This past week and a half reminded me of a movie that I loved to watch growing up called the “Adventures of Babysitting”. This movie was released in 1987 and starred Elisabeth Shue as Chris Parker, the young and beautiful college student babysitter who looks after 3 children, ranging from the ages of 8 years old to 15 years old. For the main plot— an evening of babysitting that was supposed to be quiet and calm actually turned into this big whirl of an adventure. What a great movie! If you haven’t seen it before I sure do recommend that you check it you when you get a chance.
Well, over the last week and a half my children were on Spring Break, and what was supposed to be a smooth flowing week with my sister Candace in Upstate New York, turned into my own real version of the “Adventures of Babysitting”. It was so eventful I had to share it. Looking back at it…I can truly laugh, but while going through the situations I actually wanted to cry.
Hmmmm….where should I begin? O Yes! Monday, April 10th, the day my sister and I planned a lovely trip to the Bronx Zoo with her husband, and a few of our friends along with all of our children. So, as the day commences everything was going smoothly despite our late start due to various reasons with getting everyone on the same page, and traffic stemming from an alleged accident/road construction. However, despite the small setback in time we were well on our way around 11am that morning to the Bronx Zoo. The GPS projected a destination arrival time of 30 minutes from Queens, NY.
On our way to the zoo, the traffic was moving right along, until we reached exit 6 off of the Bronx River Parkway, and saw that the Zoo was filled to capacity. There were so many people that all of the car/visitor parking lots were closed. At that time we all decided to split up in groups. Our friend and myself along with the children we had with us went one way, my older sister Candace and our younger sister went a next way, and my brother-in-law, went his separate way—all in the name of finding parking on the street so that we can enter the zoo. Long story short, it took us nearly 2 hours of driving around to find parking that was close enough…what a nightmare! If you have never been to the Bronx, New York, it is extremely challenging to find parking on the street. However, we were all determined to give the children a great day, so we persevered. I guess everyone had the same idea that day being that it was the first day of spring break and such a nice day.
Yes, so that was adventure number one…thankfully everything turned around from that point on in the day and the zoo trip turned into a great success. After we all left the zoo I headed to Upstate New York with my sister Candace, as the plan was to spend the remainder of the week with her and her family. We wanted our children to have a week to hang out and have a great time together. Well, this fun was soon marked with pain and blood on Wednesday April 12th, when my youngest niece who is 5 years old rocked the chair at the dining room table causing my daughter/her cousin to hit her mouth on the marble table. Ahhh!!! This accident caused my daughter to suffer great trauma to one of her top front teeth. Thankfully, they are due to come out soon as she is 6 years old, but that particular tooth was not ready yet. So that accident landed us in the dentist office, where the damaged front tooth had to be extracted. What fun!!!! I know!!!
Alright, I know what you are thinking….could this vacation get any worse?!?! Heck yeah!!!! This next adventure will really bring you to your knees with laughter.
Please keep this one detail in mind—as it will tie in with the subsequent story. So that same Wednesday (tooth trauma day), I see my daughter coloring a gray jewelry box at the dining room table that looked identical to the one I had in my luggage. However, I know I had my jewelry boxed tucked safely away and that could not be mine…right!!! WRONG!!!
Now let us fast forward to Friday morning, April 14th. Here goes the agenda for that day:
- Get the children up
- Feed them breakfast
- Review my sister’s new blog article
- Lastly head to Stop Hop and Roll with the children (a play center like Chuck E. Cheese)
Well, well, well…I finished reviewing my sister’s article and was in the process of getting ready to leave for Stop Hop and Roll—and lo and behold I realized that my gray jewelry box was missing. Instantly, like in a sci-fi movie I had this instant flashback that seemed to zoom in seconds to that Wednesday, when I saw my daughter coloring a gray jewelry box at the table. At that moment all I could whisper was “NO, NO, NO!!!” You see…in that jewelry box apart from my earrings was my extremely expensive 10-year wedding anniversary ring set. Instantly, my stomach started to contract and I had to take a deep slow breath as I yelled my sister’s name. Immediately she came to my rescue and I quickly explained to her my dilemma. Being the passive investigative type, she calls all the children upstairs and there begins the hours of interrogation/ring hunt.
My oldest niece who is 7 acquired the jewelry box (up to this very moment, no one will confess who went into my bag and removed it), she then tossed both pairs of my earrings in the upstairs bathroom garbage, because “they weren’t her style”, and took out my wedding rings and began playing with them. She told her older brother (age 9) and my son (age 8), what she did, but neither of them felt it was important to tell an adult…deep sigh. Next, she conspires with my daughter to play with them, before returning the engagement ring into the jewelry box and putting it into the craft drawer. Sadly, she left the actual wedding band on the dining room table. My head started to hurt as I thought who knows where the wedding band could be in my sister’s big house.
At that same moment my sister and I looked at each other with a heavy heart, for we knew that there was a possibility that it could have fallen on the floor and she could have swept it up. This led to the next detestable step…searching with a fine eye through three bags of garbage. Thankfully due to the holidays the garbage pick up was delayed. So yes, my sister and I spread a huge blue plastic covering over the kitchen floor, and started shifting through mounds of garbage. The last bag was the worst, being that it was sitting outside for a few days. Our noses were screaming for help…it was torturous. Nonetheless, the mission had to proceed accordingly as my articles had to be found…no questions asked.
After searching all three garbage bags we located my earrings, but no luck with my ring. This then sparked a second round of interrogation with my sister playing the lead detective…I must say she was excellent with her questioning and composure. I think that she actually watched too many episodes of “Law and Order”. Well it surely did pay off because as a result of this interrogation, her oldest son led us to her bedroom, where an alleged conspiracy took place between my son and my oldest niece, where they were handling the rings last. What seemed like a cold case… got hot really quickly. Finally, my sister searched her room and found my wedding band on the floor by her window under some papers. We were so happy!!!! I was so worried…but Thank God it all worked out in the end. Lesson learned…my rings stay on my finger.
Alright!!!!! For the big finale ending…are you ready for this?!?! We have a tire blow out on my way home on Sunday, April 16th on Interstate 15 in Pennsylvania! I know…I know…you are saying really?!?! Well, yes really…I wish I was making this up, but sadly I am not. So around 3pm with an hour left to arrive home, I heard a loud noise and eventually looked out my driver side view mirror just in time to see my left back tire fly off onto the highway. I quickly fought for control of the car, and was able to pull over safely to the side of the road. Through all of this, I know God’s hands were guiding that steering wheel and keeping me very calm.
Long story short, I called roadside assistance, they dispatched my case to a ‘local’ tire shop that was located in Maryland (40 minutes away), and who inevitably could not find my location. Two State Troopers and two lovely strangers later, my tire remained unchanged as no one could loosen the last bolt (it was stripped and therefore difficult to remove) on the wheel to change it. So I had to wait for the tire company to arrive. Well this kind stranger took us to the nearest store where we could use the bathroom (my children and I) and get some snacks, while his sister waited with my van…What God sent angels!!!!
While his sister was waiting with our van, a random tire company (which we didn’t know at the time, as we thought it was the company contracted by my insurance) pulls up and removes the stubborn bolt in less than a minute and changed the tire. We arrived back to the van shortly, where the tire man says 85 dollars is the cost. However, I pay for roadside assistance via insurance, and never had to pay cash upfront before. So I explained this to the man, who said “no, you have to pay me cash and then you can submit this receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement.” I then said with a confused look on my face, “well I do not have 85 dollars in cash—do you have a card machine?” He then looks at me and says… “Ma’am I do not have time for this…have a great day”. He then gets into his truck and leaves. I was like wow…despite whatever intentions this man had he just changed my tire for free. Yes, a praise moment was due. So I got my tire changed, by a random tire truck company for free. On top of that the man was able to loose the bolt that no one else could…all I could say was, Thank You God!
After the first tire truck company left, almost immediately a tow truck pulls up in front of me. The kind stranger and his sister said “get in your car now and leave”. So, I did just that (3 hours after my tire blew out on the highway). It was like a stern warning that required quick action. So, I complied very fast. He then proceeded to direct traffic away from us on this busy interstate risking his own life that my children and I could drive off safely.
If you ever thought that there are no longer any good people out there in the world…please don’t. That day, I had the great honor of meeting a few of them.
What a week of adventure…right!!! This was supposed to be a break week, am I correct? I mean they don’t call it Spring Break for nothing…buda boom ching (Drum Roll)!
Despite all…I am just happy that my family and I were able to make it safely home— while enjoying a great time with my sister and her family, along with our wonderful friends.
Spring Break 2017 will definitely go down in my history bank as one of the most memorable yet!