This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Misadventures of a Mom in Law School

I should never be allowed to travel. Ever. Again.

I love to travel. It’s one of my passions, and the basis for pursuing a degree in international relations. But I have terrible luck.

My graduate program had arranged two very exciting events in two days. The first was going to hear Gen. Colin Powell speak in [a city an hour away]. The second was a tour of [an Army base]. Both events sounded fascinating to me, so I signed up for both. I decided the best course of action would be to drive to hear Gen. Powell, and then I would drive the 45 minutes south to stay with Father-In-Law, because he could just drop me on base to meet up with my group on his way to work. Otherwise, I would have to drive back home after hearing Gen. Powell and then meet up with the group at 6:30 a.m. to take a bus all the way back west for the two hours to the base. Should be much simpler that way right?

Except I’m cursed when it comes to traveling. If people ever catch on that it’s me that causes catastrophic events, I may be banned from ever leaving the house again.

First, crazy traffic almost caused me to be late to see Gen. Powell. I left campus at 3:30pm, I got to downtown Other City at 5:55pm. Then I get down there and the parking garage is full and I have to drive around to find another garage. Except the garage I found only takes bills and all I have is credit card and change. With a line of cars behind me and nowhere to go. I have to go up to the car behind me and get money from the guy, handing him a hand full of quarters in return for his paper currency. I hope he had some laundry to do. I felt like such a 'tard! At least the guy was nice about it.

Anyway, I rush in to see Gen. Powell. One thing I was glad for, is that I dressed casually. Now, the majority of people, especially our people, were wearing suits. But I’m so over that. If I were going to be hobnobbing with the General, I’d dress up. Sitting in an audience viewing him on a large projected screen because we were 40 rows back… yeah, not so much. Sidebar: Notes on Gen. Powell. What an engaging speaker. He (or his speech writers) had really done an excellent job researching the city we were in and its issues and accomplishments. He came off humble and sincere. As much as I hate the Bush Administration (and I hate me some Bush Administration), I still respect Gen. Powell. I have issues with him, yes. But I think he is an intelligent, impressive man. Anyway, I wish he would have spent more time talking about diplomacy, which was supposed to be the topic, but I don’t think he wanted to go too controversial. He did talk about how diplomacy was the appropriate method of dealing with North Korea and Iran, not military action. But overall, tried to stay neutral. He talked a lot about his past experiences, and about a previous speaker to that venue, which was former Soviet President Gorbachev. I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, but wished someone would have hit him with some tough questions instead of things that were off-topic for diplomacy.

Back to the misadventures: Afterwards, I met up with a few of the folks from my class of grad students. We got dinner and then I disembarked, to take my friend to his hotel by the airport (he was flying out of town in the morning). That’s when the monsoon began. We were doing really good to make it to the hotel. We actually missed the exit, because we couldn’t see it for all that rain. We were pretty sure we were going to die.

Now, stop for a moment. Don’t you think the smart thing to do would be to, I dunno, stop for the night? Or return home? Oh, but not me. I’m too stubborn for that. I continued on to middle-of-nowhere where the in-laws live. Driving through counties with flash flood warnings. Brilliant. What should have been a 45 minute drive, took two hours. I got to the in-laws' house at midnight.

Now, again, let’s stop for a moment. I’ve made it through the monsoon to BFE. Which has a flash flood warning. I’ve previously heard the story about how my in-laws got flooded one year, my mother-in-law insisted upon my father-in-law driving through the pond in the middle of their road to take them to work and them getting stuck and having to wade through cold muddy water back to the house. And yet, I still went there, and I still parked at their house. So what happens?

That’s right, by morning, there’s a pond in the middle of my in-laws’ road. And I'm trapped on the opposite side of it.

Here’s where it gets more fun. There’s no way in hell my car’s making it through the pond:

But…FIL decides he can do it anyway.

The view from inside the truck.

This was dumb as crap. I was certain we would be climbing out the windows into cold muddy water. Water was coming up over the hood. But we made it through. (Apparently the trick when driving through deep water is to keep the foot on the gas and never ever stop. Once you stop, the exhaust will fill with water and you’re done-for. Not that driving through deep water is ever recommended, because this is dumb, dumb, dumb.) The neighbor didn't fare so well. He had tried it earlier in his new fancy car, and got in stuck and ruined it. (Good thing the guy owns the town's Ford dealership, he can just grab another one.) Anyway, FIL said the water would take a few hours to recede and shouldn’t be a problem by the time we got home in the evening.

I met up with my group (with a few minor difficulties… the gate was closed where we were supposed to meet, and they were running late (45 minutes late). They had my cell phone number but I didn’t have anyone’s number there so I’m starting to freak out since there’s no one at the school. I called a friend who works at a nearby building, and she managed to track them down, just as they finally called me. Ugh.) We took the tour, which was wonderful and extremely educational, and I met some really great people on base… and I got to talk to a really awesome guy. He was fascinating and intelligent, I really liked him and we had a great conversation. If he were staying in the area, I would definitely have kept in touch and wanted to be friends. I can only imagine his wife is equally as awesome. She's a nurse, and she's currently training in Hawaii. (Poor bastard, his wife gets sent to Hawaii for training, and he gets stuck in [our state].) But they're moving when his training is done in June.

Great experience, though. I am so glad I went, I definitely took a lot from it. One of the things I took from it? I could never join the military. I am way too sensitive. They sent a drill sergeant to meet us on our bus. He scared the hell out of me and he wasn’t even yelling. If that man were yelling at me, I would definitely cry. FIL was a drill sergeant at one time and I can’t imagine him ever being that scary. Husband says he was, but I don’t believe him.

Anyway, FIL picked me up afterwards and we headed back to their house so that I could get my car, run an errand to the jeweler in town, and head home to the family.

Then we get back to their road.

There’s still a pond.

My car (actually, Husband’s car) is still on the other side of the pond. With no way out.

This sucks. Of course, the ducks/geese thought it was awesome.

Cora would have thought they were awesome. (Had they been yellow, of course.)

I mean, it had receded a little bit. But there was no way in hell I was getting across it in a Passat. We didn’t risk crossing it again in the truck. We parked and walked around the pond through the neighbor’s property. Old Man Neighbor decided to put on some wade-fishing gear and see how deep it was that evening. It was still over his knees.

I was really upset when I realized I was stuck there overnight. Not that I don’t think my kid can’t last without me, I mean, hell, she probably doesn’t even notice I’m gone. (It’s not like I’m a yellow duck or anything cool. I’m just her mom, after all.) But I was really upset at having to be away from her and Husband for another night. I had planned this overnight trip, but that was one night, on my terms, and nature had screwed with that. The type A personality coming out, I hate my plans being screwed with, and I hate being out of control of the situation. So, here I am, in BFE. No cell phone service, no cable and no internet. Good thing I have my laptop so I can type blogs to later post.

Oh yeah, and homework. Whatever.

So after some moping, we walked back around the pond to the truck and headed back to town for some Mexican food. Then returned to the house where the pond had receded a few inches, and walked back to the house. We then drank a lot of red wine and solved the world's problems. FIL went to sleep, and I did some blogging/working on some outlining before turning in. I even got a chunk of Dante translated. Yay, me.

In the morning, the water had finally gone away. FIL made breakfast, then I headed off to the jewelry store. Got home about 2:30 and did some much-missed snuggling with Cora, as well as chatting with Husband.

I'm just glad to be home. I had a great time (despite all the craziness).


Lady said...
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PT-LawMom said...

What an adventure! At least you got at least some fun out of it and not a total nightmare story to tell. Glad you guys didn't get swept off down the street! I live in a major metropolitan area and the streets around me do that occasionally. No one believes me until it makes the national nightly news with one of my neighbors floating down the frontage road next to a major highway. ;) Not so much fun when you're trying to make it across town to work and all the roads are blocked by waist-high standing water! And we won't even go into the time when we first moved here and I had to park two blocks away from Pumpkinhead's daycare and wade barefoot in water up to my knees through the parking lot of his daycare to carry him back to the car IN THE DARK! Of course no one had called me to tell me the road was flooded because, for them, it's normal...

***RANT*** {Yep, we left that daycare}

The Colin Powell speech sounds cool! You're lucky to have made it. I would have been intimidated by the drill sargeant, too. Definitely!

Law Student Hot Mama said...

You need a kayak!

Cee said...

yikes, I can't believe FIL drove through that! That's insane! Glad you got home ok though.

LL said...

Wow! We actually kept a canoe behind our garage because Houston tends to flood and our suburb was no exception. There were three separate occasions where we used that canoe to get down our street to visit friends and help them move their furniture up to the 2nd floor. As a kid, I wasn't so much concerned with the destruction of homes and memories, I just thought it was freaking awesome to canoe down the main road of our town. Actually, I still think that was kind of awesome.

Glad you finally made it home safe!

Kareer Woman said...

Wow, now that's some adventure.