Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Marianne & Mileena's Magical Meanderings

I moved my daughter back to Tuscaloosa a few weeks ago.  She is starting her second year at the University of Alabama.  She had to go back early so she could attend Recruitment workshops with her sorority prior to Rush week.
I was never in a sorority...primarily because I was footing the bill for college and living expenses myself and preferred to purchase groceries instead of chapter dues.  So I really do not have a clue about how important some activities are versus others.

Sororities at Alabama take recruitment workshops very seriously.

We had left with plenty of time (we thought) to get to Mileena's new place, unload, and let her take off to attend the workshop while I helped get her things unpacked.  After  the workshop, she'd come back and we'd wrap things up.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men (and gamma phis and their mommas, apparently) often go awry.

20 miles from the exit to Tuscaloosa, a transfer truck somehow broke in half.  Here's the front half: 

The other half was strewn down I-20 for the next three miles.  The truck driver appeared to be fine...he was standing on the side of the road with the state troopers.  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what happened.  The cab of the truck and the first half of the trailer were on their sides in the ditch, while bits and pieces of the other have had been obliterated and scattered on the road.  Regardless, we were stuck in traffic for at least 30 minutes.

Then we got off of the interstate, travelled down McFarland Blvd (McFarland Blvd is always, always rotten with traffic) and turned onto find that they had removed the bridge. 

We found a place to pull over (Mileena had a load in her SUV, I had the rest in the van).  She rolled down her window and yelled, "It was just there two days ago!  I swear to God!"
So we tried to use our iphones to find a different route, but Siri INSISTED that the bridge was still there and didn't want us to go any other way.  We finally just meandered around until we found a way across the Black Warrior River and then used the Map directions to bring us in.
We got to the front office at Mileena's new community to pay her early check-in fee and get the keys to her new place.  There were approximately 7800 other people moving in on the same day (which wasn't even "move in day"...we were a week early).
Finally at the front of the check-in desk, I gave the girl handing out new resident packettes my debit card.
"Sorry, ma'am, we don't take cards."
"This is the card I used online to pay the rent."
"Sorry, ma'am, we can't use a card to pay the early move-in fee."
"Can I go online and pay it?"
"No, ma'am.  Not for the early fee.  You have to pay it here and we don't take cards.  Do you have a check?"

Well, as luck would have it, I had run out of checks several days prior.  I had placed an order for new checks, but did not have any with me.  Mileena's checkbook was God-knows where in the eleventy-five boxes we had in our two vehicles.  So we sat on the curb and combined our liquid assets.  With what we had in our Jeff's "secret stash" he keeps in the van for drive-thru, we had $101 in cash (plus whatever coins we had in the van ashtray.)

We got in line again with the other 55 eighteen to twenty-two year olds...
"I'm so sorry!  We don't take cash."
"You don't take CASH?  How can you not take cash?"
"I know, right?  But look, if you go out to the road and take a right, you can go to the Piggly Wiggly and get a money order."
(Yes.  The Piggly Wiggly.  It's a thing here in the South.)
"You will take a money order but not cash?"
"I'm afraid so.  Or a cashier's check. Sorry, ma'am"
(And however much I appreciate the good raisin' of this young lady...all of the Ma'am-ing combined with the fact that every other individual on the place was LESS than half my age was starting to make me feel ancient.)

So we get into the van and take a right...and end up back at the place where the bridge used to be, but now we're on the other side...and we can SEE the Piggly Wiggly from there. But the Black Warrior River is once again in our way.

So we ask Siri for directions to the Piggly Wiggly.  She starts routing us around until:

Mileena at this point sends the following message out to several of her sorority sisters:

I AM SO SORRY that I'm late.  We got to my neighborhood and they informed me that they do not take cards or cash for your move-in fee.  They sent us to the nearest place to get a money order because they only take money orders or checks (the only two forms of money that NO ONE WANTS).  Upon trying to find somewhere, we encountered a completely blocked off road.  Will someone please tell the workshop lead that I am literally trying my hardest to get there but that I have apparently pissed off karma and now the world is running against me...If you don't hear from me soon, know that Siri killed me and my mom on our adventure.  She has already tried to send us to Hogwarts via 9 1/2 Street East.

I went into the Piggly Wiggly and asked if I could get a money order.  I was told that I'd have to wait 7 minutes until the "office" opened. Okay, I waited by the office window.  After 7 minutes, one of the two ladies who I'd asked about the money order walked over and unlocked the office, went around to the window and asked, "Can I help you?" 
"Yes" (through gritted teeth) "I need a $100 money order."

"Okay!  That'll be $102.50!"

Are. You. Kidding. Me?

I had brought the $101 in with me.  I was a buck fifty short.

"Do you have an ATM?"

"No, ma'am.  But if you purchase something, you can get up to $40 cash back."

I went around the "office", snatched the first thing I laid my hand on (a bag of Haribo gummy bears) and got in line at the only open register behind someone with a full buggy load (because of course it was) of groceries.

I FINALLY got the money order...we circumnavigated the globe once again to get to the other side of the river and got Mileena checked in.

We hurriedly slung everything out of her vehicle so that she could make it to at least PART of the workshop and not earn a fine. I was left to get the rest of the crap in and try to make some sense where things should go.  Six hours later (and several trips to Target for things I hadn't realized she'd living is different from dorm living) I was sweaty, dirty and hungry (those gummy bears were just not appealing to me).  But I had my daughter more or less established in her new abode, she was still in good graces with her sorority, and I could drag my tired self home in my now-empty van.

I got home and showered and opened myself up a bottle of wine and thought about how...even with all of the mishaps, I had had fun on my adventure with my now (mostly) adult daughter.  And I know that this is one of those tales we will share with others for years to come.

But I would have liked to have met Dumbledore.

No comments:

Post a Comment