“Mom… You’ve got a hole in your pants.” giggles Sister Save-A-Lot.
“What?!” I reply from my bent position over the bathtub – trying to get Future Hoarder of America out of the water fun and into bed.
“Wow… You sure do.” comments a different sister.
“Yeah, Mom. And it’s huge … Like a mouse hole,” adds Slow Walker.
Okay, a “mouse hole”? Where has he ever seen one of those. And what are all these kids doing in the bathroom?! Did their immature-humor sonar hearing pick up the words “hole in your pants” and drive them to the tiny room? Please.
“Not a hole.” I reply. “These are my favorite pants.”
I feel in the back. They were right. Smack dab in the middle of my seat is a hole. Not the kind that can be stitched together. No … it’s a worn-kind-of hole. I’m so sad … and curious as to how many people saw my undergarments.
It’s at this point that I could continue with the blog-post idea that peaked my interest when my kids pointed out the hole. It was a post about the fact that I buy my clothes at Sam’s Club. A post revealing that my sister ribs me about my former couture taste (I loved the third floor at Neiman’s. I miss my old friends at Escada) that i used to have. I was considering sharing the fact that I wore a lovely Costco item (a very cute sleeveless black dress with my DSW wedges) to a coat & tie dinner last night. I could write that post. But I just can’t stop myself from sharing a story from my past. A very embarrassing story about a similar, yet not so similar situation I experienced in my pre-kid life.
In the early ’90s I worked in the Bush ’41 Administration in the Vice President’s Advance Office. I pretty much traveled all over the country (and sometimes the world depending upon any immunization hurdles! see Short Term Pain) organizing events. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual meeting asked VP Dan Quayle to be the keynote speaker, so off I went with my team to Albuquerque. I was a bit of a newbie in the Advance business, but knew my way around, so they gave me the meeting as my site. I was responsible for the sound, lighting, set-up, interviews, all that encompasses those trips … at the brand new Albuquerque convention center.
It was a beautiful building. A HUGE building. I spent the days before Quayle’s arrival combing the place with my new best friend, the Mr. Convention Center Manager. He and I had it all down… everything ready to go.
On the day of the trip, we were doing one last walk-through as we awaited the motorcade’s arrival. Dressed in an adorable black & white checked skirt with a cute little cropped jacket (very stylish for the day – think Neiman’s not Sam’s!), I wasn’t too hip about the brick-sized radio weighing my outfit down. Mid sentence, the necessary item rudely interrupted my conversation with Mr. Manager as I heard in my earpiece, “Wills (my maiden name)… We’re Bravo.” This basically informed me that the package was five minutes out.
Considering the fact that Mr. Manager & I were on the other side of the HUGE building and that my greeters were not in position to “greet” the Vice President on his arrival, nor were the interviews ready, or anything else for that matter, … I grabbed the unassuming manager and yelled, “WE’VE GOT TO RUN!”
I took off at full speed, dragging the wide-eyed, gasping-for-air executive along with me. All of a sudden we hit a slick spot and down I went, sprawled on all fours, sliding across the floor like Bambi the first time he met a frozen pond. It stunned us both.
He rushed to my side to help me up. But, I didn’t have time for niceties. I hobbled up, assured the disbelieving gentleman that I was fine and began to move. The first few steps involved limping. Having no time for that, I grabbed the poor man’s arm and urged him into a full run so we could make it to the entrance in time. …Which we did just in the nick of, huffing and puffing. As the limos pulled in, I herded the dignitaries and local big-wigs into place. My boss met me at the door and I was handed the Vice Presidential Seal for me to place on the podium. The Vice President glanced my way and gave me a curious little grin-nod. I thought it a bit weird, but chalked it up to my cute couture. I should have known something was up when the staff photographer kept taking pictures of me … but I had too much on my mind to play in their little shenanigan games.
I raced to get the veep’s live local-station interviews ready, settled in the staff and headed to the stage area to place the seal on the podium. Everything pretty much went down hill from there. Upon seeing me place the seal, the crowd went wild and the emcee proceeded to introduce the V.P. – thirty minutes ahead of schedule, the Secret Service zipped the entertainment, the spotlights started to shut-off mid speech due to overheating … and so much more.
At one point, event in full progress, I was making my way behind the stage. A Secret Service agent stopped me.
“Darlin’,” the southern agent drawled. “I’ve got to tell you something.”
“What now….” I sighed, ready for another debaucle.
“Well, I wanted to tell you earlier, but you looked a little stressed. I wasn’t sure what might be the right time.”
“Go ahead,” I implored. “I can take it.”
“Honey … You’re skirt has a little rip in the back.”
I put my hand back to feel.
Oh… it wasn’t a “little” rip. It was a fall-induced tear the size of the convention center (HUGE). From the hem almost to my waist, the rip refused to have found the seam. No – it had shredded the back of my skirt. How I didn’t know was beyond me. A female agent confirmed my fears (“Is it bad?” I asked. Head shaking she replied, “Ohhhh – it’s bad!”).
Suddenly I understood the smirky smiles, the flash photography, the stares. It wasn’t until years later did I get the roar of the crowd.
Fast forward several years, I’m living in Dallas, meeting my sister and her friend for breakfast at Bubbas. “Ari,” my sister says, “this is my sister Kay.” (Ari would later be named Press Secretary in the Bush ’43 Administration)
“You’re Kay Wills?!!” he asked as if he had heard of me.
“Wow … Did you used to work for the Quayles?”
“Were you in Albuquerque at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting?”
“Oh my gosh… It’s YOU!” He pauses for a moment then can’t stop himself. … “Did you think they were clapping for seal?””
What can I say… I’m a clutz. And I guess I’m destined for holes in the seat of my clothing. I’m pretty certain the VP’s office kept me on staff for comic relief. At least I got to lick my wounds riding back to D.C. on Air Force II. Teen-attitude carpool just doesn’t offer the same amenities as those rare flights.
Thanks for walking the road with me… even with a hole in my pants. I’ll be scouring the warehouse stores for a new favorite pair.