Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let my love open the door...

You're right.  It is a Jeep thing.  And I DON'T understand.
This was my Facebook status for a few days.

Why?  I'm currently driving a Jeep Compass (which a friend described as the "worst bastardization of a brand in the car world" - and he's totally right).  Jeep Compasses (Compassi?) are bastards.  I have one as a rental.  And I will have one for the next week or two while my car is being fixed.  Why is my car being fixed, you ask?  Well, because another Bastard Jeep Compass decided to illegally back up at an intersection, plow into my one year old (to the week) car, and absolutely destroy the front end.  And, to make things even better, his bastard insurance company gave me only two choices of car: a Two-Door Speck or a Bastard Jeep Compass (BJC).  Oh, the irony.

So.  I'm driving the bastard.  And while my hatred for this vehicle and the man who put me in this predicament will be saved for another post, I still have yet another reason to hate this damn Jeep.  It resulted in my first 911 call involving my son.

(Before I start, let me say everyone is okay, no one was bleeding or hurt.  We're fine.)

My husband was at a National Sales Meeting and so it was just me and the baby living it up like bachelors for several days.  I had to pick him up and drop him off at daycare which is actually my preference, but since I have to punch a clock at work, I often can't make it to work on time without leaving the house before the sun is up in order to get him to daycare.  But, when my husband is out of town I'm left with no choice.
On one of these bachelor afternoons, I went to pick up the baby.  The one trade-off we have for our amazing babysitter is that the commute is a bit on the long side.  So, it was not good when TIH started screaming and crying with real tears rolling down his cheeks for no apparent reason only 5 minutes into the trip.  The only thing that would calm him down (slightly) is if I would reach back awkwardly and hold his hand. I decided that it would probably be safer if I took the back roads home rather than attempt to take the interstate since he would. not. let. me. let. go.

As luck would have it, one of the stop lights on my commute was out, but I sat there for a full five minutes trying unsuccessfully to calm the baby before I even realized it.  I sang.  I handed him every toy I could possibly give him.  I held his hand.  Nothing worked.  Including the stop light.   Fortunately, a police officer showed up and started directing traffic so that we could finally go.  The baby continued to scream and cry as I sped through the last mile and half of our commute eager to get home and get him out of the baby seat so I could find out what was wrong.

I swung the BJC into the garage, shut it off, and slammed my car door open without even bothering to remove the keys from the ignition.  I hit the button on the door to disengage the child locks in the back and slammed the door shut.  Ran around to his side of the door and it was locked.  I ran back to the driver's door to try the button again and that was locked too.  I tried the remaining two doors.  Locked.  All of them.  Trunk?  Locked.  When I hit the button to unlock the child locks, I must have hit the lock button instead.  My baby was locked inside the car.

Panic ensued.  I called my husband (though I'm not sure why, there was absolutely nothing he could do).  And, even though I was holding a smart phone in my hand, I made him call the rental company to see if they could do something to open up the car.  I was crying.  I was panicking.  I was screaming at him "Help me.  Help me."  The baby was still crying and screaming audibly from the backseat, but I couldn't get to him.  And the more his crying escalated, the more I panicked.  And the more I panicked, the more he panicked.  And so on, and so on.  I called 411 (from a smart phone, because I'm a moron) and had them connect me to the rental company so I could talk to them myself.

Has anyone ever seen that e-mail circulating that tells you that if you hold a key less entry remote up to a cell phone and hit unlock that it will unlock your car?  Guess what?  IT ISN'T TRUE.  But, I sure did sound like a huge MORON calling the Enterprise guy and screaming at him over the phone saying "HELP ME!  DO THE REMOTE ENTRY CELL PHONE THING.  MY BABY IS LOCKED IN YOUR (bastard) CAR!"  He calmly told me he cannot do that, that it doesn't work like that, but that roadside assistance could come and help me get the car open.  I asked him how quickly they could get there and he said oh, so very convincingly "Ummm...I can't really saaaaay."  Then, that little bastard put. me. on. HOLD.

Y'all - let me paint this picture for you.  I have just called a RENT-A-CAR company to save me in one of the worst moments of my life.  And he put. me. on. HOLD.  My child is SCREAMING bloody murder in the backseat.  My husband is a 3-hour plane ride away. I am slowly losing it, with tears streaming down my face, mascara dripping onto the window of the BJC that I have my face pressed up against as if I can somehow will the door to open.  It was a HOT. MESS.

So, in my only "Wise Mind" moment of the day, I hung up on the Enterprise bastard and called 911.  It was exactly like you would picture it.  The dispatcher telling me to calm down and slow down so she could get my address.  Assuring me that someone is on the way.  Offering to stay on the line until the police showed up.  Telling me to be calm for the baby to help him calm down (and it totally did calm him down, by the way).

The first person to show up on the scene is a police officer who calmly strides up to my car and says some reassuring things to calm me down.  And then he's all, "Where's [my husband]?"  I looked at him in a confused way like I've panicked so bad that I'm now hallucinating.  So, he says, as though I should know this (and I should...and do...kind of), "I live across the street? [points to his house]  I actually have something in my personal vehicle that could open this up, but since I'm on duty, I only have my squad car and they don't let us have those things anymore.  Otherwise, you could have just walked over and I could have helped you."   Yeah, I kind of forgot that I live in Mayberry and I am surrounded on all sides by police officers who work on the local force.  Being the great neighbor that I am, I've never even met this guy (though apparently my husband has) so, I smile through the tears streaming down my face and hold out my hand,  saying "Nice to (hiccup) meet you.  I'm sorry...(dissolves into more tears)."

He was so sweet (nice to know since he's my neighbor) and even offered to punch out the windows for me in the BJC.   But, since we could see that TIH was able to breathe and not hurt in anyway (and he had started to calm down remarkably), I decided it might be better to just wait.  (Though secretly, I wish we could have punched the crap out of the windows of the BJC.  I still kind of want to.)

The fire department arrived and used this elaborate tool to get into the door through the window and basically just opened up the car door using this long arm thing.  I couldn't get TIH (who had completely calmed down and was now just staring at the six people surrounding him) out of his seat fast enough to hug him and cry and tell him how sorry I was.  One of the firemen handed me my keys, I signed a waiver that said I wouldn't come after them for money if they scratched the BJC (shoot, I wouldn't come after them if they set FIRE to the BJC), I thanked everyone, and then walked inside with TIH... and proceeded to hold him for the rest of the night.

Despite all the reassurance from my husband and my friends who I've told about this awful situation, I still can't help but feel like the worst mom of the century.  My haste to get to TIH and calm him (like any good mother would) caused me to make an even bigger mistake.  And, I really can't stop beating myself up about it.

One of my friends said something like, "Hey, we all have one of those 'my parents left me at church' kind of stories...this can be yours."

So, do you?  Does anyone else have a story like this?  Please share.  You're in good company.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my baseball bat and I have a date with the Jeep.
Bastard.

10 comments:

  1. How horribly ironic that you were also hit by a Compass. Wow. Glad everyone is ok!

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  2. Yes, exactly - my mother left me at church one Sunday in 1990 (I was 7). She didn't realize she'd left me until she went from church to the store to pick up lunch, then got home and was MAKING lunch when she realized she was one (out of two) daughters short. I was sitting on the steps inside the church waiting. And hey- I turned out OK! and we laugh about it. And I've been able to hold it over her head for 2 decades. :)

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  3. Thanks for reading, Kyle And, for providing me with the nickname for this thing I'm going to be stuck with for the next few days. The irony is...unreal.

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  4. Angela! That's awful! But, it is good to know that things like this can happen and kids turn out okay. Especially since it is highly unlikely TIH will remember anything that happens to him at 7 months old, least of all this.

    Thanks for sharing... :(

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  5. We have all done this sort of thing. My mother locked my son in her my minivan and had to call the police to get him out. I thought it happened to me as well, but now I can't remember the specifics (perhaps I blacked it out totally!). Recently, after taking my daughter to the doctors where she had a rough time, I promised her burritos for lunch. I bought some on the way home and she screamed the whole way that she wanted them immediately. Left them on the front seat and jumped out of the car as quickly as possible, took my daughter out and placed her in our yard, then turned to open the car door to get the rest of the stuff. It was locked, with the keys inside and my phone. I had no way in my house. I had no way in my car. I had no way to get in touch with my husband or anyone. It was the middle of the day on a week day and my neighborhood was empty. My daughter was screaming for her lunch that I had made into a huge deal and was an extra special treat for being good at the cardiologist. Did I also mention it was freezing out? After I calmed down and got her relatively calmed down (she wouldn't stop screaming for her burritos), I recalled a spare house key hidden in my garage. I got into my house and was able to email my dad, who came and let me use his phone to call a locksmith. My daughter didn't get her burritos until dinner. While not as traumatizing as your event, I can easily see how it happens. If I hadn't been in such a rush to get inside with the special lunch for my daughter, I would never have locked the keys, phone, and lunch in the car on her. It is actually amazing that I managed to not lock my daughter in the car too.

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  6. Oh no! I really think that the same adrenalin rush that causes those moms you read about to pull cars off of their children is the rush that causes us to do somewhat mindless things all in the name of "saving" (or feeding or comforting...) our children. At least it comes from a good place too.

    Thank you for sharing and reading :)

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  7. I know that is so scary when that stuff happens. You did the right thing, held him all night long!! I've been known to do that when I thought I was the worst mom ever. Two good things came out of this. 1 - he's way to young to ever remember and 2 - you'll never leave the keys in your car again, ever! I look stupid with my keys clipped to my belt everywhere I go. But I know where they are!!

    My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

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  8. Thank you!
    I tend to be a bit of a fanatic when it comes to my car (my real one, not this stupid rental) and one of the best features about it is that it will not let you lock your keys in your car. If the keys are inside the vehicle you can't use the door buttons to lock it. Unfortunately, it seems I have come to rely on this feature pretty heavily so I need to break myself of it for situations like this one.

    Holding him all night was probably more for my benefit than his, but he didn't seem to mind. Thank you for all the encouragement and for continuing to read :)

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  9. I once locked my child in the car at the pediatrician's office. I freaked, called my mom, cried, and finally realized calling 911 was the most effective remedy for the situation. Next thing I know there are 3 sheriff's and a crime scene unit van outside of the doctor's office. I felt like a complete idiot for locking my kid in the car but every one was very nice about the whole situation and nobody made me feel bad. It happens to the best of us!

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  10. @Rachel - Since I posted this, I have had several of my friends and blog followers come forward to tell me that they have had this happen to them as well. The best one was my own mother who let me know she locked me in the car when I was a little older than this. The good news? I had NO recollection of this event until she reminded me of it - so it's likely that our kids won't either.

    Thanks for reading my blog! So glad to have you!

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