<I didn't forget you, Monica...at last, the Home Depot tales>
Nothing can cause more despair than when you are standing over a toilet, and the water just keeps on rising, rising, rising...and sloshes all over your bathroom.
I looked at all that water, realized my little mop was not going to cut it, and cursed my husband loudly as I looked at the clock. It was 8:30 pm. He was at work. I was hugely pregnant, just getting everyone ready for bed, and not looking forward to what I knew I must do.
"Come on, kids," I said. "We have to go out for something."
"What? It's nighttime..." Nolan (then 4 years old) protested. Ben (then 2) put his arms up for me to pick him up the second I said "go out."
"What happened, Mommy? I heard you say some bad words." Nolan asked.
"The toilet is clogged." He gave me a funny look. "It's not my fault, all I did was pee. That had to be your Dad's doing, before he went in to work," I ranted. "And now, because there is water all over my bathroom, we need a mop and a plunger. We have to hurry to get there before they close. <choice words, muttered under my breath...> "What did you say, Mommy?" "I'm gonna kill him when he gets home."
I'm feeling all the crazies only a pregnant woman can feel; just ready to either cry or hurt someone, as I load the kids up into the car.
We make it to Home Depot with some time to spare. I grab a serious mop, and a plunger. Ben is sitting in the big basket, so things are moving along rather smoothly.
I should have known.
We're waiting our turn to pay, and Ben starts flashing his big baby blues at people, talking away. "Hi, I'm Ben. This is my brother Nolan. I'm two, and he's four. My Mommy is going to have a baby, and it's a boy baby."
Ordinarily, it's cute. Considering it's late, and by this time I'm crossing the line from 'irritable' to 'homicidal,' I'm not finding it so cute. I sigh as I push the cart up, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, envisioning my pjs and blessed slumber. Now, he starts chatting up the saleslady, in addition to the 5 or so people waiting in line.
"We had to come out and buy this stuff because my Mommy went poop and plugged up the toilet." I feel my face flush immediately, as chuckles erupt down the line.
How do you respond to that? No matter what I say, they're not going to believe me.
I settle for the Mom-glare that would melt an iceberg, whisper to him to be quiet and shrug, "It really wasn't my fault" as more chuckles emerge from my fellow shoppers.
"Gee, thanks, Ben," I hiss at him as we leave the store. I'm just beside myself; I mean, it's not enough injustice to be carrying around a baby that makes you look as though you should paint "Goodyear" across your butt and be done with it, nooooo, now I have to deal with the added shame of having been branded as the defiler of toilets.
Needless to say, it was a long, LONG time before I set foot in that Home Depot again.
And the next time was a winner, too.
Nolan and Ben were walking behind me, and I was pushing Ryan in the cart. I kept turning around and checking on them, because they were wearing soccer slides and walking really slow. As usual, the object you seek in Home Depot is always in the aisle either two aisles back (which you just passed) or in the aisle on the complete other side of the store from you. I'm tired (yes, it's pointless to ever consider not being tired) and cranky (another after work jaunt); I just want to get the hell out of there and go home.
I hear "clap!" "ker-thud" "clap!" "ker-thud" over and over. What the heck are they doing? I look over my shoulder, and have one of those moments, where you have to make a choice and hope it's the right one. The boys were letting the slide dangle off their toes, and flinging them up in the air, and giggling like mad when they landed and made a funny noise. Like I mentioned, I was tired, and just trying to get it done so I could get out. I decided not to make a big deal out of it, they were entertaining themselves, and not using duct tape to do it, which was just a bonus. They continued this way all throughout the store, which was fine, as there weren't many people in it. No harm, no foul.
I'm heading for the register, and turn around to make sure they were following closely.
Nolan is walking funny. ??? "Why are you walking fu--" I start to ask, and I look down at his feet....where he is now only wearing one slide. "Where's your shoe?" I ask, irritated.
He and Ben exchange a guilty "you tell her--no you tell her" look. "Um, I don't know." ??? "It's your shoe, buddy, how do you not know?"
"Okay, don't get mad..." (Truthfully, does any good ever come with what follows that particular statement? I think not.) "I'm not mad." "Well, you know how we were playing with our shoes? I lost mine because it went waaaaay up high (gestures upward) and it didn't come down."
"Where?" "Back that way," he replies, gesturing <you guessed it> a couple of aisles back.
Sigh. "Come on, let's go look."
We went up and down the aisle a couple of times. I decided that this was stupid, the shoe was lost, and most likely, judging from his gestures, lost up amongst the pallets stacked up to the sky. "Let's go."
"But Mommy, my shoe..." "No. We're leaving. You'll just have to hop to the car." There were pleas, and some tears, but I held fast. "Look, you don't even know exactly where you lost it. I'm not asking them to crawl up on top of all those pallets/shelves/boxes just for one stinkin' shoe."
He hopped to the register. He hopped to the car. He hopped into our house.
I felt my familiar flush, and vowed never to set foot in that Home Depot again. And I didn't--until right before Audrey was born...and I went alone.
And the kids? Well, as a result of this incident, shopping always requires footwear that cannot be dangled or flung.
It doesn't matter, though. There are other ways to get Mom when she's out shopping, like announcing to everyone "Hey! something stinks over here--did you fart?" in a voice so loud people on the opposite side of the store from them start sniffing the air and looking at each other quizzically, while trying to maintain that aura of "It wasn't me."
Really. It wasn't.