Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dying for a present

Snow Day….er, except without the snow. Instead, this 2nd school-free day in a row was sponsored by the Plumber’s Association and the Bloke who Unloaded the Pipe-Clogging Turd. For me it just meant another day battling 4-year-old boredom while struggling to write a manuscript. Oh, right…and yet ANOTHER day that I couldn’t venture out for Lever’s present.


So it came right down to the wire. I woke up today, Lever’s birthday, crossing my fingers that the plumbers had sorted things out, that the rain would let up, and that I wouldn’t get desperately lost on the way to procure Lever’s present. In typical form, once I found myself free—thanks to school re-opening, I managed to procrastinate leaving the house with a million meaningless tasks. I finally printed my directions, swallowed all my misgivings, jumped on my bike, and headed towards the forest…

Considering that I had never ventured anywhere significant by myself in the 4 weeks that I had been living here, except by foot....oh right, and then there’s the fact that my route involved a foray in the woods that I had seen only once before….oh, and the fact that the path was of the nature, “Turn left by the old oak tree, then take a right at the thin, pine-needle path, etc.”…oh and of course, the last half of the trip was a combination of bad google map directions and my own improvising….it was a MIRACLE that I found the shop in the next town over 4-5 miles away. I was mud-spattered and wet and more importantly, seriously regretting the white shirt and no bra combination. But hey, bike store, Baby, I made it (and maybe a wet t-shirt discount, too…eh? eh?) I made my purchase, frequently glancing at my watch and acutely aware that I had a mere 40 minutes to pick Noe up from school (and I DID get a discount, but I’m guessing the guy was just trying to butter me up for future sales.)

I sped towards home trying to remember every turn and bend in reverse while ignoring my muddy, aching thighs. It worked for a surprisingly large part of the journey, until a young, camouflage-clad man standing next to a red flag stopped me. Erm…right, gravel road in the middle of nowhere…pretty empty except for the large gathering of military men in a field. He told me that I couldn’t go on, that they were conducting detonations and were “live” at the moment. I put on my best smile and in my American accent pleaded that I couldn’t find my way home unless I could continue on the path. He looked at me sympathetically and walked back to his unit to inquire about the situation. Happily, the British army let me go and I steered around their live ammo.

I did make it to pick up my darling 4-yr-old, a mere 5 minutes late, with the Birthday gift in my backpack. I was tired and very satisfied, having braved the wily paths and the dangerous roads of Farnborough and Fleet, UK….

Cheers my dear Love, Lever. Happy Birthday!