Last Wednesday was gearing up to be a productive day. My parents were scheduled to arrive on Thursday afternoon and I had a long list of things I wanted to get done before they arrived. I’d dressed in my finest house-cleaning attire: Soffe shorts and an old, paint-stained Chicago White Sox t-shirt. (You may be wondering why a Cubs fan owns a White Sox shirt. I won it. And I only wear it to do manual labor around the house.) Once I’d gotten started I realized there were a few items I’d need from Home Depot. While I don’t always go to Home Depot looking like a bum, I consider it an acceptable option. Nine times out of ten, when you’re going to Home Depot it’s because you’re in the middle of a project and realize you’re lacking something integral to completion of said project. Most of the other people there are smack dab in the middle of their own projects. Paint stains are practically a requirement. So I threw on old dirty tennis shoes and headed over.
New fountain pump, check. Weed killer, check. Storage bins for Christmas Tree, not so much. They didn’t have anything large enough. I was wandering around trying to find the wood oil when Tall Guy called. His rear driver’s side tire had just blown out. On the freeway.
Fortunately, it didn’t send his truck out of control and he was able to pull onto the shoulder without any injuries or additional damages. Unfortunately, he was en route to a business meeting and couldn’t stick around on the side of 275 waiting for a tow. Also, he now needed me to run a couple errands for him.
After a few phone calls, a tow truck was dispatched. However, Tall Guy hadn’t left a key with the car and one was needed. The tow company said their driver was 20 minutes out from where his truck was parked (still on 275). Figuring there was just enough time, I decided to squeeze in the first errand: picking up spring training tickets. My first meeting with the receptionist of one of Adam’s business associates was me in my house-cleaning gear. Awesome. Tickets picked up. Off to Tall Guy’s truck with the extra key.
The location of Tall Guy’s truck is important. The blow-out had occurred just before the 9th Street entrance onto 275N in St. Petersburg. It is the last entrance onto 275 before the Howard Frankland bridge, which goes over the bay. The bridge is over 7 miles long and goes directly into Tampa. I arrived at Tall Guy’s truck just 22 minutes after speaking with the tow coordinator. The tow truck had not yet arrived, so I got out of my car (just in case someone careened onto the shoulder and into one of our vehicles) and stood under an underpass a safe distance from the road. Although I’m certain the correct location information was provided to the tow company (before the 9th street entrance), about fifteen minutes later I watched them enter the freeway using the 9th Street entrance. While I imagine the driver debated trying to back up to Tall Guy’s truck, it would’ve meant crossing the on-ramp. Bad idea. So the tow truck pulled back onto 275N and drove on across the bridge, into Tampa. Another forty minutes passed as it turned around in Tampa, drove back across the bridge into St. Petersburg, turned around again…
After an hour of hanging out on the side of the freeway (still looking super cute), I was finally on my way. Only I also was forced to drive all the way to Tampa, the opposite direction of my home. Deciding to make the most of the detour, instead of turning around and heading back I went to The Container Store. Christmas Tree storage: check! Before heading south again, Tall Guy called. He happened to be nearby and had his business partner drop him off to meet me. Back to St. Pete and Tall Guy’s office. Only there was a meeting he had to attend. The timing was such that driving home would mean arriving only to turn around, drive back and pick him up. Instead, still in my awesome clothes, I filled time grabbing necessities at Target and Publix. By the time we finally got home I’d lost about seven hours intended to be spent preparing for my parents’ arrival.
Yes, I’d still accomplished several things, but nothing from the original list. That meant Thursday was much more hectic than anticipated and left me just barely ready for the ‘rents. Luckily, I don’t think they noticed.