Monday, May 26, 2014


Having adult children, particularly if they live at home, does not guarantee restful nights. Both over-20s were out late last night, Bonnie with her fiance at a birthday celebration and Allen at work. I wasn't worried--not really--until 1AM rolled around without nary a word from either of them. Now, Bonnie in particular is wont to call me about,well, anything, but Allen is more forgetful of his cellphone. I'd already headed up to bed and attempted sleep, but the day's cleaning had kicked up my asthma and breathing wasn't going so well.

Enter Bonnie, arriving home around 1:15. I'd moved her phone charger in an attempt at organizing a small space with too many people, and that was the first thing she said: "Hey, where's my phone charger?" Hello to you, too, my dear. And, oh, did I wake you? My kids believe I require no sleep.

A few minutes of chichat later with my about-to-be-married daughter--I'm not really losing a daughter, I'm gaining a bedroom--and I was ready to try sleep again. Try being the operative word.

Ron woke me up a scant 45 minutes later to tell me he thought he heard my cell phone ring. Truth is, Ron could sleep through the eruption of Mt. St. Helens', but I checked the phone anyway, then tried calling Allen's cell. Which I heard ringing in his room. Not good. Just in case you haven't figured it out by now, I keep my cell phone on at night. The reason should be obvious; search and rescue missions often happen after midnight. Ron continued to worry about Allen and, just like magic, the land line rang.

It was Allen's co-worker, Ethan, who is more often than not in need of a ride home. Allen had a blow-out on Baltimore Pike and had no spare. Figures.

Ron is not so great after midnight--he's kind of like a gremlin--so Bonnie and I headed out into the now 3AM gloom, recounting the days she'd worked at Springfield Mall. I'll give her this, she was more concerned than grumpy; spending a whole day with Jared, afore-mentioned fiance, mellows her out. We found Allen without too much trouble, lectured him on the necessity of carrying both a spare tire AND his cell phone, and called it a day. Er, night. We set our alarms for 7AM--the time Allen said the Mobil station across the street opened--and got a little shut-eye. Very little.

The three of us jumped up at 7AM. Perhaps "jump" only really applied to me since none of my kids are what you could call morning people, but there were at least vertical by 8AM. Bonnie headed off to meet Jared for church and I began Part II of Rescue Allen Mission XXV. Okay, I don't really know that I've rescued him that many times, but it feels about right.

Would it surprise you if I said that the repair station did not open until 10? Allen was. Rather than waste one and a half hours, we trucked back down Baltimore Pike into Media, where we found a Just Tires just opening and the additional benefit of a McDonald's with tea and Egg McMuffins across the street. Long story short, this part of it, Just Tires had the right size.

But--and here's where the whole thing gets a bit sticky--we didn't have the rim. Oops. You'd think with that many rescue missions under my belt I would have thought of that, but even my brain has trouble functioning on less than four hours of sleep.

Back to the Springfield Mall parking lot. We had a jack but no handle, although Allen did his darnedest to make due with a screwdriver. I, ever helpful, texted Bonnie so she could know how much fun she was missing. She put me on speaker while Jared tried to offer advice. In the meantime, Allen had convinced the guy at the now-open Mobil station to come on over and help us. After explaining to a mall security guard that we weren't attempting to jack the car, we thought we were on Easy Street.

We were wrong. We were actually on Bumpy Drive because the Mobil guy with the tools wasn't having any better luck than Allen. Finally, he suggested that Allen drive his car--flat tire and all--over to the station. I followed Allen with my hazard lights on, making mean faces at the people who honked their horns and made rude gestures. I am not given to road rage, but I'm a mom with very little sleep. Don't mess with me.

We got to the station, a little shaken but in one piece, but the party had just begun. The station guy--never did get his name but he told us he preferred skiing to mechanics--couldn't get the nuts off the tire, even with his nifty machine. We might, he said, need new nuts and studs. My wallet started aching.

I went in search of a cold drink and a bit of prayer. By the time I returned, the situation had improved a bit and slowly but surely the nuts were coming off, rust and all. Ski guy needed to let the machine cool off in between nuts. So, a mere four hours after Rescue the Sequel began, we were good to go.

Here is where I'd like to leave you with a wonderful analogy between tires and life, or the care and feeding of adult children, or at least warn you to keep a functioning jack in your car. But I think the lesson is much simpler than that. Ski guy went out of his way to help us. I went out of my way to help Allen.

Life is, after all, a journey. We need to help each other along.

And keep our cell phones handy.

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