We were due to drive home on Saturday--a 5 hour drive in total--and stop in at a friend's 40th birthday party on the way home. Our good friends have recently bought a farm about an hour out of Sydney and they were having the party out there. Roasted lamb on a spit, bonfires, barbecue under the stars, cattle lowing in the distance...you get the picture. It's a lovely idea and we were excited to be at the farm and check it all out.
Except it was pouring rain on Saturday. So, we weren't sure what would happen with the bonfires and the stars, but we found our way off the freeway, through some lovely, sodden countryside to their mailbox, at the end of a long, muddy driveway. We parked the cars in a grassy field and walked up the driveway to the property, where a tent was set up and the party was in full swing.
I am so glad we went. Really, I am. I love these friends of ours. But this whole evening was a comedy of errors--the kind that is really only funny when it's all over. We traipsed up the driveway and with each step I realized how inappropriately attired we were. I don't mean there was a dress code. I mean that my New Balance-d feet were not equipped to deal with the mud, the puddles and the tall grass. I mean, serious mud. This mud would kick your mud around the block and then eat it for breakfast. Or something. I think by the time we took two steps Nate was wet and muddy up to his knees.
A lot of the other women there had the quintessential Aussie gear on to keep the rain and mud at bay. These hats:
It was very ranch-hand chic. And here I was in my muddy tennis shoes, missing out on a chance to rock one of those hats. My head is abnormally large though, so I'm not sure if I could pull it off. But I digress.
Once we were under the tent and had greeted our friends, Jason came up to me. "Hey--can I get the keys to the van from you?" (I had been driving, you see.) And guess what I said? "Um, I don't have the keys. I left my purse in the car." He looked at me. He looked at me some more. "You didn't bring your purse?" "No," I said getting a wee bit defensive, "You were rushing me out of the car!" It was one of those marriage moments.
So, yes. We were out in the country, in the rain, with no way to get into our car. Incidentally, the kids' heavier jackets and all the food and diapers I had for Grace were in the car also. So, that was awesome. Amazingly though, when Jason called the auto club people, they had a guy who was just 20 minutes away. That was seriously a miracle. Like a magical mud elf, he found his way through those windy roads and unlocked our car. Marriage saved.
A few hours later it was time to go. We tiptoed down the muddy driveway in the dark, squishing merrily all the way. Both cars were full of our holiday luggage, it had been a long day of driving and we were all ready to be home and dry. We got everyone strapped in and then spent a few fun moments freeing the van from the mud. It was pretty dicey there for a bit.
On the road now, driving back towards the highway, I said to Jason, "Well, it's been an adventurous day." As I said that, I felt something a little ticklish on my ankle. I reached down and (am I making you nervous?) felt a squishy, soft blob on my ankle.
"Stopthecar! Stopthecar!" Have I mentioned that I am not a hardy, outdoorsy type? "What is it?" Jason asked, pulling off to the side. "I---have a leech. I have a leech on me. There is a leech on my ankle." Jason put the car in park. "Seriously?" "YES!", I said. "And I am freaking out a little bit and I need you to come get it off. Now. Right now get it off right now." I'd given it a little pull and it hadn't moved and then I just couldn't do it again. Have I mentioned that I can be squeamish?
Jason opened the door and came around to my side of the car. His dad, driving our other car, pulled up alongside. "Amy's got a leech!", Jason sang out into the night. "Check the kids!" So, that was also awesome. He grabbed a baby wipe (is there anything you can't use baby wipes for?) and pulled the leech off my ankle. It stuck to his hand for a moment and then came off. A heebie-jeebie shudder went through my body and then I was okay. I gave Nate, who was riding in the other car a thumbs-up. He was worried.
The next day Nate and I were at the store and he said in a loud voice, "Mom, I'm sorry you had to get that worm." "It's okay, buddy," I said, looking around. "Mom, why did you have that worm?", he said at full volume. Then, I disappeared through a hole in the ground.
I am going to buy some gum boots this week.