Ah, Wednesday, you harshest of mistresses, even during Summer Vacation you find all manner of ways in which to grind my face into the dirt.
We no longer have to make the frantic dash to church every Wednesday night (that is, not until September) and yet, and YET, I find myself wandering dazedly about my house, frazzled, tired and considerably poorer each Wednesday night. I'm shell-shocked, I tell you. If I didn't love my Redheaded Snippet so dangedly much...well, I don't know what.
In the absence of regular meetings, the youth group holds weekly pool parties at different houses spread conveniently throughout the area. And when I say spread conveniently throughout the area I mean clustered tightly within a 1.6 mile radius from the church. And at least 15 miles (and $10 worth of gas) away from our home. And, I don't mean to complain, but when you're driving 30 minutes to drop your kid off somewhere, you need to have things planned out so you don't wind up driving 30 minutes there, 30 minutes home, 30 minutes back to pick them up and another 30 minutes home again. That's 2 hours folks! And $20 worth of gas!
Usually, I take advantage of those times to either visit stores in that area that I don't have near me or just while away the hours at the Borders that I know is there. Sometimes it's rather lovely to be forced to spend almost 2 hours idling in a bookstore's cafe, flipping through magazines and sipping something hot and sweet. But tonight? Tonight I had no such luck.
You see, The Viking has a friend who has recently started a new job. He thinks The Viking (who is looking for a new job) would be perfect for his company. The Viking has been considering it, but wanted more information so he invited the friend over to go through the particulars of the job (i.e. deliver his spiel). He set the time for 7:00 this evening. And he wanted me to there. Which meant I had to get the house company-ready, pick up groceries for dinner, make dinner and feed the kids all before 5:30 when I had to leave to take Redheaded Snippet to her pool party, arriving home at 6:30 with 30 minutes for last-minute preparations (filling the coffee maker, setting out cookies, etc). Then, because the party was over at 8:00 and it takes 30 minutes to get there, I would have to leave again at 7:30, arriving back home an hour later, long before the friend would have had to leave for home and really, meaning I'd only be able to hear 30 minutes of the spiel. I was fine with that but The Viking wasn't about to let me get off that easy.
The Viking called the friend and was able to reschedule for 8:00 which meant I could be there for most of the info, though I'd be 30 minutes late. This solved my attendance problem (goody for me), but created quite a different scenario for my evening.
The kids and I managed to get the house ready (except for the vacuuming which we left for The Viking) and out the door by 5:30. But buying and eating dinner turned out to be an impossible fantasy. Racing out the door, I resigned myself to the fact that Man-Cub and I would just have to eat on the fly (again) and gave thanks that at least Redheaded Snippet was going to a BBQ and would at least get something to eat.
It was about 7 minutes out of our driveway when the first monkey wrench was throw into my plans. I suddenly remembered The Viking's good suit at the dry cleaners. I had dropped it off so it would be ready for another job interview tomorrow. The shop would surely be closed by the time I got back. I had no choice but to make a detour.
This set Redheaded Snippet off into peals of dismay. "But, now I'm going to be late! I'll only be there two hours as it is! It's the only time I get to see him!" If you guessed that there is a particular person of interest who is also a member of her youth group, you'd be right. They're in like. And I guess you'd call him her boyfriend. But, you know, like in the 7th-grade sense.
Shortly after I picked up the crisply clean suit (which, to my credit, only took 3 minutes--the kids timed me), Man-Cub started on me. "I'm hungry! Why can't we go to McDonald's? I feel sick! I need to eat something! I know that song, but I'm not in the mood to sing it!" Apparently, the Snippet's song choice was making him feel pressure to sing along and aggravating his hunger pangs.
We arrived at the pool party 15 minutes late (not bad for me) at 6:15. I now had an hour-and-a-half to kill before the party was over and I was 15 miles from home. I did the only thing you can do in that situation. I went shopping. We were out of everything today: milk, bread, waffles, cereal, eggs, sausage, sugar, garbage bags. It was a critical situation and probably why Man-Cub was so desperately hungry. I swear the boy subsists merely on Frosted Mini-Wheats and wheat bread. So, I hastened my famished boy to the closest fast-food establishment and let him feed his face. Then I proceeded to the Promised Land, Wegman's to stock up on the necessary supplies as well as pick up some kind of fancy refreshment for the evening's meeting.
While we were there, strolling purposefully through the aisles, Man-Cub behaved himself beautifully. He charmed the girl behind the cookie counter (well, really, who wouldn't? She is, after all, keeper of the cookies), helped me with the scale and label printer in the produce section and generally kept me entertained the entire time. He was so good I bought him a cookie, some jelly beans and a set of lacrosse sticks (that were on clearance and he agreed to pay for half with his own money).
At one point, I was looking intently at a food product on a shelf, comparing prices and looking for the best deal when I heard Man-Cub sigh wearily and say, clearly but firmly, "I am tired of life." My attention snapped from dollars per pound to my poor, troubled little boy as I said, shocked to the soles of my feet, "Whaaaaaat????" I can't tell you the jolts that blasted through my synapses! "He's seven! Only seven! He can't be depressed already!"
He responded to my look of terror with one that clearly said, "Keep your hair on!" He indicated the box on the shelf he'd been looking at and repeated himself, "I'm tired of Life." That's right, we were in the cereal aisle. I burst out laughing, as much from relief as amusement and he asked, still bewildered, "What did you think I said?" When I told him I thought he was tired of living, he made a derisive noise in the back of his throat and rolled his eyes at me. "Yeah, right," was how he replied.
Clearly, it is time for a little variety in our cereal choices.
At any rate, I finished the shopping, retrieved my Snippet from her Chase-And-Splash Fest and managed to tumble into the kitchen with two children (one still very wet), dry cleaning and grocery bags in tow by 8:40. Not bad for the kind of evening I'd had, but I'd still missed 45 minutes of the presentation by the time I put the perishables away, herded the children into the other room and arranged the fancy cookies I'd bought elegantly on a china rose plate (in an obvious effort to divert attention from my lateness).
In case you're wondering, the rest of the evening went fine and it does seem this job opportunity might be a good one for The Viking. There may even some possibilities for me. But we still have some thinking to do and we're interested to see how the interview tomorrow goes.
At any rate, it is now once again 2:30 am and I still have to iron The Viking's shirt before I flop into bed.