August 29, 2008

Milk as a metaphor

The Shirelles said it well but they didn't tell us about the days that NO ONE in their right mind would ever warn you about.

Thomas has been out of school this week following an adenoidectomy. That coupled with our recent week of vacation has left our morning routine a little out of practice. I also have a sinus infection which doesn't have me completely down, but has me a little...grumpy.

I arrived at work with two weeks of tasks to cram into six hours. It was also the last day in our office for one of my favorite colleagues. You know that person that you look forward to seeing in the morning because even if you don't interact, it's helpful to know that there's someone else nearby who gets it? Well, that person in my office is now gone, which put a damper on my day as well.

I left the office 90 minutes later than expected and subsequently picked the boys up from school later than expected. I was greeted with the fun facts that Thomas had five bags of unpleasant training pants for me and Andrew had experienced a difficult day because of his inability to let peoples' ears rest.

Not deterred, and because we were completely out of milk, we headed directly to the grocery store. The boys love the store because it's where we buy chocolate chip cookies and because they have Race Carts for the boys to "drive" while we shop. I like the Race Cart because both boys can sit side-by-side, safely away from the floor. The problem with the Race Carts is that they're old and not a single one at our corner store still has both steering wheels, resulting in a twice-weekly jockey for position.

Thomas was tired today and his mood was a bit in the dumper so sharing the steering wheel or allowing Andrew to use it on his own was not sitting well with him. If you don't believe me you can feel free to ask anyone who might have been inside the store with us. They all know.

When we arrived at the checkout the young woman at the register asked the standard, "Was everything alright today?" Because T was still making his feelings about the single-steering device shopping cart known, it seemed like a good time to mention that it would really make my day if they had just one Race Cart that had all of its equipment instead of one steering wheel and the sad stump of where the other one had been.

She and the young man sacking the groceries shared a glance that said a lot. It said they thought I was a lunatic who needed a life. Then, she asked me if I would like to speak to her manager. I assured her that I didn't think that would be necessary but thanked her for the opportunity and suggested that she might mention it to him when she next saw him.

I then headed with my groceries and my screaming toddler and steering wheel-hogging five-year-old back to the cart pickup at the front door to leave the Race Cart inside the store rather than drive it outside because it doesn't fit in the cart corral and I'm thoughtful like that.

I lifted both boys out, gave Andrew a small bag to carry and then lifted out the milk bags for myself. As I picked up the second gallon of milk, life began moving in slow motion and I remembered that my day had been not on-plan, which was about to play out one more time.

As I lifted the bag, I watched the bottom seam separate. It must have taken at least four full minutes to happen. It was excruciating. Then, as the seam separated, the milk fell. Slowly. All. the. way. to. the. ground. A gallon of milk is a lot. The boys were delighted. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me and the stupid race cart which was now dripping with 2%.

Just as I looked up and took half a second to contemplate my next move, the store manager approached me and asked if I was the woman who had an issue with the shopping carts.

Ummm. I was. Now I have an issue with some milk.

He very kindly told me not to worry about the milk and left, despite my protests, to go get another gallon for us. While he was gone Andrew discovered a display of Twinkies and begged for those and then for Ding Dongs and I further wished the tile floor would just eat me.

He returned with the milk, a new bag, and said he had four kids and understood the problem with a bum Race Cart. The store is expanding and I was assured that they would be getting some new carts soon.

We finally got in the car and I did exactly what you're not supposed to do, which is cry over spilt milk. Sometimes milk is a metaphor.


Stephanie said...

Well, what does it say that I can still remember a gallon of milk falling out of our fridge at 1536 when there was still carpet in the kitchen? Obviously these things are not easily written off.

I'm glad the manager was nice and, contrary to the saying, sometimes there is use in crying over the milk. It just makes a girl feel better!

Anonymous said...

What a day! What an experience! What an ideal reason to cry! You are one fantastic mom. Love, RoRo

Kate and Dennis said...

I finally logged in to get my daily Hondo dose and I read the part on this post about me. :(
If it is any consolation, I don't think there is anyone in my new office half as cool as you and definitely nobody that "gets it". Just know that I still "get it" even 30 minutes away and no longer in that office.