This afternoon, our American Heritage Girls Scouting Troop was to entertain a local nursing home with popular Christmas Carols. I had hoped to be able to drive the new and improved van, as I have yet to drive it any distance. However, Fiddledaddy confiscated it on the pretense of having a new key made.
So I piled my two scouts into the Prius, entered the address into our GPS System (aptly named Gypsy) and we were on our merry way. Except that Gypsy was leading us astray. I knew the general direction we should be going, and Gypsy was attempting to take me the scenic route. A good 15 miles out of the way. I aimed the car in the direction that I knew we should be heading, and in her irritated voice, she let me know she was “RECALCULATING.” Wherein she then instructed me to take a u-turn. Which I did not. And for the next 5 miles, she instructed me to take a u-turn, each time with a little more impatience. I had Emme call Fiddledaddy in case he was at his computer, so he could check Mapquest.
He was out taking a joy ride in the new van. It was hard to hear him over the speaker on the phone because Gypsy was all RECALULATING, IN POINT 2 MILES MAKE A U-TURN. U-TURN. U-TURN. I’m pretty sure I heard her begin to curse, but I ripped her off of the windshield so that Emme could re-enter the address.
I had already turned down the street that I knew would get me there, and within a mile of the nursing home, Gypsy got with the program and announced that we had arrived. Then I threw her into oncoming traffic. Just kidding. But really, I have no idea where she is, honey…
The caroling went well, and I think the residents enjoyed themselves. I stayed out in the hall and had a lovely conversation with a sweet elderly lady named Billie. I have a heart for the elderly. I was in tears on the way to the nursing home, as I talked to my girls about my Nanny, who had to be placed in a nursing home a year after she lost her husband of 63 years. None of us lived close enough to be able to care for her. She died a week after going into the home. I will always regret not being there for her.
And then our conversation in the car turned to the last time we attempted this caroling venture four years ago, wherein we made it within a mile of the nursing home, and Cailey threw up all over her uniform, the backseat of the van, and some possibly may have landed in my hair. The incident was chronicled here, if you of a strong ilk.
On our way home (without the aid of Gypsy, btw) I heard Cailey from the backseat, OH. OH. OH. MOM! MOM! MOM! I thought, dear God, she’s going to barf. But then she finally blurted out. MOM! THERE’S A SPIDER! BEHIND YOUR HEAD! ON TOP OF THE HEADREST. AND IT’S HUGE! And then she began shrieking. Emme turned and offered, “Oh cool! A Black Widow.”
My first inclination in times like those, is pretty much to freak out. But since I was traveling on a busy road, going at a good clip of about 40 mph, I couldn’t jump out of the car. I was driving, after all. But I have to tell you, I thought about it.
As calmly as I could, I asked Cailey to shoo it off of the headrest, AWAY FROM MY HEAD, and crush it with my crutch, which was handily in the back seat floor board. I did not dare look into the rear view mirror, but kept my focus on the road ahead, choosing instead to go to my happy place in my mind. There was much commotion in the backseat, distracting me from getting to my happy place. I pulled into the first driveway I could find, and as soon as I was in park, all 3 passengers bailed out of the car.
Emme, the only occupant who is completely unafraid of spiders, came around and extricated the spider from the floorboard, using a soiled Chick-Fil-A napkin. When all was said and done, the Black Widow turned out to be approximately dime sized.
You can never be too careful.
The A.H.G. caroling extravaganza is a yearly event. I’m thinking that next year I may ask Fiddledaddy to chauffeur his little scouts. I have a strong suspicion that my dance card is going to be full.