The Weekend that Wasn’t

Man, I’m telling ‘ya … This past weekend just FLEW by. I felt like I blinked and *BAM!* it was gone, almost before it even got started. It’s Wednesday now, and I’m still sitting here, feeling confused and trying to figure out exactly what happened to this mysterious “week end” I had been looking forward to over the past week.

Because last week was a week of pain and suck. My daughter had this ridiculous, crazy assignment for English and History, which ended up being stressful and painful for both of us. We put in late nights to get it all done. There were tears (mostly mine). I even had stress dreams about this assignment! You know, the ones where you dash into class late, only to discover there’s a final exam in progress; everyone around you knows all about the exam, but it’s a complete surprise to you. And, you realize you’ve come to class without any paper or a pen. You try to borrow a pen, but, of course, everyone around you just stares at you blankly, as if you’re speaking a completely different language. And then, you look down and realize you’ve come to class naked. Oh yeah. It’s the stress dream trifecta: surprise exam, no pen, and naked. Doesn’t get any better than that! Seriously, it’s ridiculous for me to be so stressed out about a 7th grade assignment. I’m grown, for crying out loud! I’m all done with school!! Ha. Tell it to my subconscious.

So the project (a research paper, in which my daughter had to discuss her arguments for why the United States should never have gotten involved in the Vietnam War — in five pages or less, which is just insanity) was due last Thursday. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were spent editing and editing and editing this poor paper to within an inch of its life. The whole time, I kept telling myself we would be all right if we could just make it to Thursday. Because, after Thursday, the paper didn’t matter any longer. It would be turned in. Done. Finished. A blip on the radar of my life. And so on.

We made it to Thursday. (Still alive, by the way. And with my sanity mostly intact. Just in case you were wondering.) But did I get to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a little, sleep-deprived puddle of mush in the middle of my upstairs hallway? Nope. Because Friday started the Weekend of CrAzY.

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Friday was my daughter’s band trip. Her band was all set to attend a music festival and then visit a large amusement park about two hours away from where we live. All the kids were supposed to arrive at school, packed and ready to go, by 4:15 AM. 4:15! In the blessed AM!!! This meant we actually had to get up at around 3:15. Even though we live fairly close to my daughter’s school, we are not the speediest people in the morning. And even less so when “morning” actually begins in the middle of the night.

My husband and I were supposed to chaperone for the trip, but that fell through at the last minute. Truthfully, I was relieved. I shouldn’t admit this out loud because it probably makes me sound like a horrible person, but I don’t love kids. I don’t hate kids. I just don’t love them in a blanket way. There are some kids I love very much, and really enjoy spending time with. There are others that … well, not so much. And I don’t enjoy large groups of children. Truthfully, I never really wanted to chaperone. I really just wanted to go to the amusement park so that I could, ever-so-stealthily, follow my own kid around to make sure she got home alive.

Anyhow, the hubs and I decided we would drive to watch our daughter’s performance. And then, we would just kind of make a day of it by sight seeing and doing a little outlet mall shopping. Yes, we drove 2 hours to see a performance that lasted all of about twenty minutes, if that long. Yes, this is a bit insane. Yes, our daughter is an only child. Is it that obvious? *ahem*

It was a fun day, overall. But exhausting. I dealt with all the early morning stuff so the hubs could sleep in a bit. Since we were driving, we didn’t have to leave our house until around 7 AM. I was up at 3:15, packing my daughter’s lunch, helping her get her last few things together, nagging at her to hurry … you know, “mom stuff”. Then, I took her to school, where I ended up following the band director around and helping him with his last-minute stuff for about another hour and a half. And then, two hours in the car to the performance, topped by another hour or two in the car after the  performance as we drove around to sight see. And, of course, we had to drive five or so hours back home at the end of it all.

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Saturday, we had to attend a business function for my husband’s work. The party was an hour or hour and a half from our house — all highway driving. I think highway driving is pretty challenging, no matter where a person lives. But, in our part of the world, it’s downright INSANE. I avoid the highway at all costs. I am certain that I will end up being one of those little, old ladies who can only drive on surface streets and refuses to make left turns, but … whatever. The highway strikes fear deep, deep into my heart. However, I told myself it would be fine because my husband was driving. He is quite good at driving on the highway. He has no fear whatsoever, mainly because I’m the one who hangs on to all that stuff when we are in the car.

I was wrong. Oh, so very, very wrong! We almost died on our way to this party. Consider that I’m not much of a drama queen, in general, and I’m sitting here typing that I almost died on the highway on the way to this stupid office party that I didn’t even want to attend, in the first place. Yeah, it was nuts.

Traffic was horrible. Actually, it was whatever word is beyond horrible. It was bumper-to-bumper and barely moving. And there was a semi in front of us, hauling cars. The driver of this huge truck was weaving in and out of the traffic lanes, with no regard at all for the cars around him. Once it seemed that he had settled on a lane, my husband, following the traffic flow, pulled up beside the truck. We were not in the driver’s blind spot. I could see him in his side-view mirror. As we pulled closer, the driver looked right at us in his mirror, and then began to pull over into our lane of traffic. But we were right there! Right next to him! Almost even with the cab of his truck! We had no where to go, and my husband slammed on the brakes and swerved to the side a bit in order to avoid getting hit. This crazy driver nearly pushed us into the retaining wall that divides the two sections of highway. My husband honked, letting the driver know we were there, but the guy just flipped us off and kept on coming into our lane.

After that, we followed the truck for a bit, until a spot in the next lane over opened up. We moved over and my husband, realizing the traffic was moving a bit faster, decided to pass up the truck. I think both of us just wanted to get away from that crazy driver before he decided to try and hit us again by switching lanes. The truck driver saw us starting to pass … and he decided he was NOT going to let us go past him! He started speeding up. He tried to swerve over into our lane, to get in front of us and block us from passing. This didn’t work, because he didn’t have quite enough maneuvering room. And so, we finally got past him. But then, he started following us. He got right up onto our bumper, so that all we could see in the rearview mirror was the grill of this enormous truck nearly touching our car, and he followed us. Traffic had spread out a bit, and we were going crazy fast at this point. Crazy fast, with this gigantic vehicle less than a foot away from our car. The truck driver started honking his horn at us. It was so loud and booming. And he kept honking, honking, honking. If you looked up the term “road rage” in the urban dictionary, I’m fairly certain that truck driver’s picture will be right there. It was terrifying.

Eventually, we got away. Our car was smaller and could maneuver more easily through the traffic. Plus, I honestly think some of the other drivers on the road figured out what was happening and got in front of the truck, cutting him off. Even a couple of other trucks did this. Once we got ten or so cars between us, I felt a little safer. If the other people on the highway hadn’t intervened, I feel like that crazy truck driver would have followed us all the way to our party location. Of course, he would have found himself surrounded by about a hundred lawyers,  so … Yeah. The joke would be on him.

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I also spent all day Sunday in the car. (Surface streets only, thank goodness!) I had to drive my daughter here and there for various activities. And I had some errands to run, too.

I have to say I was actually looking forward to Monday this week. Because I needed a chance to recover from my crazy weekend! And, also, I decided I would have to walk everywhere during the coming week. Because I was sick and tired of being in the car.

Of course, that, like all of the universe’s best-laid plans, didn’t work out. At all. But it was a nice dream.

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