Before and After

     I am so disappointed I didn’t ask anyone to take a picture of my Suburban this morning.  Yesterday I left Grand Marais around 7am to be to Duluth by 9am for eye appointments.  Sometime after 1pm, with the kids safely on the road to a Memorial Weekend with their Cousin Sheri and Grandparents, I was able to start my errands.  

     What did I do from 9am-1pm? That’s a whole different story that I probably shouldn’t go into right now.  It involves being late for the eye appointment(who can get to Grand Marais up to Wal-Mart on the hill with a stop to drop a motor off at Beaver Bay Sports, one potty break and a little construction)?  Not me.  It was more like 9:30am when we made it to our eye appointments and Abby decided she wanted contacts.

     With contacts in her eyes and her glasses in her hand we were going to leave the vision store and enter the main store.  Abby told me her glasses didn’t fit inside of her sweatshirt pocket but I didn’t want to put them in my purse because I would be heading back up the Trail, not with her for a weekend at the cabin.  She then told me her glasses didn’t fit well into her pocket to which I replied, "Just put your hand on them, we’ll only be a few minutes."

     Abby needed to buy a new swimsuit because she had forgotten to pack hers.  We went to the swimsuit section, grabbed a couple of items, went and tried them on and when we were leaving the dressing room she realized the glasses were not in her pocket anymore.   We went to look on the floor around the swimsuits, re-traced our steps, asked at the Customer Service Counter, went back to the Vision Center, went back to the Dressing Rooms, left our name and number everywhere so they could call us when they were turned in.  After all, who would want a kid’s pair of prescription glasses with frames from Wal-Mart? 

     Since the glasses weren’t immediately turned in we took the opportunity to pick up some items.  Sunscreen, which I hadn’t remembered to pack, some toilet paper and the miscellaneous items one can find in the aisles of Wal-Mart.  We went to check out thinking someone would have turned the glasses in by this point.  We checked back at Customer Service, the dressing rooms and the Vision Center without any luck.  

     Since Abby was new to wearing contacts she could only wear them for 4 hours.  Without an extra pair of glasses we didn’t know what to do.  We asked the Vision Center for options and they were nice enough to let us know places with one hour eyeglass service existed.  So, off we went to Vision World at the mall to pick out new frames for Abby.  Then we went to have lunch while we waited the hour for her new glasses.  

     Of course, this entire ordeal was much more traumatic then I have just described.  There were accusations, yelling and tears of frustration and that was just from the Customer Service Representative, just kidding.  I was the spaz because I knew Sheri had wanted to get out of town and on the road and things weren’t going how I planned.  I knew I had a long day of errands ahead of me.

     Fast forward to the real story.  Before and After.  I was relieved to have the kids and Sheri on the road, the props dropped off at the Prop Shop, a few tomato & pepper plants picked out and the oil changed on the truck.  Now there’s something else I must mention.

      What’s up with people who instead of staying behind the first vehicle in line at the 10 minute oil change place, drive up to a specific garage door? That’s not how it works, you’d get a hand full of hair ripped out of your head if you tried that in a restroom filled with women and children who had to go pee.  You take your place in line and when the next stall opens up the next person in line enters, right? Not according to some woman in Duluth yesterday.  She pulled up to Door Number One after I had already waited 10 minutes for any of the doors to open up.  When Door Number One opened up, she didn’t hesitate to pull her car inside the stall.  Luckily for that woman I had 10 minutes longer to sit in my vehicle to cool off; the 10 minute oil change in Door Two took 20 minutes.  When Door Number Two opened I pulled in still upset with the woman and the establishment for not having a sign that says, "Please wait your Turn." 

     After the oil change I made my way to Sam’s Club.  Now here’s a tip that may help you live longer.  When a business owner from the Gunflint Trail says they are going to Duluth for the day in the summer before telling them to have fun, ask them if they are going to Sam’s Club.  If they answer, "Yes." then nod understandingly and tell them you are sorry.  If they answer "No." then you should further inquire, "How many errands do you have to run?"  If it’s 3 or more planned errands then reply, "That’s too bad, hope you’ll at least have a chance for a sit down meal."  If it’s 2 or less then you can say, "Have Fun!" 

     Back to Sam’s Club.  I love their Fax and Pull service for businesses, it’s fantastic.  They will actually pick your items off of the shelves for you, put them on a cart and have them ready and waiting for you upon your arrival.  I had one flat bed of items neatly stacked and waiting for me, it was great.  The only problem was I had a full sheet of paper of items that hadn’t been placed on the list in time for them to pull for me.

     For the next 2-3 hours I filled what should have been 4 more flatbeds but for me was 2.  The 3 clerks who were attempting to ring the items in and neatly re-stack the items back onto flatbeds needed 3 to get everything back to my vehicle.  Once at my vehicle I spent another 1-2 hours attempting to get everything into the Suburban.

     I doubt I could have fit anything else other than feathers, sand or water into my vehicle without stomping on it to compact it.  Every nook and cranny including the space beneath the seats was filled from floor to ceiling.  The backseat was only filled as high as the seat backs, except for the flowers and plants that protruded up to the ceiling and the passenger seat was only filled as high as the dashboard and window.  Other than that space, nothing was empty, not even my lap because that’s where Rugby had to sit until we made it back up to Voyageur sometime after 11pm.    

     I wish I would have asked someone to take a picture before they started unloading the Suburban this morning.  All I have now is my word and the word of 3 of my crew members who helped to unload it.  Andy said he had to open the window in the back door to start unloading because if he would have opened the entire door there would have been an avalanche of items at his feet.  I must admit, it was the best packing job and use of space I have ever seen.  If only I could share a couple of photos with you all…