Mar 11, 2012

liar liar, car on fire

I hate posting without pictures but since technology is being extremely uncooperative at the moment I'm going to lower my standards this once. And maybe again next time. My standards are flexible, apparently. The thing is though, that I just couldn't go on another day without writing something here. I just have to get some stories out before I bubble over! So I found an old picture and am going with that.

I've promised you guys several stories that I have yet to make good on, and now, the time has come. Today, let me tell you about the time my sister had to go into the hospital for an emergency check-up, and my mom was asked to come down to the hospital, and take the kids to their home.

That cold December day, mom had taken us into Salt Lake City to see the Temple Square lights. Our first visit there since we arrived in the US, so when she got the call from Marissa during our trip, she was hesitant to leave us on our own, on unfamiliar ground. We assured her that we would be absolutely fine, that she should go help Marissa while we finish our sight seeing. She walked over to the tram, took it to the hospital, and we were to pick her up on our way home.

When mom got to the hospital, she was asked to drive their Saturn, a stick shift. Not just any old stick shift, but one with character. So much character in fact, that she was not able to get it past 3rd gear - so that's the gear she drove them home in. On the freeway. To make things more enjoyable for her, it was also dark out. My mother has night blindness. Between the stress from that, the worry that we would get utterly lost in big scary city, and the stick with a mind of its own, mom was starting to go... uhm.... what's the right word here? Oh yes. Batpoop crazy. 

Patience for other drivers is the first to follow my mother's sanity out the proverbial window. Her drive sounded something like this: "OH CRAP, OH COME ON, WHY ARE YOU NOT MOVING YOU TWIT, WAS I SUPPOSED TO TURN THERE?!" This next bit is the part that makes me wish I had had a video camera in there recording the whole thing: little 4 year old Benson was sat right behind my mother, and Benson just loves to repeat everything he hears. He follows it up with a giggle, it's pretty cute. So here's how the drive may have sounded: "OH CRAP ::oh crap, heeheehee:: WHERE AM I ::where am I, hahahaha:: GO RIGHT AHEAD YOU IDIOT ::you idiot, bahahaha::".

Then, as she was trying feverishly (but unsuccessfully) to shift past 3rd gear, the Big Gulp drink Andrew had bought earlier that day just kept getting in her way. She finally just picked it up and, shrieking, threw it onto the car floor on the passenger side. The children at this point instinctively became very silent. Through some kind of heavenly intervention, the lid stayed on, and the drink stayed in the container - much to Andrew's relief. Although, I don't think he cared much about the drink after the part of the journey I will now recount.

Mom made it to the May family home somehow. She took the scenic route through the ghetto (asking men of varying size and race along the way for directions to the freeway, which only got her into a parking lot of a Costco - the location of which to this day remains a mystery - where the cart boy kindly gave her the correct directions), and never exceeded speeds of 40 mph (60km/u).... but she got there. 

Now, before I actually continue the story, you need to know something about my sister's house. They rent an extremely spacious basement (I honestly think it's bigger than any house we've ever lived in) and so their front door is the same door as the people's who own the entire house. To get in you have to punch in the key-code on the special key-code pad, and if you get it right, the door opens. Like magic. They have to be very careful about handing out the code, and so when mom was instructed to take the kids back home, Andrew explained to her how to punch in the code in, what she describes as, a rather complicated way. Either it was that, or the fact that mom had underwent a stress induced reprogramming of her short term memory - either way - The door. Would. Not. Open. 

The kids were still in the car as she frantically tried to get into the house. Finally, at her wits end, she called Marissa at the hospital and told her of her predicament. Marissa recounted the instructions, which mom followed to a T - but the door remained locked. Then, and ONLY then, did Marissa ask: "Well, did you pull on the handle as you entered the last digits of the code? You gotta pull on the handle or it won't open.'. No Marissa, she was not pulling on the handle because the doors mom is used to don't require special ninja skills to open, but thank you for adding that information. It worked! Victory! The relief sigh was sighed, and mom walked back to the car to release the two small, tired children. Guess what happened when she tried to open the car door?

Yeah, it wouldn't open. The car had locked itself while she was unlocking the house. Not so bad, right? I mean, just get your car key, and unlock the silly thing with a mind of its own, right? It's not like the car has a special CIA issued G-13 classified key-coded padlock on it that needs 3 gentle taps on the left bottom before any code you enter on it will actually allow the lock to unlock, RIGHT? You're absolutely right, and she was right on track there with you. She started fumbling in her pocket for the keys. That's when she noticed the keys dangling happily from the ignition, inside the locked car containing her two grandchildren. That's when my mother, the woman whose genes make up half my brain, proceeded to have a full-blown conniption.
Absolute hysterics. Her system simply could not process this new information it was presented with, and she realized she needed help. Crying, she called Marissa again and screamed into the phone words that sounded to Marissa as: "THE KIDS ARE IN THE CAR AND IT'S LOCKED AND THERE IS FIRE". This is, of course, not what she said... but a hysterical woman can be a tad difficult to understand over a mobile phone which has been set to speaker. Andrew reacted promptly to this disturbing piece of information and calmly and clearly told mom: "Look around you mom. Do you see any rocks? Find the biggest rock you can find, tell the kids to shield their faces, and hurl that rock through the car window.". Mom did not think this was dramatic at all, and was desperately searching for a good rock when she heard Marissa say 'No wait, Benson knows how to unlock the car from the inside, just ask him to unlock it!". 

How Andrew and Marissa stayed so calm thinking their children were locked in a burning car, I do not know. But the information Marissa gave mom proved valuable, and prevented a shattered car window. Giggling, Benson unlocked his door, and mom started sobbing. Somehow Andrew and Marissa managed to figure out that the car wasn't actually on fire, and that mom was just having a bad night. Mom took the kids inside the house, still sobbing. Mom got them settled in their beds, sobbing. Mom, sobbing and sick with worry for her other children who were by now surely halfway underway to Canada, tried to call me over and over again. We were happily enjoying an In N Out burger. I forgot the phone in the car. Mom thought we were dead, and sobbed some more. 

When we came back to the car, and I checked the cell phone, I was greeted by 'You have 53 missed calls and 1 new voicemail'. The voicemail went something like this: "Karina, *sob* it's mom *sob*. Please call me as soon as you can. *sob*". Suddenly worried I instantly dialed mom's number and here's how that conversation went:

Me: Hi mom, are you ok?
Mom: Oh Karina, Karina are you alright? *sob*
Me: Yeah mom, I'm fine, but I'm worried about you. What's going on?
Mom: Where are you?
Me: We're at the In N Out, close to you.
Mom: Oh, thank goodness you're ok. *sob*
Me: What's going on with you?
Mom: Just get here. *blubber* I'll tell you when you get here.
--okay, by this time I was thinking Marissa had lost the baby, or something similarly so horrifying it couldn't be shared over the phone--
Me: Are Marissa and the baby alright??
Mom: Yes, they're fine. But just get here as soon as you can, ok? *SOB*
Me: Okay mom. Bye.

We followed the GPS (yes, we had a GPS in there, mom obviously had reason to be worried for us) to Marissa and Andrew's home. Mom nearly fainted with relief at the sight of us - she was still crying. She quickly recounted the story as we waited for Andrew and Marissa to come home. Luckily that's when the shock started wearing off and we were able to see the humor of it all. We laughed all the way home at Andrew instructing her to bash in the window with a rock just because the kids were locked in the car, or that Benson's new favorite word was 'Oh crap'. Mom laughed right along with us once she was assured that nobody was angry with her, and we all still loved her and trusted her with our children. 

We made a pact never to let her drive in anything other than an automatic car though....

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.