Sunday, August 28, 2011

Errand Odyssey

It's late August.   The end of the month is approaching.  It's taskmaster time. School is creeping up on us.  Our weekdays are booked and our weeknights are often the same. 
And the DMV isn't open during hours when normal people can actually get there...

Thursday we decided we were going to spend the day getting as much done to prepare for the school year and (life in general) as possible.  DMV stuff.  Banking stuff. School stuff. Oh yeah, and there was this supposedly epic  hurricane slowly plowing up the coast, ready to devour us. So buying groceries was in order; hopefully a few non-perishable foods in case the damn hurricane knocks out power for a week. Thank kind of stuff.
With the kids in tow. Both the big whiney one and the small whiney one who's currently being a bugger about eating and has major tummy/diaper issues at times. Because we like a challenge.

Thus began the "Errand Odyssey". 

Goals for that day included:

  • Close TD bank account. (Hubby is now switching to the cash system because the system we'd tried all summer is too much record-keeping for him.)
  • Merge PNC bank accounts and deposit piddling contents of TD account.
  • Pick up stuff Bob had left at school Tuesday, including his only real pair of wearable shoes. 
  • Get car (the tiny one) inspected, hope to God it passes because our sticker expires in a week.
  • Renew the van's registration at DMV. Ditto on the expiration.
  • Renew my license at DMV. Again, come September, I'm not legal.
  • Buy regular old groceries at Walmart, surely fighting the storm-crazed crowds. 
Just waited in the car while Bob went in. Listened to Miss M complain about not getting to go in and jump around on the "shapes" on their carpet.

It's pouring. We both have to go in to this bank.  Hubby offers to pull up to the walkway and let me get the girls out and go in while he parks. This sounds like pure chivalry. However, afterward, while standing in the lobby of the bank with a soaked back (had to stand there and get the baby out) and sopping wet shoes (had to stand in inch-deep puddles to help Miss M around the car), I realize that I got the short end of the stick. Bob jogs into the bank, way drier than I, and we take care of the banking. And the shivering. Wet + bank air conditioning. 

Then we stop at Bob's school and picked up his shoes. If he'd had socks he'd have thrown them on and danced a jig for the sheer joy of having dry feet.

We each take a kid a split up. The receptionist is unsympathetic: Registration line is this way, but ...licence? Oh, you actually want a licence?  What is the number one thing you think of doing when you go to the DMV, hmm? Yes, I want a freakin' licence!
 Oh, well the camera is down, you'll have to wait. Um, ok. Can I just use my old picture? No, no, no, the whole camera system is down. Oh, you mean the licence printer is broken? Yes. You'll have to wait till they fix it. Or we can give you a priority ticket so you don't have to wait in line next time you come. Ok...
I wait in line to get my documents checked, to see if the I brought the right paper peace offerings for New Jersey to be kind enough to grant me the right to drive.  And to see if I'm worthy of priority ticket, I guess. Who doesn't love a DMV line?
Like this, only with actual lines, and more of a life-sucking ambiance. 

Yes, the cranky lady says when I reach the front of her line, all is well in document land. I can go wait over there. With the 12-15 other people in the seats of gloom. What are they waiting for? Oh, they're waiting for the licence printer to get fixed.  I'd be in line after them. Me and my squirmy, hungry children. 
Um...No. Please hand me the priority ticket that lets me come back another day and not have to wait in line again, because I have only so much life, and it's being sucked dry.
She can't find any more priority tickets. Another employee comes over and asks her for one too. They think they're out. They get flustered. E gets fussy. I get annoyed. They find one. The lady with the crying child gets it (That's me! Thank you, crying child!) and we bugger out, half of our goals for that building accomplished.

Ok, fine, except that can take a while, and we're all starving. Lunch first. 
Applebee's has Weight Watchers entrees. No brainer. Then Bob will drop me off at Walmart w/ the girls. He'll take the tiny sardine can car we're all crammed into Saturn to be inspected, and meet me there. It'll all go smoothly, and we'll be home before naptime.
I know, I know! Can you believe we thought that would work? Naive or insane, you decide. 
So we're driving to the town that contains not only an Applebee's, but also an inspection station AND a Walmart...and the "check engine" light comes on in the tiny dashboard of the tiny car.
Bob knows it's the O2 sensor, because Bob sort of knows this stuff.  I take his word for it, because that sounds particularly big and official. Unfortunately, this turn of events kills the car's chances of passing inspection. 
Yay! Cross one destination off our list.

...was very good, and there was Steak, baby. 10 points.
Simpsons theater: 
"What's for dinner? Steaaaak?"
"Money's too tight for steak."
"Uh, sure. 'Steak'."

E won't eat much of her grilled cheese. But E won't eat much of anything lately. We're working on it. She of course needs a diaper change in dire way - get it? Dire? - right as our meals arrive at our table. Bob valiantly offers to go changer her. Probably because I've complained lately that I end up eating by myself because I get everybody everything while they eat, ala the mom in "A Christmas Story". He returns with a pantless baby in a fresh diaper. Apparently the contents of that diaper were not able to stay in the diaper. Luv's, you're wussing out of me. Ewwwwwww. Do I have extra clothes for her packed?
Yes I do. 
In the car. 
The other car. 
You know, the van? The one that we actually drive our children around in?
Not that tin can on wheels that we're driving today specifically to go take to be inspected after this, except we can't because it would fail, and...
So E has to sit there and refuse to eat, pantless. 

I call the pediatrician the minute we get in the car. I've had it with these poops.
We are done with "wait and see". (Seeing if she's allergic to milk, if she's got a tummy bug, if she's teething, if her astrologist told her this "refuse to eat and poop anyway" was a celebrity trick for weight loss...)

Grocery Shopping: 
We get to Walmart and the first thing we do is go buy her a cheapo pair of pants. Eureka! Something is going our way, because here on the clearance table is a pair of pink polka-dot pants for $1.00. We go back to the front of the store to buy them, so we can put them on our half naked child and proceed to struggle through the storm-addled crowds.
And then we see the lines. 
There are 5 registers open for 500 people, most of them buying milk, bread, eggs, and D batteries. 
French toast and ... do I want to know? 
Oh, flashlights.
The check-out lines are back to the racks of clothes, across the wide aisle. 
So guess what? E was wearing those pants, paid for or not. We decide to leave the label on and swear to remember to have the clerk scan the label sticker on her butt after I finished my shopping. I am not about to let my baby shoplift $1.00 pants. Because come on! They're $1.00 pants! I'm HAPPY to pay for $1.00 pants!
I was just hoping she wouldn't poop through them first.
Pants you'd be glad to leave the red clearance tag on, for bargain-hunter bragging rights. 

So we go shopping - this is regular, sensible grocery shopping, not omigod-here-comes-Irene-buy-bottled-water shopping. Ok. We bought bottled water too. But we were NOT one of the crazies buying out the racks of flashlights, I swear. 

When we hit the cosmetics section, I remember that I am out of body wash. I go to choose a new one.  I open the top to give it a little sniff. Smell is ridiculously important to me, particularly in the morning - prime body wash usage time.  Cause I'm crazy and easily nauseated, that's why.

I was a teenager in the 90's, you'd think I know what Cucumber Melon smells like.

I can't smell it, so I give the bottle a tiny squeeze, to bring the body wash up to the hole so I can smell it better, and - SPLAT. 
I squirt body wash up my nose and into my left eye. 
OW OW OW not cool OW.

After painful walk to a - I gotta say, surprisingly clean - Walmart bathroom, I try to do an eyewash at an automatic faucet. Then the pediatrician calls and we discuss the finer points of E's poop while I hold my eye shut and walk through Walmart trying to find my family without stereo vision.

We do our weekly grocery shopping with E in pants that still very visibly belonged to Sam Walton.  My eye squinted shut, smelling nothing but cucumber melon, I'm pleased to find that the storm shoppers are more plentiful but less crazy than I thought they'd be. Everybody behaves themselves as they empty the store of canned goods and rope. Bob miraculously remembers to hold the baby up above the conveyor belt so the clerk could scan her new pants. It totally slipped my mind. We would have easily shoplifted $1.00 baby pants. Not good.
But I cannot bring myself to buy the cucumber body wash.  Too many bad memories. 

And that was the end of our adventure.

Less an odyssey and more a day spent half-accomplishing things, I know.
Doesn't measure up to our Wegman's Odyssey of last summer.
But still...
There were cranky DMV workers. There was steak. There was poop. There was glycerin up my nose.
Good times.
And every summer needs at least one Odyssey, I've decided.

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