It all began innocently enough. I was taking a casserole and some other things over to a friend's house. The casserole was Mexican Lasagna 2.0. Mexican Lasagna 1.0, an aberration in my carefully balanced ecosystem of procrastination, was sitting happily in the refrigerator back in Eldorado, which I only realized once I was on the road and about two hours outside of Eldorado.
"No problem!" my laid-back, level-headed, don't-sweat-the-small-stuff, keeping-it-all-in-perspective self cheerfully thought -– right after I broke into dramatic, heaving sobs and called Tanner on his cell phone to break the awful news of my terrible predicament.
Anyway, who cares how I got there. The important part is I eventually arrived at, "No problem!" and continued my trip home. I would simply make another casserole that evening and deliver it promptly at 8:30 p.m. as planned.
The rest of the drive home was uneventful, except for the unwelcome onslaught of PPP -- premature pee problem. Why is it that the body decides it reeeeeally need to go to the bathroom about 30 minutes from your destination? You're sooo close. Close enough so that going to the bathroom seems like an epic pain in the butt, a pesky pimple rearing its ugly head 30 minutes before it's time to leave for prom. But you're also far enough away from home to where there is a legitimate threat of going in your pants. To further complicate matters, I have such a guilty conscious that I can't use a convenience store restroom without purchasing something, and at 30 minutes from my stocked, albeit mouse-infested (a story for another day), pantry at home, buying anything seems like a waste of money.
Aaaanyway, lest I digress, I made it to my office in the late afternoon without wetting myself, rushed to the grocery store after work, skiddadled home, made the casserole, and headed out to deliver. After forcing my friend to stay on the phone for ten minutes and give me inch-by-inch directions, I arrived with my goods. I filled my arms and headed into the house, expecting to drop everything off, chat for a bit and then hit the road. After all, I had to get back home and pack for my work trip to Oklahoma the next morning. Well, we got into some great conversation, time flew, and it was after 10 p.m. before I made it back to the truck. I grabbed my phone from the console and saw a text message from Tanner, who was back in Eldorado and asking about medication for the dogs.
"Oh, I'll just give him a ring!" I thought. "I miss him; I want to hear his voice; and my clumsy nubs can't tpye on my iPhone, aywnay."
Ring. Ring. The call connects.
Tanner: "WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? WHERE ARE YOU? WHAT'S GOING ON? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? WHAT!!!!???"
Erin: "Uhhhhh. Hello?"
Turns out, while I was in lala land without my cellphone, an armed burglary occurred across the pasture from our house. Helicopters with search lights were swooping and criss-crossing over our little country road and the pastures around our house and our neighbors' houses. Our neighbors and close friends, Molly and Rob, had called Tanner. Rob's dad, Glen, is our town's constable. He lives next to Molly and Rob and two places down from us. They had heard on the scanner that the suspect was armed, dangerous and on the run. They knew I was home alone, but saw that my truck was gone and all the lights were out.
Long story short, an epic phone chain ensued. Molly called me several times. No luck. Then Molly called Tanner, who called me 2 million times and couldn't get a hold of me. Tanner called a guy to get the number of the friend I was visiting. That guy didn't have the number, but he had the number of a girl who did. Tanner called that girl. She gave him the number and then she also tried to call me a few times. Tanner called the friend I was visiting, but my friend didn't recognize the number. I saw him pick at his ringing phone several times with a puzzled look, then put it down. Tanner left him a couple frantic voicemails, then waited it out.
After two hours of this, I had 4 million missed calls, 3.5 million text messages and a very worried husband. Oops. Well the suspect was still on the run by the time I finally returned to earth, so I decided to go stay with Molly and Rob, who offered me a room for the night. But of course, I needed my toiletries from my house. I had to get up bright and early and catch a ride with Molly to Fort Worth in order to pick up my company truck. No time to dilly dally the next morning. But of course I left my back door unlocked and all my lights off when I went on my errand. Which meant, of course, the constable and his deputy had to search the house before Molly and I went over, just in case the robber had holed up there. Of course, I had left the kitchen dirty and the BRAVO channel on TV and was irrationally paranoid that something horrific like the Real Housewives of Orange County would be blaring at full volume. (For the record, that is NOT what I was watching when I left the house.)
The house, hay shed and Tanner's shop all got a legit search with flashlights and guns drawn as Molly and I waited in the truck. When I heard the deputy report over the scanner that they were searching the house of "lady on such and such Lane who left her door unlocked," I felt an odd mixture of embarrassment for taking up the police's time, gratitude for having the constable as a friend and neighbor, amazement that I was in a police SUV and relief that he didn't mention anything about the dirty pans on the stove, trashy TV blaring in the living room and mice infestation in the pantry.
Despite the hectic chain of events, I got my belongings from my house, and everything ended peacefully around midnight with me settling down to sleep in the borrowed bedroom of Molly's and Rob's 5-year-old son. As I dozed off in a shrine to Thomas the Train, I found myself thinking how nice it was to realize how much Tanner cares about me. Next time, though, I'll orchestrate an easier situation through which he can show his affection.