Any parent has gotten that call from school... Your kid has forgotten something, and you need to make a quick trip to drop something off. When truly necessary, feasible. Sometimes darn annoying.
The elementary school went away to a former Pioneer Camp again this week... Two nights and two and 1/2 days... For the first time, I wasn't going to be working super late on those days, so I would actually have a chance to relax a bit myself... And then, within hours after their departure, I got the text. The text from Talia's teacher that somehow the warm pants I'd packed hadn't made it to the camp, and she didn't have anything appropriate to wear outside during the unexpectedly cold weather. Kids pack very light for this trip, so there weren't extra pants to borrow.
I could have feigned the inability to get there. I could have forked over $110 to pay someone else to deliver them later that evening. But I really didn't want Natalia to get sick, I didn't want to spend the money, and I've secretly been curious to get a peek at the camp after hearing Katya (and now Natalia) sing it's praises for the past three years... I also figured something blog-worthy would happen... If I hadn't been in a real rush to get back to Moscow by evening, I would have stopped on multiple occasions to take pictures of villages and Krasnogorsk...
In any case, I rushed home after my last class, grabbed Natalia a pair of warm pants, and headed out. Knowing I'd be on dirty/rocky roads for part of the trip, I first stopped to get all my tires checked. Then I drove. And drove. And drove. If our GPS navigator had been working, it would have been a real help...
As it was, I discovered a whole new area of the city, and a whole new region beyond it. The drive there supposedly takes an hour. It did not.
At one point, as I followed the directions given to me by one of the teachers, I ended up on on a dirt path lined by these dachas:
Houses on typical streets where you find dachas are like silverware in college dormitory kitchens: some pieces pilfered from the dining room; some from Walmart; some taken from Mom's nice sterling without her permission... You never know what you'll find, and they certainly don't "match."
Most of them have extensive gardens surrounding them, though. No matter how wealthy the family, the Soviet necessity of growing fruits and vegetables to can for the winter lives on.
I also drove by the store. Yeah. It was closed.
Much to my dismay, I then drove up to this:
A dead-end! Argh! I then called back and got directions from a different friend... And made it there. The trip took two and a half hours. The girls, of course, were underwhelmed to see me, to say the very least. The puzzled looks on their faces said it all! "Why are YOU here?" They clearly think of that camp as their "parent-free" zone and delight in it! No worries, girls... I dropped off the pants and headed back to Moscow as quickly as possible, hoping fiercely I'd make it there in time for evening plans I had made...
Two hours later, I was home... With 40 minutes to spare before two girlfriends came over for the "Happy Birthday" dinner I was throwing for them.