Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mall adventures

My husband works a ton. Both at his career job and around the house. So when he asked me if I could do him a favor and go pick up his contacts for him really quickly before he had to leave for his business trip, I figured it was the least I could do. "Yes, I'm sure. Yes, I know where it is. The boys will be fine. It'll only take a second." Ah, famous last words.

I was POSITIVE that the eye place was a stand alone store right past the mall. So imagine my level of delight when I called Husband as I was traveling in the wrong direction in search of said store, only to learn that it was in fact IN the mall. Awesome. My plan to leave the boys in the car and run in to a store where it would be certain I would know no one were shot.

I drove around the insanely crowded mall parking lot for a solid 20 minutes (ok, you got me: maybe it was closer to 10, since my A.D.D. would never let that happen) before I settled on a spot one row away from the dead last. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard and was pleased to find out that it was nearing 5:00. It was one of the hottest days on record and my kids were about to start their meltdowns if dinner was not at the end of this rainbow. Not only that, but I didn't have their stroller with me, so they were about to have to walk. In the heat. Across the crowded parking lot. In the mall. This "quick" errand was already killing me.

With one slung on my hip and the other two steps behind me with his little hand outstretched to keep a grasp on my fingers, we began our half-mile journey to the front door. Did I mention that the "baby" weighs 26 pounds? And it was literally one hundred flippin' degrees out? I began glistening immediately. (Supermoms don't sweat, btw... they glisten.)

Once we reached the entrance, I decided it was time for everyone to walk. As we strolled (very slowly at this point) past a full length mirror, I almost passed out as I caught a glimpse of myself. Whoa. Three Spiderman stickers stuck randomly in the center of my chest, a yogurt (or maybe it was banana, who can tell?) stain on my shoulder, some ridiculous looking old work-around-the-pants, and a frizzin' out pony tail. Had Oprah been on site, I hands-down would have made it on to her "make over a mom" show, and the very thought of that makes me want to shudder. And cry. Where the freak was this store, and why wasn't it closer to wherever I was????

Walking in to any store with two small boys in tow is always a crap shoot. Sometimes I get the "oh wow your boys are so cute" and other times I get the look that says, "get your stinkin' kids and their dirty hands the hell out of my store". I had a feeling that walking in to a place that had no toys, walls of expensive glasses, and nothing but over-polished glass counter tops was about to warrant the latter. Oh well. Sorry- nothing I can do.

Luckily, the visit was relatively quick and painless. One of them sat down on the floor, and the other jumped up on one of their chairs and began spinning himself around in circles. Hey- they weren't screaming, crying, whining, or pulling the frames off the walls. Things could have been much worse. And much to my surprise, they didn't even complain on our trek back in to the heat to find our car. We made it home in time for dinner and I deemed our trip a success.

Much more successful,that is, than the last time we ventured out to the mall. It was Christmas time. (Yes, the last time I took them to the mall alone was six months ago. That's how not fun shopping with them is). I was in line in a makeup/all things beauty/nothing for small children store with the gigantic double stroller, waiting patiently in a very long line. Of course as luck would have it, the little one started crying (loudly, as is his style) as a girl from college came up to say hi. Totally put-together as always, she smiled as she showed me her two kids who were just waiting with her in line as if they liked it. We stood in that line together, making conversation as I continuously pulled small makeup items out of my son's hand that he kept grabbing out of the bins. (note: her sons were not. Why is that???) By the time it was my turn to check out, the line had grown to approximately ten people deep. I tried to maneuver the stroller around a standing kiosk of nail polishes, and wouldn't you know it: I was stuck. A second line of people touching shoulders with me, and the front wheel completely jammed against the wall of the kiosk, I could neither fit around it or in front. With completely and utterly no where to go, I looked around. Would I REALLY have to back up all the way out of this huge line? Oh. My. God. By this time, my friend had gone up to the other cashier and normally purchased her items. Just typing this now, six months later, is making me wonder all over again why in the world that store would make their aisles so friggin' narrow. Duh, so NOT PC. I mean, seriously. Luckily, a very nice fellow mom (or irritated co-shopper, you choose) volunteered to help. She lifted the front end of my screaming baby holder and helped get me out of my tight spot. Thank you, fellow mom. Thank you.

No more mall adventures for us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Museum Mishap

We are so lucky to live in the city that houses the children's museum that is ranked number one in the entire country. We of course have become members, and it is a place that the boys and I frequent. Regardless, I apparently now have a three-year-old who has made his own agenda and is no longer afraid of the threat of kidnappers.

As soon as we pulled in to the parking lot we noticed our friends getting out of their car, which sent The Boy into hysterics since he was still strapped in to a moving vehicle and his friend was getting ready to walk in without him. After that slight crisis was solved by their actual waiting for us so we could walk in together, the chaos began.

CJ and his friend have known each other since they were babies. His mother used to be CJ's full time babysitter, and not only does she find time to shower and put together an outfit every day, but she always seems to have complete control of her two children. (I, on the other hand, was not only rocking some sweaty gym clothes in addition to the ponytail-slash-headband look in my hair that's too short for either, but I also had to ask her for an extra diaper before I even had the chance to say hello). CJ and friend have opposite personalities, and really don't even see each other all that often. It's actually kind of weird that they get along as well as they do.

Now, we have been to this place so many times that we have our routine pretty well rehearsed. The only thing that has been throwing it off over the past couple visits is the new-found fascination with Superheroes and the fact that the life-sized collection is all the way in the back. (Skip every single thing that Ty likes just to go see a gigantic Iron man first? Ah, decisions, decisions...)

Well today, it really didn't matter what we usually do, because CJ was on a quest to impress. Not only is he usually deathly afraid of any child over the age of 5 in a public place (I'm guessing it has something to do with a fear of being trampled), but he NEVER leaves my side at the museum. If today's visit was any indication of this brand new "I'm three now" personality, I promise to no longer make inappropriate comments about parents who walk their children using leashes disguised as animal-shaped backpacks. In fact, I may purchase a few. And use them.

Every single time I thought we were settled in to play, I would get Ty out of his stroller, start a conversation with my friend, and then look around only to find that CJ had decided to show his friend something new (even though it's quite possible his friend goes there more than even we do), and chances were great that what he was showing him was something he had literally NEVER done or cared about before. Like climbing UP the railing in the Berenstein Bears room, for example. That was a new one. (But he has sticky hands like Spiderman, so he can climb stuff. Duh.)

Perhaps the highlight of my day was when we were in a room where CJ really never spends too much time. We played in the fake sand box, and made the huge fairy tale giant talk and wave his arms. As I thought we were heading out, he told his friend to follow him. The friend kept playing where he was, and CJ started climbing the stairs of a huge pirate ship. By the time I asked the friend to climb up with me to go get him (approximately 7 seconds later), I got to the top only to find him NOWHERE. Not in the secret room, or on the rickety bridge. Not around the corner, or headed back down the stairs. O.M.G. I thought my kid got kidnapped. (Well, I didn't REALLY think that, but he totally could have). Just as I was about to start freaking out about my lost child who never leaves his mama's side, I saw one of the 8 million workers reach her arm out in a sweeping motion and a little blur of tan go squealing past her fingertips. And it wasn't a squeal as in, "I'm desperate to find my mother." No, it was a squeal of pure delight that not only had he broken free from my lock, but was too fast for her, too. She looked around with frantic eyes, and I called out, "I'm his mother". Her response: "Well, you have to stay with him". Oh really? Stay with your small child in a crowded public place? I never would have thought. Thanks for the parenting tip.

After that fiasco we decided to go eat. My friend had of course, packed healthy lunches for herself and her well behaved children. My kids on the other hand were forced to wait as I picked the item off the kids' menu that seemed to have the least amount of sodium. (Well, and a side of fries. Whatev. I really do feed my kids nutritious foods. Honestly, I do.) We almost made it through the whole meal problem-free until Ty, unbeknown to me, stuck the entire cap from his apple juice in to his mouth. Choking, but unable to cough and then crying and yelling with it still in his mouth, I reached in and yanked it out. A mother stopped her stroller and said to me with her nicely put together face, "oh my, is he ok?" Yes, almost unconscious, but ok. Thanks for your fake concern, and making me feel even less competent.

So with one kid who could have gotten himself abducted, and the other who could have choked to death, we headed to the car. After all that excitement, it was nap time. The happiest hour of my day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Concrete Noodles

When I got my assignment for this year's annual company 4th of July family picnic, I thought, I can do this! Pasta salad? Not a problem! I even started nice and early so that I wouldn't be rushing around at the last minute, cramming the pasta in the freezer so that it would cool down enough for the rest of the ingredients. Nope, not this year. I was prepared.

Well, to make a long story short (and to skip a bunch of insignificant details), the noodles got seriously overcooked. As in, complete mushiness all stuck together in the pot. Totally inedible. So, I did what any sensible person would do (or, in retrospect, maybe not). I shoved them down the disposal and started over. So all I have to say is this: To everyone at the company party- I sincerely hope you enjoyed the heck out of your pasta salad because it was BY FAR the most expensive side dish I have ever contributed to a picnic. Your bill is in the mail.

When we got home from the party later that evening, I noticed that the sink was clogged, and annoyed, started plunging away. (Again skipping a bunch of insignificant details), when the always-supportive, understanding, level-headed husband and I (ok,ok, way more him than me at this point) were still plunging a day and a half later, it was officially time to call the plumber. Now- here's a detail that's not so insignificant. It was a holiday weekend. We had decided a long time ago that this would be the best time to finish re-doing the kitchen. So that was happening. As was the fact that the pool got some sort of leak underground and was only about to cost us a million dollars to get fixed. So as I'm sure you can imagine, not only was this noodle debacle happening period, but it probably couldn't have been happening at a more inconvenient time.

Plumbers, apparently, begin charging the second they answer your phone call. They do not stop charging until the second they have your cold hard cash in their grease-stained hands. Our particular plumber (who was excellent, by the way) stayed for an impressive 4 hours!! Yeah! Less time to finish the kitchen! Less money to use on any sort of vacation we were trying to coordinate! Awesome!! And don't think that I wasn't being reminded of this situation every five minutes as I heard things like, "yup, he's STILL here" or "I like to think you're smarter than this, Jenifer". My favorite was, "well, there goes another million dollars". My comeback of "yup, literally down the drain" (pun fully intended), didn't go over too well.

So, he finished the job and said that I made his record books, right between the wife who jammed an entire ham down her garbage disposal, and the one who put a five-pound bag of rice down her's. (An entire ham? C'mon... who would DO such a thing?!?) I'm pretty sure he even made a joke about sending the concrete noodle concoction down to the Gulf to solve the oil leak crisis. Now that's amazing.

Now here we are three days later, and a truckload poorer. But we've got finely tuned pipes and a pool in the backyard that is magical. And a kitchen that's completely unusable with the potential to be glorious. The lesson learned from all of this: encourage the boys to go in to plumbing. There's a lot of money in plumbing.