Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm Glad it's Not a Holiday Today

Today marks day one of Spring Break.  Marielle has been dreading the time off from school, so I've been trying to come up with a few activities and outings to show her that holidays at home can be fun.  Today I planned a bike ride to Costco where the girls could pick out their Easter dresses.   Sounds fun right?  A bike ride AND a new dress.  We headed out around 10:30 and even before we left Jenna made it clear she did not want to ride her bike.  I was feeling somewhat lazy and didn't want to pull in her the bike trailer so I insisted that she ride.  My hope was that once she got going she'd enjoy herself and our ride would be fun.  Not so.  Jenna cried getting on the bike.  She cried if she wasn't leading our group. She cried if I told her to pedal faster or we would pass her.  I knew it was going to be a looong trip when the elderly gentleman walking along the bike path was making better time than we were.  As we turned onto Phelps road, we passed an abandoned Costco cart. 
That's when I had my great idea: we could ditch the bikes and do some community service by returning the cart to Costco! We found a bike rack next to the apartment complex we were passing and locked up our bikes.  I hoisted Jenna and Rex into the cart and continued on our way.  I was feeling pretty smiley because after all, I was a model citizen cleaning up the neighborhood and teaching my kids this important lesson too.  Then we saw another stray cart.  Why not take back two? 

The two carts stacked were a little heavier to push and certainly more awkward for the kids riding, but my self satisfaction grew.  Now I was really earning brownie points.  We lumbered along and just as we were entering Grisch Park...I saw another abandoned cart. 

Should I?  No.  But really, we were almost there.  I couldn't resist.  Go big or go home right? I dashed across the street and rescued the third cart.  Pushing three carts with two kids inside who together weigh about 75 pounds was really hard!  I was struggling something fierce at the end.  And my moral had plummeted because somewhere shortly after cart three the folly of my ways dawned on me -- I would have nothing to transport my three kids home.  No car, no stroller, no bike, nada.  The thought of walking home while herding Rex and Jenna was daunting.  But still, rolling those carts through the cart return gate was a pretty nice moment.

We entered Costco and went straight to the dress rack.  Marielle and Jenna happily picked out their dresses in no time.  We went rolling down the aisle to hit up the samples, but the booths were only setting up so we were out of luck.  :(  We set out for the walk home with the promise of playing at the park as incentive.  Rex was feeling energetic so he and Jenna ran most of the way, making the first half of our walk not bad at all.  We didn't play long because the lure of food and nap time was pulling me pretty hard towards home. Getting Rex to follow me out of the park was not going well. I walked ahead to force movement, but as we all know, you can only push that gimmick so long before you become a negligent caregiver abandoning your child in public. I was calling over my shoulder to Rex to hurry up when I saw a familiar sight.  So familiar and like a dream, there was my van parked in that very parking lot.  Huh? Ryan had taken the car to school because he needed it at lunch time and since UCSB is on Spring Break he figured a ticket wasn't likely.  Could fate have delivered someone else driving a van JUST LIKE OURS to tease me?  I whipped out my phone and called Ryan.

"Are you parked at Grisch Park???"
"Yes.  How did you know?"
"Because we are at Grisch Park right now!"

We hung up our phones and the kids ran to greet dad.  We swapped stories to figure out how we both ended up at the park.  For his part, while at school he realized that his parking pass was only good for holidays and he wasn't sure if Spring Break actually qualified. He decided not to risk it, and printed some articles to read off campus.  He chose to stop at Grisch Park to read since it was on his way to his lunch appointment.  I was surely glad to see him, and even gladder to know that we could pop all three kids in the car and ride home.  It was a happy ending after all.  


Annie said...

Funny story! You should have just taken a cart back to your bikes! I mean, you took THREE carts back to the store. Taking ONE out still leaves you ahead by TWO! :)

Cute dresses!

Katie said...

That was a nail biter!

I imagine when the kids are grown, you are going to give yourself a giant hug for taking the time to capture these kinds of days. Well done!

Lisa said...

I'm with Annie. I loathe cart abandoning, but I think returning 2 and using 1 for transportation back to your bikes more than balances it out.

But I guess you could also say, where is my faith in the idea that things will turn out if you do the right thing? And taking a cart back to abandon it probably would have meant not receiving the blessing of Ryan being at the park just when you needed him. Wow. This is the stuff Gospel Doctrine lessons are made of, my friend/former teaching partner.

Camille said...

Great story! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was so glad that it ended well. What luck to see your van with Ryan in it! :) And the dresses are adorable!