Have you ever been shanghaied by your significant other? Well, I was.
Saturday, July fourth started out like any ordinary day. Terry (my hubby) and I made plans to gravitate toward Jackson, Tennessee--70 miles south--and stop at every lucrative yard sale along the way. Terry buys and re-sells collectibles, antiques--pieces of interest. The direction we chose was the long way around, with the hopes that the best stops would be on that route.
After half dozen yard sales and a couple really nice buys, we stopped at the Antique Mall in McKenzie to pack them into our booth. While unloading our Ford truck, a young man with a strong resemblance to Eric Estrada(Chips), who happened to also be a cop (but from another district, thank God), pointed to our license plate. "Your tags are expired."
Yup. They had expired on June 3oth. Oops. We were faced with a dilemma. Should we go back home, or continue the next 45 miles and try to stay "behind" the police cars? We decided to throw caution to the wind. After all, we were over half-way to our destination.
By now you are thinking the word "shanghai" is related to the expired license plate. Not so. We saw a police car on two and held our breath as we lagged behind them in traffic.
After pigging out at Barnhill's buffet, Terry and I drove farther south through rural towns, enjoying the beautiful scenery and keeping our eyes peeled for more lucrative yard sales. We found a couple, then spent an hour or so exploring the Hickory Valley (Chicory Valley in my book) area, We took an alternative route back to Jackson. By now it was 6 p.m. I asked my husband, "Do you think we should eat again before we head home?"
" Eat? Yeah, we need to do that." Then he glanced at me, a mischievous gleam in his eye and winked. You wanna get a motel first?"
He had to be teasing--you know how men are. I returned the wink and played the game with him. "Sure." Only he wasn't playing.
Before I could protest, he had whipped into a less-than-desirable motel parking lot, and jumped out, leaving me with my mouth agape.
"You aren't serious!"
"You said, 'Sure,' and I'm keeping you to it." Without another word, he jumped out and marched into the office to confer with the stout Indian man. I watched as Terry pulled out the debit card. But, I still thought this was one of his games. Maybe he was just asking directions to somewhere. Only when he strode out with the key in his hand, was I completely convinced.
"But we didn't bring a change of clothes," I argued. "No tooth paste, floss, toothbrushes, deoderant. And what about make-up? And my hot flash supplements! I will not go anywhere without makeup! That includes to breakfast tomorrow moring," I declared.
"Well, I plan to eat breakfast." He was not giving an inch. "Now we will go to Walmart and get what we need."
"But...the dogs! Who will feed them? They will miss their supper. And I promised Yipper and Riley we would be back by dark."
"They won't starve to death overnight."
"But they will think I lied to them. And Riley was abandoned. That's how we ended up with him. He'll think he's been abandoned again." By the set of Terry's jaw, I could tell I had been licked. I took a deep breath and relented. "Why are you doing this?"
"I'm just tired of the same old routine. It doesn't hurt to break from every once in a while."
I quit arguing. We browsed Wal-mart. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to find the most economical brands of makeup. Are there any? The bare necessities, including a gallon of spring water, came to $43. We paid for our purchases, then found an "Outback Burger." After wolving down our sandwiches, we returned to the motel.
The first indication that things were not exactly as we expected came when I said, "We need ice." (I'm, a heavy water-drinker. Some think that quart, plastic fuschia thermos is an appendage).
A young woman came out of the adjoining room. Terry asked "Do you know where the ice machine is?"
"The machine is out of order. You have to go to the officeand ask for ice."
Terry strutted in that direction and returned carrying a small plastic sack, neatly tied. Just enough to fill my thermos. "The man said not to ask for any more. That was all of it."
Hmmm. The room was was muggy. Terry turned on the air conditioner, a window unit. Out blasted the jarring noise of a dull jackhammer combined with the shrill whir of a high-pitched vacuum cleaner. "We'll end up going home in the middle of the night," I groaned. "There is no way we can sleep to that!"
"I paid for this motel and we are staying the entire night," my hubby announced. "The noise won't bother me." I could believe it. The man could sleep through an air raid.
I turned to pick up the gallon of spring water we had purchased at Wal-mart. "I'll just put this in the fridge and get it cool." The compact refrigerator was unplugged. I reached behind and plunged the cord into the socket. Nothing. I pressed my ear against the refrigerator. Still nothing. "The refrigerator doesn't work."
Terry traipsed back to the office and returned within two minutes. "He said it doesn't work."
Hmmm. Oh really? What next? I shouldn't have asked. Terry picked up the remote. "At least we can watch TV. He pointed at the screen and clicked and...clicked. Nothing. This time he didn't bother to take a jaunt to the office. I glanced around the rooma and checked out the bathroom. A couple other items missing. A clock, and bath towels. But housekeeping was generous enough to leave two washcloths and two hand towels. The kind you throw on the floor when you step out of the shower.
By now I'm wondering, "Why didn't we just camp out?"
I asked to make a couple calls before retiring, but Terry's response was, "No need. They'll figure it out eventually." He kept the cell phone in his shirt pocket close to his heart...like it was a rare jewel. Of course, I probably could have slipped up during the night, found it, and sneaked into the bathroom. But by that time everyone I wanted to call was in bed.
We crawled into bed. I tried to sleep on my side with an index finger poked in one ear to shut out the jackhammer vibrating in the hole in the wall. After a couple hot flashes, I fumbled toward the bathroom and grabbed a washcloth. Soaking it thoroughly with cold water, I wrung it out and laid it on the floor beside the bed. It was a life saver. When daylight finally came, Terry stretched out and yawned. "I don't remember the last time I slept that hard. I mean I really went under."
I rolled my eyes, my head still pounding to the beat of the air conditioner, and my ears still whistling from its high-pitched shrill. "How could you sleep through all that noise?" I had climbed out of bed around 4:30 and turned off the ear-splitting contraption.
"Easy," he said so flippantly. "I just tuned it out. You've got to learn to do that."
"Ha! How can you learn to tune out a jack hammer? And yeah, you've had a lot of practice 'tuning out.'"
He ignored the comment. "Where you want to eat?"
Terry scarfed down bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns while I savored an omelet and pancakes. Mmmmm. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, probably talked more than we had in months.Then I glanced down at my watch. Ten minutes past ten. "You know what's happening right now?" He looked at me with a "huh?" in his eyes. "Everyone in Sunday School class is trying to guess where we disappeared to."
We arrived home just before noon. Our labs, Yipper and Riley met us with huge sad eyes. I would swear that Riley had been crying. His eyes looked moist. I gave the dogs generous amounts of food. When they finished eating, I sat down on the steps and cuddled them a few minutes, all the while apologizing for deserting them. My words, "Mommie and daddy will be back by dark," will probablay never be believed again.
After a relaxing afternoon, we arrived at our church's evening services. You should have seen the arched eyebrows and gaped mouths. "There they are! Where were you?"
I pointed an accusing finger at my husband. "I was shanghaied!" Everyone laughed. I'm not sure it was that funny.
With a Gemini mate, I'm still learning to "roll with the punches." And like the boy scouts I must "always be prepared"... for the unexpected, that is. Even over all my protests, I must admit that the unexpected escapade was refreshing.
Has anything similar happened to you? Tell us about it. I'd love to hear your adventures. Share them so we can all get a good belly laugh.