“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photo Time!

Today was Holiday Picture Day for us.  It was decided that my sister, my sister-in-law, and I would group up and share an appointment.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I hate photo "places."  They are always crowded, and I seem to have a special Super Vision power for seeing the germs coating all surfaces and even floating in the air.  We went with a photo place, of course, because it's really much easier for everyone that way and because, you know, we wanted to be able to pay for the pictures.  That seemed key.

I knew about this appointment weeks in advance and picking out Christmas outfits was an enormous pain in the you-know-what.  We all agreed we wanted the kids kind of "matchy" this year, and even though were going with standard Christmasy colors, I felt insane levels of pressure in choosing the just-right outfits for the boys.  By the time outfitting was done, I had ordered online from three different places, made one return, and had to hit up one store in person. (And then, my husband saw the outfits and said, "I don't like them.  Why didn't you ask me?")

This morning, I timed everything out perfectly.  Our appointment was at ten, so I considered dressing times, bathroom times, and coating up.  We were leaving the house by 9:45, which felt safe.  Until I realized I had no idea where the photo place was.  I thought it was by Target, but when I got there, I couldn't find the photo place anywhere.  I reached for my cell phone to call my sister, but I didn't have it.  In fact, I didn't even have my own car.

"Take my car, hon," Joe said.  "It'll be much easier because...." I can't remember the rest.  It doesn't matter.  A) I hate driving Joe's car, because it's fancy.  B) My cell phone was in the cup holder of MY car.

I looked at the clock and saw it was 9:58.  So much for being on time.  Without a cell phone, I had to go all the way back home.  I HATE being late for anything, so my heart began skipping beats and my foot sank down on the accelerator a little harder.

"Why dontcha just CALL them?" asked Joey unhelpfully in the backseat.

"No, I can't," I said.  "I don't have my phone."

"Can you turn on the radio?" whined Noah.

I huffed.  "I don't know HOW in Daddy's car."  It's true.  Joe's car has so many darn buttons and gadgets and lights.  Anytime I try to do anything, I end up resetting the seat settings (while the car is still moving), squirting windshield washer fluid, blasting the air conditioning in the dead of winter, or turning on a seat heater that totally scalds me and even leaves welts.  I find it's much better to just leave it all alone.

"Doesn't Daddy's car have a MAGIC PHONE?" asked Joey.

OnStar.  Yes, it has OnStar!  I pressed the little button on the rearview mirror.

"Thank you for using OnStar."

"PHONE!" I said loudly.  I couldn't waste time being misunderstood.

"I'm sorry.  Please give a command."


"I'm sorry.  I didn't get that.  Did you say, 'Help'?"

"PHONE!" I shouted.

"You're being very clear, Mom," said Joey.


OnStar interrupted us, "Please give a command."


"Would you like to use the phone?"


"No?  Please give a command."

At this point, I was halfway home.  But still, it would be way easier to reach my sister than it would be to drive all the way home.  For once, the boys were being blessedly cooperative and quiet in the back while I argued with the frustratingly solicitous computer voice of OnStar.

"PHONE!" I shouted again, leaning over now so my forehead was bumping the rearview mirror.


"Yes," I said in what I hoped was the same accent as the computer.

"Please give the full phone number you'd like to call."

GLORY!  I spit out the ten digit phone number.  OnStar repeated an eleven digit number back to me.  In other words, the wrong number.

"NO!"  I shouted.

"No?  Thank you.  Goodbye."  And OnStar hung up on me!  I had to start OVER!!!?

I'll save you the frustration of my re-do.  I finally got through to my sister's cell phone, and not knowing Joe's car phone number, she let it go to voicemail.

I then repeated the entire OnStar experience calling Christine.  Thankfully, she answered.  "Where ARE you?" she asked, either appalled at my lateness or just feeling serious pressure from Jane, who tolerates lateness even less than I do.

Where did she think I was?  The moon?  Having coffee with old friends?  "I'm lost!  Where IS this place?"

"It's by Target," she said.


As I whirled Joe's big fancy car into a U-turn (some wild driving I'm sure its never seen before), I said to the boys through short, frantic breaths, "I'm so sorry Mommy was yelling at the phone, boys.  I really, really hate being late.  I just want to get us to our pictures!"

"Mom, MOM," said Noah in his most authoritative voice.  "It's OKAY.  You're doing FINE.  You can do this, I know you can.  You're the best mom."

That kid!  Do you love him or what???

Anyway, here's a little practice shot from home:

P.S.--The pictures turned out great, but the wait to CHOOSE our pictures was atrocious.  Not to mention the EMERGENCY when Noah almost drank from a public water fountain.  We all recovered, but it was a close call.

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