Friday, August 27, 2010

Accidental adventure.

(Long but entertaining.)

Last night our Kung Fu school was closed, for as many who wanted to (including our instructor and his family) to go to Branson, to see The Legend of Kung Fu. It was area appreciation night, so the tickets were only $10 each if you live in the surrounding area, dropping an additional $5 for each canned good you brought to donate (one per person). We never eat canned corn anymore so I dug three cans out of the back of the pantry, and then remembered that I didn't have gas in the car and, wow, how much worse timed could this night be because payday isn't until Tuesday and due to Drama That Is Not Ours But Which We Helped To Solve we're kind of tight this month. So okay, I just got a little gas, enough to make it down there, and with the tickets only being $15 total, that's still not terrible and we should've been fine without touching savings that way.

We left with juuuust enough time to swing by and grab cheap drive thru on the way there (one McD's extra value meal fed the 3 of us -- mostly fed Raiden, actually, but kept us from starving), and to make it to the theater right on time if not just a few minutes early.

I sped like crazy on the way there, actually, even through all the Ozark hills my 4-cylinder SUV consistently hates, and I'm kind of surprised I didn't get pulled over as I passed by two cops while I was going appx. 80 in a 65. Made me wonder how fast traffic normally drives on that highway if I didn't get pulled over for going 80.

We got to Branson, and as we'd both remembered seeing the theater it was at (and trust me, there are bajillions of theaters in Branson, omfg) we hadn't bothered looking it up before we left, as we were in a hurry. Since pretty much everything is on 76 in Branson, we continued along 76 all the way through Branson's everything, with the sun shining directly in our eyes the entire time making it particularly difficult to, like, see. As time was approaching for the show to start and we were getting really far through town, I started wondering if we'd somehow missed it.

Me: Did we pass it?
Rich: There's no way.
Me: I don't think so.
Rich: Keep going, maybe it's just further than we remember.
Me: Raiden. I don't think so. We're looking. I don't remember it being this far...
Rich: Maybe it was, there's still more out this way I think.
Me: I don't know! We're looking!
Raiden: Okay. Did we PASS IT?
Me: Raiden! You're not helping! Shush, I'm trying to look!

Once we got out past pretty much everything, we figured out that, yep, I guess we passed it, and turned back around. It was three minutes until the show was going to start. We couldn't even call Si Fu at that point since they'd be in the theater with phones silenced. At a close-by red light I sent a text to Google to find their address and phone number, so we could at least call them and get directions. Google texted back.

Me: Gretna. It's on Gretna. Which is right here!

I jerked over into the left turn lane, and said, "Left I guess?" We looked right while the light was red and figured left was as good a guess as any. We passed several run-down motels and restaurants that did not look like anything that would be on the way to a theater and also didn't look like anything we'd ever passed before on previous trips where we know we have seen the theater before.

I almost turned around again to try the other direction on Gretna, but Rich said to try this way a little longer because it was turning soon. We finally found the theater, only 15 minutes late. Rich grabbed the 3 cans of corn, I grabbed the Kung Fu shirts (just in case we were supposed to be wearing them) and crammed them into my gigantic mom-purse, and we ran (as much as one can run in 4" heeled boots while carrying a 35lb human) to the theater. We bought the tickets without incident and slipped in to find our seats (usher with a flashlight ftw). Raiden was given a fortune cookie at the ticket counter which Rich rattled the paper to open for him and which Raiden quickly announced loudly during a quiet moment, "I'm all done!" Yeah, we were that family.

About 20 minutes after we got there, I glanced around and noticed that our Kung Fu school was only a row or so behind us, the next section over, with plenty of room around them if we wanted to move closer.

We settled in and watched. Raiden was on the edge of his seat and behaving. It was nice :).

There was an intermission around the time Raiden started getting antsy, so that was perfect. Our instructor had brought his 3 year old daughter as well, so Raiden and she got to play and do Kung Fu together during intermission in the lobby, which was adorable.

I'd noticed that most everyone else in our group was not wearing their Kung Fu shirts, so I figured I'd save the room in my purse and quickly run the shirts back out to the car. I laid them on the counter to dig through my gigantic mom-purse to find the car keys and um. Uh. You're kidding, right? Rich's keys were in there. My keys were not. Rich does not have my spare car key on his key chain anymore.


Most aggravatingly, I knew it was going to just piss Rich off even more. He was already annoyed that we were late and that I didn't run fast enough from the car to the door, and was already grumpy that we were spending any money on being there that night, so add to that the inconvenience of having locked my keys in my car (which means wasting time) and the need to call a locksmith (which means wasting money) and I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant.

It wasn't. Luckily he doesn't have a temper and hates in-public displays of anything but total happiness, but he does have The Look, and that's enough.

I fake-optimistically said that maybe they were by our seats? They weren't. He went out to check and see if they were in the car. They were. He checked his keys to see if there were any chance they would work. They didn't.

He was outside doing this on his own while Raiden and I were in the gift shop. I saw him come back in and walk through the lobby looking around, but he didn't see me. I noticed the lobby had cleared back out and told Raiden we needed to hurry and get back to our seats. Upon entering, I saw that the show had already resumed. I'd lost Rich, and the fact that it was dark meant I couldn't see and the fact that they were performing meant that when my child ran away from me on the way back to our seats, I couldn't yell for him. He ran all the way to the front of the theater, then across the first section of seats, right in front of the stage, then he stopped and I thought he was going to run back up the aisle to the back of the seating but no, he turned and continued to run across the front of the middle section of seating and then turned to run back up the aisle to the back. By then he'd realized I wasn't running behind him and was yelling "MOMMY!" I saw one usher notice him and I caught another and said, "That would be my three year old running wild." The other usher saw me pointing to him and pointed Raiden my way. He was all, "Hi Mommy!" and I was all you're embarrassing me! in my head but had the get-on-his-level Do Not Run Away From Mommy In Public Ever talk for a moment and then went to sit down next to our Kung Fu group. Yep, I have that kid.

It wasn't until after we sat down that I noticed Rich sitting alone in our actual seats. I wasn't getting up and moving again and I knew he was pissed at me anyway so I kind of didn't want to, but when he looked over and caught my eye I motioned him to us. It was fine. Raiden was sitting next to our instructor's 3 year old and they were having so much 3 year old fun that eventually her mommy had to pull her onto her lap and I had to pull my kid onto mine. He wasn't happy about it but I told him, "We can play when it's over, right now, we watch," and he settled back down.

The show was pretty good, though believe it or not, I was distracted.

As soon as the show was over I texted Google again to get a number for a locksmith, and called the first one they texted back. I asked if Rich wanted to call them instead of me since he almost always thinks I asked something wrong or didn't ask something important, but he gave me The Look and said that no, I would be calling. Rich was guessing it would be $50-100. It was $45, and they could be there in 20 minutes.

Rich: Did you ask if they take check or card?
Me: No, but surely a company whose prime responsibility is to get people out of emergency situations will take one of the two.
Rich: *The Look*
Me: This is why I told YOU to call!

I called. Yes, they take cards.

Rich: Do they take checks?
Me: I don't know! I asked if they take checks or cards and he said cards would be fine! I just left it there!
Rich: *The Look*
Me: This is why I told YOU to call!

I'd wondered briefly about knowing that we had just transferred enough for gas and tickets that evening on our debit card, but figured Rich knew what he was talking about. It turned out he'd brought the credit card we only use for travel and emergencies, just in case of an emergency. Good thing. (Also amazing, given that he's prone to take everything out of his wallet to keep himself from spending money.)

Our instructor and his family stood around talking a while, and Raiden and their daughter played, until his dad decided it was time to go and they left. A couple of other classmates hung out talking until the locksmith got there. We said goodbye, but they pulled up next to our car and said they weren't leaving until we were officially in the car. I appreciated that, and told them so.

The locksmith got to work while Raiden told me that he was Darth Vader but he lost his helmet, so we had to look around the parking lot to find it. Eventually our car was unlocked. Darth Vader got in Raiden's car seat, but Raiden was still inside the theater, he said, so I yelled for him and said "Here he comes!" and Darth Vader told me that Raiden wanted to help me drive. I said it was fine for Raiden to help me drive as long as you, Darth Vader, stay safely in Raiden's car seat. It was a deal.

Rich paid the man, and we left the theater.

Since we'd come from such a weird direction to get there, it made sense to us to turn left to get back out and to the main strip.


A half hour later, still having no clue where we were or how to get where we wanted to be...

Raiden: Are we lost?
Me: We are, yes. I could've sworn this road intersected with 65. I remember seeing signs for it from the highway. Where does that come out?
Raiden: Are we lost?
Me: Yes, we're lost, but we're working on it.
Rich: We're just getting even further away from town. This doesn't look right.
Me: Turn around again?
Rich: Yeah.
Raiden: Are we lost?
Me: Yes! Yes, we're lost. But we're working on it.
Raiden: Do you know where our house is?
Me: Well, yes, I know where our house is, I just don't know how to get there, from here.
Raiden: Do you know where our house is?

Fifteen minutes after that, we came to the place at the far end of town where we'd originally turned left onto Gretna to get to the theater. The good news is, the insanity went on for so damn long that we stopped being angry about it and started laughing about it. Because it was truly ridiculous. I asked Rich if we'd accidentally taken the pretzel route and wondered how many times we'd been thisclose to the highway before we'd turned around. (At one point I said, "Well, this has (I was going to say sucked)... been an adventure." His mind went to Flapjack and K'nuckles; mine went to Charlie the Unicorn.)

Today, I pulled up a map. B is the theater. C is a Kmart I happened to remember passing before we turned around. Which was apparently about three inches from the highway. Follow it down 65, west on 76, up to 376 where we turned around, then east on 76, north and around on Gretna to B. Then follow the route with the white dot closest to the B up to C, past C, turn around at the loop, onto Expressway Lane, back onto Shepard of the Hills and to 376 again, then east on 76 until we got back to 65. I don't think we could've been less efficient if we tried. Note: I had to stop for more gas on the way out of town, and it took us about as long to figure out how to get out of Branson as it did to get home from there.

*Cleansing sigh*

I didn't feel like putting sheets back on Raiden's bed by the time we got home at 11:30 or so (he'd had an accident the night before), he'd already fallen asleep in the car, I couldn't wake him up enough to potty, so we luckily had one more pull-up hanging around that he woke up just enough to help me get onto him before I put him in bed on the futon in my office. Good enough. I moved the baby monitor into there and went downstairs and to bed in my own bed. I ended up on the futon with him by morning, anyway.

Rich and I are tired today. Raiden seemed in good spirits when he woke up. And we now know to never ever go to Branson again without having a good Branson map in hand.

Happy Friday :).