Chasing time, but catching it too late

OK…If you’ve been following my blog, or you know me from my facebook posts, you know I have a tendency to increase the height of my stories from time to time. That’s right, I’ll admit it! I may have told a tall tale or two… But I assure you what I am about to share happened just as I am telling it! To embellish would simply be overkill! You see…

We have this really cool alarm clock. It has some sort of internal power supply that keeps the correct time even after power failures, and no, its not called a battery…OK, maybe it is, but its not one you have to change.

For years this little clock has kept our house on time after little burps in the power that set every other clock in the house to blinking.

Before we got it, William used to be blessed with an extra snow day or two, because of brief power outages that occurred while everybody was sleeping. Now he can only pray for the outages that carry over beyond our normal wake up time.

Friday was the first day of school for William, and it went off without a hitch. I was as surprised as everybody. Monday was looking to be heading in the same way, until I found him in a tub so full of water that it began to over flow when a single drop fell from the showerhead. William had been “awake” for nearly half an hour, but when I walked into the bathroom he was snoozing away.

The old, “DUDE! WHY do you have to have the tub so full to take a bath? And how come you haven’t used any soap yet? Come on man! Your bus will be here in half an hour, and you still have to eat breakfast! Wash your hair buddy! NO! NO! NO! You have to take your head OUT of the water when you are using shampoo! When you do it like that, all the shampoo just floats away! Come on man! We’ve been through this! OK! Rinse it out, and wash your body….Because I SAID SO! That’s why.” conversation reared its head, because, can you really expect a ten year old boy to know how to bathe, after only being in school since he was five?

So bathing over, clothes on, and breakfast in his stomach he calls out to me, “Dad! What time is it?”

“It’s 7:45 buddy, you are good to go!” is my reply from the computer in the living room.

“WHAT?” is his confused response.

“NO! It’s SIX forty five!” Corrects my wife from the bedroom.

“Right!  SIX forty five!  You are good to go!” comes my correction.

William heads outside to wait for his bus, and I continue reading facebook.  Jen is doing her morning stretches. My plan was to listen for the bus to note the exact time of its arrival, because that is THE time it will arrive for the rest if the school year.

After awhile I am caught up in a life or death Free Cell game, and lose track of time, when I hear the front door open…William asks, “Hey dad?? What time is it?”

I tell him, “Its ten past eight buddy, I’m not sure where your bus is.”

Jen calls out from the bedroom, “NO….It’s ten past SEVEN.”

OH CRAP!!! The clock is wrong! It IS ten past eight! Not only has William missed his bus, he is now late for school as well!

Even worse, he has to be in East Corinth, but Jen as a 9:30 appointment in Pittsfield as well, and I am supposed to meet somebody later in the day to re-home a duck that I haven’t even caught yet!

NO PROBLEM! We CAN do this! Nothing is going to make William get to school on time, so all we focus on is getting him there, and then making the trip back to Pittsfield. The entire trips is only forty five miles…Piece of cake!!!

We all get out the door, Jen grabs the duck, and I round up a cage. We get the duck shoved in the cage, and get the cage shoved in the van with William, and OFF WE GO!!!

We have made this trip a few times, and we know the route well. Jen knows it better than I do, so she is driving, and making great time! A spoof commercial comes on the radio about distracted driving, and this guy has a duck in his car among other things…We laugh… I mean WHO has a duck in their car? Craziness!

All of a sudden, a few miles from the school there is a guy just creeping along. I mean we MAY have been going a fraction over the posted speed limit in places, but this guy is in no danger of even NEARING the speed limit.

We get in the only straight section of this particular leg of our journey, and we see the problem. About 8 car lengths from the guy is a big orange and brown DOT truck. That explains things to a point, passing a large truck on this road is a move very few people would dare to make…but on the other hand, we have been behind these DOT trucks before, and found some of them exceed the posted speed limits by A LOT!

Soon the road resumes its serpentine course, and through a field, I am able to see that in front of the DOT truck is a giant piece of farm equipment. YAY!

Ten minutes later, we are not yet in sight of Rt 15, and William starts complaining that he is going to have to make up the work he is missing during recess…REALLY??? It is the SECOND day of school! How much work can the kid be missing??? As the minutes race along, the miles only crawl.

Finally we can see Rt 15…Hopefully the tractor will be making a right hand turn, where we intend a left, and we will be done with him. I can see that the Bangor bound lane is not occupied, which was really surprising since it was nearly 9am, but the tractor sits waiting for traffic from the other direction to pass. YAY again!! We are all going the same way, I can see the left blinkers on the DOT truck, as well as on the car driven by Mr. Overcautious.

After what seems like forever, we get out onto Rt 15. The tractor pulls over half in the breakdown lane, and half in the travel lane. He still has plenty of room to move into the breakdown lane to let the DOT truck, the three cars between the DOT truck and Mr Cautious, and the pick up truck in front of us pass. Apparently he can’t see this, and continues on his merry way while the rest of us choke on diesel fumes from the DOT truck running in low gear. Finally he turns into the driveway of a horse farm, and we all get past him.

We get William to school, but the trip that should have taken twenty minutes has taken just over half an hour, but we can still do this!

Jen decides to take a route to Newport that has less sharp turns, and is a bit wider. Apparently now she intended to exceed the posted speed limit a bit! RELAX! I’m sure you all do it…Besides, its a minivan! It’s not like she was going to reach MACH 1.

I make a few comments that are intended to be reassuring, but are apparently not. Jeffery quacks a couple times, and one of the roosters in the way back lets out a “Cocka-doodle-errrrrahhhh” Did I mention we had two roosters heading for The Somerset Auction on board as well?

It seems like things are back on course, we are making good time again… Then we both see it…Up ahead lumbering along is a DOT truck. I know it isn’t the same one, because I saw the tailgate of the first one well, and the scrapes, and dings on the lettering were not even close to the same…(I am betting I could get a grant from the government to study marks on the tailgates of DOT trucks, and prove that like whales and their tails, you can identify individual trucks based on their markings)

This truck is moving along pretty good…Sadly, the second one we catch up to, is NOT moving along so well, because the third DOT truck in front of him, is just creeping along.

As if things weren’t already slowing us down enough, we come across a construction site, complete with flaggers! I asked Jen if she found it amusing that the flagger waved the DOT truck into the opposite lane…I mean sure, a regular motorist might think he is supposed to drive through the giant machine that is pouring gravel into the ditch, but wouldn’t you naturally assume the DOT truck driver would know? Jen didn’t reply.

Fortunately, we lost the first truck at the construction site. But after passing through the next two sites, we still had both DOT trucks in front of us, and no way to pass them, because the entire section of The Exeter Rd, from Rt 15, all the way to Exeter Country Store seemed to have some phase of construction happening.

I tell Jen, “I am SO going to blog about this!  ‘As the minutes were ticking off, So was Jen…I said this to her, and she just stared at me out of the corner of her eye, a smart man would have dropped it right there, but nobody ever accused me of being a smart man. Again I tried to make another joke but I could tell I wasn’t helping anyth…’ OK…I’m shutting up now” I slouched down in my seat in shame.

Jen says, “That’s OK, you wont find it very funny when we run out of gas, will you?”

My roar of laughter startled the roosters into a series of alarm calls that made Jeffery the duck nervous. I look over at the needle on the gas gauge sitting on empty, and the gas light emitting its warning glow.

“NO problem!  We’ll get gas at Bratt’s in town, its not even out of the way!”

Jen is convinced we are now on a mission that can only fail.  I told her that was silly, she would only be 15 minutes late, surely there would be no problem there! We pulled into Bratt’s Country Store in downtown Stetson for some gas. Jen went in to pay while I pumped. I asked her to grab me a coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

After the tank was full, I joined Jen inside, and found her talking with a friend of ours who worked there, I tell her we can still make it, but it was no use, she had given up. We chatted with our friend a bit more, paid for our coffees, and gas, and headed out.

“Looks like we’re just going to have a leisurely trip to the auction. Sorry you will miss your appointment.” I said to her.

The pressure of getting somewhere on time was behind us, so we chatted, and laughed, and discussed things like we always do, and meandered our way to the auction house in Fairfield…At 9:46 we were rolling through downtown Pittsfield… I TRIED not to mention it…I really did! But even after all we had been through, she STILL could have made it!

Later that evening, still trying to figure out what went wrong with the clock I made a discovery…The clock has many, features I have never used, and since we got it at a yard sale, we didn’t get instructions. Typically, there are 2 dots on the left side of the display…The p.m. dot, and a dot that says “DST”

YUP! Somewhere on the clock there is a way to set the date, I never knew about it, so early Monday morning while we all slept, our wonderful little clock thought it was doing us a favor when it remembered to FALL BACK!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.