The perfectionist in me has been working on my blog layout for over a week. Promising myself each night, “I will post my first piece tomorrow after I find and create the perfect design.” Truth is I was stalling because I could not decide what to write about. I mean, the go-getter-me has a list of 50 or most potential topics I need to check of my list, but I had no idea where to start. That was until BOOM it hit me, literally. Well let me rephrase that, our truck was literally hit with a BOOM, last night then I knew exactly what I was going to write about. The unplanned.
Saturday started out like any recent weekend mornings, wake up to the glorious sound of the baby crying for milk and the toddler demanding to “eat now,” before we can even wipe the sleep off our faces. We determined in that very moment that it would be a “great idea” to drive to New York for the day to visit the New York Auto International Auto Show. We are trying to determine which new ride might actually fit: two car seats, a double stroller, a diaper bag, the bag with all the extra stuff kids need/want/cry for/cry without, and potential additional passengers. So we rushed to get up, get dressed, feed the kids, change the kids, change the kids again, pack, and two hours later we were on the road.
The drive was nice. J was in the back crying because he wanted to watch his cartoons on the iPad, but was not allowed because he gets car sick. So an hour into the ride he was finally asleep and so was baby K. I finally had a minute to myself to work on my “About Me,” for my blog design. Thinking back I know now that this was just another one of my foretelling episodes I clearly chose to ignore. It happens all the time to me. Sometimes moments strike me as strange, other times thoughts run through my head about whats to come, in other instances I clearly see what will occur and I do what I must with the information. Recently though, it is hard to decipher those “ah-ha” moments into usable information because the kids have me every which way and backwards. So I clearly missed yesterday’s message.
I began my about me with the following, “A 30-something-year-old, Type A, go-getter meets motherhood, then BAM nothing goes as planned.” The word bam was written in all caps and I still missed the sign. I do not believe that I have written “Bam” in any shape or form since elementary school. Still I wrote it plain and simple and followed it with the closer about life never following my plans. I closed my laptop and proceeded to enjoy the remainder of our drive to the city as I snapped videos of the crazy rainy weather, the big rig that was weaving through traffic and I happened to call the highway patrol about, the New Yorkers that jaywalk and curse at drivers as they are nearly hit, the NYC construction workers that yelled at us for following the directions of their guy with the “slow” sign and me yelling back in my best cursed-filled reply, the fact that parking for two hours cost us $52 plus tip, and finally that there was a line 3-blocks deep (35 minutes) just to enter the convention center for the auto show. But it was an adventure I enjoyed with kids and husband in tow.
As this was our second trip to the city, I was a bit more savvy about how to best travel with the two kids. We only took one of two stroller seats and the baby carrier so as to avoid the angry and pitty-filled looks from city dwellers alike that we would even consider leaving the house with two kids. I guess it is more appealing to strangers to be hit in the back of the legs at stop walks by a single seat stroller as opposed to my standard little’s inline limo-stroller. Of course, J refused to stand on the stroller scooter and insisted he sit in K’s seat. So we carried K the entire time we walked around the city until J decided he wanted to lay in the stroller basket. Yes, J made himself more than comfortable in the basket of the stroller seat while we walked about the city. By this point K was fast asleep so I carried her through an achy back until she woke up, at which time J was ready to sit down in her seat again. So I carried her some more.
After two hours of analyzing cars (serious business between the husband and I) we were exhausted and ready to head back home. During our initial drive back to our little quiet island, we drove through some pretty nasty weather. I was white knuckling and cursing the weather and my husband the entire time. We had planned for some rain during our drive but nothing compared to the storm we rode through for two hours. When the weather finally calmed down my husband decided it was best to stop for food and to fill up the tank. Mostly I think he wanted to keep me distracted during the remainder of the drive with food. It probably would have worked if things had gone as he had planned.
When we pulled into the gas station the smell of spilled gas filled the pumping area. The husband and I did not think much of this and he proceeded to try to fill the tank. With the door open I searched the bags of food for ketchup until the manager of the station came out and shouted to all the customer, “We are out of gas.” I thought that was a bit strange but figured they sold out over the weekend and we would just find another station. As the husband sat back into the truck and asked for the keys to start the ignition, he closed his door then BOOM. Our truck was rocked by an explosion of white substance that surrounded the entire station. It was impossible to see anything and I screamed and continued to scream until I saw the look of fear in J’s eyes. I stopped myself and yelled at the husband to drive as quickly as he could away from the pump. I believed that we were being sprayed with gasoline and that the station or the pump was going to explode. The reality was, the manager of the station had without warning, activated an emergency extinguishing powder that is intended to put out fires, not gas leaks. Thankfully we were alright, only a bit shaken which is more than we can say for some of the other customers who happen to be outside their vehicles when the powder was released.
Once the powder settled and we were safely away from the pump, mama bear came out in full affect. I was livid that my toddler just saw my lose myself for a few seconds and that we had not been given any sort of warning. I immediately jumped out of the truck and proceeded to run toward the manager who did not have a clue on how to handle this sort of situation. Looking back I probably could have handled myself a little nicer but Los Angeles-me was out for blood. The manager was trying to get everyone to leave most likely because he did not want to have to explain himself, but I refused. I yelled at him for his careless actions, demanded his name and the name of his supervisor. Perhaps it is the New England nature to kindly sit back and wait for things to be explained to them or maybe they were all still dazed and confused from the fumes we were all inhaling. Regardless, I was having none of it. We were the first family to be checked out by the fire fighters, EMTs and have our report filed with the local police officer. I made it very clear that I was not going to just drive away with my black truck covered entirely in white powder without a loud exit.
The drive home was a bit surreal. J was clearly shaken, I reliving every little step before the explosion and kept thinking that I should have been less dramatic during the rain storm so that the husband would not have felt the need to stop. We both said to each other that if we were really going to have to go out that evening, that at least we would have all been together. It is a sad notion and one that no one ever wants to acknowledge but I count my blessings for the little family we have created.
Thankfully, the husband and all his work training really paid off in that moment. He remained composed and focused when I lost both. This is why I think we work so well together. He keeps his composure when I cannot, then once we are out of a storm and need to pick up the pieces, I jump in an initiate the cleanup barking orders and checking off to-do lists.
I am a firm believer that everything is meant to happen the way it does. This is why I also believe in signs and being in tune with future events. I knew that morning that there was going to be some sort of BAM or BOOM in my day, I just did not know the form. Therefore, as much as I would love to think that I am in total control of my own plans (as much control as I can be in with 2 kids), the plans are already written. Which means I need to be less hard on myself for the unplanned and just wing it sometimes. We might be hit with a BAM or a BOOM every once in a while, but if you make it out it alive the only thing that really matters are the steps you take to get to the other side. In my case, I will probably initially let out a scream, compose myself, then lead with my fists.
Even with all the micro-adventures we faced this past Saturday, each hour I spent with our littles outside of our island was perfect. J has stated that he “loves New York,” the husband feels validated in the means by which he handled a scary situation with his family in tow as was able to keep us safe, K is learning to handle longer road trips and I know that we and the littles can handle any rough weather and boom that comes our way.