Moms Getaway Part 2: Three Women And A Mission

After arriving at our destination, the rest of the weekend went as smooth as clockwork. We lounged on the beach and by the pool. We shopped and ate amazing food. We watched TV in bed, and most importantly of all we laughed. We laughed a lot.

Nice culottes, Granny.
 Caliza at Alys Beach
George’s at Alys Beach

When Sunday rolled around we packed our things and prepared for our journey home. Loren Leigh and I were in the bathroom packing our toiletries when Mary Marshall walked in and informed us that there was a leak downstairs. We all rushed down there to find water coming through the ceiling. A pipe somewhere had burst and the water was finding its way out by pouring from a speaker.

Mary Marshall’s first responder skills were right on point because before she even alerted us,  she had scoured the cabinets for a bowl large enough to contain the leak, thereby sparing quite a bit of furniture from damage. I’m pretty sure she was a paramedic in her former life.  I made a quick call to my uncle for some guidance.

My mind flashed back to the Luke Wescott flood of 2011, and I knew that we needed to get the water out of the ceiling as quickly as possible to keep it from spreading. I could hear my uncle’s confidence in me wavering a bit, but I like to think that he reflected back to the Billie Jean King in me that just one week before had put together a fire pit all by herself. He said, “If you can’t get the speaker to pop out, then at least poke a hole in the ceiling with a screwdriver.”

A larger garbage can had replaced the bowl because the water began steadily dripping down from all around the speaker frame. Mary Marshall held the ladder steady while Loren Leigh handed me tools like a surgical assistant. Every time I pried the edge of the speaker down,  more water poured out.

“Why don’t you get down and let me try,” Loren Leigh offered. I was happy to oblige. Then, with her bear hands, (That’s not a typo. I’m fairly certain she was channeling a grizzly bear) she took hold of the speaker and slowly pulled it down with arms shaking like a weak armed Olympian doing a pull up. With that, the leak slowed to a drip and our crisis was over. I like to think of that whole experience as our team building exercise for the weekend.

Piece of cake!

Afterward, we did the only thing that seemed appropriate. So back to the outlet malls we went. A little retail therapy always slows my heart rate back to normal, much like a prescription- a really expensive prescription.

Eventually, it came time for Mary Marshall to say her goodbyes and head to the airport. However, about thirty minutes later she called to say that Loren Leigh had left her J. Crew shopping bag in her rental car. “No problem,” said Loren Leigh. “Just leave the bag at the rental car place and we will come and get it.” We were then reminded by the rental car agent that under no circumstances could an unattended package be left at the airport, AND if she checked the bag she would be charged extra. To make matters worse, there was absolutely no fitting it in her already full suitcase.

That’s when the rental car agent made a suggestion. It was half insane, half brilliant. So Mary Marshall boarded her plane wearing four additional sweaters, a pair of socks, and a bracelet purchased earlier by Loren Leigh. She really took one for the team that day, dressed as what could only have looked like a homeless person layered up for a good night’s rest in a city park.

The ride home for Loren Leigh and me was much less eventful considering that we had a car charger for our phones. Had the navigation system not instructed us to make four consecutive U-turns, and then circle through a trailer park scary enough to give Honey Boo Boo nightmares, we would have made it home in under five hours. Hey, there’s always next time.

Route that navigation system took us on.
We thought it was a driveway, too.
And, you gotta love the curtains.
Can I get a “Row Tide?”

Moms Getaway Part 1: Just Get Us There

We all love our kids, but there are times when we can do them, and ourselves a favor by getting the hell away from them. This past weekend my two friends and I did just that.

Once we arrived at our destination we had an amazing time. It was the getting there and the departure that allowed for a few snafus. The easiest way for me to sum this up for you is in a two-part timeline.

Friday morning 6:30- My friend Loren Leigh takes her husband, John Allen, to have an esophageal endoscopy.

At 9:00 AM they return home. Loren Leigh explains to her husband the results of the procedure for the second time. We tell him, “Glad you don’t have cancer,” put him in bed, and depart for the beach.

At 10:30 we are well on our way. Loren Leigh calls to check on John Allen. He has been asleep, but says that he is feeling fine. I hear Loren Leigh tell him the results of the procedure for the third time. I chuckle for a moment, and then realize that using the Verizon navigation on my phone has rapidly depleted the battery. We have no car chargers for our phones.

At 11:00 my phone runs out of battery. We switch over to using Loren Leigh’s phone for navigation. All is good. We are so ready to relax by the pool.

At noon her phone also runs out of battery. We have a momentary freak out until we realize that we can use the iPad for navigating. Now, I’ve been to and from Destin, FL a million times. Had we gone the way I’m used to going we would have had no problem, but our navigation systems had taken us on a “faster” route that had led us to a desolate Nowheresville.

At 12:05 I get an alert message on the iPad stating, “The data limit has been exceeded.” I select the options to add more data, but nothing happens, landing us totally and completely off the grid. To make matters worse, we were in the desolate area of a Florida highway where there was nothing but dirt roads leading to trailers. I lovingly refer to this barren wasteland as, “Sex offender valley.” Add to our navigational issues the fact that we aren’t able to get word to our other friend, Mary Marshall, who had flown in at 9:00 AM, that we may be later than predicted and/or murdered. As you can tell by now, everyone in this story has a double name except me. I will now be referring to myself as, “Just Lori.”

At 12:30 comes a sigh of relief as we approach a gas station. Loren Leigh whips the car into the parking lot and immediately starts digging through her luggage for her wall charger. Oh yes, we’re about to steal some electricity. I hook it up to an electrical outlet next to the propane tanks. She goes inside to start offering people cash for their car chargers. Suddenly, I hear my name. I put the dead phone to my ear and say, “Hello.” Then I look over and see Loren Leigh holding an iPhone charger. It’s shiny and new- still in the box.

We jump in the car and I begin savagely trying to get the box open, much like a raccoon with a trash bag. “Dang it,” I said. “I think we need scissors or a pocketknife to open it. I’ll be back.” There are lots of people to choose from, but I look for a stranger that is most likely to be carrying a pocketknife. “Excuse me sir,” I say to a man pumping gas. “I really need this and can’t seem to get it open.” I reflect back for a moment as he takes the box. I can’t help thinking that I’m a mere shell of the woman who put a fire pit together one week ago. I snap back to reality as I hear the man saying something. He reads something on the box and says, “Peel here,” as he gingerly peels the box apart with his bare hands. “What a show off,” I think to myself as he tells me to have a, “Blessed day.”

At 2:00 PM we arrive in Destin and meet up with Mary Marshall. Our arrival is later than predicted, but she doesn’t show one ounce of impatience or frustration. Perhaps she’s surprised that we didn’t die in sex offender valley. Finally, the three of us collapse into chairs by the pool- Loren Leigh, Mary Marshall, and Just Lori.