The Importance Of Storing Junk In Your Car
The morning started very nicely, I sent ChinchillaBoy off to day camp, walked the dog (this doesn't happen in the dog's life very often so he was thrilled), started a loaf of bread in the breadmaker, and set off to work with the dog dozing off at my feet. Life was perfect. Three hours later, the perfection was suddenly interrupted by pouring rain, thunderstorm, and intermittent power outages. Each time we lost power, it knocked out our wireless router and therefore I lost my VPN connection to work, and had to reconnect again. It was annoying as heck. The breadmaker promptly went out, too; luckily the bread was practically done. It was around noon. How am I going to drive LilProgrammer to the doctor in this weather, I wondered as I hit Reconnect for the twelfth time while munching on fresh bread.
That's when the phone rang.
My "Hello?" was greeted with silence, so I hung up and went to wake LilProgrammer. We were supposed to leave in thirty minutes.
The phone rang again.
"Arrrgh, I don't have time for your games, perv", and I reluctantly picked up the phone.
"Moooom, why'd you hang up on me? You need to pick me up, right now."
"We were in the park, but then the rain started. We're at the school now."
"Okay, I'll be right over. But I may have to take you to LilProgrammer's doctor. We won't have time to drop you off at home."
"Okay." ChinchillaBoy was in an agreeable mood, as usual.
It was 12:35 when we pulled into the school's parking lot. The kids were in the gym. Upon entering the gym, I realized that ChinchillaBoy had omitted an important detail in his story.
The kids were all wearing bathing suits or swimming trunks and nothing else.
As it turned out, the (incredibly heavy) rain had caught them in the park. The counselors didn't know what to do, and told the kids to walk to the nearby school in the rain. The kindergarteners cried all the way. Poor ChinchillaBoy had to bring his bike with him. (We both conveniently forgot to get the bike when I picked him up, but it was still there when we came back in the evening.) By the time they got to the school, everybody's clothes and shoes were soaked, as was the spare change of clothes that we had strategically placed in ChinchillaBoy's backpack.
We were running late. There was no time to drop ChinchillaBoy off at home or get him dry clothes. There was also no way he could walk into a doctor's office barefoot, wearing nothing but his swimming trunks.
This is where the junk in my car comes in.
I am a pack rat. My car is full of stuff that may one day come in handy - books, paper, pens, maps, scissors, printed directions to houses of people that I have not seen for six years. I am afraid to get rid of it because, what if I need it tomorrow and it's not there?
Believe it or not, I even have a plastic container that they gave ChinchillaBoy at the hospital back in 2000, so he could pee in it while he was in bed with an IV. I come across the thing each time I clean my car, and never have the courage to throw it away. What if we're on the road tomorrow, with the next rest area being sixty miles away, and one of the kids has to go REAL BAD? Even if this never happened in six years, I still feel that I should hold on to the pee jar.
I also bring workout clothes to work with me, in case I decide to work out during lunch. (In the end, I always decide against it, and in favor of good warm food.)
I told ChinchillaBoy to dig through my workout clothes. Lo and behold, he found an Old Navy tank top. It was a nice lavender color.
"Put it on, ChinchillaBoy."
"No!! I won't. It’s a girl's top. It will be embarrassing."
"Dude, it will be more embarrassing if you don't wear it. Now, put it on."
Luckily, there was also a jacket lying in the back, a memory of a cold day sometime weeks ago. ChinchillaBoy put the jacket over the tank and zipped it up all the way to the top.
"Now, the shoes."
"Do I have to wear shoes?"
"Yes, nobody's allowed in the doctor's office without shoes."
"Do you have extra shoes?"
"I have something under the seat. A pair of flip-flops or something."
"Are they girly?" - ChinchillaBoy asked me in an alarmed voice.
I thought about it. The flip-flops did have a flower design.
"Yeah... I guess so. But do you have a choice? Oh, wait" - I remembered.
"My sandals are in the car. Check them out. They're pretty manly."
ChinchillaBoy dug into my workout bag and pulled out a pair of Rockports.
"Okay, I guess", he managed in a feeble voice.
Five minutes later, the three of us walked into the doctor's office. ChinchillaBoy led the way, in a warm jacket that was zipped up to the top in the ninety-degree heat, a pair of swimming trunks, and his Mom's sandals. Amazingly, everything matched. LilProgrammer and I followed, trying hard not to chuckle.
For some reason, ChinchillaBoy kept saying,
"You owe me, Mom. You owe me."
ChinchillaBoy spent an hour in the waiting room. He met a number of people and had conversations with them. No one called CPS or whipped out a camera. So I guess we got off easy. Not counting, of course, ChinchillaBoy's future therapy bills, but I figure he'll have a job by that time and will pay for them himself.
He should consider himself lucky that his Mom favors unisex clothes.
I am, however, planning to increase my car storage to include a full change of clothes and shoes for each one of my children.
I need a bigger car.