It was Friday ... and Jessi was coming to help at the tea shop in the afternoon.
She was ready when I got to the workshop to pick her up after lunch. We hopped on to the highway to head on in.
On the way for just a few minutes when I heard the dreaded flat tire sound on the pavement. I pulled over safely on to the shoulder and dialed up AAA. Within 15 minutes a nice older gentleman pulled up in a swanky AAA Roadside Assistance vehicle. He made a face as he pulled the ancient do-nut style spare out of the trunk of my latest project car.
It's a 1995 Toyota Celica Convertible. Been driving it for a few months but have never had any reason to examine that spare ... until today.
Quickly he changed out the tires. "Don't go over 50 on that one," he said. "It isn't safe."
I figured it was good to limp on in to the tea shop and then back home. I made the call to arrange to have a couple of new tires put on first thing in the morning.
Jessi had a lovely time playing hostess at the tea shop. Some of her friends stopped by and she made new friends as well.
When it was time to leave, we picked up a drive-thru dinner as we made our way to a performance of The Little Mermaid at a high school in a nearby community.
No information could be found as to the location of the Auditorium or parking anywhere. It was as if the expectation was that no one from the general public would be attending the performance ... only those who were familiar with the fairly large campus.
After receiving conflicting directions from others trying to find a spot, we ended up parking about 4 blocks behind the high school only to discover that the entire campus was surrounded by a 6' chain link fence. We had to trek a few blocks to a main street and then cut through the parking lots of the police station and post office in order to reach the building that had been pointed out as our destination.
Upon arrival it was obvious that this was not where we were wanting to be. A nice custodian person let us in a back door and explained that we were on the wrong side of the campus. She suggested that we trek back to our car and then head back around to the front of the school. There we could attempt to park along with other play-goers ... and, oh yeah, there was also a basketball tournament under way. Reluctantly, she directed us through a maze of hallways that allowed us to arrive at the auditorium just in time for the curtain.
Jessica loves live theater. The performance was magical. The young talent was strong and had us captivated throughout the show.
After the show a nice high school staff person told us that we could go through the building ... the way we had come in ... to the back parking lot so that we didn't have to wander around the dark side streets to where our car was parked.
Following our imaginary trail of bread crumbs, we made our way through the building to the backside of the campus. Thinking we had found our exit, we pushed the door open and stepped outside. Just as the door slammed shut I realized we were not in the parking lot. Rather we were in a courtyard surrounded by one of those 6' chain link fences.
The gates were all locked and, of course, we were locked out of the building.
Trying not to show my panic to Jessi, I headed for the gate and cheerfully handed her my purse. I was wishing I had my PF Flyers. You know, the shoes that make a kid run faster and jump higher from my youth.
Boldly, I scaled the fence and slid down the other side. It wasn't pretty but I was hoping it looked easy to Jessi.
As she handed me my purse along with her PattiCake & Howie John, I said "Come on, Jessi. Climb over." So she tried ... putting her hands through the chain links and attempting to find a toe hold.
"I can't!" she declared.
"Sure you can," I encouraged. "Put your hands here on top of the fence and then put your foot there on that (waist-high) bar."
In a flash, she was on top of the fence. Her move was super hero worthy. Precariously balanced on top for a moment or two, her pants leg got hung up and experienced a little rip on the way down the other side.
There are no words to express how awed and amazed I was at her bravery. I was so very proud of her. Jessi, on the other hand, was more focused on the little rip in the bottom seam of her pants. I assured her I would mend it or buy her a pair of new pants.
Full of ourselves for overcoming our obstacle, we quickly made our way to the car and hopped on the highway to head home. We were heading north when the ancient do-nut spare that had been put on earlier in the day started making a funny whining noise before it gave up the ghost. By the time I was able to get clear of the construction zone and exit into a parking lot, I could hear the metal of the wheel grinding the pavement.
Second call to AAA of the day. This time for a wrecker to tow it on over to the tire shop that I was already planning to visit first thing in the morning.
Like a true knight in the night, Roland rescued Jessi & I from the side of the road. Another fine man of the same ilk named Bruce came for my little car.
Two new tires the next morning. All's well that ends well.