Last night we had our own Series of Unfortunate Events, so... believing that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... I've decided to post my own series of unfortunate events (with a few fortunate events mixed in too... )
R was signed up to participate in the Miss Colorado Pageant last night as a "special princess". It's really a wonderful opportunity for girls connected to Special Olympics to be partnered with one of the Miss Colorado contestants and to be introduced with them on stage at the pageant. We aren't pageant kind of people (it kind of doesn't really go along with mucking out stalls and digging around in the garden!) but we've done it a couple of years anyway... it's fun for R to exchange her normal wardrobe of jeans and mud boots for a dress and heels once in a while.
Anyway... the pageant was last night. It was up in downtown Denver and we had to be there at 5, which meant a 30 mile drive through Friday night (the worst!) rush hour traffic. M was staying home with Ruth (his
Unfortunately Ruth was late getting to the house... which made us late getting on the road. Ruth has been doing respite for us for a couple of years so I didn't think I needed to give her detailed instructions... she knows about M's GI problems and that he can't just eat all the time while we're gone, and she knows he can be edgy and just needs to be "handled" most of the time. So I quickly got out his bedtime meds, told her what I'd planned for them to have for dinner, and we left.
Unfortunately the car was almost out of gas. There was barely enough to get to the gas station... much less all the way to Denver. So we stopped to fill up. It seemed to take forever...
Unfortunately now we didn't have enough time to stop for the prescriptions. The pharmacy isn't open on the weekends, and M couldn't wait until Monday, so a quick call to Joe... Could he pick up the meds? (Fortunately he could... whew... one thing off my plate!)
Unfortunately traffic was terrible... stop and go the whole. way. into. Denver. It was also HOT outside (at least for here) up in the 90's. This will become important later.
Unfortunately I missed my turn for the parking garage (just slightly lost) and was circling around (through downtown Denver at rush hour!) when M called in a panic. R took the call and told him I couldn't talk. I was busy trying to figure out which lane to stay in, where the entrance to the parking garage is, and how to avoid being hit by the taxi the was swerving around me.
Unfortunately M couldn't wait so as I pulled into the parking garage entrance I took the phone from R because, by that time, M was completely falling apart. He was crying and starting to disconnect.. Ruth had tried to force him to do something (or not do something) by threatening him with no dinner. What?! Was she trying to trigger an episode? And anyway... she can't withhold his dinner. M was frightened (when he starts to disconnect he becomes paranoid), afraid to go into the house with her, was in the garage (full of potentially dangerous things) alone, was falling apart, and I was 30 miles away. I paid the parking garage attendant as I talked to M, grabbed the parking stub, and drove through the garage and parked the car without really paying any attention to anything but M.
Fortunately we made it to the pageant in time. R looked stunning, her friend A was there so R was thrilled, and R is independant enough that I was able to keep trying to talk M down while she joined the rehearsal for their part of the pageant. I hung up long enough to call Joe to tell him to get home quickly and get Ruth out the door because M was escalating, then called M back and kept him on the phone until Joe was almost home.
Once the rehearsal was over there was time for pictures with a lovely backdrop (and a professional photographer posing the girls while he also took their pictures). Finally off the phone with M I pulled out the camera to take a slew of pictures of my beautiful daughter...
Unfortunately I'd forgotten the memory card at home, in the computer, and couldn't take a single picture.
The pageant went well. R was paired with "Miss Littleton"... a sweet, lovely, girl, and they had lots of time to visit and plan their short "routine" for the pageant. R looked amazing on stage... so poised and happy. After her part was done we stayed and watched the rest of the pageant, until we were both tired, hungry (no time for dinner earlier, and it was 9:00 by then), and headachy from all the noise and commotion. At intermission we left and headed for the parking garage.
Unfortunately I'd been so busy trying to calm M down when I was parking the car, that I had no memory of parking it. I wasn't worried though.. I'd memorized the elevator we needed to take us to where we had parked. (I did think to do that!) So we took that elevator (level 4, elevator 5) and expected to see the car someplace close.
Unfortunately it wasn' t there. We looked all over level 4 and our car was definitely not there. Poor R's feet hurt by then, but I couldn't just leave her someplace while I found the car, so she followed along behind, sore feet in high heels, as I looked up and down the rows. It seemed unlikely that someone would steal an older Kia Sedona... Where had I left the car?!
Fortunately after 20 minutes or so of looking, I decided to check level 5 elevator 4 and found the car right away. We were sooo happy to see it, and we immediately started deciding where we could find a quick dinner because, after all the walking, we were even more tired and hungry than we had been before.
Unfortunately this parking garage has a policy that without your parking stub you can't leave the lot without paying the maximum parking fee ($33!).
Unfortunately I couldn't find my parking stub (I'd been so focused on calming down M, that who knows where I'd put it!) But I'd already paid... and I was hungry, tired and wanted to go home. I was able to show them the receipt from when I'd paid going into the lot but, at first, that wasn't enough.
Fortunately they decided to make an exception to their rule and let us go... without paying again. (Although I did get a lecture about keeping the stub!)
Unfortunately we'd only driven three blocks when the car died.
Unfortunately it died on Colfax, right in the middle of town, six lanes... cars zooming around us, horns honking. I tried to get it to start... but it was not happening.
Unfortunately R's anxiety immediately kicked into high gear and she was close to total panic, especially when a couple of homeless guys came walking up to her window.
Fortunately they were just asking if they could push us out traffic. I said yes. What sweet guys.
Unfortunately the only place they could push us to was into a bus lane.
Fortunately I have AAA.
Unfortunately they said it would take 90 minutes to get there.
Fortunately R's anxiety was starting to calm down because...
unfortunately I'd left her anxiety medication at home.
Fortunately the tow truck was there in about 45 minutes (much better than 90!)... he hooked up the car and we headed towards home.
Fortunately the tow truck driver was really nice because...
unfortunately it took an hour to get home.
Unfortunately R's anxiety kicked in again, riding in such a BIG and noisy truck and I had to " talk her through" the whole ride home.
Fortunately we got home safe and sound (as did my car) and the tow charge was less than I expected, and the beeping of the tow truck didn't wake M up (who'd had a decent evening once Joe had sent Ruth home, and took him out for dinner!).
Fortunately it appears the car had just vapor locked (too much heat on the slow ride up there) and started right away once we got it home.
Fortunately it didn't break down on the highway or on the way to the pageant.
Fortunately R was still awake enough once we got home, paid the tow truck driver, and ate something (dinner at 11, how cosmopolitan!), for a few pictures.
Fortunately they turned out pretty good. Don't you think?
It was a wild evening, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat for this smile....