We’re approaching one month of 24-hours-a-day-togetherness, also known as summer vacation. There were a sufficient number of distractions within those first few weeks. My mom visited. The professor’s dad visited. There were work obligations. And I didn’t quite have that desperate ‘how much longer is this ‘break’ going to be‘ feeling that plagues me during the month of August.
But this week, the feeling arrived, as I groaned inwardly (or outwardly) ‘you’re fighting over what?!’ accompanied by the failure to care that so and so scratched so and so, and so and so threw something at so and so’s back.
So Wednesday I decided we had to get out of the house. We dropped the professor off at work and drove directly to….Winners. Because the other night the professor made a comment about how there was an actual, large hole in our ten-years-old bedsheet. In a tone of voice that suggested ‘we’ should probably get a new one.
Which, of course, involves shopping.
And what could be better than shopping for bedding? Shopping for bedding with three boys.
The stop at Winners led to a stop at the library which led to a very lengthy stop at IKEA which, since we were already there, led to a stop at Costco.
Yes, I’m stupid.
The IKEA visit was the longest and the worst. The Gort had asked if he could have ‘haddock and chips’ from their restaurant. I had said yes, because who doesn’t say yes when their child asks if they can have a lunch that costs $1.99? But when we got to the restaurant, there was a lady in a yellow shirt shaking her head ‘no’. They were having trouble with the boiler and couldn’t make any hot food. She directed us downstairs to the 75 cent hot dogs.
I will eat hot dogs at home – but I will not eat 75 cent hot dogs from IKEA. So I bought one for each of the boys and bought myself a cinnamon bun. But when I took a singular bite from the overly-faux-cinnamon pastry, Percy demanded a bite and before I knew it, my cinnamon bun had been devoured by a pack of wolves in boy clothing.
And then we navigated the ‘market hall’ against traffic and it felt like five hours before we got to the textiles section because the Gort found a timer and was trying to set it for two minutes so it would go off and scare me. And Percy kept trying to find different surfaces on which to play with the car I’d bought for him at Winners. And the Hen was in the cart and out of the cart. And Percy had a horrifically-smelling diaper and kept trying to play with the switch on the lamp I’d [finally] gotten to replace the lamp whose shade broke in move number two or was it move number three or none of the above?
We were in IKEA for an hour and a half but it felt like we’d spent the entire day there. Still, we were low on cereal and a couple of other things, so I tried to rally the troops for a stop at Costco. ‘It will only take ten minutes,’ I insisted to my rather reluctant co-shoppers.
Which is, of course, a lie. The actual shopping might have only taken ten minutes, but the checkout line was another matter. With carts lined up side by side all the way to the clothing section, one woman with a whopping three items in her cart despaired: ‘At least you’re moving,’ she told me. ‘We’re not even moving.’
Our cart was right beside the candy display showcasing bags of 1.58kg peanut m&m’s. Three dollars cheaper than usual.
It took every ounce of willpower I had not to grab a bag from the display. ‘You won’t eat the entire bag in one sitting,’ my devilish self tried to persuade me. ‘Yes you will,’ my angelic, honest self argued.
And the two older boys were actually on the Costco floor fighting about something. And Percy had his new car shoved almost all the way into his mouth – the same car he’d pushed along the IKEA floor and the Costco floor, while staring at a thirteen-month-old-boy and asking ‘whyzhechewinondat’?
I could taste those peanut m&m’s, could feel the crunch of their candy shell under my teeth, but I did not succumb. I averted my eyes and pushed my cart to the check-out where I paid for my eight or seven items before driving home.
‘Where are you going?’ the professor asked when he saw me wearing black running shorts and a t-shirt.
‘I’m going to yoga.’