It started with a plan to drive the family to Walnut Creek from Berkeley for a morning outing. Walnut Creek is about a 20 minute drive from my house but since it’s “through the tunnel” it can feel a lot further. We were going to marry up our errand to the Container Store with a visit to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. A perfect plan, really, if I do say so myself. A little for them, a little for us.
But it was not to be. Holden vetoed the wildlife museum almost immediately (Why? I don’t know. The kid hates new experiences and has to be bribed to leave his Legos on the weekend. Ugh.). Having checked the hours for our destinations, we arrived at the Container Store promptly at 10am on a rainy Sunday morning.
But the museum opened at 10. Not the Container Store. Frak.
We’d already driven soooo very far. What to do? Rookie Dad Alec and I scouted our surroundings and formulated a plan. We killed some time at the Barnes and Noble reading books and playing at the train table, and laid down our bribe of Starbucks’ hot cocoa if we all had good behavior at the Container Store afterward.
We left the bookstore at 10:55 and arrived back at the Container Store at 11:03. I strode over to the Elfa department to announce my arrival. In my imagination, I merely had to say “We’re here at long last to organize our closets,” and they would pack up my car with the perfect system (including the color-coordinated clothes).
Nope. At 11:03, we were too late. The two Elfa organizers were busy helping other customers. WTF, really? We were welcome to wait for a half hour with this handy dandy pager and browse for a while.
Oh no he didn’t. And that was the straw that broke my back. The long morning in the suburbs was the cherry on top of my “two-week home improvement” that has extended past Thanksgiving, Real Hannukah, Christmas, New Years, Rescheduled Hannukah, and almost into Valentine’s Day. That was the moment, when Mommy Lost Her Cool.
Something snapped alright. I chucked the pager across the store. I stormed out angrily. I left my own screaming children in my wake for their (loving and perfect) father to scoop up. I started hitting the sidewalk — and then the shopping carts — with my enormous umbrella until I heard something snap. Hmm, what was that? It couldn’t have been my temper, that’s already long gone! Uh oh, it was part of my umbrella.
The four of us stomped off to the car, Milo screaming and flames still coming out of my nose.
Then I eyed the Starbucks. At 11:15, wouldn’t we all fare a little better with a snack? Even though we had terrible behavior, a little cocoa might calm our nerves.
Sitting there, licking my wounds and my chocolatey drink, it occurred to me that if we had held onto the pager, we’d be halfway done by now. Instead, we had spent most of our morning NOT kitting out our new closet, not having a fun outing, and not playing at home with our Legos. Triple frak.
At that moment, my husband did something really brave. He went back in there. He made some apologies and got our names back on the list. Mortified at my own behavior, I put my raincoat hood up and I went back in too. Together with our children sprawled on the floor, we planned our office closet as fast as we possibly could just to get the heck out of there with a shred of dignity and some organizational supplies.
The joke was on me. Yes, after we made all our choices, they said I’d have to come back at 5pm to pick up the materials. I spared my family the pick up. And I kept my hood on the whole time.