Thursday, 10 May 2012

My nightmarish day: trapped in our car!

What a day I've had! *Surreal* is one word for it. But before I spill the beans, I'd like to thank everyone who's responded to my little survey contained in my last post. I've been so impressed at the effort you've all been putting in to make it a really useful feedback tool. You can still complete it if you'd like - there's no time limit on it and all answers are anonymous. I'm going to post about the results very soon - you've given me so much food for thought! Anyway, let's get back to what happened to me today.

Today was my one day of the week alone with Sam. He's at that delightful age - nearly 3 - where he really looks forward to spending time alone with me. So after 'Play School' finished on the telly, we headed into town to buy him some new gumboots. Knowing our trip would be quick, I took a punt and parked in a secret (and free) carpark I've used many a time. There were plenty of places available so we parked and set off on our little adventure.
We passed this sign. You can see where this is headed, can't you?!

Now the lawyer in me understood its import. But I also knew the carpark was never patrolled and we'd be returning quickly. Free parking = bonus.

Mission accomplished and Sammy wearing his spiffy new boots, we returned to the car at 11.15 am.
This is the sight which greeted us.

Ours is the gold station wagon to the right.

It's not the black-hatchback-parked-haphazardly-only-10 cm-behind our towbar.
And this is the view from the front of our car.

Yes, we were parked only about 5cm away from the concrete wall.

Which meant, my friends, that we were inextricably wedged in!

Horrified, I raced back to the black car and assessed that it looked like a family car (with all those little stickers you can buy to represent your family members - know the ones?), parked hurriedly on an angle. Hopefully that meant the driver was a harried mum who'd be returning soon.

I informed Sam. He took it in his stride and agreed to wait for the 'silly' lady with me. 

However, she didn't appear.

At 1 pm, I rang Mr PB at work and filled him in. He (sensibly) suggested we get out and buy some lunch, leaving a note under the car's wiper blade with my mobile number, requesting the driver to call me when they returned to their car.

But my phone didn't ring. Sammy, having a rare treat of some hot chips for lunch, wasn't overly concerned. I was trying to keep calm and not let him see my rising anxiety (which wasn't helped by the fact that I hadn't been able to take my lunchtime medication which was at home, of course).

We returned to the car, Sammy splashing in puddles in his new gumboots all the way.

And the car was still there.

I removed my note and we retreated to the car where we waited. And waited. And waited.

Sam, for one of the first times in his life, missed his 1-2.30 pm nap. Having Mummy's undivided attention was too exciting to be missed by sleeping! So he nattered away, we sang silly songs, made funny sounds, pulled crazy faces and watched the birds flittering about.
This was the graffiti directly in front of us. I kid you not. I have never seen the word 'blogs' anywhere public in Hobart. Ever. It's almost an alien concept to most of the folk down here. I was grateful for the prompt.

Desperate to do something useful with my time, I grabbed pen and paper and started a little blog planning (I use that term very loosely - not much was achieved with my chatty toddler interrupting me every two seconds!). I started  answering a question someone had left on my survey. 

And the time ticked on.

By this stage, my anxiety levels were rising. We were almost parked in on both sides as well so claustrophobia was starting to set in. We called Mr PB intermittently, repeating the "nothing to report" line. Ad nauseum.

By this stage, it was 1.45 pm. India needed to be collected from school at 2.30 pm and Joshie at 2.50 pm. I called on the cavalry and my father-in-law scooted over to their school to pick them up.

By this stage, Sam's imagination was flagging. I managed to find him a game to play on my ancient Nokia phone which occupied him for a while.
I stared at this graffiti out my window. Was there some cosmic meaning in it for me?
I turned around and saw this view. About a hundred times. Of that ruddy car parked right up behind us.

By this stage it was 4.30 pm. Joshie's soccer practice was finished so my father-in-law took the children home. But thanks to all the gardening Mr PB and I have been doing, they couldn't find the spare key tucked away. It was getting dark and cold.

Finally Mr PB left work and raced home to let them in.

Meanwhile, as 5 pm knock-off time passed, most of the carpark emptied. Except for our rear neighbour.

We were both feeling a *little* stir-crazy by now. I kept counting my lucky stars that Sam only had a wet nappy and nothing worse. Because, of course, we didn't have any spares and the shops had all closed.

Finally, at 5.45 pm, a whole 6½ hours later, our knight-in-shining-armour (Mr PB) arrived. Just as he was about to swap cars with us so we could head home, a lady told us that the dratted car was owned by the lady who ran the shop across the road.

Mr PB scooted over there to beg her to move her car. 

But she took her own sweet time.

Finally she appeared at 6 pm, hopped into her car and drove off.

Not a word was exchanged.

Mr PB and Sam returned to our freed car and I drove the other car home to be greeted by two concerned and hungry pixies. Grandpa then left and we bustled about, trying to get our evening back on track, especially as Mr PB was due to start at his second job at 7 pm.

So, how's that for a shocker of a day?! I will never use that carpark again - I've learnt my lesson. Fair cop. 

Even so, I thought the woman could have shown a *smidgen* of compassion to me, seeing me standing there in the cold, juggling my toddler on my hip.

Have any of you ever been caught in such a predicament? I hope I'm not the only ninny out there!

And guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning - stashing an 'emergency care pack' in the car!
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