There are summer days like the one we had yesterday: high seventies to low eighties, glorious morning run, bike ride with the kids (alright, 30 minutes of loading the car with all our bike crap for sixty minutes of riding while Sidney screamed for her life in the trailer, but fun nonetheless), and an afternoon at the pool. And then there are days like today.
I awoke to a fridge/freezer that was 20 degrees too warm for the second day in a row and a call from our babysitter who had lost her car keys and couldn’t get here (she lives in during the week, but often is out at the weekend, as far away from us as she can possibly, and understandably, get). I thought briefly about letting her spend the day looking for her keys while I managed at home, and then looked out the window and saw the biblical rain that was drenching everything in sight. I think I even saw a house float by. I packed up all five kids, made some toast for the car ride (anything over five minutes and they double over with hunger pains), and we drove to Burien (25 minutes away) to pick her up. At some point during the drive the rain turned to hail.
Back at home, the kids were starting to bray and moan, their eyes rolling into the backs of their heads and I had a brief glimpse of what my day would look like if I tried to entertain them all at home. So, I packed them into the car yet again and we drove to downtown Seattle (15 minutes) to Gameworks, because I had bought Groupons for passes there. Or so I thought. Turns out I had purchased all day video games passes, but not passes for the crappy games that spit out rows of tickets which the kids joyfully redeem for equally crappy prizes. I told them it was video games or nothing and the boys seemed alright for a short while and Fi and Francie tooled around on a motorbike game that they managed to do surprisingly well on. I looked away as graphics of girls in thongs danced on the side of the racetrack. At some point the Russian-accented refrigerator repairman called. I fought the background noise to hear this: $800 for a new compressor. I don’t remember much, but I think I squeezed into some race-car video game and rested my head on the steering wheel. I think I may have even had my very first migraine. If there would have been room inside the machine, I’d have curled up into a fetal position and wept. But instead, I gave the go ahead for the new part and soldiered on.
An hour of video games later, I contemplated taking the kids to SAM (Seattle Museum of Art) to undo some of the damage I’d heaped on them at Gameworks, but opted for sushi instead, and I downed what may have been the most delicous diet coke ever.
I also happened to have some Groupons for Old Navy that I had to use this week. I thought the kids could pick out some t-shirts for their trip to Denver later in the week. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in an Old Navy. Nobody told me that near the checkout they now have aisles and aisles of toys, most of them with a Hello Kitty plastered on them. It was an effing disaster. I peeled the girls out of the store and we walked around downtown, which to me always looks like a movie set of a downtown — dinky, but sweet — and headed home. In the rain.
I persisted. And I made it through most of the day. But so did they. I can’t think of a single moment in which someone wasn’t asking for something. It really is quite remarkable. As soon as I’d forked over one item, they were onto the next, with nary a memory of what I’d just given them. I don’t even want to spend a minute thinking about whether I’m spoiling them, or whether I’m just imagining it all. I’ll just shove it under the parental rug…