There’s almost nothing better than putting on a new outfit and knowing you look great. Particularly when the outfit is a birthday gift and is one that you had your eye on but never thought you’d own.
The morning before I turned thirty I admired my brand new black and white checked skirt, matching top, and the black patent leather belt that tied it all together. It had been ages since I’d had any new clothes and I was secretly excited about the compliments I knew I would receive.
Just before lunch and the prime compliment receiving and birthday wishing time I got a phone call from the daycare letting me know that Jeff had fallen on the playground and I needed to come pick him up. In spite of the explanation I wasn’t prepared for the sight of his two front teeth being perpendicular to the roof of his mouth.
The heat and humidity intensified between trips to the dentist, the periodontist, back to the dentist, and finally home. I’m not sure if I was more relieved he was going to be OK or that he had finally drifted off and my immediate concern was getting him in the house without waking him up and the logistics of picking Katie up before the daycare closed.
In those days we had one key to the house and it was for the garage and the door into the basement. I turned the key and found myself standing in front of the door with half the key in my hand and the other half in the lock.
My choices were limited. I could take Jeff back to day care, sit down in the driveway and cry, or find a way to break in. I scoped the perimeter of the house and determined I could fit through the ground level window into the garage if I could find a way take it apart. I’m convinced to this day that if I figured it out a five year old could have and we probably weren’t as safe as I thought we were.
I sized up the situation and calculated the risk of ruining my new outfit while squeezing through the window was high. I scanned the neighborhood and other than a few retirees manicuring their lawns there was no one in view.
In one instant and a single thought I made my decision, “If these people haven’t seen a grown woman in her underwear, it’s time they did.”
Right after I dropped my skirt and just before I slid out of my slip, Trudy arrived out of breath and on the scene, “Is there some way I can help you?”
I nodded, added the slip to the clothes I held, and handed them to her. Without a word I shimmied through the window, swung from the crossbeam to the floor, opened the garage door, and emerged back into the heat.
In retrospect I think the stunned look on her face accompanied by the nod toward her house may have been an invitation for a glass of iced tea while waiting for help to arrive and not an offer to hold my clothes.
What can I say? It was a brand new outfit and I will always maintain that it was a perfectly logical solution.