I could tell it’s gonna be a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day. I could tell because the city was in a heat alert and the humidex rivaled temperatures on Venus.
I could tell, because Hubby had two full days of training for work, and this requires me to drop him off and pick him up in some obscure industrial area with three kids in tow.
Any day where I am lifting three kids up and out of the van all day is not good. My back, knees and elbows cannot take this kind of lifting, and I had to, because we had several errands to run – forms to drop off here, paperwork to drop off there – that kind of thing. And this was one of those humid, hot summer days where stepping outside of air-conditioned comfort means you instantly melt into a pile of goo.
We planned ahead, packed snacks, and the kids amused themselves by screaming and throwing stuff at a wayward fly while I drove.
After TWO HOURS of driving in city traffic (and screaming and throwing stuff at the poor fly), we got to the point where I could unload the kids in our local Ontario Early Years Centre and let them play for an hour. Thank you Turtle Creek staff for being an oasis in a miserable day. The kids played, I relaxed, and soon it was time for lunch.
I glanced at my watch, calculating. I had just enough time to pick up some chicken strips through a drive thru to supplement our dwindling lunch bag of fresh fruit. Then off to another place to drop off more paperwork, and just enough time to drop Mr. Sensitive at summer camp.
As I raced through the drive thru, I calculated the costs of buying one bottle of water vs. the case of water we normally have in our van. Yes, we’re one of those families that drive with an enormous case of water tucked in behind the driver’s seat to give to any kid who seems slightly dehydrated or just grumpy. And it’s cheaper to buy a case than individual bottles. So we always have water on hand.
Except for today, the hottest day of the year.
By the time we reached our last stop for paperwork, the kids were whining for water and I just wanted anything cold and refreshing that would take me away from the heat.
Dripping with sweat, I unloaded the kids, and we maneuvered our oversized strolled into the store. This was one of those specialized mobility equipment stores, where wheelchairs and scooters crowd hospital beds and all kinds of braces and supports. In short, it’s a place I figured the kids could push buttons and sit on stuff.
We were surprised to see rows of plastic chairs facing a screen, with dozens of professional people sitting and listening attentively. Coifed and poised, they turned and looked at the sweaty, frizzy and bedraggled crew that rolled in. Clearly not the retail shopping experience for the preschool set I was hoping for.
The sales person whispered they were doing a staff in-service, and would be happy to take our order.
Little Miss Adorable loudly demanded her new walker would be pink and I quickly completed paperwork and payment. Shushing kids, we exited and raced to drop Mr. Sensitive at summer camp.
I was exhausted from the lifting and loading of Little Miss Adorable and The Dunk, and quickly, guiltily and illegally left the kids in the van with the air conditioning cranked while I dashed into a convenience store to buy water.
Don’t tell anyone.
Now well-hydrated, I continued to lift Little Miss Adorable and The Dunk into their stroller to drop Mr. Sensitive off at day camp. And then back in the van. And then out of the van to go home. And then back into the stroller to go pick up Mr. Sensitive.
Up, down, lift, load, hauling a preschooler and toddler, and the damned stroller – my knees, back, and elbows screamed in protest.
And that’s when the day went from back to worse.
I had just strapped The Dunk into his car seat when the wind picked up, catching the passenger door and slamming it into my hip. I hobbled in shock, and continued to strap the protesting Dunk into his seat.
Then the wind caught poor Little Miss Adorable, still seated in the stroller and blew her across the parking lot. She was zooming backwards, terrified.
I raced after her, and slammed my elbow into the side mirror of another car.
Sickening pain shot through my body. I bent over, cradling my arm and reached out with my foot to stop the stroller.
Little Miss Adorable asked, “Are you OK Mommy?”
Clutching my elbow, I faked OK and loaded Little Miss Adorable into her car seat. Miraculously I hauled the stroller into the van and drove to pick up Mr. Sensitive.
Lift, load, up, down – an Olympian could not match the speed in which I loaded Little Miss Adorable and The Dunk in the stroller to enter the community center to pick up Mr. Sensitive. We raced in, anticipating and early pick up before dashing off to get Hubby in a distant industrial area. Traffic, dinner, and an evening dance class were the next hurdles I’d face.
Discretely knocking at the day camp door, I whispered to the staff member that I wanted to pick up Mr. Sensitive early. She asked for ID, as per centre protocols.
She was the same person to whom I’d handed over Mr. Sensitive a couple hours earlier. I was the same person who’d dropped him off, albeit sweatier and more frizzy.
Then I realise I’d left my purse in the van.
She insisted on ID.
I could not face pushing the stroller across the parking lot one more time. Abandoning all three kids in the community centre, I dashed across the parking lot to get my driver’s license out of my purse. I open my purse – no license. The empty slot in my wallet was testimony to Little Miss Adorable’s handiwork. I grabbed any card I can get that had my name on it and raced back into the centre.
My three kids have now joined the day camp scrum while the hapless staff member watched worriedly. Good. You want ID? Deal with them first, then you’ll be begging me to take my kids back, ID or not.
By the time I get back my kids have instilled a sub-riot level of insanity into the orderly Little Learners day camp, and the counsellor accepted the plastic card with my just name on it no questions asked. She was visibly relieved when I corralled my crew out the door.
Lift, load, up, down, then race to pick up Hubby from his course. By the time I got there I had already made a reservation at our favorite family restaurant. Because what else can you do with a bad day? After dinner we all felt better and raced off to final destination, dance class.
And that’s when things when from bad to worse. See the Misadventures of Little Miss Adorable for more on this one.