Taking Mommy Brain to a New Low

As many of you know, I'm terribly absentminded. I've left milk on the top of our van, put cereal in the fridge, dumped checks in the trash and flushed car keys down the toilet. But my mommy brain may have reached a new low last week, when I left my father-in-law out in the streets of San Francisco.


Last Friday I drove up to San Francisco to pick up my race packet for Bay to Breakers. My in-laws wanted to spend the day in the city, so they hitched a ride up with me, and I convinced them to tag along to the race expo because there would be lots of sponsor booths with freebies (there's a reason I get along so well with Alfie's parents!).

Parking is always a nightmare in SF, and I wasn't eager to pay $10 just so I could spend an hour at the expo, so when I spotted an empty curbside space just one block from the expo, I thought the parking gods had smiled upon me. I quickly zoomed in and ran to the parking meter, only to find that it had a 30-minute limit. Oh drat.

I noticed another empty parking spot just two or three cars behind, and judging by the color of the parking meter I thought it might have a different time limit, so I ran back into the van -- but as soon as I gunned the engine, another car took it. Double drat!

So I zoomed away, hoping to find another spot close by. My mother-in-law, who was riding shotgun with me,, took the full brunt of my curses frustration, and kept a soothing flow of conversation to calm me down. Alfie's dad was silent in the back seat, but I was too stressed out about parking to make anything of it, and besides, he had been pretty quiet over the past few days since an ear infection had affected his hearing and left him out of our front-row conversations.

I finally found a good spot on the next block (parking gods, you came through after all!). My MIL and I got out of the car and fed quarters to the parking meters, then opened the van's sliding door to let my FIL out.

He wasn't there. The only thing in the back seat was his black baseball cap.

I swear, I will never forget the feeling of bewilderment. Where in the world was my father-in-law? Had we left him at home? Had he gotten out and walked ahead of us?

It took us a full minute or two to figure out what had happened. When I pulled over into the first parking spot, he had jumped out with me to give me quarters for the parking meter, but in my rattle-brained state, I never even realized that he had left the van. When I ran back into the van, I never bothered to check that both Alfie's parents were in the car, so I drove off without him. My MIL knew he had left the van, but thought he had gotten back in.

I can only imagine his bewilderment as I pulled away and zoomed off, leaving him standing on the sidewalk.

Fortunately he had the good sense to stay put, and was waiting patiently for us when we came for him, full of apologies -- and I have to admit, laughter.

I told my mother-in-law that if she had wanted to abandon him, she'd have to figure out a better way to do it.

Now we always do a roll call before we drive away.




Speaking of absentmindedness, has anyone realized I've got a giveaway for a $100 Shutterfly gift card ending next week? My Sprite/BlogHer giveaway has only 9 entries!! We're talking 100 dollahs here, people. Hurry and enter -- you've got a great chance of winning!

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Ed Lopez said...

You left your father in law in the streets of San Francisco? To look for Karl Malden, Michael Douglas or Richard Hatch?