Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Confession Wednesday: It's not Easy Being Green

Word, Kermit.

On Monday, our first official day of Summer Break, I had a few errands to run. Several, really. One of my own personal, selfish, favorite parts of summer break is that my child of legal babysitting age is home, which means I can run quick errands all by myself.

But gas prices that are rising faster than the water in my toilet after the 2-year-old flushes down a stuffed animal have me consolidating my errands, which means if one errand involves all four children (such as a trip to the Public Library), then all errands must involve all four children.

Stop One: The Hair Salon.

Did you know that if you traipse 4 children into a salon for one child's haircut, you will get the evil eye from more than one stylist? Did you know that if you conscientiously try to keep all 4 children engaged and quiet, and keep the toddler from smudging shiny surfaces, and refuse to allow the 5-year-old to sprawl on the floor, AND pile your children onto your lap as other customers arrive, so as to free up seats, YOU WILL STILL MISS THE FACT that one or more of your children are inserting their arms into the 4-inch gap between the propped-open door and the door frame, which will cause a stylist to point it out, explain the associated risks in detail, and then spend the next 90 seconds explaining to the entire shop why she was compelled to call your attention to it? (Her intentions were the most honorable, but holy cow was I embarrassed by the time she was done.)

Stop 2: TJ Maxx

Did you know TJ Maxx doesn't allow shopping cars in the dressing rooms, even if your shopping cart has NO MERCHANDISE in it, and all you're trying to do is confine a 2-year-old in it while you check on your 12-year-old who is trying on a swim suit? Even if your 12-year-old is the only person in the dressing room? And did you know the employee who halts your shopping cart at the dressing room entry is REALLY CURT about it?

TJ Maxx, I hope you enjoyed cleaning the 3-way mirror that my son smeared in the dressing room because he wasn't confined to an empty shopping cart. Also, you need better swim suits.

Stop 3: The Public Library

I was dreading this stop. I had in my hands:

1. One overdue book

2. One book that had been lost, paid for, and found again

3. One book that I bought online to replace the identical copy we lost

Public Library, I know we occasionally lose books, or keep them too long, or accidentally illustrate them with crayons, but I ALWAYS fess up, and I ALWAYS pay, and I REALLY try to prevent all those things! Can't you be a little nicer to me?

When I handed over the books, the results I got were:

1. "This is overdue."

2. "You paid for this more than six months ago. We can't take it back or refund your money."

3. "This book you bought is stamped. We can't take marked books." (This from the librarian's higher-up librarian after much deliberation and discussion.)

Normally I would have politely given in and lamented the money lost, but I was still feeling irritated from the two previous errands. Somewhere inside a little indignant assertiveness bubbled up, and I retorted, "I REALLY wish I had been told that when I CALLED to ask if I could buy a used replacement book, and was told yes!"

To my great surprise, the higher-up took half a step backwards, then said to her co-worker, "Well, then. Let's go ahead and take the book and get it off her account."

I felt vindicated! I felt triumphant! I felt a little stupid that I was having a show-down in the library.

By the way, did you know that the librarians in the children's section of the library are delightful people, and once you get past circulation, it's a lovely place to be?

Which is fortunate, because this afternoon my van is getting a new windshield a block away from the Public Library, and in order to save gas (sigh), and rather than dropping off and picking up the van, we'll be walking over to the library to wait 2-1/2 hours for our new windshield. (Anybody want to join us there?)

Dear Boy Scouts, Thank you for accidentally dropping a canoe onto my windshield, which has been cracked for 7 years, and cracking it in a new spot so we could finally and legitimately replace it under our new glass policy. Really, thank you. Also, don't do it again. I need to pay for gas, not glass.

How are you saving on gasoline this summer?

Also, another question, if less-related:

What lofty aspirations do you have for summer?


Anonymous said...

My daughter has decided to do an entire years worth of math over the summer so she can jump ahead when she gets back to school. So this is what we will be doing this summer.

Anonymous said...

Mothers who need to take children on errands, UNITE!!

Laura said...

I bought a bus pass to save gas. (And since I don't have kids, riding the bus is pretty easy.) My big plans for the summer involve going to work. (And trying to entertain myself at home while my husband is at work.) I know, hard life, huh?

Maybe I'll come entertain your kids this summer!

Anonymous said...

Shopping and/or errands with kids is NO FUN....which is why I tend to leave my under-legal-age babysitter with mine far too often (and therefore, this comment will remain anonymous!)

Jill Walker said...

We've been walking to piano lessons (which has caused us to be tardy once or twice...sorry!)

Bean said...

Laura, YES PLEASE! (My kids adore you.)

Jill, can you stop being tardy already? I myself am a paragon of punctuality and would never do anything like . . . oh let's say . . . arrive 30+ minutes late to a Pampered Chef party.

Anonymous said...

We're trying to combine more trips which makes errands soooo much fun with kids (read this dripping with sarcasm). We're also staying closer to home and doing more things locally. As for the summer, we have swimming and crafts to keep the kids busy and we're trying to get some major shifting around of our household done. We're trying to enjoy the nice weatehr before we find ourselves back in the school routine again.

Anonymous said...

Hummm...let's see I plan on saving money on gas by only driving to Utah three times this summer....:) Yeah, I know.I cut back on a trip. But goodness, come fall it's every other week...tee hee hee

Sunni said...

First off, I wish I was as happy with the scouts carlessness, as they put a nice big scratch on my husbands car when they were loading a canoe on his car. This was right after the broken windshield on your car. But my own son is in that group of scouts and I am fearful to imagine all the senseless things he will do in his scouting career!
Second, to save on gas I have tried to ease off the gas pedal, which is not an easy thing for me. I really think it makes a differnce not burn so much gas between stop signs, I am better at coasting now. :)

Dave and Leslie said...
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Anonymous said...

I will be survivng on Sonic Drinks between 2pm-4pm during their happy hour, great limeades for a buck. It's good for me and a great bribe for the kids!

Anonymous said...
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