Hello again, my fabulous readers. Thanks for tuning in for part two. If you didn’t read my last post, you can find it here. I was talking about how well things were going, one particular day. And, I promised that I’d also share a day that didn’t go so well, just so you don’t get the wrong impression of our family. You know…the impression that because you see smiling pictures of us or because I wrote a book or a blog, we must have it all together, all the time. Yeah. Not.
So, the background for this story goes like this…
My parents live an hour and forty minutes from us (on the other side of Rochester) and mom had planned a family reunion with her extended family. It was scheduled for a Sunday afternoon at 3:30. Well, my youngest turned nine that week and my dad’s birthday was three days later. So, we thought it made sense, since we were driving out there already, to celebrate birthdays before the reunion.
Our church service gets out between 12:15 and 12:30, so we set the birthday party for 2pm and planned to leave right from church.
But when I told Eighteen the plan, she said she couldn’t leave that early. She’s a small group leader in the middle school group and it was the first Sunday of the school year. She had to stay to meet the parents. Okay. Recalculating.
I called my mom, asked if we could push it to 2:30 and just make it really fast, knowing that extended family would be showing up at 3:30. She said that was fine and I told Eighteen we’d pick her and the boys up at the middle school area at 12:45pm, sharp.
So, the weekend arrives and I’m feeling quite sick. (It only took two days of school for one of mine to come home sick and kindly share it with me 😉 Now, Eleven had been begging, for months, to take over Fifteen’s dog watching business. This particular weekend, he had his first solo job, watching our neighbor’s dog, Dakota.
Well, Sunday morning rolls around and I’m still feeling pretty bad. So, I stay home from church and Bill drops the boys off at church, then comes back home to watch the service online with me and help me get ready for the trip to Rochester.
And then the crazy starts. We’re walking out at 12:35…actually ON TIME (which is somewhat miraculous) because I knew the whole schedule was extremely tight. But as I head toward my van, I suddenly think, I don’t remember hearing Eleven go to the neighbors to let Dakota out this morning. Crap. I don’t want the neighbors to come home to a mess and I don’t want Eleven to get fired from his very first job.
I run next-door, let myself in and call for Dakota, while texting Fifteen to have him ask Eleven if he had already done it. Nope. So, poor Dakota comes shuffling toward the stairs. Now, Dakota is very old. I remembered hearing that you need to support her belly when she goes down the stairs so she doesn’t fall. I try coaxing her, “Come on sweetie, come down the stairs.” She stands on the top stair, looking down but not moving while visibly shaking with the effort of considering that first step. I feel so bad for her and yet time is ticking, so I scoop her up (she’s not small) and carry her all the way out of the house, setting her on the driveway.
“Okay, Dakota. Go potty.” Tick-tock, tick-tock. She just shuffles around on the driveway. Meanwhile Eighteen and Fifteen are texting me, wanting to know why I’m not there yet. Oh my goodness. I pick her up again and set her on the grass. (By the way, it’s hard to text and carry a dog at the same time.) She kindly does her business, I scoop her back up, take her inside, lock the doors and run toward my van.
As I run, I glance at my black shirt and pants and realize I’m covered in white dog fur. Covered. I motion to Bill, who’s been patiently waiting in the van, that I’ll be right back. I run inside and grab some duct tape and head back out, making a duct tape lint roller, which I use, liberally, in the van.
We arrive at church, ten minutes late. Bill goes in to get Eleven, while Eighteen and Fifteen climb in the van with Nine. Eighteen says, “So…where are we stopping for lunch?”
I turn around. “Are you kidding me? We have NO time.”
“Well, I haven’t eaten all day!”
Deep breath. You’re eighteen. You live in your own apartment, but it’s my fault you didn’t eat breakfast? “Between you having to leave later and then the dog, we are down to the wire on time. There is no way we can stop.”
“Well how am I supposed to know that? Stop freaking out.”
“You knew that we were tight on time. I had to change the time of the party just to accommodate your schedule! And I’m not freaking out.” I probably did NOT say that sweetly. She says some not-so-sweet things back to me and the temperature in the van drops below freezing.
Bill gets back into the van, having no idea that we’ve just had a nice little shouting match. We pull away from the church and Eighteen says, “Wait, can we go back? I’m not sure I locked my car.”
Deep breath. TICK-TOCK. Bill turns around and since she’s all the way in the back, I say, “I’ll just get out and check it.”
She says, “Why are you FREAKING out? Geez!”
We all turn toward her and all the boys say, “She didn’t freak out at all. YOU’RE freaking out.”
Bill, smart man that he is, has now realized something must have happened while he was in the church and I can see his jaw twitching.
I get out. Confirm that her doors are locked and we are finally on our way. But, tempers have now flared. Eighteen is not being nice. Bill is getting angry. I’m already angry. And poor Nine just starts crying because everyone is fighting on the way to his birthday party AND we’re going to be late. Fabulous.
Everyone settles into a tense silence as we head toward the thruway. Where Bill realizes we are almost out of gas. Yup.
He says we can stop at the next exit. Meanwhile, Eleven, who has just gotten contacts, says, “Mom, I need to take my contacts out!”
“Cuz, I’m really tired and I keep falling asleep but I’m not allowed to sleep with my contacts in. Three “S’s” remember? No Sleeping, Showering or Swimming with contacts in?”
Eighteen (our other contact wearer) says, “That’s silly, it won’t matter if you take a nap.”
Eleven argues, “No, they told me I couldn’t do it. I need to take them out.”
“Fine,” I say. “I’ll run into the gas station while dad gets gas. It’s a truck stop. They probably have contact solution.” TICK-TOCK.
Thankfully, they DO have contact solution. We get back on the thruway and I fill the little contact cups with solution so Eleven can remove his contacts.
Two minutes later, he starts to panic. “Mom, I didn’t wash my hands first. My eyes are burning. I can’t get them out cuz I need to wash my hands first!”
Eighteen, from the back again, “It’s fine. You can take them out without washing your hands.” The voice of experience does nothing to calm the newly indoctrinated “3S’s” contact wearer.
“Mom, they’re burning! I need to wash my hands.” He starts to cry.
Bill, remaining quite calm, pulls off at the rest stop and offers to take Eleven into the bathroom. TICK-TOCK.
While waiting for them to return, (Bill has noticed that they have a sale on sun glasses, so he has stopped to buy some while Eleven was in the restroom.) I start to text my sister, who is already at our parents’ house, with a bullet-point description of all that has transpired to keep us from being on time. (My dad ALWAYS makes fun of me for being late. Always.) We get back on the road and I’m still typing for some time. Poor sister doesn’t even like to read and she’s about to get a novel from me. I end my extremely long text with these words:
“And now I’m gonna puke, cuz I wrote all this while riding in the car and I’m car sick…but I had to. It was therapeutic. Pass this on…I don’t want to hear ONE damn word about us being late. I’m not in the mood.”
Haha…yes. All of us at our finest.
We only ended up being about fifteen minutes late. We had a record-breaking cupcake and present opening celebration and finished before any of the reunion-goers arrived. And the day turned out to be a lovely day with family.
But, I just wanted to share a little of our crazy with you. Cuz I’m betting you have those crazy days, too. Now you know you’re not alone. And if anyone acts like or tells you they never have those crazy days, they’re probably
Oh, and I checked with Eighteen, before I posted this. I wanted to make sure she didn’t mind me telling about our not-so-sweet road trip. She had a completely serious, blank look when I asked her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Remember, two weeks ago, when we went to Rochester and we were all fighting in the car?”
“Hmmm, I have no recollection.” (Amazing that I can remember something in such detail and she has absolutely no recollection.)
Bill chimed in, “Remember, you didn’t know if you’d locked your car…we went to grandma’s for a family reunion…”
“Oh yeah. Weird, in my mind, I drove myself that day.”
Bill and I just laughed. And I asked her if I could include that part in this post, too. She said sure.
So, apparently, this whole day may or may not have actually happened.
Photo Credit: Raymond Bryson at Creative Commons