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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A most miserable day

I woke from a dream I'd been caught shoplifting.

I was telling the person who caught me that I had not meant to "steal," that actually I'd just spaced out and forgot to pay, but she wasn't buying it.

Not particularly early (6 am), but by 7 am I'd already played Bunny Money, Penguin Math, Go Fish, and read Wacky Wednesday six times.

By 10 am my son had clocked in two hours of On-Demand Ben Ten Alien Force, and I was on the phone with the Comcast folks, asking them to shut off our service. When they told me I would lose all our reception--even PBS--I consented to a very scaled-down "package," and then I got connected to a guy who walked me through Parental Lock.

I locked Cartoon Network and smiled. I locked On Demand and cackled.

And then I realized we were going to be late for my son's soccer game.

We all went running to the car, me was so sure I knew where the play field was . . . but actually I had no idea, though I drove up and down 15th Avenue South for an hour, determined not to give up, the entire time reassuring Riley we'd find it and he'd have time to play.

We were all kind of car sick from the drive to nowhere, so we came home and planted arugula. And then I had this brilliant idea to visit Recycle Cycle and score my daughter a pink bike with sparkly streamers and white wheels.

When we finally arrived at the cycle shop, the one bike available in her size was $135.00. An outrageous price (twice the price of the Diego bike I thought was too expensive, I kept telling my daughter), but we'd driven a long way, so I let her ride it.

She loved it.

There was no way I was going to buy it.

Again, a most miserable day.

But it gets worse.

On the way to Target (WTF?) my son starts hitting his sister in the head with a giant stuffed snake and yelling "shut up shut up shut up shut up," one "shut up" each time he smacks her. And I'm waiting to wake up from the shoplifting dream, now morphed into the-kids-kill-each- other-in-the-back-seat dream.

We were at Target for three things: underwear, soccer socks, and a bicycle.

But Target no longer carries 16" bicycles. In fact, they carry 12" bicycles, and then the next size is 20".

We got the underwear, but I forgot all about the soccer socks because at that point my kids found . . . the toy aisle.

Say hello to Pinky Pie and her Magic Hair Salon. Say hello to a Bakugan launcher. Oh, and while you're at it, say hello to the biggest pushover since . . . my own mother.

On the drive home we tried to make jokes about what we'd started referring to as the worst day ever. I said something about hey, but we're still alive--at least we haven't had an accident--as the car speeding by to the left of me (we had the green) went right through a red light.

It was so fitting, it almost spooked me.

And then I'd had enough of it. When we got home I loaded our backyard kiddy pool with warm water and bubble bath, and invited the kids to have a bath. They had a blast. I fixed them their favorite meals (mushroom soup and nettle pesto with pasta, respectively), and settled in for another exciting chapter of Narnia.

My kids were clean, fed, clothed, sheltered, and none the worse for wear.

I counted myself one of the lucky.


Kells said...

You are a saint. I would have filled the kiddie pool with red wine and had my own kind of bath.

I loved this post. Actually, it's the stuff that really happens in life that other mothers don't talk about.

What they would have said? We had an exciting day shopping and then I came up with the unique idea of a kiddie pool bubble bath with the perfect healthy meal, completely deleting the part about the "shut-up snake" moment and the tv time.

This is why you are a writer we all want to read. Your details make us love you even more.

And what's nice is that bad days can sometimes offer more writing material than good days. ;-)


seana said...

Wonder what the dream was about, metaphorically, I mean. It's almost as if the day sprang out of it in some way.

I applaud the way you turned it around at the end for everyone. That doesn't often happen.

On a tangent note, I recently got Comcast for the first time--I seem to be joining the world of cable just as everyone else is leaving it behind--and even though I spent plenty of time watching TV before, I wasn't prepared for the way it's encroached on my life. I don't know that I would have gone that way if I could redo it, but as with so much of this stuff, once you're on a certain road, it's hard to turn back.

Martha Silano said...

And that's why I love you, Kells.

Joannie said...

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around nettle pesto, which sounds amazing (I am no forager and retain a healthy fear of/respect for nettles).

I can totally relate to the missing soccer field (I'll tell you my birthday party story sometime), the "shut-up" snake, and the push-over part. Believe me: My daughter is now 16 and I'm pushed over all the time.

Martha Silano said...

Thanks for your support, Joanie. The sibling rivalry stuff seems almost insurmountable. It's the one worst thing about having two kids. And how about the mother who can't navigate? I was so embarrassed.