September 21, 2007

Parking the Mammoth

Even in a small car I have a hard time parking. So one of my concerns in buying this hulking beast of a van was that I may not be able to park it. My fears were realized at Ella's speech therapy appointment yesterday. The parking situation is unreal at the University--small spaces, loads of cars cruising for spots, students racing to class... In my rush to make it on time I forgot about trying to park The Van and nearly freaked out when I got to the parking lot. I managed to find a spot on my *good* side (the left) and only took three tries to negotiate the space. We piled out, inspected my parking job, and all were pleased to see that, though I was crooked, I was well within the yellow lines. Racing off to therapy I forgot about having to pull the whale OUT of the cramped space.

A hour later I load the kids into Moby and put it in reverse. Immediately I see a man in a MINI-van behind me. I wave him on, knowing that I'm going to take forever to back out. He refuses to move because he wants my spot. Behind him a line of cars is growing. I throw the van into reverse and lightly tap the gas. We inch back as far as I dare go, then I put it into drive and turn the steering wheel. Tap the gas, move a few inches. Reverse, spin the wheel, tap the gas, move an inch. Drive, turn the wheel, tap the gas, move an inch. I'm making some progress but the line of cars is growing, this incessant wheel turning is causing panic is starting to set in. Will I ever get out, will I have to call someone with big rig experience to help me remove this thing from the tiny space I have put it into? I'm the comic relief in the middle of a so-so movie.

Back and forth we go, I really just want to ram the car behind me to give myself some space. Finally, I spin one last time and, with beads of perspiration breaking out across my forehead, I creep forward chanting, "Please, please, please..." hoping not to bump the car next to me. And we are FREE! The kids all chorus and whoop from the rear of the van and I'm elated. Until I remember that Ella has therapy twice a week and we will have to do this again in a few days. I vow to pull the kids to therapy in the wagon until it snows, then I will pull them in a sled, then when I have five children I will strap babies to my body, pull the sled, and still never park that hog at the University again.

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