, rushing around again will come. Phone calls are already starting asking, "when?" I love your blog and it's therapeutic. I know there will soon be big following. In the meantime, do you also get chocolate pieces on your clothes that give away a little of the heaven on earth? When I had radiation therapy for breast cancer many years ago at a young age, there was always a big box of chocolate on the counter when people were leaving the treatment room. It really made a difference! I was trying to stay from chocolate until I read your piece on sweets. So far, moderation is working. This blog is honest and earthy but wholesome and high road. Keep up the good work. E

  5. This should be an episode in a sitcom!


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