Friday, September 4, 2009

Life is an Adventure

Our last day of summer vacation. Last year, I recorded our day of misadventures, the highlight of which was a trip to the bowling alley. Don't ask me what made me think it would be a good idea to repeat history.

Before I regale you with today's events, you must understand two things about Jackson this week. First, he needs to repeat everything five times. He is kind enough to paraphrase himself and at least not just repeat the exact same words.

It might be something as innocuous as a TV show: "Mommy, I love this show. I've seen this show before. This is a great show. Mommy, did you know this is the best show ever? I love this one."

Or something that is annoying him: "Sydney isn't answering me. I asked her a question and she didn't answer me. Why won't she answer me? Mommy, I used a nice voice and Sydney won't talk to me. She just sits there and won't say anything."

The other thing is that he is very wiggly. He always has wiggly tendencies, but this week he is especially so. I know this because this week at bedtime, when normally he is mildly unwiggly and sometimes even cuddly, he is extra wiggly. I am trying to read Harry Potter and he is doing a headstand in our bed and he is bouncing his feet against the headboard, which makes reading challenging. I ask him to stop and he will then do some gyrations with the blankets and make the mattress bounce.

I suspect both repeating himself and extra wiggliness is somehow related to his needing to be back at school. At least that is what I'm hoping.

Anyway, today, we had nothing planned except that I wanted to get Jackson running shoes for school. The last time I took him to a shoe store was last spring, it was a family trip and the two of them ran wild throughout the store. Husband and I could not contain them and the angry Mommy voice was ever present. They are not usually like that or at least not that bad.

So last weekend, I left them with their Daddy and took one of each of their old runners with me for size comparison and bought them new running shoes. Sydney's fit perfectly. Jackson's seemed to fit in the toe but his heel was coming out. So I needed to bring the feet to the store with me, which of course required bringing the actual boy along as well (I briefly considered but dismissed the thought of making a plaster of paris cast of his foot.)

As a carrot to elicit cooperation, I suggested that we check out a brand new bowling alley across the street from the shoe store. It just opened and I wanted to check it out as possible birthday venue. The kids asked if we can actually bowl. I told them we don't know if it's open, or if kids can bowl there or if it will be too busy. I ultimately agreed that we will either bowl there or go to our usual alley, further away.

We agreed these will be our after lunch plans. They spent the morning playing together relatively well by this week's standard. Before we left I wanted to impress on them that bowling is dependant on good behaviour in the shoe store. I went to find them and they were downstairs getting their shoes on already.

"Let's go bowling!!" Jackson said enthusiastically.

"First, the shoe store!!" I said equally enthusiastically.

"Why do we have to go to the shoe store?" Jackson asked, as if it's the first he's heard of it.

As if he doesn't know. Not only had he agreed to the whole plan earlier, but I've tried to take him several times this week and he has declined expecting the shoe fairy to deliver appropriately sized, coloured and fitting shoes under his pillow.

"We need to get you shoes before school starts. So shoe store, then bowling alley."

"Can't we go to the bowling alley first?"


"Why not?"



"We are not going bowling unless we go to the shoe store first. And you must behave at the shoe store or we will not be bowling. Deal or no deal?" Honestly, if we don't bowl, I do not know what we will do with the rest of the afternoon.

After, a small tantrum some reflection he reluctantly agreed to the terms.

On the drive over we had only one incident, and they were otherwise perfectly behaved. As we arrived at the shoe store, Jackson asked for a rating on their behaviour so far: 5%, 10%, 50% or 100%.

I told them I'd rate them 95%. Jackson told me that I had to pick from his numbers. I told him 100% was the closest but they did have that one little issue.

"So you're saying 50% then?"

Seriously. We're not even in the shoe store yet.

We got to the business of getting Jackson some shoes. The problem is at his shoe size, a lot of shoes have laces. I do not have the kind of time required for him to have lace up shoes for grade 3. He can tie shoes but ... it's a little time-consuming. We have enough issues getting to school, into van etc and I don't need a new variable thrown into the mix. So there aren't a lot of shoes to choose from without laces (i.e. that have Velcro). And Jackson seems to have a narrow heal so it lifts out of some shoes. It just depends on the make.

The whole thing starts badly with both of them running away. I corralled them into one aisle and they are jumping up and down knocking shoes off the racks. I told them to sit as I would a dog. One of them complied. The other at least stopped bouncing around.

We eventually got a pair we thought would work. I wanted Jackson to wear around for a bit to make sure (I've been here before) and sure enough he said his heel was lifting when he walked.

The sales clerk made a second attempt to talk us into lace shoes before seeking her manager's assistance in other shoe options. Manager also enthusiastically suggested lace shoes.

Eventually we had two more options to consider and I had a hard time getting Jackson to tell me how they fit. Yet, he kept saying "can we go bowling now??" At long last he attended to the task and said with remarkable clarity "they both feel good Mommy, but this one rubs my toe a bit so I think we should go with that one". Done.

Off we went to the bowling alley. I reminded them that we don't know if it's open blah blah blah.

We went in and it is indeed open. It's shiny and new and empty and quiet and I think I might just move in here it's so beautiful. So we started ordering up shoes when they broke the news to me that they are only taking cash. I have about $4 in change. I needed $12.

I asked where the nearest branch of our bank is and I get stunned looks. Seemed like these folks aren't from around here. I asked if they have a phone book and I got equally stunned looks. One helpful fellow brought out his Blackberry, which I can tell he is not supposed to use, and asked his manager if he can look it up for me. The manager told me that he is certain that if I go to the dollar store next door to buy something they will let me take out extra cash.

So to the dollar store we went. We have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the dollar stores. They love them and I hate them. But it does seem like an easy solution. I told the kids plan A: get extra cash back at dollar store, plan B: drive to bank to get cash and then back to bowling alley. I needed to get some party plates for Sydney's birthday so we headed to the birthday aisle but Sydney saw nothing she likes.

Meanwhile, Jackson asked how exactly I'm going to get cash at the dollar store. How does that work? Why would the dollar store people give me cash? Why do we have to buy something? Couldn't we just ask them for cash?

We found another birthday aisle and Sydney studied the new options and Jackson said "MOMMY, I'LL BE RIGHT THERE IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR ME!!!", pointing to the other side of the store. He of course said it 5 times and bounced around like he had red ants in his pants. I tried to tell him that he does not wander away in stores, but I realized it's futile and we all must go where he wants. And then I realized why the urgency. It's Halloween stuff. And we all know about the spooky obsession, dollar stores and the J Boy. So we went up and down the aisles looking at very cool spooky paraphernalia and we settled on a $1 package of glow in the dark cobwebs to decorate our door come October. Having fed the spooky monster we headed back to the birthday aisle and Sydney picked out cake plates and napkins to her satisfaction.

"Ok, I think we can go pay" I said.

"Just a second, can I just look over here ..." Sydney and I followed Jackson up and down every aisle. Eventually he told us that he saw a kid with a wizard's wand and he wanted one. We can't find it. We asked cashier and she didn't think they have it (Jackson did allow that said child may have got it from somewhere else and just happened to be in the store with it) but she showed us a few possibilities, none were the right item.

We finally got to back to the checkout. "Is there any chance I could get an extra $20 with that?" I ask.


I left with a vague idea of where the closest branch of our bank is. At this point I would have been well-served to get over my pathological distaste of excess bank fees and just gone to any old ATM to get some cash. But since I had to get in the car anyway, I decided I may as well find my own bank.

So into the car we loaded and we drove to the street on which the bank is located. I knew that it was "across the street from the Safeway". But I had only been on this street once before. I got to one particular intersection and I knew we were close but don't know whether to turn left or right. I picked left based on dollar store lady's vague directions. I was in the left turn lane and saw the Safeway. To the right.

"Just turn right Mommy. Go Right. Mommy, there is the Safeway just go that way. Mommy you're going the wrong way. Can't you just go right?"

"I'm hungry" Sydney says.

I told the kids, no problem, we'll turn around. I turned down a side street and Jackson cannot believe how daft I am because in his mind, perhaps understandably for the non driver,"turning around" would have been riding right over the curb to turn around or at the very least doing an illegal u-turn. So I got a round of "Mommy, this isn't turning around. The Safeway isn't down here. Mommy this isn't the right way. I thought you were going to be turning around. Not this way!!"

It's kind of like having a woodpecker tapping at your brain.

"Mommy, I said I'm HUNGRY!" Sydney repeated.

We got back on the right street and I saw a pub called "Johnny B" and I remembered Dollar store lady saying "it's right by Johnny B!!" So I turned in and saw 2 banks but not the right one.

Fortunately, once I exited the parking lot I saw our bank.

Our luck had not yet changed as the street was blocked off by a police car as was the parking lot for the bank. I knew that the only reason they block off a street in this manner when a parade or prime ministerial motorcade is not involved, is when there has been a serious car accident involving a fatality or very serious injuries. I was sobered.

I was forced to turn and chose right. Jackson told me to pull over. Five times. I told him that we can't stop there, let alone park.

I turned into a parking lot and found it full. An adjacent lot had in menacing letters PRIVATE PARKING ONLY. Jackson, every the helpful boy "Mommy, park there! There's lots of spots. Why can't we park here?..."

I told him that it's private and we can't park here. I pulled into a spot just so I can back out and turn around and Jackson tells me "Mommy we can't park here, it's private parking. I thought you said we couldn't park here ..."

"Mommy" Sydney said, "I'm hungry".

I seriously wondered if I can get one of those sound proof privacy shields they have in limos.

I belatedly took charge of the situation. "It's not a problem. We're going to park by Safeway and walk. We'll get some cash at the bank and then we'll get a snack. And then we'll go back to the bowling alley. Hey you know what this is like?? Freddie Fish."

It's a game they like to play on the computer where Freddie Fish needs to find three golden bars. He finds one in a clam shell. To get it, he needs a clamp to hold open the shell. He find a clamp but the man that has the clamp doesn't know how to speak English. Freddie found another man with a foriegn phrase book but can only buy it with an orange sea urchin. You get the idea.

"So here is our Freddie Fish adventure" I told them. "We want to bowl but when we went to the bowling alley, we needed cash. We went to the dollar store but they wouldn't give us cash. We need to get to the bank but we couldn't find it. Then we finally found the bank, but we don't have parking. Now we'll find parking and get cash, but we're hungry and need snacks." They kind of liked that.

So we got cash, discovered a very nice neighbourhood coffee house where I stuffed them full of cinnamon buns while I had a latte.

And then we bowled.

And so ends the summer of 2009. Life is an adventure. I need to remember that.


Ellie said...

I giggled my way through this whole post. We had the same exact day today, but it was the arcade and not the bowling alley.

Congrats on the end of a successful summer!

Konnie said...

Thanks Ellie.

Arcade?? I have aversion to arcades almost as strong as my aversion to excess bank fees! You are very brave woman.

DramaMama86 said...

I, too, roared reading this post. I can't tell you how many times Darling Husband and I have said, "GAWD, don'tcha wish we had one of those privacy glass shields like they do in limos?" We have three kids between us (2nd marriage for both) and the three loudest offspring in Christendom.