When I decided to make this morning a productive morning, I should have known I was headed for disaster. With two small children in tow, even one uneventful outing is a miracle. If I can make it to and home from wherever I'm going without a major outburst, it's been a good day. So planning three all-at-once-without-returning-home stops is never a good idea. But this morning, I had places to go.
First stop: The Gym. The gym stop is so deeply engrained in my kids' brains, that I can happily plan on arriving, dropping off at the kids' club, working out, and escaping without causing a big scene. Normally we leave and go straight home so as not to be seen in my sweaty, post-workout state. I shower, the kids have some down time, they nap, and we plan any other outings for later. Today was different. I wanted to get it all done at one time. It's only two more public places, I told myself. They're getting older...they can handle it, right?
I head to my second stop: The Mall to exchange The Boy's new shoes for a smaller size before they give the last pair in his size to another. After the somewhat painful exchange is made (because The Boy can't bear parting with the too-big-shoes...until I let The Girl carry the new box that he just CANNOT let her have), we run out of the mall before one more person glares at the Children (and me) for screaming. With a small hand in each of mine, we run out of the store as their legs flail behind them while trying to keep up with my get-us-the-heck-out-of-here pace.
I throw the kids in their carseats, start the car, and The Boy promptly starts to whine that he missed his "show." I bribe him to behave for just one more stop. Third stop: The library. My kids love the library, because I let them choose all the movies and books they want...they're free! I tell him that maybe, just maybe, the library will have a Word World DVD. But before we go look at the DVD's, I just have to clear something up at the counter.
A few weeks ago, we rented several DVD's. I returned all ten of them on time, not wanting to pay any more dang library fines. Shortly after returning them, I received an email saying that two of the DVD's (both Elmo) weren't returned properly, so I owed the library $30.00! I knew I'd returned them in the same condition I'd received them (or so I thought), so it had to be a mistake. And $30.00?!?!? I could buy them both new for less than that!
I stand at the counter, and calmly explain to the library lady what happened. She looks at me and explains that the paper covers inside the cases are ruined, and that the barcode is torn off one, leaving the DVD's in a state unsuitable for re-circulation. As a line forms behind me, the tears threaten to flow. Maybe it's the money. Maybe it's The Girl now hanging upside down in my arms as she tries to squirm away. Maybe it's the impatient people in line behind me wanting me to pay the dang $30.00 already so they can get on with paying their own library fines! Maybe it's the lady who stopped to tell me that my daughter's shoe is on wrong. Whatever it is, I am on the verge of tears. I, still in my sweaty gym clothes, trying to be productive and responsible on this gloomy Monday morning, fight back tears and ask if anyone can help me so that I won't have to pay this stupid fine (especially if I can't even keep the two movies!)
A manager comes out, re-explains to me that my children are obviously the ones who ruined the paper inserts. (And how can I blame her for thinking that my kids are the ones, when hundreds of children have handled the same DVD's? The hundreds of others aren't present, whining and crying, running in circles, speaking in very un-library-like voices, now, are they?) But somehow, out of the kindness of her heart (because there is no kindness in her voice or eyes), she reduces the $30 fine to $10. I gladly pay, then run out, little legs flailing behind, as the Boy screams that he wants to get his library movies. We are NEVER getting another movie from the library, I threaten. Not if it's going to cost me each time you two get your little paws on one!
We make it home. We eat lunch. We calm down. I let myself cry a bit. I feel better. I knew there were health benefits from crying. Who doesn't feel better after a good cry? But I didn't know there were financial benefits, as well. A few months ago, my tears got me out of a speeding ticket (for going 14 mph in a 10 mph zone at the airport). Today, they saved me $20. So as much as I hate being emotional, I guess I'm gonna keep crying! And I guess I'll limit my public post-workout outings to a minimum!