It was ONE mocha. 16 ounces. Not even filled to the brim. It was mostly ice. I didn’t even drink it all. And I paid cash for it, okay? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is a process, people.
I didn’t wake up on this beautiful summer Saturday with the intentions of violating my vow of caffeine abstinence. Rather, here is how my day unfolded …
- My husband leaves early to attend an all-day course in the city so he can gain his state counselor certification … more specifically, he is just getting the paperwork in order to validate his new role as a “leisure specialist” for children with behavior disorders. One part admirable. One part luckiest man alive. What is it you do? Oh, go bowling with kids all day? Yes, I can see the therapeutic and social value in tossing the football all afternoon. Again, I digress. My husband leaves early. I roll over and make myself comfortable in the middle of the bed with all of the pillows. I figure maybe if I’m really comfortable, I can ward off today’s battle with the decaffeinated headache.
- My children wake up and play quietly by themselves for … like … an hour. Who am I to interrupt sibling bonding? I stay in bed.
- The phone rings. And not an easy-to-ignore ring, either. No, we have one of those not-so-old-but-designed-to-look-old phones from Pottery Barn with a ring that could wake the dead. The kind that sounds like the bell ringing in a fire station, only it echoes off of our wood floors and high ceilings in a way that makes you hurdle furniture on your way to answer it just to silence the damn thing. Especially when it is your wake-up call. (One more item for the yard sale.)
- It is our good friends, and former neighbors, asking where we are … it is, after all, FAMILY FUN DAY in the community we’ve just moved from. I check the calendar. I check the clock. I check the cupboards. Let’s go, kids. We have exactly 43 minutes to eat, get dressed, pack a bag of pre- and post-swim clothes, load up the bikes for the parade, find the sunscreen, prepare a dish for the potluck, and coax the dog into the car. Let’s do this.
- We make it. Just in time to decorate the bikes with streamers and balloons. There are approximately 100 kids here. Under the age of 12. Excited kids. With bikes and bells and whistles. I’ve been awake for roughly 44 minutes. Fed the kids, but didn’t have time to eat myself, as I was searching through a load of laundry for my swim suit. Odd that it’s still sitting on the living room couch, and hasn’t been folded yet. The maid (that’s me), must be on vacation or something.
- And then the headache sets in. I am miles from my precious bottle of Excedrin Migraine. My friend-who-knows-me-so-well offers me a Bloody Mary. Well, I suppose it is Family Fun Day, so … just this once. I thought maybe that would do the trick. Turns out alcohol and caffeine have opposite effects on the brain. Not sure why I thought that would do the trick. Now I have an empty stomach, a headache, a cocktail, and I’m walking in a parade with 100 children on bikes with streamers around the neighborhood.
- We get to the park. Field games. Hula-hoop contest. Musical chairs. Three-legged race. Egg toss. Hottest day of the year. Prickly, sunburnt grass. Whiny kids who don’t want to participate. Beads of sweat glistening across my forehead. Dog that gets loose and runs through the field disrupting all of the games. (That’s my dog.) Old lady who scolds me for my dog not obeying the leash law, because she’s afraid my 8-year-old, arthritic golden retriever is going to bite her. Can’t she see that he has his leash on as he runs wild around the field chasing the balls the kids are tossing? Thanks to the man who dove across the field to tackle him. Where is my husband, anyway? If this is not a prime opportunity for a Leisure Specialist to do his work, I don’t know what is. Maybe if he were here, the kids would be out there participating instead of sitting on top of me in this 1,000 degree heat.
- Games are done. By the grace of God. Load the kids and the dog back into the air-conditioned vehicle. Head is now throbbing. But my son wants to say for the pool events. I promise him we’re just going home to grab lunch and change, and we’ll be right back. He repeats the plan to me at least 17 times during our 4 mile drive, as if each time he says it, he’s chiseling it in stone so that I cannot change my mind and make him take a nap or some other form of childhood punishment. YES! We’re going back, I say. Exasperated. Unless you ask me again. And then we’re not leaving this house again for the rest of the summer.
- Eat some food. This left-over hot dog on its stale bun with high-fructose-free ketchup has never tasted so good.
- The clock is ticking. We grab the towels that we forgot earlier. Leave the dog at home, and stop at the gas station on the way back to Family Fun Day. What? There’s an espresso machine here? I had no idea. Listen. Nobody’s having fun if Momma’s head is about to explode. Mocha? Yes please. Guzzle it. Before I even get the final quarter-mile to the pool.
- Pool Olympics with 100 kids? Awesome. All is right with the world.
Kids win a blue ribbon that reads “I love Family Fun Day.” They’re so excited to have something to put in the cardboard boxes that they glued seashells to at craft time–while they’re wearing the bright blue baseball caps with googly eyes that they also made at craft time. Three items each. And they are so proud of their crap … er … crafts. Six more items to add to the collection of “stuff” I am trying to minimize. Oh well. They had fun. And it didn’t cost me a penny. (We’ll work on minimizing in a few days when we tackle the toys.)
Family Fun Day. Indeed.