For those who might read this blog and not know, the church I belong to has a program called Visiting Teaching. Women are paired in twos and given the names of several other women in our congregation to visit each month. The intent is to befriend, support and uplift each other, stepping in to help when needed or just sharing an inspiring message of Christ. So, I made appointments to visit two of these women yesterday morning and I even (thankfully) found a sitter for my three kids that were at home.
The first lady was not someone I knew yet, but I figured I could find her house okay on my own. When I found the address given to me on the paper from church, it was a group of condos inside a gated community. I had no code, she didn't say anything about a code, so I parked my car a ways away and walked back to the complex. Mind you, I had to pass some vacant fields of very tall grass, decorated with someone's cast off, broken couches and desks, etc. Nice look. Felt real comfortable. No wonder the gate is locked. I check the walk through door. It had a keypad and it was locked. I scouted around and discovered that the keypad open the big gate and drive through said I could push some buttons for a directory that would give me a code to get inside. Nice. So, I walk back and retrieve my car. By this time, my companion or partner has arrived with her two kids and pulls in behind me.
I get to the directory and start scrolling for the right name, it is of course a "T" name, so I have to go clear to the end. Before I can get there, a little old lady drives us from inside the complex, opens that gate and looks at me. I back up and wave her out. We then drive inside thinking we have had some good luck, at least we are inside now.
We unload my companions kids, find the right apartment and then take off everyone's shoes per the instructions on the sign taped to the front door. We knock and a lady answers the door. Not the lady that we are looking for. (I do know what this lady looks like since our babies were neighbors in the nicu last november, though we didn't talk much then.) So, hmmmm, not the lady we want. Nice woman though, tells us she is renting from our lady and moved in about six months ago, but she thinks we are nice porch guests because we have already taken off our shoes. We chuckle politely and put them back on. Back to the cars, buckle the kids in, pull up to the gate and realize we don't know how to get out. Yeah, we wanted in so bad and now we want out so bad. I have no idea what the other woman did to open the gate from the inside. We sit there in front of the gate just laughing at the absurdity of the situation, then decide we better do something. I find that the walk-through door is not locked from the inside, but if I go out and try to open the gate with the keypad, well, our lady doesn't live there, so there is no code for her. Lucky I though that before exiting and locking myself on the opposite side from my car that is still running. I go back to the door of the nice lady and now, she is not answering. Hmmmmm. What to do..
Finally, we are saved by some guy in a truck that types in a code to enter from the outside. We quickly drive through before the gate shuts again and count ourselves lucky. My father-in-law later informed me that I probably had not pulled close enough to the gate to trigger the sensor in the ground to open the gate. Nice. It was my first time, what can I say???
So, no the morning did not end here nor get much better. We drop in on another lady we are to visit and she graciously allows us in for a short visit before our next scheduled appointment. But, we like talking to Bethany so much, that we are late for the next appointment. We pull up and there are no cars. Usually there are two cars since this lady and her husband are both home (he was wounded in Iraq). I go to knock anyway, thinking car repair or whatever, only to find a note telling us that she had to pick up her daughter from Kindergarten because her husband had to take the cat to the vet to have its leg amputated. Yes, that's right amputated. What the heck!!!
I sent my companion home and drove over to the school, knowing I would find Gina there and that we had 10 minutes before the kids were out. I had to know what happened to the cat. Turns out it jumped off something inside their garage and broke it's leg. It would require surgery or amputation. Surgery was something they could not afford, so it was option two. How do you tell a 6 year old that their cat will now have only 3 legs?
Whatever happened to the easy visits? You know, make an appointment, arrive on time, visit, share a message, go home... Those were the days. I guess I needed a little excitement in my life. Of course, I did have the thought several times to ask my husband how to get to the first lady's house (the one inside the gated complex who didn't really live there after all) because he is partnered with her husband for home teaching, which is the same idea but men partnered and given names of several families to visit and watch over. I didn't listen to that little voice and hence...
Maybe next time.