Working in IT it is not unusual to spend days on end sequestered in a conference room with a project team and/or vendors. Such was the case for me and my team when we spent a week together with vendors in a dingy old room off the beaten path from our normal cubicle farm digs.
We were gathered together for a system health-check which was a little ironic because the last thing one of our team members needed was a health-check to confirm he was clearly in need of medical attention himself. Instead, he was a trooper and ignored his fever-induced hot flashes, scratchy throat, hacking cough, and serious lack of energy in order to “take one for the team” and participate in the assessment.
So, the poor guy forged on, and one by one, my other teammates experienced the same fever, chills, cold, flu and energy suck as our teammate, patient zero. And I was no exception. Within days, I was delirious with fever and hacking up half a lung.
However, much like him, I felt compelled to (take one for the team and) make good on a promise to deliver a case of wine to my sister over the weekend. She, too, was under the weather (so-to-speak), suffering from a recent foot fusion, home-bound and using a wheelchair to get around. She hadn’t been out in public in forever and was having guests over for a bit of an “Irish wake” in honor of a close in-law who had recently passed away.
So how could I say no to her request when all I had was cold and flu symptoms?
At least I could leave the house!
My husband was out of town, her husband wouldn’t be home much before the shindig, and since I couldn’t attend in my condition, the least I could do was deliver the goods ahead of her guests (and get out of dodge before exposing anyone to my germs).
So, off to Trader Joe’s I went, which was packed with weekend crowds and construction mayhem, but, nonetheless I secured the wine, carted it off to my trunk, and headed straight to her place; aches, pains, chills, and all.
I stopped in for a quick chat with her mother-in-law, offered my condolences, and then retreated to the trunk to snag the case of wine.
As I gripped the case and pulled it forward, the wine went from weighing about a hundred pounds (in my weakened state) to light as a feather in two seconds flat.
BECAUSE THE ENTIRE BOTTOM OF THE CASE FELL OUT.
Yes, all twelve bottles went from case to pavement in an instant, the sound of shattered glass echoing like a scene from an action movie where someone crashes a speeding car through a glass high-rise building, except my experience didn’t conclude with everyone high-fiving to Hip Hop tunes while the adrenaline rush wore off.
No, there I was flushed with fever and chills, staring down, through the empty barrel of a wine case, at the remnants of a dozen bottles of (luckily white) wine seeping down the driveway behind my car. My getaway car that could not get away at all now. Sigh.
Wondering what happened to me, my sister wheeled herself up to the doorway and, straining to find me, shouted, “Everything OK out there?”
No. Not so much. Not so much at all.
I headed back in and explained the dilemma, both of us laughing and crying (for slightly different reasons), and then she called a neighbor.
Good news, the neighbor came straight over with a broom, shovel, and a trash can. The bad news, he was recovering from back surgery and really shouldn’t bend, twist, or lift anything.
Reinforcements yes, but maybe not so perfect.
We did our best to sweep, shovel, and dispose of the shattered glass, all while my sister sat helplessly perched at the doorway from her wheelchair, unable to assess, assist, or control the situation at all. We were all a mess in our own way.
Eventually, I headed for home, failing to deliver on my first attempt as a wine-on-wheels service, but on the upside, my sister called Trader Joe’s (to let them know about the faulty-bottomed case my wine was packed in) and they graciously apologized for the whole debacle and offered a new case in exchange.
Yay to Trader Joe’s for turning our vinegar back into wine!
So I stopped in, to pick up the replacement case (and an extra bottle for myself this time), and was pleasantly surprised to see they included a complementary bouquet of fresh flowers, too, a lovely and much needed pick-me-up after that sour grapes kind of a day I had.
Needless to say, wine and pavement are far from a perfect pair, and I have no aspirations to become a full-time wine-on-wheels delivery service any time soon!