Friday, May 9, 2008

The Surest Sign there are No More Weeks of Winter

There is one bonifide signal that Spring has set into motion in earnest.

Last minute school projects.

Every parent has had that dreaded moment when they struggle between teaching responsibility for time management and the urge to become a Superhero and pull an all nighter with the child in question to ensure a decent grade. Most of the time, we wind up circling the wagons and helping the delinquent student to finish their work before 1 am, but not without occasionally morphing into the adult from the nether regions...if YOU EVER...I am NOT DOING THIS AGAIN...

The other day, I got a text message. "Need three fold before weekend!"

I ransacked my brain in the desperate hopes of having at some point purchased such an item that went unused. It would have helped if I knew what a threefold was. I text messaged back but before I got six taps in, I grew irritated and just phoned.

“Can’t talk. Turning off phone now.” was the response from my beloved teen.

Now, I couldn’t even text message. I knew a fishing expedition to the local office supply store was imminent.

We had just loaded up in the car from my second son’s baseball practice. It was 6:30. Dinner had yet to be served, showers and bed routines were being thrown out the window, and even microwave pot pies were looking like a time consuming chore.

Twelve year old to the rescue! She knew what a tri-fold was, I thought it was either a hat or a way to properly stow a flag. I had my atm machine card at the ready. We would go to the bank and then the art store. We could do this seamlessly if I booked.

Alas, the errand gods were not with us.

The ATM refused to cooperate. The drive thru had closed thirty minutes before we arrived. We also needed gas. Having experienced the engine light read “Low” before and actually run out, I wasn’t taking any chances, so we tanked up before proceeding with the poster hunt. It was now 7:24.

The art store was closed, but I knew of an office store still open, so I gambled, scrounging through my purse and the pockets of the car. Collectively, we found change amounting to$3.57. I did have to promise to pay the two toddlers back their respective 64 and 12 cents. It was 7:37 pm. They’d get showers the next day. For bed time stories, I handed a book from my satchel to my ten year old and instructed her “READ...aloud…expressively,” although I had to conceed, "Writing Query Letters that Rock!" wasn't my first choice for my children's night time supplimental literacy program. She abandoned it in favor of a discarded Avenger's comicbook. I was in no position to argue.

I drove at a not entirely state approved rate and we arrived at five minutes to eight. The twelve year old went in, I looked at the clock. We’d not get to dinner before 9 o’clock if I cooked.

I phoned the local roasted chicken establishment and placed an order for the family feast for four plus a few extra sides.

My daughter returned triumphant, carrying a poster board as large as herself. She had 17 cents left, so I paid back the 12 cents and listened to the other toddler howl at not receiving prompt reimbursement. For a kid who can't add or count past 15, he knew getting a nickle was getting stiffed. I offered to pay interest. He wasn’t moved. I handed him a credit card, but discovered he was a cash only kind of guy until his sister offered him a turn on the game boy.

We drove to the chicken store, but the cash problem still loomed. Five cents was insufficient to buy the family meal order I had placed, and I wasn't even sure my son would lend me back the five cents!

I took out the toddler rejected credit card and hoped my daughter could go two for two. In she marched, and returned. The card had expired one day prior. Maybe that’s why my son refused it.

I handed over another and waited. Driving in circles in the parking lot, hoping the restaurant would take it, hoping they would let her sign for it and go, the phone rang, but I was too stressed and distracted to deal with it. We saw my daughter waving with her hands full. I drove up, joyfully anticipating an end of the struggle.

Her sister went in to help bring back the bounty.

Driving home, while congratulating ourselves on a successful mission, I planned out bed time routine in my head. Then I got another text message.

“I tried to phone you. Project due Monday moved to next week.”


Aurora said...

oh good, this happens to other moms. :-) nicely written.

Linda said...

In most states, this would qualify you for justifiable homicide. Just put 1 mother on the jury, and you'll walk.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!