Lessons Learned… the Hard Way

I swear I can’t make up the things that happen to me even if I tried. Don’t get me wrong, I think I can be pretty creative but sometimes I feel like I’m being “Punk’d”, or that I have a Guardian Angel with a very sick sense of humor.

So, by now you may be wondering what exactly happened to me? Well, let me tell you. I had decided yesterday morning that I wanted to catch the 1:29 pm train back home because I had a lot of homework that I needed to get done online and I wanted to just do it on my own computer. I needed to kill a bit of time before I headed for the train station, so when I got out of my Cultural Anthropology class yesterday I met with my music advisor to plan out the rest of my time at Chapman and discuss my options for a minor/double major, I had lunch on the steps of the music conservatory, and then I explored the study abroad fair that was going on. Once enough time had passed I hopped on the shuttle to the train station and caught my train home.

While on the train I got some important e-mails sent, and then I just enjoyed the ride home. I had snagged a window seat with a table on the second floor of the train, and I was the only person up there because it was such an early train so it was nice. It wasn’t until I got to my train stop that things went south. As I was exiting the train I reached for my car keys in my backpack… only to realize that they weren’t there.

Where were they? Had I lost them? Dropped them somewhere maybe? Oh no, nothing that bad thankfully. You see, what usually happens is when I get to the train station in the mornings I get my stuff out of my car, lock my car, and then put my keys on the hook in my backpack so I don’t lose them. This morning that didn’t happen though. I had my backpack, lunch box, and gig bag with me, and since I needed to buy my 7-day train pass I just my keys into my gig bag so I could focus on digging my wallet out of my backpack. I’d put my keys away on the train like I normally do! Except this time I didn’t… And I didn’t realize that until after I’d gotten all the way home and had left my gig bag in my locker at school… which was now 54 miles away.

So here I am, standing outside of my car with no keys and no one to come get me. Mr. Envoy is on the range this week, meaning he is re-qualifying with his rifle and pistol, so he was unreachable until 6:00 pm. It was 3:00 pm, so I had 3 hours until he was able to bring me the spare key… f*ck. So I freaked out a bit, trying not to cry as I called him repeatedly even though I knew it wasn’t going to do me any good.

I quickly thought to call a locksmith though and after waiting for one to call me back I looked up the price to have a key made by the company I had called. They charged $120+ to make a key. I don’t have that kind of money to waste on a stupid key, and even though the man on the phone kindly offered to make me a key for a flat $150, I somewhat rudely declined his offer and started thinking about my other options. One of my FB friends suggested just hanging out at the beach while I waited for Mr. Envoy to get off work, and had I not needed to get so much work done I probably would have done just that. As nice as that would have been to do, I needed to get home to do my homework, but another thought had already popped into my head – what if I walked home? I confirmed with another Marine wife that I could walk back onto base as long as I had my ID, which thankfully I did. So I grabbed my lunch box, threw my backpack over my shoulders, and begrudgingly left my car at the train station to start my 3 mile walk back onto base and to the housing office… in ballet flats.

Oh right, I forgot to mention that I needed to go to the housing office too. You see, when I left my car keys at school, I also left my house key. So if I wanted to get home and actually get inside my home to do my homework then I needed a house key. *sigh*

The walk wasn’t so bad, especially considering how out of shape I am. The worst part of the walk (other than walking past a large group of guys hanging out in front of a store smoking and staring at me as I walked past them) was trying to figure out where the sidewalks were on my path back to base. At one point I thought I had it all planned out and that I was on the proper side of the road to get under the freeway only to find out that the sidewalk I was on ended right before a bridge I needed to cross. In order to continue my walk I had to play Frogger as I dashed across the road to get to the sidewalk that did go across the bridge. Thankfully I didn’t lose a shoe, or my water bottle that has a tendency to go flying out of my backpack when I run.

Eventually I managed to make it back to base without getting run over by a car. I walked into the office at the front gate and asked the Marines inside what the best way was to walk back to my housing since there’s not really any pedestrian paths near the front gate. They pointed me to a path that led to housing and then off I went. My choices to get to the path were unfortunately limited to either walking on the street or walking on giant smooth rocks. I choose the giant smooth rocks because I didn’t feel like getting plowed down by a car this close to home, but the stupid rocks did their best to try to make me fall anyway so I guess my choice really didn’t matter. Either way though I made back up to the housing office and borrowed a house key.

As I was leaving the housing office I had a Marine offer to give me a ride home. She had heard me inside the housing office talk about how far I’d had to walk and wanted to help out, which was the nicest thing anyone had done for me all day. I politely declined her offer though because I live just around the corner from the housing office and I’d already walked this far so I decided that I’d just finish it out. But seriously, her offer put the biggest smile on my face. Kind strangers are amazing!

Anyways, as I turned onto my street I noticed that Mr. Envoy’s car was parked on the street. Of course he’d have gotten off earlier than he thought… of course. He had tried calling me about the time I had gotten to the housing office since he had finally had a chance to see me text saying that I had left my keys at school, but my phone had been almost dead so I stuffed it in my backpack and didn’t notice him calling. Not that it would have made much difference since I had already walked all that distance anyways. Ugh. After walking inside my home I dropped my stuff on the ground finally let myself cry for a minute or two while Mr. Envoy changed so we could return the key to the housing office and then head back to the train station to retrieve my car.

By the time all of that was said and done though, I was exhausted and my feet hurt. After dinner I decided to go straight to bed so basically my attempt to come home early to get work done was a complete waste of time and I might as well have just stayed at school later because at least then I would have gotten some practicing done. Now though, I had gotten no homework done and zero practicing done… and go figure I have a harp lesson today. Oh well, at least I have a fun anecdote to explain why I didn’t finish learning a section of the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto, right? I wonder if that same anecdote will work with my professor for my homework that’s due today too? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

So what’s the moral of this story? Well, other than me learning my lesson about being damn sure that I put my car keys in my backpack the second that I sit down on the train? I guess it’d be to keep a level head, look at all of your options and then make the best decision you can. As nice as it is to have someone to fall back on, being with a Marine has taught me that you really have to be able to take care of yourself and handle things on your own.

Oh well, at least I have my car back home and a spare key so I can get to school and actually put my keys into my backpack when I get there today. Plus I got some exercise yesterday, so… that’s good, right?

But seriously, who has this sort of stuff happen to them? I’m pretty sure it’s just me. And yeah, remember when I told you that I can’t make this stuff up? I wasn’t kidding… -_-

What’s a ridiculous situation that you’ve gotten yourself into? How did it turn out? Let me know so I don’t feel so alone!

<3 and harp strings,



17 responses to “Lessons Learned… the Hard Way

  1. YAY!!! So glad you survived Reality Frogger! :)

    The most ridiculous situation I ever got myself into was when my daughter was about 3 months old. (I was a whopping 19 and looked maybe 14.) My mom had gotten me a remote starter a couple of weeks prior to this.

    Anyway, I had taken her for a well baby visit. I did the same thing I had always done when getting her in the car…
    1. Unlock the car on approaching the vehicle with the remote key.
    2. Open back door, set baby carrier in backseat.
    3. Throw keys up front to get them out of the way while I buckle carrier in.
    4. Close back door.

    Now, this would have been fine… except that between steps 1 and 2, I had used the remote starter to start the car… which causes the doors to lock a few seconds later… which I did not hear and before that moment didn’t know would happen.

    Yep… I locked my 3 month old baby in the car!

    She was pleasantly napping and I was freaking out! Luckily, the parking attendant was prepared for just such a situation… apparently, he witnessed this exact same scenario at least once a week and had become quite a professional at opening locked doors.

    However… before opening the door, he asked me if I wanted to call my mom or dad to bring the spare key. He didn’t want me to get in trouble if he did accidentally do something bad to the door. :(

    Moral of the story… remote starters are evil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my gosh, that must have been terrifying! Thank goodness that the parking attendant was there to help get your daughter out. I’ll have to remember that about remote starters… thankfully I think it’ll be a long time until I have a new enough car that it would come with a remote starter lol

      <3 and harp strings,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mine wasn’t new enough for that! My mom and stepdad had gotten it for me as a new baby present. It was incredibly scary, if it hadn’t been the calmness of the attendant, and his constant calming me down, I may have had a heart attack that day. I felt like the worst mother to have ever lived! And no matter how many times he told me parents did that all the time, it didn’t make me feel any better!


  2. Wow.. What a day. These things happen to me almost every month, and yet, I don’t learn my lesson. You see, I hate planning, and I am one of the most absent-minded people you can find in this world. I am serious. If they have a competition for that, I have very good chances of winning.
    Let’s start from boarding the bus and.. “shit! where’s my purse?” to going to the examination center and realising I have left my admission card at home.
    Glad that you are back home safe and sound. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh geeze, I’ve done that stuff before. Hell, last night I took my glasses off in the bathroom at school to touch up my eyeliner before a performance and I ended up walking out of the bathroom without them and didn’t realize that I didn’t have them until I was on another floor of the music building! O_O

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I once managed to forget my cellphone in the freezer for three days before I even realized I didn’t have it. Also one day I was at school while my fiance was at work, my mom picked me up and took me to his house and left for work. I got to the door before I realized I left my house key at school so I stuck outside for three hours waiting for him to be off work

    Liked by 2 people

    • In the freezer? How did you manage that?? lol I would have noticed after a little bit, so there’s no way I would have left it in there for 3 days! My phone is practically attached to my body lol I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a tendency to forget their keys though!


  4. The long walk you hadn’t planned on but chose to take as an option really resonated with me. It was May 17 last when I slipped & thought I’d broken my wrist. Since my car was at that time out of commission due to a failed transmission, I called a former student to take me to an ER. It was Sunday, and she was already taking food en route to the venue for her graduation party (that I now knew I wouldn’t be attending). Nuts. Anyway, you (Kate) & I already have something in common in that we are both harpists – and sure enough, I had a fracture. I’d already processed the plans for reallocating the gigs I’d had lined up for the summer, but since I couldn’t stay in the ER all day, I decided to head out on foot back home since it was easier than waking more friends on a Sunday morning. 3.6 miles, with a splint for all to see. I worked off quite a bit of steam, as it turns out, and got a little sun to boot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry about your fracture but it sounds like you made the best out of the situation! Did you fracture your wrist this past May? How’s it healing? I hope you’re back to playing the harp very soon! I love connecting with other harpists :D

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate – The wrist fracture is all but forgotten, thanks for asking! After the ‘all clear’ from the physical therapist, I was healed & ready to play as our symphony season hit the ground running, end of this summer. I had been looking for something to keep my right hand in practice over the weeks while the left arm was healing in its giant purple elbow cast, and I finally decided on something basic, the Naderman Sonatas. The convalescence actually changed the course of my musical aesthetic and I’m really enjoying the ride, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fantastic! I’m glad to hear that it healed in time for the symphony season. I’ve only learned the 2nd Naderman Sonata but it’s so pretty. What Symphony do you play for?


      • Nice! My harp teacher is the principal for the Pacific Symphony. With my husband being in the Marines I don’t see a symphony career in my future, at least not until he gets out anyways! But even still, as nice as classical music is I’m not sure I want to be playing it exclusively. I think my dream job would be to be the harpist for video game music, whether that be live performances or for the soundtracks of the games. I love video games and I think the music for them is absolutely gorgeous, so that’s what I’d love to do for the rest of my life :)

        Liked by 1 person

      • What would it take to land a gig with the Skywalker Recording Symphony? Getting to know that process might help you make some of those video game connections in serendipitous fashion! :D

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm… that’s an excellent question. I’ll have to start looking into it! By the way, I found your website and listened to the video you have up – you are a wonderful harpist!


      • Look up Michelle Sell’s website. She’s someone I knew from 1972-73. We were at high school music camp together (yikes!). But – oh my goodness – now she’s in the SF area and has that Skywalker gig to her credit. RE: video – I’d actually just removed the bandage from my 3rd finger RH after I’d sliced in open on a mandoline 2 weeks before making that video. STUPID!!! Talk about lessons learned, AUGHH! At any rate, I was trying to get a job in Kuwait City and needed a video. I hope to make another one someday – and I took the mandoline back to Bed, Bath & Beyond (I didn’t tell them why).

        Liked by 1 person

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