Day Nineteen

I surrendered. Gave up. Waved the white flag. Cried uncle. As such, I issued an email to a few friends with kids and begged them to find something for the kids and I to do so we wouldn’t be sentenced to another day together–just the four of us. It’s not that I was so much tired of my kids. It was that they were most certainly over spending every day with me and with each other.
The fact that we were facing a possible hurricane with 3+ inches of rain predicted over the next twenty-four hours made the situation all the more dire. I was already making lists of things to do while stuck inside in the rain:
1) Sharpen all 115 of the #2 pencils that the boys needed to return to school on Tuesday
2) Pull all of the D batteries from the abandoned toys in the basement and put them in pile to be used for flashlights in case of power loss. We probably would have enough to sell on the black market before the storm and amass a fortune.
3)Pack the backpacks with the mountain of supplies needed to return to school on Tuesday.
4) Try not to grow bitter about the mountain of supplies–including 100 count Clorox wipes tubs– that the kids needed to return to school on Tuesday.
But at that moment, it was sunny and beautiful and my friend Lilly was taking her daughters to Sugarloaf Mountain for a hike. It was an excellent idea and I was kicking myself for not thinking of it as I threw some snacks and juice boxes into a bag and headed out the door.
The boys even seemed to be excited as we made the 20-minute trip to Sugarloaf. We found Lilly in the parking lot and set about choosing our trail. The color-coded sign describing the trails was less than informative. At the end of a description of each trail, it gave the number of miles. Neither of us were sure if this was one-way or roundtrip or what the colors denoted. Was green easy? Was blue difficult? The written blurbs made them all sound delightful and doable.
So, we gave up on the sign and did the easiest thing–took the trail that was in front of us. What we couldn’t see from that vantage point was that the trail consisted of endless stairs curving their way up the mountain. Being that the steps were carved into the slope, they were varying sizes with rocks and plants between each one.
I looked at Lilly and she appeared as daunted as I was but it wasn’t like we were going to wimp out in front of the kids. We stalled by taking a few pictures and reading the signs on the importance of Sugarloaf in the Civil War. Eventually, it was time to face the music. I slung the snack bag across my body and we set off–or up.
The kids scampered ahead and made the climb seem effortless. Meanwhile I was trying to remember if you are supposed to keep your eye on the horizon or stare at the ground to make the distance seem shorter. Then I realized that I had to focus on the ground or I was going to fall. Hard. Down the mountain.
The steps were tall, making it hard for a vertically challenged girl to navigate. Sensing that I might be going slower than Lilly might want to, we switched and she led. I was relieved when we stopped to rest half-way up. A single line of sweat snaked down my back and under the strap for the snack bag. My breath was jagged and labored. Both Lilly and I commented that we were mighty sorry we left the bottles of water in the car. The sun, though dappled though the trees, was still strong.
Each time we came to a new tier, I had false hope that we had reached the top. When I looked closer, I saw yet another set of overgrown, rickety steps. The gap between the kids and the adults was diminishing as we gained altitude. A fact that actually gave my sagging energy a boost.
I had been training for months for my fundraising walk, but nothing had prepared my quads for this. I rationalized my misery by saying that I had the extra burden of the boxes of snacks I’d brought. In reality, though, I knew this was a real work out and even if I threw the snacks off the side of the mountain, I might feel liberated but not any less miserable.
And then I spied the literal light at the end of the tunnel. We had reached the top and the kids were already perched on top of clusters of huge rocks overlooking the valleys below. I pulled out my camera and took a couple of pictures of the green expanses and beautiful scenery. I had battled my way up that mountain just like the soldiers that were here centuries ago. Ok, that was a slight exaggeration but I was inspired my the surroundings. I had made it and I hadn’t thrown up wasn’t exactly a glamorous way to look at things.
After catching our breath and letting the kids explore, we headed back down the same path. It took some concentration as it would’ve been easy to lose footing. We arrived back at the parking lot in record time. Lilly didn’t have the decency to look as sweaty as I did but the kids were not only sweaty, but tired and hungry as well.
We decided to drive to a deli a few miles down the road and eat. I proceeded to undo any caloric benefit from our mountain experience by ordering a BLT and fries. The deli looked like it may have been significant in the Civil War as well but despite the lack of modern conveniences, the food was delicious.
Realizing it was getting late, I hustled the boys to the car. I still had the truly daunting task of the day. Hurricane prep shopping. We needed milk, apples, batteries, water and–randomly–a black printer cartridge. I dropped the boys at home and headed out to Rite-Aid.
I picked Rite Aid because it is right down the street from the more popular CVS and also has a Staples and Magruders grocery in the same shopping center. I wanted options in less crowded spots. Rite Aid had everything but the batteries and the apples. The printer cartridge was an unexpected bonus.
I needed C batteries for the portable tv and I was staring at a mountain of AAA’s. Everyone in the store pretended they weren’t all looking for the same things so as not to tip anyone off if you found one of the coveted buys. I dropped my bags in the car and crossed the lot to Magruders.
Magruders on a normal day is a small store with limited stock. Today, it was a small store with limited stock and shoppers preparing for Irene-aggedon. At some point management had decided it was prudent to put all the batteries behind the service desk. Consequently, a gaggle of shoppers surrounded the befuddled manager who kept offering 9-volt battery packs to the hungry crowd.
I paid for my apples and walked to Staples. My instincts told me to walk out as soon as I walked in but it was too fascinating to ignore. I scanned one wall of batteries and found again only the dreaded 9-volt and AAA. I pushed forward in search of another display.
Along the way, I dodged moms, kids and carts full of school supplies. The harried employees couldn’t keep up with all the requests from shoppers. “I need a binder at least 4″ with no design in either red, blue or green.” “I need highlighters in 5 assorted colors but no repeats in the pack.” “The ad says that two-pocket folders are a penny, where are the folders for a penny? I really need the ones for a PENNY!”
This store was facing the perfect storm. The crisis of last-minute back to school shopping and hurricane shopping all in one day. This is a historic event, never to be seen again in our lifetime. Yet, I still needed my batteries to avoid my own crisis at home—no tv.
I circled the store several times to no avail. There was only one display and one brand of batteries at Staples. None behind the customer service desk or at the end of the aisles. So, I surrendered. Gave up. Waved the white flag. Cried uncle. I went home with no batteries but knew taht somehow I would find the power to get through the weekend without them.

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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