Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kicking the Tires

Well, the craziness from last week hasn't abated. Still busy at work, still busy around the house. Sick kids AGAIN, different cold. Whoopie!

Sunday night going into Monday I heard over the baby monitor that tell-tale seal barking. Miss V was awake and confused and a bit scared. I went in immediately, snuggling her and trying to nurse her. She seemed comforted by my presence, but I could still hear her stridor a bit, so she and I bundled up and took advantage of the near-record lows by hanging out on the deck. She wasn't terribly uncomfortable and it was actually quite peaceful listening to the crickets and the trucks hitting the rumble strips on the highway. I might be the only person I know that enjoys the sounds of the rumble strips, but I do. I also like the haunting whistle of the trains as they speed through our sleepy town at night. I think we both dozed gently for about an hour until Violet's stridor was gone and I could slip her back into her crib.

Monday night brought no recurrence, though Tuesday morning she was an absolute drama queen as she cried and clung and insisted "No! MY do it!" about everything. She was apparently uncharacteristically volatile at daycare as the sitter called me at about 3:00 to let me know that she'd given her ibuprofen after she wouldn't settle during nap and had cried, "My ear! My ear hurts!" So after a frustrating quarter of an hour where I was calling back and forth to Scott about whether or not to schedule a doctor's appointment, trying to figure out if I could manage to not take both kids to the doctor, and scheduling a late appointment (7:00), we determined that my only option was to take both kids to the doctor by myself.

Believe it or not, both kids were stupendous at the doctor! I warned Milo that once the doc was in the room, I would not be able to continue to read to him. Violet volunteered to sit on the exam table, sat still through the exam, allowed the doc to look at her throat and managed the tongue depressor without gagging. Diagnosis: ear infection, but just starting. I elected to have the doc phone in a prescription that I would pick up and hang onto for a couple of days and not administer unless she got worse. So I ask that the prescription be sent to the Target on the SOUTH side of town. I said this very clearly and she repeated it back to me. Keep this in mind, it plays into the story later.

The kids and I trudge back to the car and we drive to the Target on the SOUTH side of town. This is a small drive from the doc's office, but it is closer to home from this Target than it is from the other one. We get there, park, pile into a cart and enter the store. I wheel the cart to the pharmacy, inquire on the status of the prescription knowing that it has only been about 15 minutes since it was called over and, therefore, likely not ready -- but you never know, right? They tell me they haven't received it yet, but will fill it as soon as they do.

The kids and I have a few grocery items to get, so I head to the grocery side of the store. By this point, Violet is getting very tired of the outing and wants to walk next to the cart. While she's on the loose, she grabs five, yes FIVE, boxes of fruit snacks (candy) and puts them on the bottom of the cart. Instantly, Milo's broken rule detector goes into overdrive and he removes them, admonishing his sister in the process. She looks at him, and I swear I saw steam rising from her ears, screams, "NO! MY DO IT!" at the top of her lungs. I glance around to see if we're alone in the aisle, of course we're not. An older couple smirks bemusedly at my squalling offspring. I diffuse the situation expertly and, for an oh-so-brief moment, feel like a good mother.

But just for a moment. Violet is insistent that she carry the loaf of bread, um, the now squished loaf of bread, through the store. But, as she's not quite two and has the attention span of an immature puppy, she dropped it mid-aisle. Milo, who was watching her closely, grabbed it and tossed it into the back of the cart.

"NO! MY BED!" howls the little one. "MY do it, my BEEEED!" Clearly my angel baby is possessed this evening, so I usher the arguing children back to the pharmacy to see if they could take pity on my screaming horde and fill the prescription more quickly -- if not for the sake of my children, but for the sake of the eardrums of the other shoppers. The prescription still has not arrived. They tell me it should only be another ten minutes and check back then. Sigh...

We're off to the other side of the store to check out Halloween decorations. Well, Target right now has a whopping quarter of an aisle of Halloween stuff out. Of which we bought roughly half of the merchandise. OK, so we bought three fake pumpkins. But in a bare aisle, that seems like half of the stock. I was planning only one pumpkin, but Violet again piped up with the "My do it! My puh-kin!" as she lofted two pumpkins into the cart. You know, if they had been real, she might have a great career in the shot put.

We also ended up with a tube of wrapping paper with Disney's Princesses on it because, well, she seemed to stop screaming when she walked through the store, dragging it behind her like a paralyzed pink tail. And I can use it on her birthday presents, since she turns two next week.

Lest you think this tale of woe is over, let me say that I returned again to the pharmacy to see if the prescription was filled. Once again they said they hadn't received it. As this was the third time I'd asked and the third time they couldn't find it, I suggested they call the other Target to see if, by some mistake, the doc had called the wrong one. Guess what? The doc called the wrong one. Now they say, "We'll have to transfer the prescription and then we'll fill it right away!"

I grit my teeth and steer the kids towards children's clothing as it is the only department in the store that we haven't visited, plus Milo could use some more long pajamas. Why on earth do they make the aisles in this section so dang narrow? Don't they understand that nearly everyone who shops in this department has a cart full of screaming monkeys, as I do? Violet starts pulling items of clothing from the rack like she's picking apples. I follow along behind her, re-stocking the racks. I over hear one store worker mutter to another, "The children's department is closed." They laugh conspiratorially.

It is at this point that the crazy in me starts to seep out. I feel like I've done a commendable job of entertaining my sick, past their bedtime kids in the store. I haven't left a path of destruction in our wake. I sign loudly and say to Milo, "We'll be able to go home as soon as the pharmacy gets Violet's medicine done. I know we've been here a long time and I'm ready to be done, too."

As if on cue, Violet takes off running. She pushes the cart into a display rack of t-shirts hard enough to move the display. I gasp, snatch her up, and plop her into the cart seat. She wails. She flails. She hits the back of her head on the cart and sobs. I pick her up and hold her close. It really isn't fair of me to expect her to be well behaved -- she's sick, she's tired, and she's as fucking bored as I am. I reset the display and venture over to the pharmacy for a fourth time.

Now there is a line there. Four customers appeared out of thin air. I decide that we need to pay for our merchandise and take it out to the car because I'm tired of playing bad cop in the store. Thankfully, checkout was easy. Unloading the cart into the trunk of the car was easy. Getting the kids back into the store, not so easy. Even though I'd told them we were headed back into the store, apparently neither of them believed me. They both protested and protested LOUDLY as I re-entered the store. No line at the pharmacy and, lo and behold, the prescription is ready. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We get back out to the car. I'm frayed at this point. Exhausted by the adventure, and rubbed raw by the stress of the day and the last week. As I approach the car, I smell cigarette smoke in the air. OK. It's illegal to smoke indoors in this state anymore, so smokers hang out outside. Whatever, fine. It turns out that the smoker was a woman in medical scrubs, on her cell phone parked with her car nose-to-nose with mine. I'm still all "whatever" about it -- not my body, not my choice. I do buckle the kids down as fast as I can, which is pretty darn fast, thank-you-very-much.

Then I notice that this scrubs-sporting, cell phone-chatting, smoking chick isn't going into the store yet. In fact, she's walking around her car to the passenger side. I don't see a toddler or a school aged child in there, but I do see her pulling an absolutely gorgeous infant in an infant bucket out of the back seat of her car. The baby reaches excited up to the woman, who doesn't notice it. In fact, because she's juggling the phone, the car door, and her cigarette, she blows smoke into her sweet baby's face.

Here's where the real crazy gets out. I'm so stunned that I'm speechless. Thinking back, I think I must have looked as apoplectic as a fish out of water. Without really making a decision, I've laid on my horn. The woman doesn't even look around as she's balancing her infant carrier on a cart, still puffing away. I pull out of my parking space and sit on my own hand so that I don't roll down my window and shout, "Cute baby! Looks like a Cancer, there. Or maybe you're just giving her cancer, huh?" Nope, I practically swallow my tongue as I drive past her, pretending my jaw was wired shut.

The kids did the usual amount of whining on the way home, Violet exclaiming, "I stuck in my seat!" every four minutes or so. "Yes, honey, you're supposed to be stuck in your seat -- that's what keeps you safe!" Milo asked repetitively for a drink and I assured him that he could have one as soon as we got home and before bath.

We pull up in front of out home and find that on our quiet small-town street, there is not room for me to park in front of our own house. And again, I am over the edge -- I've bought a one-way ticket to crazytown, near tears in my frustration. is it so much to ask that a woman with two tired, sick kids be able to park in front of her own home to unload? That I not have to stumble through the grass in the dark to get to my own front door?

Milo picks up on my annoyance, parroting, "Sheesh! Way to park in front of our house! C'mon!!" I'm really glad that I didn't yell at that smoking lady now... who knows what he would be repeating...

I did get the kids unloaded, into and out of the bath, and to bed without further incident. I did manage to unload the rest of the car, load and start the dishwasher, organize the laundry, lay out clothes for the next day, and get ready for bed before Scott returned home from work.

Yep, I did all that. And I kicked the tired of the offending car with every load into and out of the house. Is that considered vandalism? I know I don't kick hard enough to leave a mark, particularly since I didn't want to hurt my foot. But I felt a little better imagining the pharmacy and the smoking lady as I connected with the hard rubber. I didn't have to imagine the car, though, since it was still there when I woke up the next morning.

A new day had dawned, though, and I did not kick the car as I left the house. I guess that even though I'd packed my bag and gone to the airport, I didn't board the plane to crazytown after all.