OMAHA, Neb. — We’ve all had those mornings; the ones where everything that can possibly go wrong does.
Mine started with golf balls.
I’d just loaded my toddler into the car. We were running late for preschool. As I pulled out of the garage, my front bumper tapped a box. Not any old box, mind you, but a chest-high vacuum cleaner box that my oldest son had filled — to the top — with golf balls. I was in a hurry, so I did what anyone who denies forethought would do as that box began to fall.
I closed the garage door as quickly as possible.
We left for school and I made it about a block before noticing the gas gauge was reading just south of the empty. Sigh. So I pulled into the gas station parking lot, but the morning sun was shining directly in my eyes. I could see the important things, like people and cars, but the surface of the concrete was as good as invisible to me.
Which is how I managed to drive through a crater the size of, well, an actual crater.
Before I could even lend voice to my expletive, I heard a noise coming from my right front tire. Aw, geez — of course my tire was flat! Only when I got out of the car to take a look, it wasn’t my tire that was the problem. No, it was the huge orange construction cone that was wedged under my bumper. You know, the one that must’ve been in the crater to warn people of its existence…? I was mortified, especially when I had to drive forward, backward and forward again in order to free up that cautionary cone from the underside of my vehicle.
At this point, I’d said, "Are you freaking kidding me?" out loud to no one at least five times; it had become my mantra. I fueled up and grabbed an energy drink (desperate times call for desperate measures), which I proceeded to drop as I rushed to the car. Gravity ensued in that extremely slanted parking lot and, yes, I chased that caffeinated can down the hill like a clumsy kid clamoring after a butterfly.
Are you freaking kidding me?
After capturing my Monster, the preschooler and I hopped back in and were on the road again. Only we realized we forgot her lunch. I whipped a U-turn and drove home for the quick stop-and-grab. But when I pulled into my driveway, I opened the garage door out of habit. Which of course released the balls. Hundreds of golf balls rolled and bounced out of the garage, a nearly unstoppable deluge streaming over the driveway like a flowing river of sports equipment.
But before I could say anything, my daughter started laughing. Full-on belly laughing as if nothing could be more fun than all of those golf balls flying down our driveway (as well as the neighbors’ driveways and the street). I started laughing, too, and by the time we grabbed her lunch and started driving toward school, I was cackling. We saw golf balls as far as five houses away, and Kate excitedly pointed out each and every little white orb she spotted.
Spoiler: I am still finding golf balls around the neighborhood, and it’s been weeks since this happened.
We’ve all had those mornings, but sharing it with my daughter — the utter ridiculousness of it — somehow made it a hilarious memory for the two of us. She says, “Remember the golf ball day?” nearly every morning, and we share a secret smile.
Remind me of this the next time I drive into a crater.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.