Today brought another could’ve-been-horrible-but-by-the-grace-of-God-it-all-worked-out road trip mishap. Last time it was mud. This time… well, this mishap was a little more ridiculous. As Tanner and I packed up the car at oh-gawd-o’clock this morning, I was juggling our bags to fit into the trunk. Had I actually looked where we were parked in our lovely hotel parking lot, I might have considered putting the keys in the car first.
But I hadn’t looked.
Whoops, I don’t have enough hands… let me just see if I can switch this to my right hand… I can hold one more thing, can’t I…. no I can’t… yes, I can… oh crap… *clink*…. um, what was that?
I straightened myself up, then slowly and fearfully looked to the ground. Nooooooo….. the car keys. The rental car keys. I had just dropped them into a storm grate. My heart stopped. Tanner paled, looked at me and said in a did-that-really-just-happen tone of voice, “Were those the car keys?” Yup. Crap. Crap. CRAP. We’re seven hours from home — in Wichita, Kansas, for crying out loud — and our only means home is trapped underground by this immovable grate. I ran inside, got a wire coat hanger, fashioned it into a hook and lowered it between the slats. (Please note that when the keys fell, the key chain taunted me with a warning: Replacement keys cost an average of $125. Thanks for the added pressure, by the way.) And what I didn’t tell Tanner at the time was that the keys were in a rather precarious position. A mistake on my part could mean a tumble down an incline for the keys and a disappearance into a black hole. Fortunately, all’s well that ends well. I was able to hook the key ring and bring the keys to the surface. Tanner heaved a sigh of relief, gave me an enormous hug and I promptly started to cry. Tanner said, “Mom, you’re so clutch. You’re amazing in an emergency, but then you fall apart when it’s over.” Hey man, I’ll take it.
Once I got my heart beating and I was able to breathe again, we hit the road. The lingering sunrise was amazing and cast a lovely glow across the stark Kansas landscape.