Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lost, Found, and Automobiles

Why is it that events always seem to bunch up? Tuesday night brought another storm which resulted in snow and the cancellation of school yet again on Wednesday. Completely unrelated in any way to the weather, we have had "situations" this week. I guess I will resort to a list.

1. Tuesday night the four of us went out to dinner near UW before attending a piano concert by a German pianist. While backing into the perfect parking space in a parking garage, my dear hubby smashed our new Honda Pilot into a cement pillar. I couldn't be mad because I have done worse. The horrible crunching sound just makes you sick and then when you look at the inconveniently placed cement column, you see the colors of the rainbow of the myriad of vehicles who suffered the same fate.

2. We received an upset phone call from the French kids on their travels in California and Nevada. One of the girls left her purse with passport in a hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel promised to mail it to our house for her to receive it by Thursday. Elodi needed the passport to fly back to France on Friday. Elodi is not a student but is the girlfriend of Christophe and she was here to visit him for Christmas break.

3. On Wednesday night, the four French kids returned their rental vehicle to Sea-Tac. A block before the airport, another student returning a rental car slid into them. Our streets were a nightmare and I worried about Lucas driving all the way there to pick them up when people were again abandoning cars along the sides of the freeway because of snow and ice. Luckily, the rental car bump was barely noticable and Lucas retrieved his friends without incident. If he has learned anything in college in Montana, it is how to drive on snow and ice.

4. On Thursday, no package arrived from Las Vegas. Several calls to the French Embassy in San Francisco and the consulate here resulted in advice to postpone Elodi's flight and wait for the package. UPS had a tracking number but no delivery date. We talk to our personal UPS driver as we catch him on our street about the urgency. He did not have it but promised to look into it.

5. In the meantime, on Thursday, my husband lost his palm pilot/cell phone. These days when such a thing happens, a person practically ceases to be alive. No longer does a Dr. Eaton exist without technological proof.

6. On Friday, Lucas decides to take all of his French friends to Pike Place Market. They stop at the bank in Mukilteo first.

Cell phone rings. "Mom! My Jeep won't start. We are in the bank parking lot. Can you come and give us a jump?"

"Lucas! Geez! This may be the death of the Jeep. I promised to take Kaley to Bellevue Square to buy expensive ripped jeans. AND LUCAS---anyway, don't you have the keys to the Chevy Suburban with you??!! I gave them to Christophe so you could look for your Dad's cell in the Chevy yesterday. Listen to me--the Chevy is parked right across the street from where you are now standing. It is in the QFC bus stop parking lot. Listen, you can see the truck--right?"

"Oh--yea. I guess we could leave the Jeep and take the truck. Yea, we have the truck keys right here. Whoa! I never thought of that!"

"Yes, Lucas, you and your Dad can deal with the Jeep tonight. Go in the bank and explain the Jeep will be left for a little while and explain why. I do not want you driving it. Even after a jump, you could make it downtown and be stuck again."

Five "brilliant" children who speak about five languages between them all, cross Mukilteo Speedway and drive away in a 1986 Chevy Suburban. My neck feels tight--really tight right back there on my right side.

7. My husband who no longer exists in this world called me from a land line and said someone at the UW turned in his palm pilot. The message was cryptic and he wan't sure where to pick it up but at least it is found. Dr. Eaton will live again at the UW!

8. Our UPS driver calls me and explains he has a package from a "gambling" hotel in Las Vegas. He wonders if this is the all important little box we are so desperate to receive. "YES, yes. That's it! Oh thank you, thank you. You will leave it on our porch? Good, yes--I've got these ripped jeans.....nevermind. Perfect--yes, behind the brick...Bye!" By two in the afternoon, the package with purse and all of its contents including the French passport arrives safely on our front steps.

9. Elodi manages to confirm her flight back to France for Sunday morning. So, today, Saturday, with passports in hand, the five brilliant children take off to Vancouver, BC for the day...in our smashed Honda Pilot. But before they leave, Dave and Lucas take the extracted Jeep battery which had been charging all night in our garage, up to the bank. They manage to get the Jeep started and to the repair shop. Maybe it is not dead after all--something about an alternator.

10. And also before they leave, the French students explain they do not get Las Vegas or gambling or a fake Eiffel Tower next to a fake Venice. Nor do they understand violent fights in the hockey game last night. And yes, America is bigger than it seems when you try to see the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forests, the Oregon coast and Las Vegas all in one trip. Sacre Bleu!

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picture by Kaley from Mukilteo Beach a few days ago---the wild weather has created unique clouds

Breathe! Neck relax. Breathe. What is this about a peaceful empty nest? Oh, and as I look out the window this moment, it is snowing. Again.