The ocean has always been my happy place. It’s pretty cool that my family loves being there as much as I do. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: Perfect road trip features flat tire and lost wallet

My husband is a loser. Not a loser in the dead-beat, good-for-nothin’ kind of way but more so in the literal way. He’s often misplacing stuff. It could be because I’m always rearranging things under the guise of efficiency, but truthfully, I’m often not involved.

We had a long, trying day on Saturday over the long weekend. The kids had most definitely lost their listening ears and we were tired of nagging them. Sunday morning we realized we were in for two more exhausting days of parenting with a wide-open schedule. Anything on our to-do lists could wait so we did something we never do: we took a road trip.

I gave everyone 30 minutes to get it together and get in the car. (That meant giving myself 30 minutes to plan for a night away, any and all situations, find a place to sleep, and pack up my entire family. I love a challenge.) A half hour later we were headed to the west coast.

It was a magical adventure, full of wow and wonder for the kids and a chance to exhale for the grown ups. We ate junk food for lunch and wood-fired pizza for dinner. We hit two beaches before the end of the day and even got to see the sunset, something my son had been hoping for. It was an idyllic (atypically spontaneous) day.

Monday morning began early. The plan: a hike, the beach, then home. I’m all for plans, I mean the day before went off so smoothly.

Monday was not as flawless.

First, a kind stranger alerted us to our flat tire and the pump at the closest gas station was broken.

As we were leaving, my husband got out of the car and took off running. It was an odd reaction to a broken compressor.

It turned out he was chasing an RV which had pulled out with an open door spilling its contents. He couldn’t catch it but spoke with another driver who said they’d catch up to the motorhome and let them know.

We carried on to the only other gas station in town. That pump: also broken. We were getting a little testy but ultimately found a workshop in the industrial area where a character of a guy was puttering about on the holiday Monday. He was kind enough to fill our tire.

We then spent an hour exploring a cool boardwalk trail before heading back to Long Beach to finish the trip on a high. It was just after peeling our children away from their new happy place that my husband noticed his wallet was not in his pocket. You know the feeling. Ugh.

We tore apart the car then returned to town to check our room. We called all the places we visited. Because I like a good mystery, I went back and analyzed the photos of my husband’s butt that I’d taken that day. (Zoomed in I mean. I didn’t specifically take photos of his posterior. OK maybe just one.) His wallet was not in his pants at the beach. It was in his pants on our hike. We’d not stopped in between.

Right or wrong, we figured there was a good chance another hiker had picked it up and put it somewhere we could find it. Anyone there, using that trail, on a long weekend, must be a nice person we decided. (Don’t ask why, we were trying to be positive.) My husband retraced our steps only to emerge from the woods heartbroken. We’d have to leave without it.

As we neared the junction heading out of town he suggested we stop at the Visitor’s Centre to see if they had a Parks Canada contact. It was a last-ditch effort. Our vacation Hail Mary.

He was greeted inside by two curiously happy 20-something girls. It was almost like they knew him. After he explained his situation the following exchange took place:

“What’s your name?” one of them asked.

“Kevin.”

“How tall are you?”

“Six feet.”

“How tall in centimetres?” one said with a grin.

“Now that’s not fair,” he replied with a laugh.

She handed him his wallet.

Road trip saved.

Now, my husband may still be a loser, but he sure seems to have found his luck.

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