A very stupid mistake, an encouraging young man, and the world’s most patient husband. 

So it was time to say good bye to to little, endearing town of Durango. We took our time packing up, making SURE to gather all our belongings form our hotel room, separate our dirty clothes to wash once in Yankton, organizing electronic cables and books and such, and just taking extra care to have all our things ready so we could enjoy our morning bagel and coffee, and then hit the road. Because I had gotten very little sleep the previous night, Jared agreed to let me nap in the back to catch up on sleep while Rudy took shotgun to keep him company. I was REALLY looking forward to this moment.

We ate at Durango Bagel Company, where the owner’s two dogs hang out in the mornings, getting pets, treats, and placing orders…apparently.

Once we were through with our breakfast and coffee, we were ready to get moving. We had thirteen or so hours to go, and Jared wanted to get the bulk of it done the first day.

After years of riding in the front seat, making sure Jared didn’t crash, keeping him alert with crosswords or meaningless blather (Jared here: I think you mean “insightful discussions on topics such as ancient Roman philosophy, classical music, TV in the 80’s, neo-political thought and how it pertains to Star Wars vs Star Tre – oh, I see what you mean. Never mind. Carry on.), navigating, choosing restaurants, etc., I was thrilled to learn that Rudy had met the weight/height/age requirements for riding in the front seat. Jared was also pretty excited, as now he could have some father-son bonding over the landscape, conversations about video games, and general tomfoolery with his soon-to-be double digit boy.

We assumed our positions and got on the road right on schedule. As goes the way of the perfect plan, it didn’t. Rudy was interested for about five minutes up in the front before he put on his headphones to listen to his music that he’d been without for over two weeks. I only drank a little of my coffee, in anticipation of the “long sleep” I was so deliciously looking forward to, but apparently that was a little too much. I sat up, eyes wide, head pounding, eyes squinting. When I noticed Rudy had checked out from duty, I asked Jared if he was bummed, or if he wanted Rudy to put his music through the car sound system so they could both enjoy it. Jared said, “No. It’s ok. And I don’t really want to listen to his music anyway. Get some rest.”

So I laid down and really got down to the serious business of sleeping…except I didn’t. And couldn’t. And wouldn’t. Then, about an hour into the drive I thought, Earplugs! That will help! So I reached for my purse. I reached for my . . . purse? I sat up. I looked around. I lifted things. It became VERY difficult to swallow at this point. Oh my god… it’s not here! I have to tell Jared. I have to tell Jared NOW! Every second I wait to tell him is another second we’re further away from my purse. He is gonna kill me.

(Quick side note, in case I have not been completely honest in the blogs thus far. This month I have had a TERRIBLE case of the “Oops, I left XYZ behind”’s. I’m not entirely sure what’s been going on, as I typically, with the exception of my phone, am pretty good about hanging onto my things. Not this trip. I have lost my keys, my purse (had to go back to a restaurant to get it AFTER they went through it and called me about it), Jared’s credit card (he left early and I signed for him and just took off without it), and several other things. It’s been embarrassing and inconvenient at most, causing Jared to roll his eyes or laugh at me. But this was a HUGE set back in our schedule and was NOT going to go over well.)

I very calmly and at almost a whisper said, “Jared, can you please pull over?”

“Sure. Why?”

“Um… I can’t seem to find my purse.”

Dead silence.

“It’s gotta be here, Mom” Rudy chimed in. “I’ll help you find it!”

At this point my hopes were fading quickly, as each pillow was turned over, every crevice felt into, all the spaces either occupied, or empty. All void of purse.

Jared moved into action to turn back and begin the back track to Durango. How could I have let this happen? I had it on me the whole time. Maybe I put it down in the hotel parking lot to put a new sticker on the trailer? A quick phone call to the front desk shattered that pipe dream. Maybe I set it on the back of the car as we were loading in? We checked the Apple Air Tag on on the “Find My” app (which I humbly think should be renamed “Save My Marriage”) and discovered that it was indeed in the vicinity of the home parking lot. Maybe in a trash, pilfered through and left to begin a life of indecency and crime in order to stay alive… Wherever it was, it WASN’T with me, and even though we were in the process of fixing it, this was a HUGE set back and a HUGER wake up call to my big, giant brain. 

After two hours of driving, we were exactly where we started. The first thirty minutes I spent profusely apologizing. Jared said very little, which I felt was both smart and generous. I knew he was upset. He knew acting like it wouldn’t help matters, and then we’d be even more mad than need be. Rudy was just taking every opportunity to be encouraging and sweet, saying things like, “It’s ok, mom. I lose things all the time.”, and, “It could always be worse. Don’t beat yourself up.” And ultimately he was right. But he hadn’t been there for the string of losses I had been prone to this month…and Jared HAD. So I tried to lighten the mood as we pulled back into Durango, insisting that I brought them back all that way to show them some stuff we missed before, like the “tractor shop”, or “the bank”. How about this “building”? It’s a good thing we came back to see it, right? I got a few laughs. More than I was expecting, honestly, and we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel, right where the Air Tag said the purse was…or almost. Could it be at the bagel shop RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER?!?!?!? I ran over to the shop. There, on the ground right next to where I was sitting, was my little black purse. The table was occupied by a family of Amish people. I suppose it was as safe as it could ever have been. I thanked them for not taking it, laughed at myself for the irony of that, and sheepishly walked back to my guys. 

It was a hard lesson to have to (re)learn, but now I’m in the habit of listing all of my essentials in my possession as I come and go places, OUT LOUD, so that this offense may never be committed again. 

And Jared is a saint with a heart of gold and I am forever in his debt and he is the king of everything and I am a sad, little pion compared to him and his beard is full of unicorn hair and he is so muscular that he keeps most of his muscles at home in a special chest so as to not intimidate all the other men in the world (and Thor), and his guitar playing is stuff of legend, hitting notes that mere mortals can not hear…only the angels do, and they weep for the tone he achieves, and he makes the best cheeseburger casserole in the history of casseroles, but since the word casserole sounds like something gross at a muggy, old-person potluck in mid July, we call it the “Magic Meat Dish”…and he still loves me, so that’s amazing. (Jared here: She’s obviously exaggerating. My cheeseburger casserole is just okay.)

There is very little left to write about in this day, other than our lovely little gas station picnic in the middle of a Kansas sunset, and the fact that we drove twelve hours to make nine hours’ worth of progress….and stayed married. 

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