Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Public Service Announcement

I have deliberated long and hard about whether or not to post this tale for fear that you might think less of me or deem me an unfit mother. But in the end, if you know anything of me, you know me to be capable of only the most obscure blunders with the wackiest outcomes. My mother is always quick to point out that even as a child I was never the one to simply get a virus or an infection -- it had to be the hardest to get, most uncommon form. For example, every time I got strep throat, I got some funky strain that gave me a rash and caused numbness in my hands. In fact, following Ella's dramatic birth, the doctor pointed out that what happened with the placenta was extremely uncommon, and in my mother's gentlest sensitivy she says "Oh, I'm not surprised. She's never been normal."

Back to the story...

Yesterday, in the midst this endless blizzard of heat, I was making a mad dash to Barnes and Noble to get a few last minute gifts for the joint birthday celebration that I was hosting that night for my mom, sister, and Pat. In my haste, I locked my daughter in the car. In my defense, the passenger door is NEVER locked when I'm driving. I rarely even lock my car. I assume I must have hit the power lock button without thinking as I got out of my door, after having thrown my keys into my bag that I planned to grab after getting E from her car seat on the other side of the car. (I know that's an excessive explanation, but I feel the need to account for my negligence.) Anyway, as I reach to open the passenger door as I make my usual goofy faces at Ella through the window, my ultimate horror is realized. She's stuck in there, and its at least 92 degrees outside. I quickly solicited the help of a woman exiting her van. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. Not knowing who to call, she quickly dialed 911 on my behalf. It seemed like an extreme number to dial, but we quickly agreed that a baby in a car when its that hot is as much of an emergency as we can think of. The first 911 operator -- in ARIZONA, transferred me to Indiana, who transferred me to Indianapolis, who finally transferred me to the local authorities. Thank goodness for bored suburban police officers. The response was quick, and he was attempting to open my car door within 5 minutes of our call. Thankfully E and I have a long history of making faces at each other through the window of the car, so she was still convinced that I was playing our usual game for an extended period. This whole charade was still cracking her up in spite of the sweat that was starting to pour from her brow. Thankfully she had chugged some water on the trip there, so I at least could be confident that she was well hydrated.

Once the officer set to work on the lock, the good/bad news was that its difficult to pop the lock of a Honda, and he could not get the lock open with any of his tools. With no time to spare just dabbling in the art of lock popping, more drastic measures needed to be taken. So you know what that means...he broke the glass! I thought he'd present some fancy "glass breaking tool" for the job, but instead he just pulls out his club and back hands my window. Whoa! "Safety Glass" being what it is, shattered into, literally, millions of pieces. It wasn't until this point that Ella cried, but she was fine the moment she was retrieved from the car. Sum total, I doubt she was in there more than 15 minutes. While the officer stewed over whether or not she need to be evaluated by a physician for dehydration, she was ejecting discs and deleting info from the laptop in his car. Needless to say, she was fine. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

Of course I was left with a car full of glass -- "safety glass" in every crevice of my small coupe. These are the moments that you're thankful to live in close proximity to family (even if it means living in corn-u-strip-mall-ia) because my mother came to the rescue, taking E back to her house in order for me to deal with the mess I had caused.

The results ended up being about 2 solid hours of vacumming yesterday afternoon, and 3 hours of time killing while waiting for my glass to be repaired this morning. A small penance for a potentially terrible mistake. Down several dollars in my checking account after the glass repair bill, I'm trying to decide where a spare key could be kept in order to prevent a repeat performance of yesterday's steamy drama.

I wasn't sure how my negligence would be received, but obviously my mother thinks that most would think less of me. She, the one who is beacon for all that is truthful, was asking me what lie I wanted to tell my sister and brother-in-law as to why we were killing time in the area when we met them for lunch today. I suggested we just tell them that Big Sister is a Big Idiot followed by the details of yesterday's event, but as soon as we sat down to lunch with them she exclaims "Julia and Ella are with me today because I needed them to help me pick out new glasses" without even their solicitation for the reason of our visit to there part of town. Wh We did, indeed, pick out glasses for her while we were killing time, but it was obviously not our prime motivation for being in the area. So you, if you're still reading this, since I've left no detail of the story unstated, can think less of me if you choose, but perhaps you'll think twice before you lock your loved ones in the car in 90 degree weather.

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