Today was one of those days, one of those very un-American days.
I went to the foot doctor this morning. The school nurse drove me, even though it was my second visit, because I knew I'd never find the place--this is not a map-friendly kind of city--and because I didn't know if I could explain the pre-authorization requirements the insurance gave me for my orthodic inserts in Spanish. I got there a little after 9:00 and put my name on the list for an appointment. There are no appointment times most places here--it's like the deli, you get a number and wait and wait. I was number 18.
Jesse's pre-school gets out at 11:30, so I needed to be able to leave by 11:15 or soon after (I can always, in a pinch, get Owen to pick up Jesse and keep him in his office for a few minutes). Abigail had asked to stay with someone to avoid going to the doctor's office, which was actually surprisingly out of character for her. She likes to stay glued to my side. So I was hoping the doctor would tear through the 17 people ahead of me, but the school nurse knew to ask if the doctor was in the office yet, and he wasn't.
He came in after 10:00, right after Abigail had called to see if I was coming home soon. It seemed unlikely he'd get through the 17 people ahead of me in an hour, so I decided to go get the kids and come back.
I had paid close attention to the streets we took on the way there and I tried to anticipate and troubleshoot for any problems I might have with the receptionist or doctor and . . . wait for it . . . decided to do my doctor's appointment alone. (Well, with two kids). I know, underwhelming, but it was actually really intimidating.
I was so proud of myself that I got myself (and my two pbj-smeared children) to the doctor's office by 11:30, and everything seemed to be going smoothly. But when I got to the car garage, there weren't any real spaces left. They told me I could park there, but I had to leave my keys. To contextualize this, I should add that I had just paid 50 cents to park for the previous hour, and there were several people working there, so I could imagine that it could be pretty tempting to steal a nice new-ish SUV (we don't own it, I know, it sounds appalling).
And I thought, shoot! No way! It's not even our car, really. And it would really stink if it got stolen. And who knows if people from this country would even consider doing this (because, in my experience, our Dominican friends can be even more careful than we are).
And then I thought, what in the world else am I going to do? So I called Owen and told him he had to sign off on it for me, so to speak, and he thought it was probably fine, and I handed over the keys.
So I went in to find out that they were on patient number eight. Which was wildly depressing. So we started with the bag-o-fun that I'd packed. We played games, we read books, we colored, we crawled on the furniture, we played "tell Mommy what to draw, and make it silly."
Part-way through the fun I felt like I just had to check on the car. So we went out and the car was there, relief. I told the two car attendants, who were dancing good-naturedly, that I wanted to get my iced tea out of the car. They reached up into the tree above them to pluck the keys off a branch and I went to get the tea. I figured it was a good sign that it was still there, and it can't hurt to have checked in, and I went back to wait another hour.
We didn't get out of the doctor's office until 2:00. It was quite a day. And then the car attendants wanted my ticket, which I assure you, I was never given. That was a little tense. I told them, in I'm sure perfectly fluent and self-assured Spanish tones, that the woman who had been there had just taken my keys and not given me a ticket. Eventually they just took my keys back out of the tree and handed them over--and perhaps overcharged me just a smidge, but OK, it was still under two dollars.
Quite an adventure, just thought I'd share.