Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Afterschool Adventure

An Afterschool Adventure… some parts of this story have been exaggerated to make my life seem more interesting!

Today has not been the best day of my life so far. It has not been the worst, but definitely not the best. So, when I went outside to get in my van it was not that surprising that the tire was completely flat. The tire has been going flat for a while but I do not have the money to buy a new one. Today it gave up completely.

My older girls go to a charter school. They have to be dropped off in the AM and picked up in the PM. Even if I were inclined to let them ride the bus there is no bus for them to ride. I tried the call and ride bus… but nope, they didn’t have time for me today.

Now I could have changed the tire but I would have had the help of two very active 3 year olds. From my experiences, I know that when I change a tire it includes enough swearing to make a teamster blush. In addition, I have been known to throw things and become completely frothing at the mouth enraged while doing anything car related. Not something I needed my tots to see.

I started thinking about how nice it was and it is only about a mile to the school. Why not walk to the school that could be fun, right? I decided to think about it as an end of the week adventure. I packed some apples a couple of juice boxes and off we went for a brisk walk to the school.

I put my babies in the stroller and told them to stay, as I needed to hurry to the school. I wouldn’t want to be late picking up the older kids.

Well, my walk started briskly and then tapered off to plodding. Turns out, my kid’s school is located on the top of what I can only describe as a small mountain. It felt like I was pushing the stroller and pulling my ass up a 90-degree slope. To top it off the air in the Denver area is thin but at some point during my stroll it disappeared completely. I was breathing so hard that passing cars were stopping to ask me to keep it down, seems they couldn’t hear their radios over my panting.

When I started my walk it was a cool 51 degrees. At about 10 minutes into it I had to take off my sweater, as it was suddenly 95 degrees out and climbing.

I stopped several times and try to catch my breath…it kept getting away from me.

I began to worry about random things, for example:

  • Is it normal to see spots when you are walking?
  • How fast does your heart have to beat before it bursts out of your chest?
  • Is that pain in my head from lack of oxygen or is it the beginning of a stroke?
  • Is it possible to give yourself CPR?
  • Should I pin a note with my information to my chest so the coroner knows who I am?
You know… random stuff!

It didn’t help matters any that the community that I live in has apparently decided to save money by randomly breaking up the mud on the side of the road with sidewalks every other block.

After pushing the stroller up the side of a mountain over the longest mile in history, I got to the girl’s school. The girls were very excited about the prospect of walking home. The teachers seemed happy to see me. Not sure what they meant by asking if I wanted an ambulance. As if they’ve never seen a woman nearly pass out from lack of air while walking! I shrugged off their concerns over the fact that it’s not normal for someone to have blue lips and gathered up all the kids they said were mine.

Since we were no longer in a hurry I let the babies walk rather than riding in the stroller. As we were walking down the gently meandering hill heading home, I breathed in the oxygen that suddenly seemed to surround me.

It was at that point that I realized the physics of the trip to the school. I had been pushing two solidly built toddlers in a side-by-side stroller up hill for a mile! I felt like such an ass…had I let the babies walk in the first place we probably would have got there faster and I would not be suffering brain damage from the lack of oxygen!

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