It all started out innocently enough. When I picked up Annabelle from school on Wednesday of this week she was eager to fill me in on the news of the day. Often, that news is comprised of what happened on the playground or maybe a particularly notable lunch menu. This day, though, it was different.
“Mom! Mom! There is a contest at school. It’s a cake contest. Can we make a cake? Can we? Teacher sent a note!” Her excitement was palpable.
Many thoughts went through my mind. I am not a baker and have never been confused with one. I was battling a terrible case of bronchitis that felt more like pneumonia and had spent the entire day (when I should have been working) in bed, and I was behind on everything from my blog updates to the company bank reconciliations.
Surely, I thought, I would have some time before I actually had to produce the cake. So I answered “Of course we can honey. We can make a cake.”
“Great,” she said, I think we have to bring it Friday.”
Before I pulled out of the parking lot I rummaged through her red backpack and found this note. Just as she thought, the cake was due Friday. Today, in fact.
I sighed my patented mom sigh, and summoned some enthusiasm. “OK, let’s go to Michael’s right now and find a cake pan. We’ll go do it before we pick up Zach so it will be done, and we’ll make the cake tomorrow.” My little girl’s face was full of delight as we headed off to the craft store. I felt a little better just looking at her smile in the rear view mirror.
I drove my usual route to the complex that houses not only Michael’s, but Costco and Target; a route that I take at least once if not two or three times weekly. After making my usual left hand turn on Cherry Lane off of Middleton Road I noticed a Canyon County Police Officer sitting on the left hand side of the road. Since I had just turned and I knew there was no chance I was speeding, I didn’t even have to glance down at my speedometer, I just smiled at the officer as I drove by. I love policeman. I really do. It is something about the uniform and the power. I admit it.
Don’t judge me.
Anyway, just as I passed him, I noticed him turn on his lights and pull out in a u-turn behind us. “Uh-oh,” I said to Annabelle. “Someone’s in trouble.” I pulled over to the side of the road so he could pass me, but low and behold he pulled in behind me. “Well, that’s weird,” I said to my baby girl. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I wonder what’s up?”
I rolled down my window and waited for the officer to approach the car. He took his time doing so, and I can only assume that he must have stubbed his toe leaving the car or something, because he was in a foul mood by the time he got to my door.
“You do realize, Ma’am, that you just made an illegal left hand turn?” he snapped at me. I was taken aback and my welcoming smile quickly turned to a look of confusion. “I did? Where?” I stammered. “Back there when you just turned.” The officers voice dripped with sarcasm. “Did you not see the big orange flags beside the road?”
I had, in fact, seen the flags. I had even read the signs, which said something about Westbound Cherry Lane and Southbound Middleton Road. Oh. Crap. That’s what those signs meant. The signs, though, looked like construction flags, and I had always assumed (yeah, I know what that word means) that they referred to something about the continual road work that was taking place further east on Cherry Lane. As the realization spread over my face I felt pretty stupid. “Oh, I did see the signs. I guess I just never understood what they said until now.”
The officer was unsympathetic, and if I venture to say, downright rude as he said “Give me your license, registration, and proof of insurance.” I handed the documents over, and tears came to my eyes as he walked back to his car. It wasn’t that I felt I didn’t deserve a ticket; clearly I did. It wasn’t that I resented him pulling me over; I knew he was just doing his job. It was his nasty attitude that stung me. And I was sick! And on my way to get a cake pan for the Harvest Festival Cake! And I love policemen! My brother and several other family members are police officers, and I respect and appreciate the job that they do every day. But still, this guy was a real jerk.
Anyway, I won’t belabor the point any longer, After leaving us to cool our heels for about ten minutes, the officer returned with this document.
In a condescending voice he advised me of my right to go to court or to pay the fine, which is classified as an infraction, without going to court. He told me that the fine amount could be found on the back side of the folded paper. Then he handed me another small slip of paper that had a website address on it. As he handed that to me he said “And this is something you can supposedly use to pay your fine online. Don’t ask me any questions about it because I don’t know anything about it at all. They just gave them to us today and told us to give them to people with tickets. Be careful pulling out.” And he turned on his heel and walked away. What a grouch.
I laid the ticket down on my console and put the pickup in gear. Annabelle said in a small voice “It’s OK Mom, we don’t have to make a cake. We can just go home.” I glanced at her quivering lip. The policeman had scared her too. “No, honey. It’s OK. We’re almost there. We’ll go get the cake pan.”
And we did. It’s cute, huh?
It wasn’t until we had returned to the car, buoyed by our successful purchases and excited from the planning of our projects, and I had the nerve to turn the paper over to see the fine amount.
Yep, that was an expensive left turn all right. Oh well.
I spent the day yesterday making two cakes for us to decorate; one for the Harvest Festival and one to surprise Aunt Susie for her birthday, which was also yesterday.
The finished chocolate ponies turned out just fine. Little blank slates just waiting for my creative daughter’s hand to finish them.
Annabelle picked out the frosting colors and designed both of the finished cakes. She helped put the frosting on the bodies and made the pink bridles complete with rosettes for each pony. Her little hands were not strong enough to push the decorative icing out for the manes and some of the details, but she instructed me every step of the way.
I think they turned out pretty well.
This is Aunt Susie’s birthday cake, named Little Palomino.
The cake for the Harvest Festival is called Top Gun, after Noble’s Top Gun, the fancy stallion owned by the wonderful trainer Nathan and his lovely wife “Miss Nicole” at Lucky Run Arena.
By the time I bought the cake pan, a couple of cake mixes, frosting, and accessories I was into the project well over $120 (counting the ticket, of course).
I just want whoever buys Top Gun at the Harvest Festival tonight for $10 to know that……you are getting a bargain!