If I don't do this soon, Bindy's going to drive me to insanity with her inquiries. (Enough already!)
Last month, it was business as usual when I realized I was about to make a terrible mistake . . . I was going to miss Amy's 40th Birthday Circus. Sure, it was a bad time, and Bindy wasn't even going. But hello!? It would be crazy NOT to go. (Bindy, grab your kids! Make sure Best Friend Kid comes too . . . Violet is OBSESSED with Best Friend Kid. . . this can only support the cause of our roadtrip mission . . . )
I had believed Amy's husband, Pants, when he announced the pasty contest. I explained what a pasty contest is to my daughters because I didn't want them to panic if they saw their college-friends-for-life aunties running around with bandaids on their lady parts. So funny when people put jokes on party invitations. Really, it's a relief to get the pasty contest talk out of the way when the kids are still so impressionable.
Amy's circus had EVERYTHING. Bouncing, facepainting, henna tattoos, clowns, caricature drawing, swimming, ping pong, places for mothers to hide from their children, taco truck, roboband, career counseling . . . Daisy is now looking forward to a career in henna tattoo artistry; Violet settled on facepainting.
Bindy and I had our hands full, especially Bindy, because she always takes over the kids (best traveling companion ever). It was a blast, and I was totally spaced out. I left Bindy's car door wide open in the hotel parking lot. I left my phone on the ground in front of the hotel, I left my credit card in a restaurant. The kids formed a tribe advocating for unnecessary wardrobe changes and bringing the drama with them. After a long drive and a not short check-in, the kids told us they were going to "look" at the hotel pool. It's hard to explain what it feels like to find a bunch of kids in the pool when attempting to exit the premises. The kids thought they were sly, "What? We meant we wanted to look at the BOTTOM of the pool."
After the party, on the way back to the hotel, Bindy took a wrong turn (my bad) and drove for miles, unnecessarily, on dark, windy, stressful country roads. Bindy's daughter eventually coordinated with Pants on the cell to guide us back to civilization. Bindy was pretty stressed as she drove and drove and drove. I helped by entertaining the kids with relaxing stories like . . . did I ever tell you kids about my nipple ring? Had it until Daisy was born . . . your mother had an earth tattoo . . . blah, blah blah. Pan to Bin hunched over the steering wheel, whimpering, Yes, whimpering.
After we got the kids settled in back at the hotel, Bindy and I snuck out to the jacuzzi.We sat and talked with our feet in the water. About ten minutes in, Bindy started to like me again. Highlight of the trip. The part without the children.
Saturday, 7:15 p.m. -- Join the kids at their grandparents' after work.
The children are pumped on the second night of their grandparent sleepover weekend. The grandparents set a 9:00 a.m. departure time for our Mother's Day hike with the dogs. I think they enjoy seeing me squirm at their schedule challenge. There was no way I was going to wimp out in the face of seniors working full time and taking care of my children.
Saturday, 9:10 p.m. -- Let the grandparents eat.
However, I might make them wait for their dinner. That's right, if you mess with my Sunday morning sleep in, I'll ask you what you want at Subway then not return for two hours. Who's in charge now?
It's probably Violet. Two seconds out of the car, in front of the sandwich shop, I turn around to see Violet flip herself over a u-shaped metal bike rack, head first over cement, while a woman runs out of a nearby beauty salon sounding the universal parent alarm. I'm relieved when Violet lands in one piece on her feet, but once she notices her brand new owl necklace from Grandma is broken, she falls apart.
I have a policy against giving in to the meltdown, but there are times you just need to go to Target to look for another owl necklace. Besides, like most days, Target could solve 90% of my problems. I could do some last minute Mother's Day shopping while saving myself from yet another installment of I Miss My Owl Necklace.
There is an owl necklace at Target, but it isn't The Right One. Thankfully, Target is well stocked in Mother's Day cards and wine. After several zigzags through the store, I have Violet call Grandma, who apparently is hungry. Save it for the morning, Grandma.
Sunday, 8:23 a.m. -- Grandma says it's time to wakeup! Mom!
I'm so tired. I don't want to wake up. I don't know why I agreed to get up to go on a hike. None of it makes sense. But, there are breakfast burritos.
Sunday, 10:35 a.m. -- Almost out of the house.
My family dawdles with the best. I find an opportunity to sneak away for a little nap.
Sunday, 11:06 a.m. -- Daisy's shoes don't fit.
Time for a quick stop by Payless Shoes to set the stage for Violet's next meltdown. By the time we make it out of the store, exhausted from the emotional roller coaster called shopping for little girls' shoes, we realize it's time for a snack.
Sunday, 11:43 a.m. -- Corporate Chains, you're always there for me.
Simultaneous Starbucks and Jamba Juice, yatches.
Sunday, 12:48 p.m. -- The hike.
The girls are drama, and Violet screams when I try to take pics of her with her sister. Grandma falls while Lena becomes the first ever cattle-herding mini schnauzer. (Grandpa made the difficult choice to save the dog.) Sadie enthusiastically covers herself in cow manure and mud.
I walk a bit ahead for a good part of the hike, fed up with the drama and tired from my blood pressure prescriptions and poor sleeping habits. Behind me, the kids and the grandparents form a tribe of Ohlones foraging for acorns and hunting buffalo. They let me walk in peace and keep my real name for the game. Later, Daisy hands Grandma the dead buffalo on her back, saying, "Thanks for playing with me, Grandma."
Sunday, 3:01 p.m. -- We make our way back to the car and civilization known as Pasta Pomodoro.
Grandpa suggests we get an earlier start next time. Sure thing, Screaming Eagle.
I'd like to end on words my mother shares with me as often as she can, "Next time you write in your blog, write this: 'what I meant to say is I love my mother and I appreciate everything she does for me.'"
This picture makes me happy. It was the last weekend Bionic came for a visit, in August of 2010.
Bionic had taken the bargain bus up from Long Beach. It was also to be the last month of my marriage. I was completely broke, having just been cut from unemployment due to an unforeseen technicality, and I interviewed for a $15 an hour job before I picked up Bionic from the bus stop.
The theme of our weekend was freeloading. An acquaintance from high school who randomly showed up in town that first night bought us a round of drinks. He was making his money on shortsells in an undesirable city in California that he had moved to for a job, sight unseen, before accidentally making a baby with someone he quickly broke up with. He was counting the years until his daughter turned 18. I was jealous of him at several points in the conversation.
As Bionic and I walked our friend to his car, strangers sitting in a pickup politely offered us a joint. We thanked them but declined, and Bionic decided to do a bit of late-night shopping. She held her own in the hippie store turned ecstasy party before the saronged shopowner approached her. I took pictures from outside on the sidewalk, a safe distance from all the self-massaging. When Bionic joined me again, she said with a straight face, "That man is naked under that sarong." OK, everyone in town, play to type.
Bionic thought I was obsessed with the sarong guy. It's true. I couldn't get over that a punk like that could even have a business while I had nothing. That guy made me feel like a loser. Just the fact I was comparing myself to that trust fund baby was a bad sign. Still, the freakdom is a source of great inspiration for me. I stopped by two weeks later to see if I could get some updated pics of the shopowner (for Bionic, of course). Alas, the shop was no longer.
Time took off on me last month as did Organization and ATM card (twice). I was out of town last week on Violet's sixth birthday. You should have seen the pile of guilt offerings I left for Violet to discover on her birthday with her dad and sister. I totally got Fijit Friends.
The night before I left, the girls and I went to our favorite around the corner restaurant for Violet's birthday warmup.
Seated next to us at the restaurant was a woman who seemed to have recently arrived at the local greyhound station in search of her mind (don't stop here, lady, keep going). She took breaks from her hand gestures and warm conversations with plants to share how beautiful everything was again and again and again. Whatever the kids and I were talking about, she turned around to say, "I did the same thing!" with a kind and empty smile. I hope not.
The woman looked to be intently focused on a pencil drawing of her plant friends. When I got up to chase my children back to our table, I had to look at what she was drawing. It was a man's face.
There seem to be an increasing number of wanderers in my town who are in the process of losing their minds. They wander, and they're lost.Seeing others so down on their luck reminds me to appreciate what I have. I would prefer to not miss birthdays, but I did so for a good opportunity (don't stop here, keep going). Besides, the real party was today.