Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flat Allison

I have been lucky enough to participate in a project inspired by Flat Stanley. It's a book about a boy who is flattened and then sent around the world. I was paid a visit by a grade two student from Washington named Flat Allison. That's the two of us together on a field trip.

Flat Allison and I had spent some quality time together here in Montreal, but then it came time to send her home again. I put together a little package of things to accompany her, and thought I'll just pop her in the mail and that'll be that. Easy peasy, right?

Well, it turned into a crazy week as I fought a hard battle just to get this package sent.

I tried the post office first, but they said 10 days so I figured UPS would be quicker. I ended up lugging the package around the mall like a toddler on my hip. I then confirmed where the closest UPS store was after checking their website, but when I arrived I discovered they'd moved. (Hey, UPS! Heads up! You might want to update your site, guys.)

I drove to the next closest location about ten minutes away, arriving at 3:20 p.m.

Their posted hours on the door said they close at 3:00 p.m.

Next day they were closed entirely. And my car started to make strange sounds.

Achy, brake-y sounds.

It was my birthday the day after that, and we were all dining at a restaurant downtown. I discovered, there was another UPS directly across the street from the restaurant! Whoo hoo! Victory would soon be mine. The website said it was open until 7 p.m. so I - all dressed up for dinner and lugging this box - dashed across the street at 6:15 p.m. only to discover....oh yes...another sign on the door that said they CLOSED AT 6 P.M.! (Again, update the dingity dangity doo website!!)

I lugged the box into the bistro, settled it on a chair, fed it some birthday cake and pondered my next move. I would have to send it the following day. I was beginning to think UPS was conspiring against me.

When I woke the next morning and looked out onto an empty driveway i.e. no car, and remembered I'd promised my son that since it was his spring break, he could take my car skiing for the day. (My son was skiing, not the car. As far as I know.) I hoped the car would withstand the trip before it hit the repair shop the next day.

This meant yet another day in Montreal for Flat Allison, and while I enjoyed her company, I think she was getting a bit homesick.

That brought me to yesterday. This would be Send The Package and Flat Allison Home Day!

This time when I woke and looked out the window, my car was there. But, it was buried under thick, wet snow.
This was a big snow storm, intensifying by the minute. Fat flakes, some two or three inches across, were falling fast and heavy. See?
A tractor trailer jackknifed on our local highway exit which left traffic snarled. The snow plow buried the end of the driveway in heavy chunks. My son, the skier, would be conscripted into shoveling duty so I could get out. And I only had a few hours before I had to leave my car in the repair shop.

Nothing was going to stop me this time. This package cradling Flat Allison was going to get to UPS so she could make it home, no matter what.

After a slippery drive and several fishtails in my car with the wonky engine, I crossed the bridge, literally and metaphorically, and finally made it to my final UPS. This time they were open! Hip hip hoooooray.

Flat Allison is winging her way home as I write this. We had a great adventure.


Jayne said...

I think you had more adventures than Flat Alison did lol !

Debby said...

How'd you and Flat Alison meet? She is really a cute little girl.

A Novel Woman said...

Flat Allison's mother is a writer friend of mine. No one else in the class knew anyone in Montreal, so Flat Allison decided to pay me a visit.

It's a way for kids to learn about other parts of the world. When the flat version comes home again, they put a pin on a map and celebrate.