Thursday, September 16, 2010

Labor Day Journey - Part 1

We had a long- drawn out adventure from September 1 to September 12 - family reunion while camping in Missouri, then some time off for Matt and I while the kids stayed in Dallas. Here goes:

Aug. 31st: Matt drove up to the farm in order to leave early the next day to go dove hunting with his dad in Cameron, TX. He left the Blazer there at the farm, necessitating a return to the farm on our way back (which comes later).

Sept.1: I loaded up kids and dog about 10 or so and we started the 2.5 hour drive to Cameron. The plan was to picnic in the city park and pick up Matt around 2 pm to continue the drive up to Dallas. We made it 1.5 hours and then Addison had to pee, so we stopped at McDonalds for a potty break/brief play time. Casey was still in the car, so we couldn't stay long. Since we still had another hour drive, I decided to feed the kids in the car, to get them fed and also to keep Ryan occupied, since the DVD player only holds his attention for so long. We picked up Matt in Cameron and drove to Waco for a *quick* pit stop in the Burger King at I-35, around 2:25.

The next 3 hours.....

I took Addie potty, and had my phone and two sippy cups in my hand. I set my phone on top of the toilet paper roll and left it there while we washed hands and I rinsed out my cups. Addie went to the play place for 2 minutes while we waited for Matt and Ryan. Two girls were eating and left while I was waiting - otherwise the restaurant was empty. We got in the car, pulled out of the lot and then I remembered that I left my phone. At the first light, Matt made a U turn and I ran back inside. The phone was gone.

Matt immediately called the phone, and someone answered it, but didnt' talk. He could hear rustling and voices in the background. He tried calling it several more times but it kept going to voicemail, as the line was open. No one else had come into the restaurant - the parking lot was nearly empty. We weren't sure what to do - it was obvious someone had taken the phone, but who, and what could we do about it? Matt wisely installed two great apps on my phone when we first got it. One of them allows you to text a certain word to the phone from another phone and it will automatically turn the volume all the way up and start ringing the phone. Even if you put it on silent. We tried this to no avail - Matt even went in the BK to see if he could hear it ringing. The other app allows you to text "GPS" to my phone, and my phone will send 2 messages back, one with the GPS coordinates and one with a Google Maps location. That app worked and it said the phone was still at BK. While we were discussing all this outside (with kids still in the car, and the dog), an employee on her break came up and said that she heard us talking and that while she didn't want to get in trouble, she said she didn't like anyone she worked with and wouldn't put it past any of them to steal someone's phone. Matt decided to go in and explain our dilemma to the manager, since there was really no other place the phone could be but inside with an employee. The manager was very helpful and talked to his district manager, who drove down to the store. They did make the employees turn out their pockets, but by this time others had gone on break, out to their cars, or maybe could have stashed the phone under a bunch of stuff in a storage closet.

All this time, I'm trying to keep the kids entertained while tearing apart the car, on the off chance that maybe it fell out of my purse and somehow managed to answer itself, or maybe it was buried and we couldn't hear it ring. I was mortified that somehow I lost the phone in my car and here Matt was inside practically accusing an employee of stealing it. The kids did really well watching a movie, and Ryan managed to get the pack of diapers and pulled them all out. That did not assist me in my car search for the phone.

Matt decided to get serious and told the manager, in front of some employees, that he was going to call the police. I mean, the last thing either of us wanted to do was spend time at a police station in Waco with kids and dog, over a $200 phone, but on the other hand, it was clearly stolen by someone who was right there in front of us, so I thought maybe someone would freak out and just give it back . Of course, they'd be fired on the spot, I'm sure, and no one confessed. Matt did call the police, and since their station happened to be less than a mile from where we were, we decided to go down and see, briefly, if they could do anything. It was actually the Lacy Lakeview PD, and was very low-key. I went in while Matt stayed in the car (the kids were supposed to be napping, ha), and explained my situation to an officer. She was new, so she called another one out to help her. I was very skeptical while telling them about the GPS app, which was our only proof that the phone was still at BK, but both cops were impressed and seeemed to take that as evidence. I'm pretty sure in Houston the cop would have made a face and sent me back out the door, but in LL, they were on the case! Sort of. After about 30 minutes of them talking in the back room and calling the BK manager, a couple of them decided to drive down to BK. In the meantime, I told Matt to go back to BK and try to call the phone again, while standing outside cars in the lot,thinking that if someone had stashed it in their car during a break, we might be able to hear it there. We knew the phone wasn't turned off, because the GPS messages still kept coming from the phone whenever we'd message it. So Matt went down there and the cops went too. I sat in the station for a good hour waiting, pacing, talking to the dispatcher to see if she'd heard anything on the radio. At one point, she said they asked to run a license plate and were searching a car, so I was hopeful. But then Matt came back with the cops and kids and dog with nothing. One employee had voluntarily let them search his car. At this point, there was nothing that anyone else could legally do, and although we really didn't want to just write off the phone, we were still stuck in Waco with two kids and a dog. So I asked the police about officially filing a report and got the papers to take with us - if I did file, I was going to do it that night and fax the papers to the station. During this whole time, the kids did not sleep, but were very very good.

We finally left the Burger King and headed up to Dallas, getting there a little after 6. Addison and Camryn hugged and played and we ate, then put kids down to bed and helped load a few things into Mom's trailer. In the rain. At 10 pm that night, the manager from BK called and said his last employee left, and he wanted us to check the GPS thing one more time. It was still showing at BK.

Next morning - we get up, let the kids play, and are in the car by 9:15. Casey stayed at my mom's house with my sister, Caitlin, who had to stay in town to teach dance class that weekend. My mom and Camryn left shortly after with the trailer. The drive up was ok. We stopped only twice, for lunch and for potty, which was amazing. Oklahoma looked pretty dry, but once we hit I-40 headed east the landscape changed into hills and it was a nice drive. I continued a family tradition started when I was young, and gave both the kids new small toys for the long car drive. I got Addison some (generic) Littlest Pet Shop toys and I got Ryan a Diego Rescue Fan boat with gator and hog. I used to get a My Little Pony when we'd go on long drives. Both kids liked their toys, and I liked picking them out - I have bought them very few toys at all during their lives, so it was really fun to look at the stuff and choose what I thought they'd like best. And Toys R Us was having a going out of business sale, so I didn't feel too guilty about spending the money.

Ryan started getting pretty restless, demonstrated by lots of loud yelling and screeching (not really fussy, just noisy) and throwing toys and stuff. We decided to stop for a break in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which unbeknowst to us was the home of the UA Razorbacks. We found a Chick Fil A on the phone and drove into town. (Chick Fil A is better than Mc D's, because their playplace structure has lower levels to climb up - McD's climbing things are too high for Ryan to get up, although he usually just climbs up the slide). Well, the CFA was right on the edge of campus, and although it was a Thursday night, it was quite the happening place to be. Some high school band buses had just pulled in, along with some cheerleaders, so there were tons of high school kids inside. I was decked out in shorts and a free T shirt from the World Wildlife Federation, both of which had ketchup, coke, etc. stains on them from the car ride up. And my hair - well, it had spent two days crumpled up in a claw clip - anything to keep it out of my face. So I looked pretty horrible next to all these cute young girls. We weaved through the kids to get to the playplace and let Addison and Ryan run around a bit. Matt likes to spoil them and wanted to get them ice cream, so we fed them bites while they played. I had to take Addison potty, smushing through tables of high schoolers, and of course, for the first time ever, Addison made a loud comment about my anatomy in the bathroom stall, for all the high schoolers to hear (there were a thousand girls in the bathroom). I am pretty much resigned to motherhood though, so it didn't bother me too much. I can only imagine what those girls thought as I came out, but I think my face said pretty clearly, "You think this will never be you. But it will. Oh, yes, it will. Just wait 10 years, honey."

As soon as we got back in the playplace, I smelled Ryan, who had used the play break to work some things loose. I picked him up and started to carry him to the bathroom to change him, then realized that I couldn't inflict my poopy child on the poor girls changing into band uniforms and putting on makeup in the bathroom. So I handed him to Matt to take into the men's bathroom. And then noticed that it was a poosplosion - on my hands, on my wildlife shirt and on Ryan's shorts. The only way out of the playplace was through a sea of high schoolers, so Matt had to hold Ryan up on the way to the bathroom and I had to keep hold of Addison, ice cream, and purse while keeping said items poo-free on our way to the car. I got changes of clothes for me and Ryan, and we finally got back in the car on our way out of town. We arrived at Roaring River State park and got the tent set up, and then finally relaxed. The kids were happy to be out of the car and Addie and Cammie acted like it had been years since they'd seen each other. We had hot dogs for dinner and were relieved to feel the cool (cold) night air. We put the packnplay in the tent for Ryan, and had Addie's sleeping bag on the floor, both with their new Pillow Pets (gift from Grammie). And then it started to rain. No big deal, we had a rain cover. That leaked. And dripped water all over our sleeping bags. After a good 45 minutes of angry words and trying to manuever trash bags over the top our our tent to prevent MORE water from coming in, Matt and I fell asleep. And then the kids finally went to sleep.

More coming up....

No comments:

Post a Comment