As part of the ‘Summer Fun’ series, I took the boys for a bike ride in Fish Creek Park last night. ‘What a great mom,’ clueless readers might be apt to think. But there are, of course, several important omissions within that first sentence.
1. The boys had zero desire to go to Fish Creek Park. ‘I’m not going!’ the Gort yelled, ‘I want to play Lego. I’m staying home!’
2. It was 5.45pm and all three of my boy-children were still wearing their pajamas…and had done nothing BUT play Lego. For six straight hours.
3. [Okay, minus the nearly two hours the Gort sat in front of the computer….. playing Lego.]
4. It was 5.45pm and I hadn’t fed my boy-children any dinner. And I had no food with which to make dinner.
So with freshly-dressed, unwilling, and hungry participants, I set off for Fish Creek Park.
We dropped the professor off at his soccer game and stopped at Safeway for some dinner-ish snacks. ‘Could we get these,’ the Gort begged, handing me a box of….Ritz sandwich crackers. ‘Um, no’ I declined. ‘Why? It’s hell-fee!’ he insisted. ‘Actually, it’s not,’ I countered. ‘It has cheese in the middle and cheese has pro-teen’ he broke it down for me. And I rued the day I told him about protein. I briefly contemplated discussing the intricacies of processed cheese, but decided against it.
‘I wish we could get this,’ he sighed several minutes later. While standing in the deli section, in front of the ‘ready-appetizer’ cooler where he was eyeing…..a vegetable plate. The kind with pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, celery (with brown edges), cherry tomatoes and thumb-sized carrots. And a small container of ranch dipping sauce in the middle.
It wasn’t the first time he’d coveted a vegetable platter. And it probably wasn’t the first time I relented and spent $10 on $3 worth of vegetables. ‘Can I have this one,’ the Hen begged sensing opportunity; pointing to the fruit platter beside the vegetable plate. ‘Maybe next time,’ I dashed his dreams. Because I couldn’t fathom spending $20 on dinner-ish snacks. And I have issues with purchasing cut-fruit: it almost never tastes good.
Several minutes and two Percy tantrums later, we left the grocery store and headed to the park. We sat in the car, eating turkey and cheese sandwiches, while the Gort ate his ranch dressing with a side of vegetables. And then we were off.
But first Percy had to climb onto the Hen’s bike, growling at its rightful owner – refusing him access.
And then we were off.
The sky was an ominous gray in the west, and relatively clear in the east. So we headed west. The older boys biked, and I carried my 25-pound sack of potatoes. Because Percy doesn’t want to ride in strollers anymore. But Percy also doesn’t want to walk. Which means if I want to go somewhere, I have to carry him. The entire way.
So we (I) walked, and the boys rode ahead of us. And the sky grumbled several times, but I told myself it was fine. That the orange streaks across the sky weren’t flashes of lightning. That it probably wasn’t going to rain. And even if it rained a little, we could just turn around and head east.
And, ten or so minutes into our walk-ride, the skies opened up and it began to pour. ‘Go!’ I urged the biking boys, who patiently stopped every so often to let the pedestrian catch up. I did my best to hustle – which was not an easy feat on account of the floursack – who was not amused by the raindrops pelting his head.
‘No tickle me!’ he yelled at the sky. Followed by laughter. Followed by irritation.
It occurred to me that walking in the rain is one of those highly overrated activities that people inevitably put on their must-do-this-summer lists. Along with reading on the beach and flying a kite and seeing Old Faithful erupt.
Oh, wait, maybe that was just moi.
When we got to the car, it started raining pellets of ice: aka, hailing. I stuffed the bikes into the back of the car-van and fell into the driver’s seat. Worn out.
In my tired-stupor, I remembered about the professor playing soccer, in the same climatic conditions – less than three blocks away. So we drove to the soccer field, ostensibly to pick him up. Except the 35-and-over set had apparently decided they’d rather play soccer in lightning and hail than return to their children an hour earlier than planned.
We waited in vain for our paternus familias. Then I took the boys to Starbucks for hot chocolate.
‘What should we do before summer’s over?’ I surveyed the blondies while we sat at a table in our soaking wet clothes.
‘Ride the city train,’ the Gort announced.