We headed to my friend's car. As she pulled out of her parking space, she noticed a piece of paper on her windshield. Stopping the car, she took the paper off and realized it was a ticket, exclaiming "HA! I kept my receipt when I paid for the spot just in case." She pulled out her receipt and I compared the ticket to it. The ticket stated it was for space 6016. Her receipt said #16 and she had at least 20 more minutes left on her spot. "Well, the fox is in play, but we've got a receipt!" After reparking the car, paying for that new spot and making a brief trip into a store for a discount, we headed to the county courthouse to dispute the ticket. Parking and paying for our parking again, we entered the court house. My friend went up to the counter and showed the clerk her paperwork. He responded "Mam, there is a spot 6016 and a spot 16. You paid for spot #16 which is on one side of town but parked in spot #6016 which is in another part of town." You see, in Ann Arbor, they have replaced most of the individual parking meters and changed them to an automated system. At each spot there is a sign with a number. You then go to a central machine (see picture above), punch in your spot number and pay. The nice part about this system is you can use a credit card, and you can be anywhere in town to add money to your space. The bad thing about this system is if you don't put the right space number in, well.....you see the issue. After a brief discussion my friend was handed some paperwork to fill out to dispute the ticket. The clerk seemed somewhat confident that the ticket would be waived.
Meanwhile, as my other friend and I chucked about this interesting wrench that has been thrown into our day, I received a phone call from my daughter who was stranded at school without a ride home. Because I was almost an hour away, I called another friend and asked if she could help out and pick my daughter up. Graciously she agreed and got in her car as we spoke on the phone to get my daughter. A few minutes later, my friend called back stating that my daughter's phone had an automated message saying it could not take calls. I realized that her pay-as-you-go phone needed to be renewed today - on my birthday. I recalled when I renewed it last time how easy it would be for me to remember to renew because it expired on my birthday. I guess not! Now my friend was on her way to get my daughter with no communication between the two that she was coming and where to meet.
After my friend finished up the paperwork to dispute the ticket, we headed out to our next birthday stop. Yet again, parking and paying for another new spot, we first headed to a chocolate shop then through an alley to the cupcake store. Meanwhile I was trying to figure out how to get my daughter and friend connected - I had both my friends with me looking up phone numbers and making calls. They called the school, no answer. I tried my daughter's phone, not working. The best I could do was to tell my other friend where my daughter might be in the massive high school and go look for her. After several minutes, I started to wonder, how my daughter called me if her phone wasn't working. I looked at my phone and noticed a number I did not recognize. I called it, and sure enough my daughter picked up. I explained the situation, told her were to meet my friend. I called my friend and explained where to me my daughter. Minutes later I got a text that they had met and my daughter was safely on her way home. Shew! Within 15 minutes, a problem arose and with the support from my friends, it was resolved. Another trick thrown at us and quickly resolved.
After the chocolate and cupcake my stomach was beginning to hurt but it was suggested we head over to another part of town to get free bubble tea -another birthday freebee. We again drove, and parked in a new spot. At which point I commented how amazing it was that we were able to find parking spots at every place we wanted to go in downtown! As my friend was paying for her spot I stated the number and she pushed the buttons to pay for the space. We went in and got our bubble tea. Yuck! I promptly gave it away and went to Starbucks next door to take advantage of my free coffee drink. YUM! We decided to go browse around a shop next door, but needed to add more time to the parking space. As my friend went to add money, I noticed the number she was typing in. "WAIT!" I said stopping her "That's the wrong space! You're paying for the spot in front of you!" We all laughed and thankful that this time with all of us together we were able to catch something before it became an issue. We could feel the shift. We had caught the trick before it threw another wrench in our day. We were now on top the foxy birthday tricks.
I said to my friends, 'You know, when fox throws tricks into the day, it's great to have friends along to help address the situations and find humor in it. This actually has been a really fun and interesting birthday!" As we continued discussed the events of the day and foxes tricks, we headed into our final stop - Middle Earth.
Moral of the story: when fox shows up on your birthday it's great to have friends along to approach the tricks with support and a good sense of humor.