I'm not sure why a major milestone can't be reached in our family without being accompanied by some crazy backstory. I guess life would be less entertaining that way. But my blood pressure sure would remain a bit more stable.
Reese has been studying to take her learner's permit test for weeks. She started off slowly, but within the last week or so has been cramming the info in. "I really don't know why this book is so thick. All you gotta do is press the pedal! Am I right??" was her frightening insight on the whole ordeal.
She would come into my room randomly spouting off rules of the road, "If a semi is in front of you and is turning right, don't try and squeeze between them and the curb. They'll crush you into a biscuit."
"Does it really say that?!" I asked gullibly.
"Well, it says they'll crush you. I added the biscuit," she confessed.
And she's been refreshing my memory on laws while I'm driving, "Mom, if you get to this 4 way stop first, you have the right of way. Otherwise, it's the person to your right." It's like I'm a driver's ed student all over again. Lovely.
They were off school yesterday and today for conferences. Perfect time for a trip to the DMV. The first part of this week turned into craziness and our evenings were filled with activities, which didn't give me any time to quiz her. So when she got back from an early morning basketball practice yesterday, I asked if she was still planning on taking her test. She was.
Reese has no understanding or patience with service that isn't prompt. When we go to restaurants, after about 4 minutes of placing our order, she's asking why our food hasn't been delivered to our table yet. And don't even get me started on doctor's appointments. "But our appt was at 10. Why can't the doctor just see us at 10?!"
So there was no way on God's green Earth I was going to sit at the DMV half the day with her. I tried the feature where you text them to hold your place in line. Which was weird because I felt like I was cutting in front of people who physically went there to sit for hours. Our estimated wait time was 160 minutes. We went on about our day. She took some practice tests online. I prepared my famous white chicken chili for the middle school teachers' dinner. Ok, so it's not exactly famous, but all my kids love it and request it frequently in Fall and Winter so I feel like it could be famous. Unfortunately, yesterday, when they recognized the lovely smell permeating the house, I had to break it to all of them they wouldn't be consuming any of it.
I had an irrational fear that the 40 some odd people in front of us in line would spontaneously contract bird flu and have to drop out, thus bumping us to the front and we wouldn't be ready. So I obsessively checked our line status throughout the day. No bird flu outbreak occurred and we inched up slowly, one spot at a time.
I figured we'd leave the house around 2:30, drop the chili off at the school (it needed to be there by 3:30) and leisurely make our way to the DMV. About 2:23 I checked our status, 78 min until our turn. I shredded the chicken, stirred it all up, told Reese to get her shoes on, and she headed out to the car. My phone buzzed and when I checked it I almost dropped my crockpot! Our wait had jumped down to 10 minutes and they were requesting we make our way there right now! I barreled out the front door trying not to slosh the chili contents, yelling, "Go! Go! Go! We have to get there!"
Let's just pause right here and discuss how badly I handle crisis situations. Even little mini-crisis situations like this. Whenever kinks are thrown into my well laid plans, I wring my hands and moan, "What are we gonna do?!" which David (aka "Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected") thinks is hilarious.
I carefully handed off the crockpot to Reese and said, "Hold this with all your being! It CANNOT spill!" (For all you nervous readers out there who think this is foreshadowing of chili contents spilling all over my floorboard, rest assured, the chili makes it.)
A few blocks from the DMV, Reese checked our place in line. We still had 9 minutes to get there. My heart began to slow back down to a normal pace. Until my phone buzzed again and said, "You have reached the front of the line. Please proceed to Window 1."
"Whaaaaat????" I yelled. "How can this happen? Type 'M'! Type 'M'!" I commanded her.
"What's 'M'?!" she yelled back as she sent it.
"It gives us more time if we need it. This is the craziest system ever invented!"
It pushed us back 3 people and gave us 19 minutes to spare. Why I didn't think to do that back at the house is beyond me. I told you I don't think clearly in these types of situations. But it would have gotten me back on track with my plan and I could have dropped the chili off and all would have been right with the world.
We made it, scrambled of the car, and I contemplated bringing in my crockpot in so it could stay warm. I'm sure stranger things have happened at the DMV. I ended up leaving it, we bolted inside, checked in, and collapsed in our seats. The wait had gone to 5 minutes and then suddenly our number was called. I hadn't even had the chance to get all sappy about my baby getting ready to take her test to operate a motor vehicle!
It was a little before 3 by this time so I told Reese, "Don't hurry through your test. Take your time. But seriously, I HAVE to be out of here by 3:15 to get this chili to the school. So I may have to leave you and come back."
They took her picture and asked her all the standard questions, eye color, weight, etc. I was holding it all together nicely until he asked if she wanted to be an organ donor. She paused, looked at me, I swallowed the lump in my throat nodding slightly. I wanted to grab her and bolt out the door saying, "I'm sorry. This is a mistake. She won't be getting behind the wheel today or any other day in my lifetime. I'll just drive her to work, college, across country to her new career, and then I'll drive my grandkids hither and yon as well."
She made it through the rest of the questions, faltering slightly at, "Are you legally present in the US?" because she thought they said "President". "I thought that was weird," she told me later, "I mean, wouldn't they KNOW if I was President?". (Trust me, if she was old enough, I'd definitely be writing in her name come November.)
The man behind the counter started messing with her, asking if she'd brought her 250 word essay. I chuckled politely but inside was thinking, "Now is NOT the day. I'm on a mission to make an extremely important chili delivery in T-16 minutes so let's get this show on the road!"
I sat off to the side while she took her test on the computer. I tried to read her body language and could tell she was missing a few. My people-watching tendency got the best of me and she suddenly appeared with a shy smile, saying, "I passed. What do we do now?"
I jumped out of my seat, congratulated her, and we made our way to the window to get her temporary permit. We were off. As we headed to the car, she said happily, "We made it with a minute to spare!"
"Whaaaat?!" thinking she meant it was 3:29 and knowing we'd never make it to the school on time now.
"It's 3:14. You wanted to be out of there by 3:15," she explained.
As she climbed in the front seat, I again said, "I'm so proud of you, Reese!" Then immediately slipped back into psycho mode. "So help me, if you spill one drop of this chili....!"
I'm going to take the next few days to recover psychologically from her first driving lesson. And then I'll recap it.
Spoiler alert: Reese is a fantastic driver...IF only we lived in England.