Monday, September 28, 2009

keep a 20$ in your glovebox, keep your dignity

In this episode, if you were smartmama...

You might go for a weekend in Maine with your husband and kids and put your wallet and phone in your camera bag (save the number of the things you are schlepping).

Then on Monday morning you wake up so tired you think you're going to die. You are so tired because you have this crazy cough and every time you lay down you cough and you can't sleep (knowing you have 10 hrs to clear your system so at the reassurance of your husband you take a partial dose of some medicine that might make you a bit drowsy in hopes of actually sleeping that night so you can function the next day knowing you have to drive alot and alertness is key) However the cough breaks through the meds, and the drowsy medicine effects linger coupled with the drowsy effects of another medication you've been on for a week. Still you manage to get up at 5 something and teach a class to high school students.

You then dress your two youngest children, the smallest of which has been in terrible whiny funk for two days which would test the patience of job, and you hurriedly feed them toast and juice because the grocery store is also on today's crammed to-do list- dire straits- no milk, no yogurt. You manage to get out the door, leaving instructions for the final school preparations with for son #1 with your husband as you load you kids up in the car to be to at an appointment in western mass at 8:30 am. Even though you are incredibly drowsy there are no alternatives so you figure you'll stop at a mass pike Mc'ds along the way for OJ and hashbrowns to keep you going and grab a few candy bars in case of total sleepy desperation.

As you get on the pike you realize your gas in nearing E (The trip to western mass is about 1 hr and 10 minutes). No sweat we'll stop and get gas at a rest stop and hit the McD's. I pull into the plaza and reach for my wallet.

No wallet (wallet is in camera bag at home remember it went to maine) So you reach for the emergency $10 you keep in your glove box, only the emergency $10 turns out to be an emergency $1 (the $10 must have been used for some other emergency). Next you scour the change drawer which is generally relatively stocked and plentiful only to find it raided (post Maine trip meter parking). So you figure you'll call someone, only your phone too is in your camera bag. What to do? $1 in gas will neither get you home or two your destination.

So you ask the man in the car behind you if by chance he has a dollar you could have and you would give him two packs of skittles a small twix (I didn't have much to barter with) He obliges and finds he only has a single 1 and 20s.

You graciously accept the $1 to add to your 2.47 which you carry into the station with your 2 whining kids - because prepaying with cash even 3.47 must be done in the store 20 yards away. You explain your plight to the cashier. You realize at this point you look a bit shifty. Quite possibly bordering on looking rather like a vagrant. And are seeing marked similarities between your story and "those people" who approach you for train and bus fare in the seedier parts of town needing to visit someone. While you're normally a pretty put together person the ealy hour of teaching and departure resulted in minimal beautification. Yesterdays make-up remnant, roughly brushed hair, glasses, jeans and a t-shirt.

You explain your plight to the cashier as your baby wails. I asked her if she could run my cc if I knew the number, only I didn't have photo id? I did have car registration? She said I could talk to dee her manager and use the phone if i needed to call my husband (30 min away). I asked Dee if any such unusual credit card purchase could be made if I could get the number from my husband. She went of to call the manager. Meanwhile I began to make a mental inventory the contents of my honda odyssey wondering what I could barter with or use as collateral to get ot western mass:
-The anntqiue plates I bought in Maine for my best friends dinig room wall ,
- the broken vintage phone (for a future painting prop),
- the boxes of rare vintage star wars action figures I also bought in maine for my son for Christmas.
-the circa 1970's empire strikes back dinner glass (also for Christmas).
-a half full box of 100% juice capri sun's I keep int he trunk for emergency.
-one can a great value mushrooms (an escapee from my last grocery run)
-Stuart little DVD, Thomas and friends Halloween DVD
-one Mo-Tab Cd, one Painting mix CD
-one glass plate
-one pair of gap toddler tennis shoes
-one blue ocotpus waterball
If no one wanted any of those things maybe I could sell my shirt, it was a nice t-shirt from H&M practically new. I could just zip up my fleece so no one knew. Should I line them up yard sale styel on my hood?

Collateral options...IPOD, GPS, wedding ring, I guess there was also a dirty well loved stroller, backpack and two pretty cute children.

After making my inventory, Dee returned and said her manager authorized them to give me $10 in gas so $7 in addition to my 3 and gave me back my $.47. I asked for the address and promised to repay the kindness in full with a note commending them for their good faith in humanity in times of crisis! I returned to the car, pumped my gas, had to forgo the much needed OJ, and drove drowsily to Western Mass and drowsily home relying only on my candy bar stash and prayer!

The rest of the day involved continual screaming by #3, wal-mart popcorn chicken being thrown on the checkout floor. So yes today was Stellar with a fat sarcastic capital S.

(Now about the gas station, you'd think I would've learned my lesson 5 yrs ago when a similar incident occurred going eastbound on the mass pike and I had to hit up the fellow driver behind me for 2$ in exchange for 3 unopened bottles of water. )

So lesson of the day, keep a $20 in your glove box and keep your dignity and avoid risking getting picked up for panhandling on the pike.

and mom and dad when you read this I know you will be laughing but also worrying that i will find myself in just such a situation again and i'm sure insist that I hide various sums around my car to avoid such future repeats.

1. kind drivers 2. believing people can be honest 3. tomorrow will be a new day (unless I die today)


Smilin' sunshine said...

Seriously? That is what I am thinking!! Sadly, I can so see that happening!

The sun should come out tomorrow(while I am sitting in front of your house unfortunately!)

Hope the rest of your day goes well!

Becky said...

My GOODNESS!!! Glad everything turned out okay, and I'm grateful that the store was able to get you enough gas to get where you needed to go. Honesty is GREAT! :)

The Benton Biz said...

Wow! That's a rough day! Definitely a story for the record books! I have never thought to stash cash in my car. Good idea! It's a good thing that this happened to you, and not someone like me cause I prob would have just sat in my car and cried. I would not have thought to be as resourceful as you were! Here's hoping today is much better!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the suggestion, but you do not address the real problem which led to your post: You clearly had the emergency funds in your glove box until you used them (on what? and why didn't you replace them?), so perhaps a follow-up post (or comment) could address the authorized use and replenishing of said funds.

Loved the bartering.

Anonymous said...

YIKES!! What a day.

LL said...

oh Les. I have the same emergency stash of cash in my car...only mine is for diet coke emergencies :) not gas.
Glad it worked out. HOW ABOUT next time, YOU LET ME TAKE YOUR KIDS!!!!
At least that way, you could have done all this in silence :)
really, that's what we are here for.
and SORRY you're sick!!!! :(

Nightingale said...

W.O.W. (reminds self to get emergency cash IMMEDIATELY.) I rarely go to, say, Maine, but my husband does often help himself to "the checkbook" without the understanding that if the checkbook is attached to, say, my WALLET, and "the checkbook" is upstairs on the desk, and I am in the car at the grocery store with three children, a gallon of milk, a bunch of meat and dessert for FHE, I am NOT going to be happy when I get to the checkout. And i'm NOT going to go home and come back for it. So, yeah, I'm TOTALLY going to put said hiddn 20 in my car. Where in the world can I hide it in a minivan where nobody will remember it's there and think "OOOH, chocolate...."

smart mama said...

I will admit to being unprepared- a cardinal sin in my family of origin. Remember when i didn't get the calaphalon katana knife for christmas because they were worried my life was too crazy to handle such knife responsibility (this was about 2 yrs ago).

What the emergency was- I don't know i actually remmebr putting the $11 in there after said gas station pnahandling a few years ago, but what emergency since required it... hmm maybe paying a friend for something, someplace that didn't take a CC when i didn't have cash, (I NEVER carry cash- after a traumatic jr high incident in which I lost a 10$ bill), maybe field trip money i remmebred at the last minute, or maybe I just got craving a friendly's ice cream sundae (or maybe one fo my kids or a thief stole it!). I am sure it went to a good cause- I will immediately go put in the new $20!

sweetpea said...

I'm putting a $20 in my glovebox right now!

Jenny said...

I seriously love the cartop yard sale idea. Smart mama, HONESTLY! You need to write a book.
Thanks for the laugh!
(sorry it was at your expense)

sherry said...

Your Dad says he still loves you, even if you committed such a "cardinal" family sin. He says use VACU traveler's checks instead of cash. He says he doesn't want to trade you his crazy day of trying to capture the chickens that got out after the storm for your crazy day. Remember we love you lots.

Char said...

Imagining you doing all this had me giggling right out loud.

Trentadue Tidbits said...

good stuff.

Bountiful Blessings said...

you have me in stitches...thank you for realizing i'm not the only one with days like these.

Reluctant Nomad said...

Well I definitely wouldn't buy you a sharp knife after that incident. ;)

It might make you feel better to know that you have more 'food' in your car than I do in my refrigerator.

Andrea said...

This is so crazy but I can actually see and hear you bargaining with the McDonald's workers. You've always been resourceful, LOL.

I love it when your mom comments. She is the cutest.

Tamlynn said...

Just reading that gave me a headache. Though you did have some fun stuff in your car.

Trueman twins said...

Oh what a story! Thanks for keeping me enthused. I will now keep $ in my car since I am forever switching cars with Paul and 1/2 the time my purse ends up in the one I am NOT driving.

Suzie Soda said...

Too too funny. You are so creative and look honest. I would give you exchange for some chocolate. xoxox

Blue said...

when i first read this (back when you published it), i thought to myself "i'm so going to do that". but i STILL haven't! and today i discovered that the credit card my company sent me was a temporary one, which expired at the end of October. and the store didn't take checks or AMEX. so thankfully i had a bag of change in my car for the past few years, and who knew it had over $10 in pennies, nickels dimes and quarters (Mostly pennies).

the cashier was very gracious about it. and i am so goingto put a $20 in my car now! ♥