(Editor's Note: Read Part 1 here ...)
The only answer? Call AAA. By the grace of God and Buddha and everyone else, I started carrying my phone with my when I run to track my miles. There was a time, just like two months ago, where that would not have been an option.
I called them. They gave me a 45 minute window. That would put me at about an hour before guests were supposed to arrive. Still enough time to get my shopping in and get to the adoption center, definitely not enough time to shower. Despite that, I tried to go for a run, but I couldn’t really get into it. I was too nervous. Instead I went over to a small playground and messed around on the monkey bars and stretched to pass the time.
Then I wandered the park. Multiple times. About an hour later, a full fifteen minutes late, the AAA driver pulls into the lot. I’m starting to panic at this point. My window is shrinking. He lets me into my car, asks for an ID. I go to retrieve it from the trunk and nothing. I left my ID in the pants I was wearing the night before. I own and wear far too many pants. Again by the grace of all things, he was willing to accept me knowing where I’d hidden my keys and my registration as proof that it was actually my car.
I put the clothes I left the house in back on top of my running clothes and began driving like mad, well as mad as a guy who doesn’t have a license on him can possibly drive. First stop, beer store. I bought two cases and spent far too much time making up my mind on which kind. In order to make up lost minutes, I went to the grocery store located across the street instead of the further away one which I know a lot better.
I walked in, bought the necessary vegetables and then got lost trying to find the rest of the taco stuff. I asked a guy for help. He gave me two aisles they could be found in. He wasn't sure exactly. I ran up and down the aisles. No taco stuff. Before I could ask someone else I found what I needed, one aisle over from the two he’d given me. I tore through self-checkout. I had about twenty minutes before the party was supposed to start. I was mortified someone would get there early. As I was walking out of the grocery store, I made the call to the fiancée. She sounded annoyed, but agreed to meet me.
The race was on. The adoption center was probably equidistant from my house and the grocery store. While driving over, I realized, I couldn’t risk pulling into that lot in case she beat me there. I elected to pull into the lot of the Best Buy next to the adoption center and just make up some story about how I went in there before going to my volunteer gig.
The whole ride over, I feared her beating me and I also feared running into her, since we were both basically going from the same place to the same place. No call came from her announcing she was at the adoption center and I never saw her car. I pulled into the lot of the Best Buy, exited my car, put my keys into my pocket and then my phone rang. It was her. She was at the adoption center. I told her my true location. I’d beaten her by mere seconds.
She gave me my spare set with the scowl of someone who had to give up part of their Saturday to make an unplanned for trip. I can’t blame her. I would have never stopped complaining to her had the roles been reversed. She set off for home. I paused to send a message alerting the families she was on her way back. By that point she was long ahead of me. I resigned myself to the fact that she would beat me home and walk into the house, be surprised and I wouldn’t be there. It was cool.
My day had started out with a huge bit of bad luck, but since that point my luck had been scary good and the day had one more piece of good luck in store. Somehow, against all logic and reason, I managed to catch up to her on the ride home. It was baffling.
We drove back, we walked to the door together, she opened said door and BAM! Surprise. Everyone had a lovely evening. Near the tail end of it, I walked over to the majestic fountain which we have in our backyard and stood, silently watching it. Reflecting on everything I’d gone through to get there. A small smile broke across my face and after a few moments, I walked away, unsure of what adventures the future would hold, but ready to face them head on.
And blog about them.In excruciating detail.