Saturday, June 30, 2007

On rain, flooding and no children

One would think that this is a post about this week. Because Lord knows, we've seen more rain this month than we've seen in a long time. And there's still flooding in my master bedroom (Hey, mister roofer, caulk won't fix the problem. Try again!). And, my children are still not here. But no, all this has reminded me of a story when I left my family at home.

When the littlest baby was just five months old, my favorite friend from college and my roommate of three years got married. In Delaware. And I was a bridesmaid.

I left my children in the beyond competent care of my husband and his mother (yet another time she rescued us that first year the baby boy was alive). And I headed out on an airplane, armed with a novel, a breastpump and a bridesmaid's dress the exact same color as my pasty white skin. I thought that maybe I'd died and gone to heaven.

Except that it was raining. And I flew into Baltimore, which is a good two hour drive from where I was headed. And it was raining. And raining. It took me so long to drive there that I had to stop at a rest area and find a plug for my breastpump, because I thought that I would explode, or that it was going to start raining in my bra. Either one. My knuckles were white, and I had a headache -- I hate driving in the rain, and this was really rainy.

Finally, I was nearly there. There wasn't time to stop at the hotel, as I'd intended, to change for the rehersal and rehersal dinner. I just headed straight for the place she was getting married. I wasn't but a mile away, so close and so desperate to get there. I think my brain was fried, because I was no longer capable of making decisions.

I drove my car right into the biggest puddle you've ever seen. Not knowing where the bottom was. But the four-wheel drive car had made it through right before me, why couldn't my super-econo-sized car get through? And I drove on through. And the water came up over the hood of my car. And the engine died. And I thought to myself, "this is how all these idiots end up on the news, being rescued by helicopters, sitting on top of their cars. I am one of those idiots."

The water started coming in the doors of the car, under my feet. I called 911. They promised to get there as soon as they could. I called my family (because how were they going to help?) back in Texas. My husband told me to roll down the windows of the car, just in case I needed to get on top of the car - because there's a great way to freak out an already irrational woman. I called 911 again, they promised to get there as soon as they could. A Hummer drove past me in the other lane. He had the nerve to ask me if I needed help. Um, yeah, if you weren't so worried about scratching your paint, I'd ask you to push me out. But instead, I said, "no, I'm fine"

I remember wanting to be home so badly at that moment. I was done being away from home.

Finally, a VERY wet policewoman came to my door. This is where my memory gets fuzzy. I honestly don't remember how I got out of the water or the car. I know she didn't give me a piggyback ride. I think she and another officer may have actually pushed the car out of the water. But I know somehow the car was moved out of the middle of the flooding road.

I do remember apologizing profusely, because I knew how badly my own husband hated to get that wet in his uniform, and I remember how many times he'd come home to wring out his socks and change his pants.

I remember two other bridesmaids came to pick me up to take me to the location for the rehersal. The rentacar company was going to send a tow truck and a new car, as soon as they could, but it was going to be hours. They promised to call when he was close so I could return to the scene of the misery.

A couple of hours later, in the middle of our rehersal dinner feast, they called. We returned to the scene, and the road that had previously been covered with rushing water was completely dry. How insulting.

And her wedding day was beautiful, even though we all sunk into the saturated ground with our completely impractical, scared to look at my feet during the ceremony because I thought my feet were bleeding shoes. But we were there to make her look good. She really didn't need any help from us, but we did our part.

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