As a disclaimer, I got the term Grumpy Mama from one of my friends–that story to come sometime soon.
I’ve mentioned that this year my boys are into sports, Eddie does basketball and Henry is attempting wrestling.
Certain days a week one has practice, on other days it’s the other. Living outside of town like we do it’s really not convenient, but it’s important to my boys so we make it work. What doesn’t work is when you pick them up from school at 3:45 and the one who doesn’t have a scheduled practice for that day greets you with, “Mom, we have practice tonight at 4:30”.
Now that would make many moms, including me, want to groan. I did not. I wanted to, but I stayed nice. For now. The fact is, 45 minutes isn’t a lot of time to do anything. Good thing we live 20 minutes away from the school if I haul you-know-what so we can drive all the way home, they can both grab their sports clothing and we can play beat the clock to run by Sonic and inhale a grilled cheese and fries and get to the gym before 4:30.
Why eat first, you might wonder, because last time we had one of these impromptu practices (only two nights earlier I might add), the thing went on and on and on and on and on. I’d feel better about feeding him a little something prior to practice then letting him eat again when he gets back home which wouldn’t be before 6:30 at the earliest.
While dropping Eddie off at basketball, I run in and ask the coach how long practice is anticipated to be. “About and hour, hopefully not more.” Her eyes tell me a different story. It’s going to be a long night.
Okay… Well, as much as I’d love to stay for it, I really need to go feed Henry (Sonic might be considered fast food, but it’s not, and I didn’t dare order more than a single grilled cheese) before wrestling. Off we go. The child wants to eat at Taco Bell. And not a taco, either. No, he wants THREE bean burritos. He’s eight! And about to go wrestle.
Hesitantly, I pull up at the drive through and order his burritos and then watch in amazement in the rearview mirror as he eats all three of them. Now, like every good mom, I have a decision to make here. I could have stopped him from eating so many, or I could pray about the results. If I choose to pray, should I pray he’s able to hold them down…or that if they must come up that it happens on that spoiled, little twit–Reynolds. He definitely deserves such! I did neither. I just ate my own burrito and decided whatever happens, happens; and if Reynolds gets sprayed, well, what can ya say? Stuff happens.
Eating as slowly as we could didn’t seem to gobble up an hour–only half of it. So we took our time driving over to the gym with about 10 minutes before 5:30. My hopes weren’t up that Eddie be done anyway and I hate being spotted talking to another parent or heave forbid, the coach, because then I get the “Mom, what did you talk to so-and-so about? Did they say anything about my playing?” Honestly, I don’t talk about my son’s playing with anyone at practice. None of the parents do. All the kids’ play is about equal: terrible. (And so would mine be so I can say that.) Instead, I opted to send my younger son in, saying, “When Eddie is done, you two come straight out. I don’t want to have to come in there again and hunt you two down. It’s cold. I’m tired. And doing that might make me cranky.”
Two minutes later two little boys came trotting out. And I do mean trotting. Both were dressed in their sports attire: t-shirts and shorts…in 30-degree weather. Hello, Pneumonia!
“Thank goodness you’re here, Mom. Practice finished ten minutes ago and I thought I was going to have to wait until after you dropped Henry off at six.”
My jaw could have hit the ground. Seriously, the ONE DAY I don’t straddle-the-parking line and haul the whole crew inside is the one day practice only lasts 45 minutes?! Usually, it’s supposed to be one hour that turns into closer to two. In disbelief, I look at the clock, it’s only 5:25, leaving us with 35 minutes to do absolutely nothing before I can drop Henry off at wrestling.
Now, I know it seems like a lot of whining and it is. But really what do you do in the freezing cold for 35 minutes? Nothing. If we go to any kind of a store, we’ll spend a good 20-25 of those minutes driving to the store and then back to the high school gym. Not enough time left to actually buy anything (unless I had a list–with a list, albeit a small one, that could easily be done, but not to wander and look around).
So I opt to go get gas and try not to curse whosever idea it was to throw an unscheduled basketball practice in the middle of my afternoon/evening! Right after school would be fine. Or even at say…5 would have been fine. But 4:30?! Totally dashed any plans of going home and eating a simple family dinner before going back to town.
Pushing aside the unkind thought, I pull into the gas station and suddenly I have something new to grumble about: the first bay of pumps I go down have plastic bags over them. I look down at the other end and there are four cars parked at the very last cluster of pumps. Getting my hopes up, I cruise over there only to see those pumps all have the little plastic this-pump-is-out-of-order-take your-business-elsewhere bags.
And that’s exactly what I did.
I drove all the way across town to a different gas station and hop out of the car wearing my yoga pants, t-shirt and a coat (hey, I thought I was just going to pick up my kids from school and go home not be in town all afternoon!). My hands shaking with cold I slide my card in the machine and enter my zip code before turning my back on the machine and unlocking the gas cap. I hate this thing by the way. The key is no longer than about an inch with only a quarter of an inch as the part you hold onto. I’m always terrified I’m going to break the key off in the lock. Then what would I do?!?!
Turning back to the pump, I select my grade and insert the nozzle and squeeze.
I pop the lever and try again. Nothing.
I must have taken too long to remove the cap and put the nozzle in.
Canceling the transaction, I reach for my card again. Surely these pumps will work, there’s not bags out here and the light is on in the store. Buy why aren’t there any other cars…
Oh, look there’s one now.
Like a shivering idiot, I watch the guy get out of his car and go inside. He must be prepaying with cash, I think as I run my card again and start going through all steps again. About two seconds after I pull my card out and it asks for my zip code, the guy comes back out and says, “Pumps aren’t working.”
Seriously? How many times was the gas station attendant going to let me try to buy gas before telling me this? They have those little speakers above the pump. All he has to do is press a button and tell me the pumps aren’t working. Instead I have to hear it from another customer. I guess the clerk is some sort of sicko who enjoys watching people freeze in their yoga pants!
If he was already laughing, I’m sure it continued as the stupid pump wouldn’t let me cancel my transaction without first entering my zip code. Reluctantly, I did, then hit cancel. It wouldn’t cancel. It wanted me to select a grade. Irritation flooding me. I select a grade and wait as the thing wants me now to remove the nozzle. It’s already in the truck, so I squeeze that stupid lever like I’m TRYING to fill the tank with gas so the stupid machine will let me cancel my transaction. Then it freezes. I can’t cancel. I can’t do anything. I can’t even call in for help. If it wasn’t illegal to beat the gas pump with its own hand pump/nozzle part I would have done so! FINALLY the thing resets itself and my transaction is cancelled. But no receipt spits out.
At this point, I get back in the truck and look at the clock: 5:45. “Henry, we’re going to wrestling. If they say something because you’re this early, they’ll have to deal with me. And I don’t think they want that.”
“I don’t think anyone wants that right now,” Henry agrees. “Oh, look, Mom. Your receipt just came out. Want me to get it for you?”
“Sure. Thank you, baby.”
A moment later, his little head pokes back in the truck, “It won’t tear.”
SERIOUSLY?! Have we become part of National Lampoons or what? Why didn’t Alex Banks invent a time machine so I could go back to when I left my house and come to town better prepared for the chaos that was about to ensue?
Needless to say, we arrived at wrestling at 5:52 and I was out of the parking lot less than 60 seconds later, praying Bob would indeed be back in town by the time it ended to pick him up because I wanted nothing more than to go home and take a nice warm bath to regain feeling in my toes.
(Ha, like that would actually happen–it didn’t. No, instead, I had to go home and do this…adulting thing. You know where you have to wash the dishes so the whole family doesn’t have to eat off paper plates and plastic spoons in the morning.)