Buckle up. We’re going to *Ohio! Pack snacks and a cooler with some drinks. You might want to swing by Starbucks. The food of the day (Wednesday) is Chopsticks?? I guess that means eat Chinese food.
Thursdays are dog park day. Yes, it’s February, but we head out to the park in the rain, snow, sleet, and cold. We are weather warriors! Our campers love the park in all weather. Besides, these days, Cole (my millennial son) and his two helpers go without me; I oversee camp at home. Someone has to, and I’m the oldest—and the mom.
This past Thursday started off the same as any other Thursday. Everyone bundled up, loaded up, and headed off to the park. And then the day got different, very different. Cole called me at about 11:00 a.m. to tell me that he could not find the car key to our Mercedes Metris. What? Cole has been driving since the day he turned 15 and has never lost a car key. Not once. I, on the other hand, lost the spare key to the Metris at Target a week earlier. Metris keys cost about $400 to replace, so I kept checking back with Target to see if it had been turned in. I planned to give it a few more days before letting it go and ordering a new key. No spare key—we had a problem.
Cole and his two helpers, along with eight campers, were stranded at the dog park. Cole didn’t have a car key, and I didn’t have a spare key. Everything is outside at the dog park. Dressing appropriately can only take you so far.
Don’t panic! I was panicking! I needed to call Cole back with a plan, but first, I needed to calm down and make a plan. I closed my eyes and asked St. Anthony for help. I pictured everyone being warm, and the campers enjoying the extra time at the park. I pictured Cole finding the key. I let myself feel the relief that we would all feel when we found the key. I opened my eyes, calmer. I put on the tea kettle and came up with an action plan.
First, I called Cole to let him know that I was going to head out to the park as soon as I had called Triple-A and Mercedes Roadside Assistance. I reminded him that the key wasn’t lost until I couldn’t find it. After we hung up, I called both roadside services. I wasn’t sure if Triple-A would be able to open the car, and I wasn’t sure if Mercedes Roadside Assistance would show up. I called the dealership to order a new key.
I am grateful for our Metris, but I also often visualize a time when I never have to walk through the doors of Mercedes-Benz of Chicago again. There is nothing easy about owning a Mercedes. The Mercedes service representative informed me that a new key would be ready the following day at around noon. There is no rush service. We would need to bring the van we couldn’t drive to the dealership to have the key replaced. Mercedes Benz programs all keys online, and the online connection is between Chicago and Germany. You are also locked into the Mercedes; the only place that can replace a Mercedes key is the dealership. Really, I’m not kidding. I ordered the key, but not using my sweet voice.
Off to the dog park. I grabbed a handful of emergency chocolate, tied my cape on tight, and took off.
Driving along, I again started to feel overwhelmed. How would we bring the dogs home from the park? And take them to their homes from day camp that evening? How would we get the van to the dealership to have a new key made? Time for more chocolate and a pep talk.
“Katybeth, you are a badass Manifestor. You will find the key.”
“Katybeth, there has never been a problem you couldn’t work through.”
“Katybeth, check in with Mercedes Roadside.”
Mercedes roadside informed me that Roadside Assistance would arrive in about two hours. Have I mentioned my feelings about Mercedes? Yes, I guess I have. Then some good news! Triple-A sent me a text me informing me that would arrive at the dog park in fifteen minutes.
I arrived at the dog park, ready to leap out of the truck and start looking for the key. But I know the best way to find something is slowly and thoughtfully. So first, I ate another chocolate, closed my eyes, and thought about Cole going into the park. The most stressful part of the dog park is unloading the campers; there are lots of variables and distractions. I pictured his anxious face at the gate, with the dogs rushing past him and the flurry of activity, from grabbing poop bags to putting on mittens. The helpers are new to the dog park, so I pictured Cole answering their questions while he counted tails. When I opened my eyes, I was sure that the key was near the front of the park by the gate area.
As I walked through the dog park gates, I called the keys: “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” And then I turned left, walked about 15 steps, and turned back around—and saw the key. I don’t think I can describe the joy I felt. After picking it up, I jumped up and down and shouted out, “I found you, I found you, I found you.” I immediately called Cole, who was in the warmer wind-protected field. His joy, along with that of his half-frozen helpers, joined mine. Our campers wondered what on earth all the fuss was about.
Finding the key is the best part of this story, without a doubt. But if we hadn’t found it, a plan was in place. The ending would have been different, and a bit more complicated, but it would have all worked out. One of my superpowers is finding stuff. Sometimes it is finding a key, and sometimes it is finding a solution.
On the ride home, I thanked the Universe, St. Anthony, and all the little people. We have a new key with a tracker (that Cole no longer considers bulky) attached.
The next post will share my tips on how to be a finder! Nobody likes to be a loser, but sometimes it happens.
** If you frequent Odd, you know that whenever one of my blog posts goes on endlessly and leaves you wondering if I will ever get to the point or if there even is a point, I reference Ohio. Why? Because the people I know and love from Ohio (and I know many) tend to tell long stories that frequently digress. It’s an inside Odd joke, but if you know someone from Ohio, you’ll get it immediately