Thursday, April 22, 2010

Puddles, power naps, and punk-ass bitches


Day 15


Day 105

After yesterday's rains, playgroup was scheduled for the library today instead of the park, over concerns that the playground equipment would still be all puddle-ridden. Problem was, it was such an incredibly gorgeous day - sunny but not too hot - that it seemed a terrible shame to spend the morning indoors. Soren seemed to agree, if his 3 escape attempts within the first 10 minutes of our time at the library were any indication. Fortunately, so did A's mom, so we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group and headed down the road to the park.

It was a park we hadn't yet been to (the Johnson clan, I mean; A and his mom have gone there quite a lot), and Soren had a fine old time exploring and checking everything out. He played really nicely for a while, and I became relaxed, even though the playground wasn't fenced. Complacent, you might say. I think you might have an idea of what is coming next...

Soren and A were playing on one of the structures. They were behind a panel, so I couldn't see Soren, though I could see A, who was right at the edge of the panel and thus only partially obscured. After some time, A climbed down, but Soren didn't follow. I peeked around the panel to see what he was up to, but he had disappeared. Somehow he'd managed to climb down the back side of the structure without my seeing him. A very quick glance around revealed the boy very calmly walking across the grass toward a large mud puddle of (from that distance) indeterminate depth.There was no possible way I could get to him before he reached said puddle. Cue moment of mild panic as Soren then stumbled and proceeded to fall down right in the muddy water. Fortunately, it was not at all deep, but both of his shoes were sucked off in the muck and he was filthy all up his backside. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse, but man was that scary for a few seconds.

As luck would have it, I was well prepared with a full change of clothes for him in the car (well, no change of shoes, but I had brought the stroller, so he didn't have to walk barefoot across the hot parking lot once we got back home). Way to go, me!

After lunch, we were out again to run some errands. Napless again today, Soren finally lost the battle with sleep about three minutes from our first destination. There was no keeping him awake. I even reached behind me at a stop light and jiggled his foot. No response. Eleri started squalling as soon as we parked the car. Nothing. Out like trout. When I unbuckled him to get him into the shopping cart, he kind of came awake like someone who's trying to pretend he wasn't sleeping. ("Ellie's awake?" he asked.) It was pretty funny, actually. And then he was all happy in the store, and for the rest of the afternoon, for that matter. Power nap, indeed.

After our first errand, we had to pick up a few things from Harris Teeter. (West coast folks - Harris Teeter is a grocery store.) I mention the store specifically because Harris Teeter frequently (usually?) has a few spaces in its lot reserved for people with infants, which is pretty nice, especially on an afternoon like this one, when the parking lot is kind of full. What is annoying about this particular Harris Teeter is that the reserved spaces are not especially convenient to the little cart return corrals. The last thing you want to do when you've just wrestled a loudly-protesting baby into his or her car seat is then walk well away from your car to return your damned cart. Usually, I end up parking my cart right at the intersection of 4 spaces, so as to keep from taking up any real estate in any one space (if the cart can fit easily between 4 cars, it shouldn't cause any problems for someone trying to park in my space after I've left).

Today, I considered myself very lucky that someone else had had the same idea. There was a cart waiting there, just for me, when I arrived. Convenient! It was even one of the "fun" carts, intended I guess for older kids. Looks kind of like this only the 2 seats are front-facing, rather than inward-facing, and they have 2 little steering wheels for the kids to play with. Anyway. I did my shopping, Soren pleased as punch to be riding in the cool cart, Eleri passed out in the front pack. I got back to the car, got everyone settled, put the groceries in the trunk, and returned the cart to the 4-space intersection where I'd found it. All of this is a very long and not very exciting lead-up to what happened next, which is admittedly probably also not all that interesting. But here goes.

I got back in our car and started the ignition. An older lady in the space next to me got out of her car, started walking toward the store, then came back gesturing at me. I rolled down my window to see what she wanted.

"Are those wheels locked?"
"On the cart, you mean? No, the cart doesn't have locking wheels."
"Well, I'm afraid it's going to roll and damage my car."

It is worth mentioning at this point that her car, an older Mitsubishi, had a big dent in the front fender and a bunch of scratches across the side and rear. I mean, okay, she has a right to care about not inflicting further injury to her vehicle, but it's not as though it was a super expensive car in pristine condition. It is also worth mentioning that the cart was on flat ground and about 18 inches from her car. Even if it did start to roll, there is no way it was going to pick up enough speed to so much as scratch the paint, let alone "damage" the car.

She proceeded to give me some guilt trip about "well they have those cart return things for a reason" and "people don't like it when you leave carts out where they might damage cars." I explained that I had two small children in my car ("People also don't like it when mothers leave their very young kids unattended in a running car.") and that I was sure the cart wasn't going anywhere. Nonetheless, she would not let up until I got out of my car and ran the friggin thing over to the cart corral. Never mind that she was going in the damned store herself and could have simply taken the cart with her! I know it was a little longer than a normal cart, but it's not as though it weighed a bunch more or was significantly harder to push. Ugh.

This incident left me kind of conflicted though, because I do try to make a point of being considerate. I do get irritated when other people leave carts in parking spaces, but only if they're blocking the way or preventing the space from being used. And I have some sympathy for other parents with young'uns to tend to; I'm far more likely to be annoyed if it seems like someone is not returning their cart out of sheer laziness. So I don't know. I don't think I was being an asshole by leaving the cart where I did, but maybe I was. I suppose a fluke gust of wind could have come up after I left, blowing the cart from its unobtrusive position into the middle of a space. I just don't know.

And then a few minutes later I was the old lady, giving a young man in a car behind us at a stop light the stink eye because his bass was up so loud it was rattling the windows of our car. ("Car"ma, you think?)

In an attempt to end on a positive note, I will say that just about the cutest thing ever is hearing Soren ask his sister, "How doin', Ellie-Ellie?" when he plops down on the floor next to her chair. Gah! So cute!

2 comments:

ACJC said...

I curse at people who don't put their carts away...sorry :) I will say I can see your point, but...

One time, I came out of a store to find someone had left their cart directly behind my car. You can imagine my anger.

susan said...

Well sure, leaving your cart behind someone's car goes beyond laziness to complete lack of consideration. Not cool.