Monday, July 9, 2012

A Simple Evening Out

My husband and I are on vacation this week. We decided on a 'staycation' after all things that could go wrong went wrong and depleted our vacation funds. At six o'clock this morning, our oldest son left for Florida with my parents and my niece. I decided that I could not spend the day sitting around the house. I had watched the weekend go by reading a book which, don't get me wrong, I love reading. There was no way I was going to start a new book today. I wanted to do something fun and different, so I looked at Chad (my husband) and said we should take the kids on a picnic at one of the local parks. In order to do that, I would have to go shopping (darn it). Well as soon as the kids heard me say I need to go to the store, they all jumped up and said, "I wanna go! Let me get my money. I have money! Can I go, please?" Chad said he would accompany me to the store with all the kids, so we packed them all in the van and headed for Target.
I wanted to find a picnic basket and some snacks. Chad suggested Big Lots to look for a basket, so we stopped there first. Things went well considering we had six kids in tow. We found a plastic basket that would serve the purpose for our picnic. The kids scoured through the toy aisles trying to find what they wanted. This took awhile. Each child had a hold of at least five different things, changing their minds several times before finally deciding to wait until we went to Target. So, off to Target we go!
Once in the store we made our way to the toy section (strategically so that I could walk through the girls clothing to see what was new). Lucy, our four year old, was getting upset because she had spent her money on a wallet at Big Lots. Oscar, our six year old, was very disappointed because he didn't have any money to spend. Frankie, our nine year old, couldn't find anything in his price range, so he became teary-eyed. Clay and Leo, 13 and 12 respectively, made out with cool Halo and GI Joe figures. I was becoming increasingly tired of hearing everyone whine, so I told Chad that maybe we should just forget the picnic. We hastily made our way to the checkout lanes where of course we get in the slowest lane. Lucy whined the whole time because we wouldn't even let her get candy. Finally, it was our turn. Leo and Clay had their money and took turns checking out. Leo's purchase was on clearance but he didn't realize that the clerk had overcharged him. Chad took him back to the clerk and showed her the clearance tag. She adjusted the price and gave him the change. Edie, our youngest, was now on full toddler-tantrum mode, and was dragged out of the store kicking and screaming.
We made it back to the van feeling twenty years older. I pleaded with Chad to just forget the picnic. He suggested going to dinner and then going to the park. I said, "good idea." We decided on McDonald's because I didn't want to age myself anymore by going somewhere like Olive Garden with six kids. Little did I know that McDonald's wasn't going to be much better.
At McDonald's, the staff was extremely slow. We chose a seat for the kids and Chad and I went up to order. Edie proceeded to run around and climb in and out of every seat, Frank and Oscar needed to shake their sillies out, and Lucy had to go potty. When it was our turn to order, we discovered that the cashier was a newbie and that the manager was on break. Of course we had to wait another twenty minutes for our food which was incorrect. The manager decides to come back from break early, thank goodness, and offers us something for waiting so long. Wow. We ended up with a free Happy Meal. As we waited for them to get our order correct, Lucy and Oscar both smashed their fingers in between the rotating chairs they were sitting in. I got them both ice from the drink dispenser. As Chad and I filled our drinks and got ketchup, I slipped in a wet spot on the floor, gracefully keeping my balance. What seemed like five years later, we sit down to eat. I noticed that they had given me the wrong sandwich, but kept it to myself in order to avoid any further delay on dinner.
Everyone was happy and enjoying their meals when the kids shriek with delight and we hear a thump on the large picture window behind us. Clay and Leo are laughing hysterically at a bird that had the misfortune of flying into the window. All six children leaped from their seats to go see the bird. Stupidly, I turned to look and saw the poor thing on the ground. I immediately lost my appetite. I do not like eating when people talk about animals or gross things. I tried to quiet the boys, but they could not refrain from making Angry Bird comments (Chad included). I did my best to hurry them out of the restaurant. It was a fruitless effort because they realized that the bird was still alive and was trying to move. Time to go!
The children were truly disappointed when we went straight to the van instead of looking for the bird. I realized that a trip to the park was much needed to rid them of some energy. We arrived at the park happy to see that it wasn't busy. Edie ran for the playground screaming excitedly as only a two year old can. The boys decided to come up with a Par Core course. I saw the bench swing and told Chad to head in that direction. Our happiness only lasted a few minutes before another child pestered our own so much that they had to come and pester us. We managed to escape the other child by going to the pond to look at the geese and ducks. This was great until Edie stepped in goose poop and tried to wipe it off with her hands. Time to go again!
Our simple evening turned into a strange experience. The kids will surely never forget the bird hitting the window, so I suppose that even though it was a strange experience (and somewhat stressful), it created cherished memories.

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