Putting my Best Foot Forward

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Originally posted July 2008

True story……….Last week I pulled into a parking lot of a new business in town. I met the owner, Dianna, at a networking meeting and we scheduled a one on one visit for the purpose of getting to know each other’s business so we could refer each other should the opportunity arise.

My business is publishing a weekly newsletter where ad space is available to small to medium sized businesses in the area. Dianna’s business is shipping, mail box rental, copying, etc….

I had my 11 year old son Joel with me because we, like the rest of America, have discovered (with great dismay) that the proverbial money tree and the gas pump in our back yard do not exist. So, we are multi-tasking, car-pooling, doubling up trips and saving gas. Joel needed to be dropped off at my sister-in-law’s for a summer sleepover so he had to come with me to this business meeting and I would drop him off aferward.

Normally, I wouldn’t bring a kid to a business meeting, but drastic gas prices call for drastic measures. Besides, Dianna understood as she had her new puppy in a cardboard box with her in the store so she didn’t have to drive home and let him out every couple of hours.

Anyway, I pulled into the parking lot and Joel jumped out with his MP3 player in his hand, one ear bud in his ear, the other dangling and swinging like a downed power line in a wind storm. He had his chocolate milk and sack of two long johns from Dunkin’ Donuts in his other hand. (He is skinny as a rail and eats like a pig!) I told Dianna that we would bring coffee since Dunkin’ is in the same plaza.

I opened my door and slipped my foot out of my “mom-mobile” a three year old mini-van. With one toe barely reaching the ground and my door slighly ajar, I started to gather my stuff – a large coffee with two creams for me and a large black coffee with cream, sugar, and artifical sweetner on the side for her (didn’t know how she liked her java).

I got the cardboard coffee carrier into my left hand, the sack of donut holes pinched between my left thumb and the bottom of the cardboard carrier, and the coffee condiments piled in the center. With my right hand, I swung my briefcase strap over my shoulder, I was just about to grab my cell phone, drop it in my purse, then fling my purse over the briefcase strap when I spotted trouble.

A woman in a large sedan was waiting to turn in and park right next to me. The first thing that went through my mind was, “It is 8 a.m. and there are 15 open parking spaces in this lot and you have to park in the space right next to me. Can’t you see I am in the juggling act of my life here?”

She couldn’t see.

I tried to shut my door enough to let her in, but couldn’t manuver my XL butt (according to the tag on my underwear, but a M in my mind!) back into the car enough to do that. I had scooched everything left along with the coffee and I was sure that I would lose it all if I tried to shift this one woman side show back right. It was like being in the middle of an intersection – I was committed. I looked like I should be “committed.”

The woman in the sedan gave me a hand gesture (not the one I get everytime I drive downtown Chicago). This one was more like “take as long as you need, I am enjoying the free entertainment.” I smiled at her, fumbled to find my phone and grabbed my purse, got myself to the upright position on solid ground, hit the lock button with my elbow and shut the door with an impressive hip bump.

I got out of her way and she parked and got out. We were both smiling. I apologized for holding her hostage like that. Turns out she owns the Italian Deli next door to Dianna’s shipping store. (Very good food, btw.) She was very sweet and totally understood.

I told her that is what happens when I unerestimate the size of my rear end. I should wear a sign that says, “Mother of 5 boys. Brain cells are operating in the negative!” We laughed some more and she asked me how I can see out my back window. It was covered in dust because of road construction near our home. My boys engraved “WASH ME” with their fingers in the dirt.

I was putting my best professional foot forward let me tell ya!

I finally got to the door of Dianna’s shipping store and Joel said, “Gosh, mom, what took you so long?”


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