Monday, October 18, 2010

A prelude to the rest of Friday night

It wasn't until I tried to open the front door and felt the resistance of the locked doorknob that I realized I had the set of keys that was missing a house key. At one-thirty in the morning, with a jacketless four-year-old shivering in my arms, I took a deep breath. Surely one of the four kids asleep inside will hear me knock and open the door. After all, how much more irritation could I have on this night? Apparently, a lot, as an hour later I was still banging on the door, ringing the doorbell and calling the house. I just was doing it a little more desperately by then...

5 : 3 0 P M  ( F r i d a y  e v e n i n g )
The day didn't begin to derail until evening, although many of the mitigating factors were already in place. The first thing was so small, it would normally settle in the backdrop of forgettable memories: for the first time ever, my well-loved and oft-used laminator jammed. Ignoring the warning picture of crossed out silverware- right next to the crossed out hand- I dug into that thing with a couple knives and wormed the ruined paper out. Like I said, a completely forgettable event, all it did was make me late so I was hurried and frustrated. However small, though, it was the beginning of the end.

6 : 1 5 P M :
I was already deep into my drive-a-thon, harried because my laminator issues forced our time schedule back by15 minutes. I'd picked up one of the 16-year-old boys from church and dropped him and my 12-year-old off for a game night activity at a leader's house, about 25 minutes from mine down a typical New England country road. Since Peter was working until eleven and Elise was going to the local high school play with a friend, I also had the other four kids in the car.

Because they were in such a grouchy, ants-in-their-pants mood, I decided I simply could not wait to run a few errands. After all, nothing says "relaxing Friday night" like taking 4 hungry, tired, and bored kids to a craft store, then next door to a bookstore, and then across the street to Target. I really must claim temporary insanity.

8 P M :
Yes, that would be 2 hours later, we were finally finished shopping. I will glaze over the frustration, the calls of

 "Don't touch that!"
"No, we are not buying a $75 peacock puppet."
"Not an owl one, either"
         and the
"It's the price, not the animal that causes the 'No'! Stop asking me about puppets!"
          intermingled with the  
"Don't run / yell / break anything / squeak your shoes."

(Did I mention that it was raining the whole time and the temperature was dropping quickly?) You can use your imagination to fill in any gaps in the specific details.

It was now past eight. The kids were still unfed and I was about 150% past my ability to stay calm and collected. All that frustration did produce the Halloween books I wanted and the presents the kids needed for birthday parties the next day, so it wasn't a complete loss. Dollar sandwiches at a fast food drive through fixed the hunger grouchiness and I was ready to go home and put the kids to bed.

As we pulled up, we saw a skunk scamper past corner that leads to the front porch. We honked and flashed our lights, but (for some odd reason) no one wanted to run out and check if the skunk had slunk off teh doorstep or waited with raised tail. I finally decided I was the bigger person (literally, I suppose, as the next biggest person was only 9), and ran to check. No skunk could be seen, although I wish I could X-ray vision all the bushes, so I quietly slipped through the door and opened the garage for everyone else to escape inside. I then closed the garage door firmly behind me.

It wasn't until that moment that the following three facts finally came together for me:

  1. Ryan had texted me that the game night finished at 10:30,  
  2. Elise was spending the night with her friend. 
  3. Peter was at work until 11 (which means he probably wouldn't be home until midnight).

All family members able to watch the kids were GONE except me. I realized I couldn't put the kids to bed, they had to come with me to pick up Ryan and the other boy. Not only was it already bed time, I had just over exhausted them by taking 2 hours to visit 3 stores. I knew this wouldn't end well.  I just had no idea how much worse it was going to be.

1 0 P M
Time to head off to pick kids up, I was perplexed to find three-quarters of my kids had managed to lose their jackets and shoes. We had only been home 1 1/2 hours! Not wanting to be late again, I issued a proclamation I would later regret,

"We're just picking up the kids and you're not getting out of the car.  Just leave your shoes and jackets at home. The sooner we leave, the sooner we'll get home and into bed."

My fate was sealed.

(To be continued)



  1. ohhhh I'm dreading the next Only because it seems like something I've done, and it never ends well on days like these.

  2. Oh boy, broken up into two parts even! It must be good...I mean bad.

  3. Friday nights are supposed to be fun! Your's sounds like it is about to end in a nightmare. Yikes!

  4. Oh gosh. I'm stressed out and I'll I'm doing is reading...

  5. I know how it ends!! ha ha! I can't wait to read it though.

  6. As the mother of the other boy and an earlier passenger (that I'm prayerfully hoping did not add to your dismal day) I thank you and am so sorry for act two....

  7. This is a real life Halloween terror story!

  8. but it makes for such a good blog post...can't wait to hear the rest!

  9. To be continued?????


    Don't you know my life is dull and boring and I am dying to find out how this ends???

    On a side note why haven't I heard this story yet? Has it been that long since we have talked?

  10. I am so so sorry about whatever happens next..but at the same time, I can't wait to hear it. Glad you are already at the point where you can look back on this and laugh. We are laughing with you, right?

  11. leaving home without shoes never bodes well... I'm already feeling bad for you (but a little eager to hear the rest of the story anyway)

  12. Eeek! After once taking my son to daycare in pajamas (clothes for the day in a bag) and forgetting his shoes, I actually considered keeping an extra pair in the car!

  13. I am anxious and exhausted from this post. I can only imagine how you felt! Sheesh! Can't wait for part two!

  14. I have a bad feeling about this...

  15. Oh my goodness! I definitely do not envy you your Friday night....but I am waiting with bated breath to know what happened next!

  16. I agree with Brenda. How come Kim knows the end and we don't?? I'm calling you tomorrow. That is crazy though. I laughed at the "don't run/yell/break anything/squeak your shoes" part. ;)

  17. Doh! I hope it ended better than I think it does,

  18. Looks like we are all waiting...

  19. Oh my! I'm almost afraid to hear the end!

  20. This cannot end well. Don't leave us hanging for too long!!!! :)

  21. AND THEN the magic fairy came to rescue you, place your babes to bed, and pick up Ryan. Oh, don't you love magic fairies???

  22. I'm so glad I am reading this all at once; I'm already feeling terrible for what I know was a horrible night...stay tuned for comment on final story...