This week was so...stupid.
A well-meaning friend said “Oh, but it can’t be your stupid.”
Oh honey. You have no idea.
The first bit of stupid came on Monday. I had to take all four kids to the dentist at the same time, because that makes perfect sense, right? Then out to lunch instead of straight back to school because isn't that the fun of doctors appointments during school hours?
The four year old is the King of the Introverts. He never wants to leave the house ever. If it weren’t for my husband stuffing him into his clothes and shoes and into the carseat we never would have made it out the door. He also said he was afraid of the dentist, even though he’d never had a bad experience. I drove there a nervous wreck, afraid of what might happen when we arrived. And wouldn’t you know it...he walked in there as happy as can be. STUPID AVERTED. FOR NOW.
Then we found out my daughter needs to see an orthodontist. Stupid teeth? Out of my control. I rise to the occasion because that’s what I do in the face of something insurmountable. But the day wasn’t over.
Then I took my kids to Crazy Buffet for lunch. Maybe the name should have tipped me off. For starters, they didn’t bring my drink. And when I asked for it, they brought me a child’s cup. I guess they heard my “No Huge Portions” lecture. But if the staff retained it, my kids didn’t. I also didn’t realize I was also supposed to give the “entrees before dessert lecture” because REALLY?! Also need to include in the lecture: Yes, I know you like spicy food but AGAIN. NO HUGE PORTIONS. FOR REASONS.
Then my daughter decided to flee the table in search of the Chocolate Fountain of Doom, which would be ok except her little brother careened after her, and I hadn’t paid our bill so when I grabbed my coat and purse it looked like I was walking out. No sooner than I started after my kids the Alice came back weeping that one of the fish was sick. I tried to guide her back to the table but she failed to listen AGAIN and swooped back towards the reception area. She KNOWS BETTER. And yet…apparently whatever I am doing isn't sticking.
Monday was the last night of Listen to Your Mother auditions for Evansville. I had reserved The Howard Room at Red Bank Branch Library. Or had I? When I got there, a sign announced that Advanced Vegetable Gardening was starting at 6 pm. I started to break out in a cold sweat.
This was not the first snafu Hillary and I had run into with attempting to schedule these auditions. Dates, times, places fly right out of my head which for some reason is a place I KEEP TRYING TO KEEP THEM. Every time someone suggests I do event planning for a living I pat them on the head. SO CUTE. For my wedding I was happy to select my dress, my music, my table decorations. But when my mom started asking me about forks I almost forked her. NO.
So I looked it up and sure enough, I had the room booked for THURSDAY. NOT MONDAY. And I realized that while I had wanted Monday there were no Mondays available at any of the libraries. Yet somehow Monday stayed lodged in my head like some kind of magical thinking tumor. I had to act fast, and worse, I had to tell Hillary what I did. It was then that I posted the comment “Seriously. I’m about to burst into tears.”
It worked out. I was able to get a study room, which was approximately the size of a thimble. Hillary and I mashed our office chairs as closely to the desk as we possibly could and sat inches away from our auditionees, who could probably smell our popcorn breath. We said it was “intimate” which is a polite word for “cramped.”
During this time my husband had to take our 12 year old out shopping for a science fair project that had been due THAT MORNING. Saved by the dentist. Hugh proceeded to stay up with the kid till midnight trying to figure out how to turn playdoh into an electrical conduit, even though he had work the next morning. When he mused allowed why he was the one doing that...well, I had to be honest. He’s more patient than me by a long shot. I would have ended the evening blubbering, sobbing, screaming and freaking out. Because I can’t handle the little stuff. Only the big stuff.
But stupid little stuff wasn’t over.
The next day I had the genius idea that my four year old who is going on his fourth year of DARN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE would calmly and rationally get his haircut at the same time I got my haircut. It wasn’t entirely magical thinking. But almost. He’s gotten haircuts before. But as illustrated by the day before’s PRE-DENTIST DEBACLE he is clearly going through a non-cooperative stage (please let it be a stage.)
So, he started nightlighting me almost immediately. Said he was excited about his haircut, then refused to move. I picked him and started carrying him when the lady in the waiting room reminded me I had left my purse. I turned back, filled with despair over carrying my purse and jacket and this unreasonable blob of contrariness and tried to set him down. You know that trick when the kid goes limp and you think you are setting them down gently but then they flop and you drop. That happened.
I tried to carry him upstairs but it was useless. Even the offer of a cape with dinosaurs didn’t help. So I got to be “that mom” who can’t control her kid and left. And in the parking lot he kept screaming “I want to go back!” “Do you want your hair cut?” “NO.” GOOD TIMES. It didn’t occur to me until later that he hadn’t really had any protein to eat and this was his toddler version of hangry. Four kids later and I still haven’t learned.
I still needed to get MY hair cut though, because I was filming a tv segment for the new Project Reveal show on WNIN the next day and my hair had officially crossed from the “acceptable when hot-rolled” to “weird toupee” category.
I decided to try a little west side beauty shop based on the recommendation on a FB friend. Let me be clear. This was not a “salon.” It was a beauty shop. Complete with random furnishings, outdated faux finishing, and a layer of dust on the curling irons. Everyone was talking about Jerry Springer and they all clearly knew each other. The girl who cut my was surprisingly fast and my haircut was SMASHING. I mean, she really knew what she was doing.
And then I went to pay, and realized I didn’t have my wallet. This would have been an excellent time for her to tell me that they only take cash or check. Well, second to the time on the phone when I scheduled the appointment. But she didn’t. So I sat there waiting for my husband to bring me my wallet, and then she told me when I presented my debit card. And so I had to catch my husband again and tell him he had to go BACK OUT for cash. Yep. That happened too.
I was all prepared to give the stupids a rest and spend the evening saying farewell to my favorite show, Parks and Recreation. I assumed (look at me, assuming) that the series finale would be at 7 pm. My plan was to watch the show from 7 to 8, leave and drive across town to Target, shop from 8:20-10 pm and come home.
Except that the finale wasn’t till 9 which I would have known if I had looked at a schedule. I had to book it to Target and, instead of sauntering around enjoying myself until the last second, I needed to shop purposefully and with intent. First things first...I had to return some bins that I had ordered online that were not the right size. Because of course, I didn’t check the dimensions before I ordered them. Otherwise they were perfect! It’s usually incredibly easy to return online purchases to the service desk. But since this was STUPID WEEK they couldn’t find the bins in the system. So they called corporate. They couldn’t find the bins either. I waited. And waited.
I finally asked if I could just please go shopping while they tried to locate the dadgum bins. They told me they might need to swipe my card, so no. I thought about asking them to text me but then I thought they might find it presumptuous. So I waited and waited some more. I told the woman at the desk “I need to leave by 9.” She looked at me like maybe I was a bit a daft and told me “It’s 7:45.” YES. And you don’t know where I live or how much shopping I have to do, MA’AM. I told her I trusted her with my card and she patted my arm. At 8:00 pm she finally remembered she could PAGE ME and I was finally allowed to leave the front desk. 15 minutes later I was examining some much larger bins and they finally called me to the front desk...to tell me they couldn’t do anything. No one could find the bins in any system. Even when they called the “Escalating Team.”
Finally they told me that Target would email me a return slip and I was allowed to shop. I got home barely in time for my show and with only half the items on my list. And Target never did email me a return slip. Par for the stupid course.
My dear FB friend said it wasn’t my stupid. But a large bulk of it was. I seem to be infected with the madness that comes from doing the same stupid things over and over again expecting a different result. I fly by the seat of my pants. I don’t plan. I run heedlessly and spontaneously into situations, expecting to be able to back out seamlessly if I screw up. I throw an abundance of caution at the wrong things. Will I change? I hope so. But part of me knows it’s that if I don’t, then at least I will always have a good story to tell.
Next up...some non-stupid things about my week.