|From 310 Hats|
I (E2) and my family vacationed in North Carolina recently. The night before the ride home was to begin, I cast on the blueberry wool hat. It was yarn I had brought with me on the trip. It was high time I knitted yarn I actually BROUGHT rather than only knitting yarn I had to BUY while in North Carolina. :-)
We loaded the car and set off for the journey home. We planned to drive 1/2 way home on Saturday, and finish the trip on Sunday. School was to resume on Monday. Halfway between where we vacationed and home is somewhere around Philadelphia. Give or take. Geography is not my forté! If you are smart, you'll never leave me in charge of navigation, either.
I was driving as we approached the greater DC area. The GPS (bless its silicon heart) was giving me confusing and contradictory information. The screen said to take a particular turn and the voice said to take a DIFFERENT particular turn. If you can imagine Washington, D.C. on a Saturday afternoon with road repair going on, traffic jams, and those crazy confusing beltways that go in all directions at once, and me driving... Well, you've already got the shivers.
But that's just the beginning of the tale. Just the beginning my friends. You are reading a message I'm typing from my netbook at home, so you can surmise that we all made it home safely. Yes, we did. Not even a new dent on the car. But that doesn't mean it was stress free!
Picture this: I've chosen to listen to the GPS's voice commands rather than to take the turn the screen indicated I should take. Hubby is totally confused and futzing with the GPS. Traffic is bumper-to-bumper. The youngest is whining that it's time to stop and take a potty break. We're near, I'm told, Pennsylvania Avenue. We're right by an overpass or a bridge that wasn't.
By "an overpass or a bridge that wasn't" I mean the following. You know how construction crews will close off a road or a ramp, let the traffic adjust to new traffic patterns, and THEN take down the bridge or the ramp? By the time the bridge or the ramp is removed, no one should EVER consider getting onto the road, bridge, or ramp. Right? Well, we were right next to an overpass or a bridge that wasn't. It had already been dismantled. All that remained were the columns supporting a bit of roadway that lead to perdition. I'm serious. The road that ended in mid-air had to be at least 30 feet above the road we were on. We thought nothing of it. Hubby was playing with the GPS and I was concentrating on inching along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The youngest continued to whine about needing to use a necessary room.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car DROVE OFF THE BRIDGE THAT WASN'T. I'm SERIOUS! The car just drove right off the edge of that bridge or overpass that had been dismantled. KABOOM! Down it fell and landed on its roof! Can you say "FREAK OUT?!" The drivers of the cars in the right lane pulled into the breakdown lane to park, ran across our part of the highway, and immediately assisted the people in the car that had fallen from the sky. Other people got out cell phones and started phoning 9-1-1. I tried to phone 9-1-1, too, but my phone wouldn't connect. I don't know why. The people who had parked in the breakdown lane helped the people out of the car, and then returned to their own cars saying "They're all fine!" What a miracle!
I was a nervous wreck. I was totally freaked out by this accident. How in the world did it happen? How could it be that a car could even drive onto a bridge that isn't? Where were the jersey barriers to prevent such a catastrophe? And how does a driver not see that the road vanishes? We heard no screeching of brakes or any other indication that the driver might have realized the potential disaster before falling. Perhaps the driver was talking on a phone. May be. But even if that were the case, how did the driver get onto a ramp that wasn't?
I inched my way along the highway, seeing and hearing the emergency vehicles come to the scene of the accident. Found a restroom, of sorts. (Let's just say that the ladies' room we found was padlocked and so the youngest had to resort to the misdemeanor crime of going behind a building. She was not happy about that; nor was I, especially since we had to walk through goose-doo and seagull-doo, mud and snow in order to get behind the building that housed the padlocked ladies' room.)
Hubby said he'd drive and I was fine with that!
We continued to inch around DC as the sky darkened. We came upon another 'event'. This time it was a car that had pulled over and put up flares. A road construction truck that happened to have a flashing arrow had parked behind it in the breakdown lane and put on its big flashing arrow sign. The car had started to burn. Someone, perhaps the driver of the arrow truck, was directing traffic around the burning car so that there wouldn't be a logjam when the emergency vehicles arrived. We were inching along with the rest of the traffic as the car fire turned into a consuming car conflagration and the car EXPLODED IN FRONT OF OUR EYES! I'm serious. It was like rockets and fireworks in front of us. The heat was tremendous. We inched by with the rest of the traffic as the sirens wailed and emergency vehicles tried to reach the fire. My second child saw the report later on the evening news that said the passengers from the car were all safe, and that one of them had even managed to retrieve something important from the car before the conflagration and explosion.
Quite a trip, eh? But wait, there's more.
As if that weren't enough!
It was getting late. We were all tired, hungry, cranky. We knew we weren't going to reach the half-way point in any reasonable time so we decided to find a hotel relatively close to where we were. At this point we had only made it to the greater Baltimore area.
We found a hotel, checked in, brought our bags up. Got everyone comfy and washed and then headed out to a drug store for some necessities and a McDonald's for dinner. Ate at McDonald's after a huge difficulty of trying to order three "allergy meals" when the crew didn't speak the same language I spoke. Rounded up all the kids and the freebie toys and headed back to the hotel. We got back into the room and I went to put my car keys in my purse when I discovered ... to my horror!... that I didn't have my purse. I had left my purse in McDonald's! Hubby's face sunk. I was horrified and cried and started praying. I prayed for JUST ONE HONEST PERSON to find my purse and give it to the restaurant manager for safe keeping. I prayed and prayed and cried and prayed as hubby drove me back to McDonald's. Hubby was certain that we'd be spending the night trying to cancel credit cards, that I'd have to get a new license, and that my cash and medicine were gone. I was hoping and praying that wouldn't be the case but I was fearing that it might be.
He dropped me at the door of the McDonald's, and what did I see? My purse was still hanging on the chair where I'd sat! Just hanging there as if it belonged there. It hadn't been touched. The cash was there. The credit cards were there. The license was there. My medicine was there. MIRACLE. Hubby couldn't believe it. I was amazed and extremely grateful for the miracle. I just prayed "Thank you Thank You THANK YOU" all the way back to the hotel.
And then I took my medicine and headed to bed after taking Tylenol for the monster pounding headache in my skull.
Or so I thought.
The next morning I realized that my regular medicine was still in my suitcase. I had mixed up my migraine medicine with my regular medicine! They start with the same letters and the bottles are the same size! I hadn't read the label carefully enough to realize that I was taking migraine medicine instead of my regular medicine! I had taken Tylenol for my headache atop Tylenol-based migraine medicine! Oh my! When I discovered that error the next morning I was very grateful that I was alive and well and able to discover the error. I didn't follow the five RIGHTs of medicine dispensing! Right person, Right medicine, Right dose, Right time, Right method: I'd taken the wrong medicine, and therefore an extra large dose of Tylenol for the pounding headache. Ugh. I'm glad it wasn't a lethal dose of Tylenol.
What's all this to do with a hat? During the times that hubby was driving that day, and when it was quiet and peaceful in the hotel, I knit that blueberry hat. The tug-top used up the very last inches of that skein of Lion Alpine Wool. I can't even look at that hat without getting shaky, revisiting in my brain the horror of seeing the car on its roof after falling from the bridge that wasn't, seeing the car explode, leaving my purse in McDonald's, and discovering I'd taken the wrong medicine.
I live my life in the land of little miracles. Or big miracles. I'm so happy that the people got out of the car that fell OK. I'm so happy that people got out of the burning car OK. I'm so happy that I got my purse back OK. I'm so happy that I'm still typing after goofing up my medicines at the end of a long stressful day.