Friday morning my husband drove me to the airport for a 7:00am flight and then turned right around and headed back home where he readied the kids for school. Bless his evolved Dad of 2012 soul for when my dear, dear and former neighbor invited me to spend a few days with her out of town, I jumped. Just a few months prior to departure, Dan had booked my flight so that my parachute could land in Miami. Gotta love those Frequent Flyer miles or if you've read my prior blogs, Munchausen Miles.
I, though initially jumping, went vacillated as to whether I should leave my boys. Two middle schoolers and a high schooler with busy schedules, I wondered if it was fair to Dan. On one hand, Dan works long hours, including most evenings. Then again, as a dear and very honest long time friend reminded me (following my third flip flop), I work plenty hard too. Mother, and homemaker, my world is pretty demanding as well. People actually want and pay to hear what Dan has to say. My little customers...not so much. Dan, a die hard entrepreneur, has lived in an exciting corporate world filled with endless, grueling hours of work but also a great deal of travel and fun and fulfillment. I love being wife and Mother to my family. That said, I am, as the primary hands on parent, always available to my family either at home where I work most days or when I'm out and about by phone. I drive them to school each morning and pick them up at the end of the school day. There are no assigned days off and the majority of my days are related to things I manage for my family and our home. I can be reached by texting, even when I'm teaching or working hospice or somewhere volunteering in the school my children attend each day. Dan has absolutely become more involved in our children's life over the years and would certainly be able to manage for a long weekend. No more flipping or flopping. Time for me to travel and have fun outside of Minnesota.
My first hours in the Keys were uneventful. I sat looking at an extraordinary view of the ocean, leisurely eating a fresh salad with fresh filled Mahi Mahi. Granted I was still wearing black leggings and boots and a shirt with a long sweater looking like quite the tourist in 75 degree and sunshine but I didn't care, even a little. I wore these clothes intentionally as upon my return, I needed to go directly to school for two evening meetings. But that was four lovely, leisure days away and until then Dan would manage everything and blissfully, I had no where to go and all day to get there. it would be hours later until I would realize that my phone ringer was still turned off from the flight. The text, "where is..." and "Dad won't let me..." arrived long after dark.
I awoke the next morning at 10:26am. What an awful house guest I am! My dear empty nester, retired snowbird gal pal has been an earlier rise since I've known her- almost 18 years. By the time I exited my bedroom, my hostess Debbie had already eaten breakfast, read the local paper, walked her dog, gone out for her bike ride, was on the second load of laundry and was now finishing up her crossword puzzle . She was well into the fourth hour of her day. I, on the other hand, still had moisturizer drying on the tip of my nose and was making a b-line for the Keurig machine, eager to load my Caribou hit.
"Oh Debbie, I'm so sorry and so embarrassed, I can't believe my first day here I slept in so late. I know you get a jump start on the day. You did mention the other guests rave about the bed in there but gosh, I really slept like a rock."
Debbie just knowingly smiled. "It is the most incredible bed- I'll grant you that but with 3 young boys, a house to run, all of your volunteer work up at school and now hospice..." Pause. "Elliott being sick...oh and the stress of your recent strike..."
"Very funny little Missy." We are both smiling now. All of this and more seems a million miles away. "Well, when you word it like that, perhaps I should go lie back down!" Nothing like a gal pal to support you and encourage self care. After all, who takes care of the Mom?
No time or desire for rest now as the sunny blue skies of the Keys are awaiting us. A leisurely tour of the neighborhood followed by another lunch ocean side are on today's agenda. Pinch me. This is a long, long way from the morning routine back home. And it would soon come to pass that I would feel even further from home as within 24 hours my iPhone would be stolen from under my nose and we would be stranded in a boat that unexpectedly ran out of gas.
Suffice to say, what happens in the Keys stays in the keys. Beginning at 4:20 pm, we would join my husband on a journey as he remotely tracked my iPhone on Find My Phone. Initially he texted my MIA phone, "if found please call" and left his own cell phone number. Unfortunately before the law enforcement would even arrive to the home of my hostess, my phone had crossed the ocean, stopped at a gas station, stopped at a barber for a haircut, hung out at a residence just spitting distance for a police station, and then to our frustration, disbelief and yes- amusement, SIRI the IPhone went into an apartment complex, left the apartment to hang out ocean side and a few minutes later she went back into the complex. At this point we were all a bit vested and glued to the computer screen watching my phone travel.
SIRI was powered off shortly after 10:00 pm when the first squad car went to retrieve her. At midnight, when she was tuned back on, Dan was getting a little annoyed and he and our youngest son went rogue. "If you return this phone to the police station- less than a block from your current location, we will not press charges. We have tracked you..." and then Father and son proceeded to list every stop these hoodlums had made since first making off with my phone. Jeremy (who was up well passed the ascribed bedtime I had written in the notes Dan requested) asked if our last text could be, "FU!"
"Absolutely not! We are not going to stoop to their obnoxious level nor are we going to make them angry on the off chance they have a change of heart, do the right thing and return my phone." Always a Mother, I really needed to take the high ground here.
"FU, you F'in F'ers. Give me back my F'in phone Mother F'ers," is what Debbie and I actually came up with but I was certainly not going to share that with my boys. They were having enough fun and excitement for one night. Admittedly though, I most certainly did fantasize about sending it.
Speaking of which, the police officer who responded to our initial call (due to traffic, almost 2 hours following our initial call to the police station), more than made up for the delay in looks and professionalism. And in fact, I think the Keys community should consider a Law Enforcement Calendar. (For charity of course! I'm happily married, going on 20 years. That said, I'm on vacation- I'm not dead. And actually you would have had to be a corpse not to notice him.) Perhaps Debbie can post an order form on Facebook if the house tour fundraiser gets old and they do decide to have a new sort of fundraiser.
At two am, the final showdown of our tracking adventure when three squad cars arrived, the criminals shut her down again. Poor SIRI. These thieves were not the sharpest knives in the drawer and had fired her up again so Dan who had been checking the computer tracking on and off as was directed by the police, had called the police back with any news. Before she was sadly, ultimately and remotely "wiped" and shut down by Dan, she sat in the parking lot for hours but only after Dan's final text. In his defense, it had been a long night tracking my phone and talking with various dispatchers and police officers. And well, if he was about to take a $700 hit, he was going to get his entertainment monies worth. On the off chance my children do secretly read my Blog, I'm not sharing the text. (If you're reading this guys, just tell me and I'll share verbatim, what Detective Daddy/Clint Eastwood sent in his final text message.
I awoke a little earlier the following morning. Sun and fun, shopping and lunching were waiting. Debbie grabbed her phone and purse. I wanted to do the same, as well as check in at home but quickly realized I didn't have my phone. "Those F'ers!" How would anyone text me? I felt so far away. Then again, no one could text me. I felt so far away... We headed out for a bike ride, some souvenir shopping and lunch. We had to stay on a schedule today as before dinner Debbie had planned for a little boat tour with local friends. Let's call them The Gilligans.
This is where "what happens in the Keys stays in the Keys" comes into play.
Suffice to say, gas tank unexpectedly reading empty, we quietly coasted in our boat for a little while in that wise, veteran wife learned manner. Together, as the Captain of the boat steered, Debbie, boat hostess Mrs. Gilligan and I practiced uncomfortable silence and the Homecoming Queen waves as we passed neighbors relaxing on their docks. A good wife knows when to remain silent, not offer suggestions or, G-d forbid- directions. A good wife, secure in her marriage also knows that come the next day, none of the neighbors will hear of this but certainly there will be a few little references throughout the day like, "too bad Deb didn't have her iPhone." And, "hey at least we weren't stranded on some remote island in the middle of the ocean like The Skipper, Thurston and Mrs. Howell?"
Like all good things, so too must my trip come to an end. I had a wonderful vacation with my friend Debbie and all of her fabulous neighbors. The weather was perfect and grilled fish twice a day was a treat I could get used to. I hope to return with Dan one day as I think he would enjoy visiting the Keys as well. Good bye dear Keys, good bye and thank you Debbie, and yes-good bye Siri. You did an exceptional job of keeping me connected to my family and without you I truly missed feeling connected (except on a few occasions like when I read my book by the pool, when I was dining and conversing, when I was sleeping, when I was on the boat…). I hope, in memory of you Siri, one of my kids will develop a means to, before "wiping" one's phone once it has been stolen, shock the mother fu&*%# who steals it.