Tonight was book club night. In typical procrastinator fashion, I picked up the book on Monday, then crammed to finish the book today, reading for 90 minutes this afternoon as the kids napped, and then as Mo read "Freight Train" and "The Foot Book" beside me while I rushed through the last 25 pages.
Our babysitter arrived a little late this evening, so I jumped in the car, plugged in the address to the GPS, and drove safely-but-quickly toward our host's house. I missed my big turn into her neighborhood, but thanked God for my GPS, because it immediately re-routed me.
Ten minutes later, I cursed the GPS to hell for sending me into the other side of her neighborhood, straight into an imposing black gate with a large "private property / no trespassing" sign" attached. So I turned around and raced back down the hill toward my original turn. Finally, almost 30 minutes late, I pulled in behind the mass of cars, ran down the driveway, rang the bell, and exclaimed breathlessly as a woman answered the door, "I'm so sorry I'm late! Has book club started yet?"
A brief pause, a blank stare, then... "Book club? I think you may be at the wrong house."
"...Oh," I stammered. "Um, do you by chance know where Corri lives?"
After the kindly woman glanced through her neighborhood directory, I learned that the house up the hill was actually my target. So I doubled back, but felt an impending sense of dread settle on my shoulders as I trudged up the empty driveway toward the dark house. One ring, two rings of the doorbell... Nothing.
I pulled out my cell phone and called information, then gave them the name of the only person from book club whose last name and town I could remember. A few seconds later, I was leaving a message on her answering machine.
"Liz? Hi, this is Christine. I'm trying to get to book club and I'm confused, because I think I'm at the right house but no one..."
"Christine?" She picked up mid-message.
"Honey, I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure book club is next weekend."
And that's when I lost it.
"F*&#!" I cursed, then, "Sorry, Liz." (This book club is a group of women from my church.) The tears began to fall, hard and fast, and I couldn't speak.
"Christine, here's what I want you to do. I want you to drive back down to the mall, and I'll meet you there in 30 minutes. Can you make it?"
I managed to eek out a pathetic, whimpering "yes" through my tears.
Twenty minutes later, I had calmed myself enough to drive, wiped away the twin mascara rivers that wound randomly down my cheeks, and tucked into an upscale baby store to buy this luxurious picnic blanket I've been eyeing for more than a year.
Then I met Liz. She walked me into a restaurant, and told me to order the most delicious girly drink on the menu. For almost two hours, I poured out my heart, welcomed in a new friendship, and sucked down a Pomegranate Martini.
When I climbed back into the minivan, I looked up and whispered, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
I have a saving grace. Her name is Liz.