Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Endless Exasperating Journey

"Oh, sh*t" I said in a loud whisper, aware my seven-year-old granddaughter was in the back seat of the car.

"What's the matter?" hub asked as we sped south on the Northway, making our way home from a week in New York State's Adirondack Mountains.

(Sidebar: Why the Adirondacks you might ask? Good question! 
My son Jason entered the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon 
(2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run) 
and finished an incredible 58 overall (over 2,500 participated))

Opening my pocketbook, I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

My wallet was gone.

I carry a small bag. My wallet sits on top, keys underneath. Side pockets hold a couple of pens, my lipstick, a comb, a couple of pieces of paper, and sometimes my cell phone.

Unzipping the bag the emptiness immediately hit me. Keys stared at me.

I knew I was in trouble. Then it hit me where my wallet most likely rested - in a Stewart's shop in Keene, New York, where we made a quick stop for drinks and a snack for my granddaughter.

Ninety miles away.

"My wallet. I can't find it. I think I left it in the store," I hissed.

"Call the store. We are turning around," and hub pulled the car onto an exit ramp conveniently located in front of us as this conversation developed.

"What if I am wrong?" But I knew I wasn't.

I surfed the net (love the lingo!) and found the store number. Calling, I heard a recorded message saying something like, "This is Stewart's. If you would like to order pizza, leave a message at the beep." Beep!

I searched for another number and found one on the company website. It turned out to be the warehouse. The woman answering the phone gave me the Keene store number, which I already had, informing me the store only had a pay phone and the message kicked in when employees were too busy to answer. She would not give me a corporate offices number.

When was the last time anyone saw or used a pay phone? The only reason I could think of for the ancient device is to prevent store employees from using the phone for private calls, but the company may have another valid reason.                    

We turned the car around and headed due North. 93 miles, to be exact, back into a steady rain which, driving south, cleared around Lake George.

Why did I look into my bag at that particular moment? hub wanted to know.

Once realizing my dilemma, I forgot all about whatever I was doing or planned to do. I probably wanted a pen, or maybe lipstick. We were planning to stop at Cracker Barrel, about 15 miles ahead, for lunch.

It was almost 1:00 p.m. We left our cabin 10:30 in the morning.

Frustrated repeatedly calling the store and listening to the recording, I left a brief message - wallet lost, believe I left it at your store, here is my phone number.

Meanwhile the problem of lost plastic occupied my time. What if a dishonest, despicable individual walked off with my stuff? There was not much cash - probably about $10. But credit and debit cards, driver's license, medical card...

Using hub's cards for information and phone numbers, I canceled my debit card and put a temporary block on the credit card.

Lunch was postponed.            .

Suddenly my phone pinged. It figured the store returned my call while we traveled through a phone dead zone. But the good news - my wallet was waiting for me at the store!

After driving through a drenching rainstorm we were back at Stewart's and I reclaimed my wallet. It was close to 3:00 p.m.

Hungry and needing a break, we stopped for lunch (Hailey dubbed it linner - late lunch/early dinner) and finally got back on the road.

It was 4:00 p.m. Since leaving the cabin at 10:30 a.m. we traveled over 200 miles and were 15 miles from our starting point.

400 miles to cover before arriving home.

The rain initially stopped, but it was a case of false optimism. It started raining again, a lot. It was going to be a long, long, disheartening, aggravating, frustrating day.

But my wallet was safely tucked back in my bag, all cards and cash accounted for.

I can only blame myself. Placing drinks and snacks on the store counter, grabbing money and snatching change, collecting purchases, I forgot to place the wallet back in my bag.

Thank you Stewart store employees 
for finding my wallet promptly 
and keeping it in the store safe until I returned to retrieve it.  


  1. I know the feeling. Isn't it wonderful that there are honest people around?

  2. I know that awful feeling when something like your wallet is missing. It's been quite a long time now (Christmas Eve 2011) since I was robbed, but I can still feel those emotions, just reading your post. I'm so glad it all turned out for the best. You captured those emotions perfectly. :-)

  3. I'm so glad you were able to recover the wallet after so much backtracking to get it! I hate that sinking feeling.....

    And don't you love honesty in situations like that? :-)