Table for Five

I think I was in the Twilight Zone yesterday

Yesterday was a bad day. I took the kids to Walmart after school because both the boys had way outgrown last year’s jeans. And with morning temps in the 40s, it was time for them to stop wearing shorts. So off we went, and at first everything was going fine. Ryan found jeans and cargo pants that fit and a t shirt with Rorshach (his favorite Watchmen character) on it, Nathan found skinny jeans that make him look way emo and a pair of cargo pants and a t shirt with Rock Band on it.  While Nathan was trying his pants on, Ryan took Kaitlyn over to the toy section to keep her occupied.

Which ended pretty much the way I should have expected it to – with her lying FACE DOWN ON THE FLOOR screaming her fool head off about how she needed something to play with, after she realized I wasn’t buying her any new toys.  I just calmly kept walking and she got up and followed me. Still whining and crying, of course.  It’s always fun to be in a public place and have a screaming, wailing kid following you. These ladies in the school supply aisle turned and looked, so I said “she’s crying because I won’t buy her more toys, I’m the meanest Mom in the world”. I got the universal Mom head-nod and look of understanding for that.

We then headed over to grocery, for cereal and snacks and something for dinner, we were having fun in the produce section picking up the weird spiny gourds that always go on display before Halloween, I have no idea what people do with them.  Oh, before that, back in the toy section, Kaitlyn had carried a bottle of water into the store with her, it was less than half full, and it was sitting in the cart basket, and of course it spilled. So I went over to electronics and stood there for like five minutes while the lady working there talked and talked and talked to this couple who weren’t even buying anything, apparently it was chatty time. I spied a roll of “paper towel” and just walked over and took it.

I put “paper towel” in italics back there because what came off that roll was more like toilet paper, and not even good toilet paper, but that less-than-one-ply crap that cheap stores put in their bathrooms. What is up with that, Walmart?  YOU SELL TOILET PAPER.  Pony up a couple of bucks and put real toilet paper in the bathrooms and real paper towel at your electronics boat. People spill stuff! I mean geez, I was trying to clean it up myself, but what came off that roll wasn’t even absorbent, it just sort of…sat there. I gave up. Figured it would dry by itself eventually.

We finished up with groceries, checked out, good gods almighty $153.00?  I thought Walmart sold inexpensive clothes. Like, CHEAP clothes. But the boys’ pants were between $15-$17 each, times four, plus two t shirts and one pair of pajama bottoms for my almost-teen who WILL NOT STOP GROWING,  plus hot dogs and baked beans and milk and cereal and bananas and a package of Hostess Ding Dongs that the aforementioned teen begged me for.

We had left the checkout lane, Nathan had dropped the bottle of ginger ale I bought him and then picked it back up and of course opened it, causing ginger ale to spray everywhere, good luck to the cashier who said she would clean it up since what she had at her lane for cleanups was one of those rolls of less-than-one-ply toilet paper.  I got a little stressed out about the spilling and Kaitlyn’s whining but we were heading home, where I was going to fix dinner and then collapse on the couch and get ready to watch “Glee”.

The Universe had a different plan.

As we were heading out the door, my phone rang. It was Chris.  “We were on our way home, ten minutes away from work, and my car stopped.” “What do you mean, stopped?” “We were driving, and then the engine stopped.”  “On the highway??” “Yes, of course on the highway.” “Are you on the highway NOW?”  “No, we made it over to the breakdown lane.”  “Did you call road service?”  “We have road service?” “Look in your wallet for a card from Allstate that says 24 hour roadside assistance.”………………”Found it. I’ll call you back.”

My stress level was headed down the runway for takeoff at that point. All I could think was, how the hell are we going to pay for car repairs? We have like $300 in savings, but this is also the most expensive time of year for us, with Ryan’s birthday in October, Kaitlyn’s in November, Nathan’s in December, then Christmas. Plus, if it’s a timing belt or the alternator or something, that’s way more than $300 in repairs.

On the drive home, I had a freak out. I did.  See, the boys do this thing where they constantly scan the road and parking lots for sports cars and then yell them out to each other as we drive. “Nathan, look! Over there by Goodyear! It’s a PORSCHE!” “Ryan, look! A ’65 Mustang! Coming right at us!” etc. etc.  Most of the time I just tune it out. But last night, I lost it and yelled at them to stop shouting out names of cars while I was trying to concentrate on driving.  I apologized later.

We got home, put the groceries away, and Chris called.  The one positive side to the situation was that he had broken down one exit away from a huge Chevy dealership, the tow truck had taken him there, and there was no charge because it was less than 5 miles.  I piled everyone back in the van and we drove 40 miles to the dealership to pick him up.

And then we made the mistake of not driving straight home but instead, heading over to Big Boy to get dinner.  Where we sat and sat and sat waiting for our food to come, and then my pancakes were burned, and I mean BURNED. I sent them back and waited and waited for a new batch, which were cooked right, but the first bite I cut had a piece of LETTUCE stuck to the bottom, what is lettuce doing on a grill?  At that point I just gave up, mentally. I checked the bottom of the rest of the pancakes for anything out of the ordinary and then ate less than half before asking for a to-go box. I just wanted to go home

Kaitlyn and I drove Chris to his carpool pick-up spot today and we’ll more than likely have to go pick him up. I’m waiting for him to call after he hears from the service department at the Chevy dealership.  All I can hope is that we won’t have to spend the kids’ birthday money on car repairs but if we do, we’ll figure out something.  At least today it doesn’t feel like I woke up in the Twilight Zone.

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Elizabeth (1821 Posts)

I'm Elizabeth, a 40-something Michigan wife and mother of three. I created Table for Five in 2005 as a way to connect with other Moms, and I've been blogging ever since. Please click the About tab at the top of the page to read more about me and my family! email:

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