Sunday, April 1, 2012

Motherhood: It's Not Just a Job, It's an Adventure

In just a few days I will be embarking on a 1,900 mile trip with Katie as I help her take the car out to Los Angeles. Somehow, I think it will be more Driving Miss Katie than anything, but that is okay as I like to drive. I'm sure the trip will make for good blogging material. I was not yet blogging when I had my many adventures with Andy, so I think I'll recap them here.

The summer after his freshman year at Purdue he secured an internship with a company working on a bridge project in New Town, North Dakota. His major, construction engineering management, required internships each summer, and the school helped to set them up. The companies that the kids worked for were supposed to help with housing - as in helping them find housing and a stipend to help with the rent. There was no way I was going to let my 19 year old drive 1,200 miles by himself so I decided to make the drive with him. We also traded in his used car, which had over 125,000 miles on it, for a "newer" used car with far fewer miles on it. After being assured all was in good working order with the car and that the tires were fine (2 were new), we headed off on our journey.

About 45 miles south of Fargo one of the fine tires blew out. After 40 years of driving, this is the first time I have ever had a flat. So we are on an Interstate where the legal speed limit is 80 pulled over on the shoulder to change the tire. Everything that Andy was taking for an entire summer was piled on top of the well where the spare was stored. Many people honked and waved as they flew by us on the highway, but no one stopped to help. After fighting with the jack for a bit, the bad tire was removed, the donut put on, and the car reloaded. Now we were traveling 45 miles per hour (maximum speed for the donut) on a roadway filled with people going a minimum of 80. I'm sure I was viewed as the stupid old lady driver. That was the longest 45 miles of my life.

Luckily Fargo has a mall with a Sears store, so we were able to replace the tires (two since they are high performance tires and they don't recommend changing out only one), and a couple of hours later we were back on our way. As we pulled into New Town (population 1,500), we looked around in dismay. I promptly renamed it No Town. The main road was dismal - a few motels, a couple of local restaurants, a laundromat, a gas station. That was about it. There were no fast food restaurants, no bowling alley, no movie theater - heck I didn't even see a grocery store. What in the world was my son supposed to do for three months? At that point I doubted that he would even be able to get cable or, more importantly, the Internet.

We drove directly to the job trailer so that Andy could let them know he was in town and to seek assistance with the housing. Well, we got no help there. They told us to check with the motels we had passed on the way in. We quickly learned that the entire area was an Indian reservation, including the job site which was construction of Four Bears Bridge over Lake Sakakawea. We stayed at the casino hotel and spent the next day looking for a place for Andy to stay. There was nothing! One of the motels said they could rent to him by the week for part of the summer, but not during tourist season. Tourist season, I'm thinking? Why in the world would any tourists stay in No Town? Well, as it ends up there is a big fishing tournament in July that apparently attracts a "crowd". Andy began work the next day and I attempted to locate a room or something for him. I called Jim and said that if Andy came home from work that day and hated it, we were coming home and screw the internship in No Town.

He loved his first day, and was very excited to be working on a mile long bridge. So the next morning I dropped him off at work and headed 70 miles northeast to Minot, North Dakota. Now here was a town! Shopping mall, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery name it. I hooked up with a realtor (originally from Poplar Bluff, MO, believe it or not) and she showed me a fully furnished efficiency apartment available for the summer. The regular tenant was a college professor who was going away for the summer. Perfect! It was too bad that Andy would have that kind of drive every day, but other than that it worked out great. So we got him settled in and I flew back home.

In August I flew back to Minot and we loaded Andy's stuff back into the car and headed for home. We had another car problem on the way back. When we stopped at a hotel for the night, I left Andy in the car under the front portico while I checked in. I guess it was taking a while, because he followed me in. Unfortunately he locked the doors when he got out, and I had left the keys in the ignition because he was still in the car. We could not get a locksmith to come out that late at night, so we went to bed in the clothes we had been in all day. At least the car was in a location for the front desk to keep an eye on it all night. I had visions of someone stealing it since the keys were there.

The next morning the locksmith came and we were able to get a change of clothes and our toothbrushes so we could tidy up before heading out again. We made it home without further incidence, but that was just internship number one.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Good adventure; ominous ending.