Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lessons Learned and Time for Introspection

One never knows just when you're going to get smacked up along side the head with a revealing life lesson.  And just how small an incident and unique a chain of events can lead up to that life lesson.

My head is full of stuff right now. That's my excuse. Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. I will pick up my daughter at the Denver airport, and we're off for a week long girls ROAD TRIP of the Colorado Rockies.  On our itinerary is Garden of the Gods, Ghost Towns, the Durango Silverton Railroad, Zip Lining the rockies, Mesa Verde.  Great scenery, great time together.  Lots to get ready, lots on my mind.

The trip notebook is only just over an inch thick and in an amazing display of letting go of control, it was mailed to my daughter months ago.  What I have left is the two-page daily itinerary and the packing list.

Now on to what else was going on. Spent half a day in the office working even though my vacation officially began today. Just a few loose ends to tie up. That and the fact that two tanking trips over the weekend made a day sleeping in and going to work at noon feel REALLY good.

I am driving my son's 1993 Cadillac, which really is a sweet car although the stereo could be a little better. Hard to crank the Dropkick Murphys after a long day at work when the speakers have been blown.  Really young man, you're 18 years old!  Shouldn't you have a decent stereo in your car? So that's my second excuse - an unfamiliar car.

The young men borrow the pilot for an adventure down at Lake of the Ozarks, where they had a wonderful time and got home early afternoon. #3 son spent the weekend up on the Niobrara.  So the entire Nebraska Outback clan (excluding those in California and Idaho) were water rats this weekend.

Back to the events of the afternoon. Hopped into my sons car after work, cranked, what little cranking that meant, the stereo and headed home. Just at the west end of the North Platte City cemetery on Rodeo Road it died.  According to the electronic read out, I had 50 miles left. But who in their right mind would trust the readout on a car that's 16 years old. So, highway 30 kinda busy that time of night.  Popped the flashers on and a kind gentleman with a tow strap towed me safely around a corner to a quiet street.

Now is where the lesson comes in.  Or maybe it isn't a lesson at all.  Maybe it's just a revelation of the way things are.

Not once did it even occur to me to fix the problem myself. When I explain further, you'll understand.  I called my #3 son, the 21 year old, whom I knew was home, although home was 20 miles away. "Please bring a can of gas down and get me out of this situation."

Kudos to the boy.  He hopped in the car took the gas can to the station, filled it up and came to my rescue in record time.  When he had finished filling the car, he had an amused half-grin on his face.  He walked to the end of the street where my car had been towed. His grin got bigger, but had understanding and tolerance underlying the humor.  He motioned me to him and pointed. There, actually less than a block away was a gas station.

"Mom," he said. "All gas stations sell little one-gallon cans. You could have walked over there, got a gallon of gas, then drove back to fill up."

Yeah, I could have.  And the part that slaps me in the face, is that it never even occurred to me. I never stopped to truly think of where I was and where the stations were that were nearby, and that I didn't have to call anyone for help, I could just get it taken care of.

What kind of person am I, exactly, that that thought never occurred to me?  Can I really be trusted on a week long road trip alone with my daughter? (The new Ford F150 does have roadside assistance.  I know the Mister is relieved).  My only excuse is that I've got too much going on to stop and pay attention to the little things that need to get done.  Either that or I'm an airhead.  Could go either way.

So the lessons learned are this - Keep gas in the car (goes without saying). Pay attention to what's going on and think a problem through before getting others involved. Don't get over confident. Even an uberorganizer like me is going to forget some details. I'm not as good as I think I am. And the tables are turning - the young ones are there to help out in a pinch. 

Thanks for stopping by.  The coffee is always on.  I've heard it's good for the memory and cognitive functions.  Perhaps I'll drink more.

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