11 June 2008

Ebb and Flow

On Monday night, the twins and I ate dinner outside in our backyard, something we do often. Maddie wanted more crispy peas. I headed into the kitchen to get them and was thwarted by a locked back door. "No problem!" I thought. "I'll just go around to the front [which you have to either lock manually from the inside or lock with a key from the outside] and go in that way!"

Well, the front door was locked, too. Contrary to my usual practice, I must have slid the deadbolt when we came in from school. We're in and out of the house so much in the summer that most of the time I leave that door unlocked until bedtime. Not Monday.

The good news: all of us were wearing shoes, and the kids had their water bottles. Bad news: clearly my keys were in the house, along with my cell phone and my wallet. And all of the windows were shut and locked to keep the cool central air inside. Oh, and my neighbor, who has a key, wasn't home from work yet and I had no idea when he'd be back.

We played in the backyard a bit more. No sign of my neighbor. At around 6:15, I decided that we'd take a little walk as the stroller was accessible in the garage. We walked for about thirty minutes and arrived home to find that my neighbor still wasn't there. I thought about where to go next. We have a number of friends in the 'hood, but I wanted to go somewhere that the kids were familiar with and that had the supplies that two-year-olds need. Aha! Daycare.

We trundled off to daycare, stopping by the local gas station to see if our gas man could recommend a locksmith if we needed one. He gave us the name and number of the guy he uses and sent us on our way, promising that he would be at the station late if there was anything he could help us with. 

We arrived at daycare and were welcomed with open arms into an evening of family fun. Our daycare is in the basement of a multigenerational household, and the whole group was there from grandkids on up. I left a message for my neighbor and then we settled in. Maddie and Riley were thrilled to get to play with the daughters of the daycare's business manager, and they girls were equally thrilled to get some time with the twins. They did puzzles and art projects while we waited for the phone to ring. Just as the business manager's husband and I were plotting how we could pick the lock to my back door, the phone rang. It was my neighbor, letting me know that he was home and that he'd leave my key in the mailbox. 

I shook off offers from our daycare providers to drive us home—it was a beautiful night, we only live a ten-minute walk away, and after the excitement of playing with friends and staying up later than usual, the kids needed to calm down. We got home and I got the twins to bed by 8:30 p.m. or so, an hour later than normal. They fell asleep after a few minutes of happy chatter, and have been talking about our evening ever since.

Of course, that night, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with a raging headache. Then Riley woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a raging nightmare. He calmed down quickly, but was up again at 4:50, then 5:00, then 5:10 . . . at which point I gave in and brought him in bed with me. He didn't ever go back to sleep, but he did lie still next to me and talk to himself. "This Mama's nose," he would say, touching my nose gently. "This Mama's ojos. This Mama's hair [stroke, stroke]." It was very sweet, and I drifted in and out of sleep while he kept himself quietly entertained. 

At 6:30 a.m., I told Riley that I needed to take a shower and I put him back in his crib. He went back to sleep until 8:00 a.m.

My head was still pounding at that point, so I took a sick day. Of course, I couldn't resist running a few errands sans twins.

Got myself a muffin from a favorite bakery that I don't get to much anymore.
Went to the library.
Picked up some pantry staples from the grocery store at the other end of my town, and bought a few treats while I was there, too, including these frosted animal crackers, one of my all-time favorite indulgences.
Returned a book to Barnes & Noble.
Went to a Target Greatland, where, to my surprise and delight, they had the Radio Flyer wagon I wanted in stock and they had great sand toys in the dollar bin. That almost made up for the fact that they did not have the Wii or Wii Fit in stock, which I had told myself I could buy as a for-no-reason-at-all indulgence if they were there.

After all that, my head was pounding in full-blown migraine mode. I went home, unloaded my stuff, and took up residence on the couch. One Advil Cold & Sinus and a liter of water later, I was out. For three hours. It was awesome.

I turned on Oprah for a few minutes before I went to pick up Maddie and Riley. This woman was on. She still annoys the holy living hell out of me. Instead of torturing myself by watching her claim that she can keep Stage 4 cancer at bay by thinking good thoughts and drinking raw kale juice, I cleaned out the twins' wading pool before heading over to daycare for pickup.

After a fun evening of splashing in the pool and having dinner on the deck, Maddie and Riley went to bed with minimal fuss last night at 7:15 p.m. I was in bed by 10:00 p.m. myself. I heard Riley cry around 11:30 p.m., but not to the point that he needed me. And then: silence until 7:15 this morning. Bliss.

The morning got even better. I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up a few things on my way to work, but arrived about five minutes before they opened. I decided to put that time to good use by getting a cool drink at the Starbucks next door. I virtuously ordered an iced green tea. While I was waiting for it, there was a mixup behind the counter and an extra iced coffee was set on the bar. The barista held it up and asked if anyone wanted a free iced coffee. Sure, why not? No one else stepped forward, so I decided to go ahead and take it, and left the store with virtue in one hand and vice in the other.


Fran said...

Woo Hoo! Let's hear it for a good morning!!!!!


Keen said...

Sounds like if you were going to lock yourself out, it was at least a best-case scenario. I've locked myself out barefoot before, but it was before I had kids.

Your sick day sounded great--minus the migraine, of course. If you get the Wii Fit, let me know how you like it, I'm insanely curious and am coveting one myself.

Hope you enjoyed both your virtue and your vice. I love vice when it's in the form of iced coffee.

AnonaMum said...

I'm so glad that the locked-out-of- the-house incident didn't upset you (because it sure would have upset me!)! You handled it all gracefully and with a sense of adventure. The twins must have loved the change in routine. Way to go Mommy!

Klynn said...

Sounds like you're finding a balance. Even when you got thrown a curve or two, you made it work. Not everything is peaches and cream (or coffee and green tea), of course, but keep up the good work and the positive outlook.

Becca said...

Way to take it all in stride! I love that you have such a sense of community in your neighborhood. Sounds like the locked-out evening turned out to be a lot of fun!

Mama Nabi said...

That's the best locked-out evening I could imagine! Glad it wasn't me, though... if I don't have my cell phone on me, I don't know anyone's phone numbers!

I couldn't pass up a free coffee...

Lara said...

If you want to buy a Wii, may I suggest the Wiitracker website? At least in my area, stores still can't keep a Wii in stock, but that website allows you to easily order them online by telling you who has them in. I got one ordered on Amazon.com within 24 hours of finding that website.

I too am curious about the Wii fit! I can't quite tell if I'd like it or not, but the concept fascinates me. I hope you get one and tell us about it. :)

And it sounds like maybe you should get locked out of the house more often!! Some days are definitely better than others. Glad you've had a couple of those close together.

Tamsen said...

What a beautiful two days, even with a what could have potentially been a bad situation. I never know how to bounce back from crappy into a good mood.

Gwen said...

Way to go with the flexibility and rolling with what the days bring. Once I get thrown I find it so hard to get back on track.

Sonya said...

You turned would-be lemons into yummy lemonade. I enjoy your posts so much! It's great to get sorely needed zzz's, isn't it?

mlg said...

very nice.

Clearly the free coffee was the cherry-on-top!

HoosierHoops said...

My first day in Hawaii I locked myself out of the Condo I rented and the rental office miles away was closed.
I'll never forget feeling so dumb and helpless standing outside the door will a handfull of groceries.
( kicking myself)
Luckily I was there with a large group of athletes and hung out with someone for the night.

Anonymous said...

You sound like you have found balance in life and peace in motherhood. You sound happy. I'm glad!

Giovanna said...

I love bad Baristas......when you least expect it......it works in your favor.
See ya later!

winecat said...

Bliss! Even with a migraine and it followed you the next morning, lucky girl

Heather said...

The last time I locked myself out of the house, I did so on my second-floor back porch, barefoot, in my jammies (no bra, etc.). Hubby was out of town on business for the week, and we were new to town. After slithering down a tree to the ground and determining that yes-indeedy-all-the-doors-and-windows-are-locked, I proceeded to introduce myself to a neighbor with a request to use her phone. She still won't even wave when I see her in the street.

Meanwhile, I love how you dragged good out of the mouth of the bad.

Katherine said...

Sounds like a great way to deal with the locked-out problem. Could have been a nightmare.

I'm curious about the Wii Fit too. We got the Wii at Christmas (DH stood in line at 5am to get one).

katszeye said...

Wow. What an exciting and interesting time you have had lately. Remember your grace under fire the next time you want to be hard on yourself for snapping and the twins. You showed them how to take a bad situation and make better than OK. Sounds like they will think it was quite an adventure and that they will remember mommy was fun and resourceful that night.

I have the Wii and love it. My husband got it at Toys R Us. We found that they were the most willing to give you solid information on what they had (and didn't have) in stock, when they expected to get more and what time to stand in line to get the ones they were going to unload the next morning. Good luck.

Which RadioFlyer did you get? I have been thinking about getting a wagon for my kids, but would like to hear real feedback before buying.

katszeye said...

Wow...sorry about all the typos. :-)

CalBear1993 said...

That was like reading a chapter from a good novel. Isn't it fabulous when things seem to flow? Glad you had a day to enjoy life, even if it was with a headache...

L said...

Sounds like a very pleasant turn of events. I'm impressed by your ability to not freak out after locking yourself out. I would work myself into a cold sweat!

Anonymous said...

I have a Wii Fit!!!! My husband bought it at my request, but I haven't tried it yet (found out it records your weight and I have to use a password so my kids don't know all of my secrets...)

My boys (14 and 17) are having a lot of fun with it. My younger son keeps complaining about how sore his arms are from doing pushups, so I think you really can get a workout.


Amy said...

I saw that woman on Oprah last year which is odd as I can count on one two fingers the times I have watched Oprah in recent years.

I too found her message offensive. Too bad all those I have lost to cancer couldn't have been so 'sexy' about their illnesses. She made me mad, very mad.

Alex said...

Delurking to offer what I hope isn't assvice.

As someone prone to locking herself out of her house I have been thrilled with the ~$100 deadbolt I recently had installed that is a combination lock. No keys? No problem. Afraid I don't know what it cost to install as it was part of a larger project.

Er, naturally having had that installed, I recently locked myself out of my mom's house when she was away and I was housesitting. So...yeah.

Also, what others said about lemons and lemonade. What a great story!

OTRgirl said...

Sounds like some wonderful ad-libbing. Well done!

Sorry about the headache, but it seems like you made it work in your favor.

Sandy said...

What an adventure!

Mimi said...

Hi Snick- I just have one question. What time do you have to be at work? I'm only asking because I'm supposed to be to work for 8 a.m., and, after getting my 19-month-old daughter up, ready, and off to daycare, I'm NEVER to work on time. (I also have a 45 min. commute to my job.) I'm jealous that you have time to do errands before work! Tell me how you manage it!

Sandi said...

Oh--that woman on Oprah annoyed me, too.

I got so annoyed with people talking to me about changing John's diet or telling him to think positive. Like that was going to make him live. Ugh!

I did like Randy Pausch, though. I greatly admire him.

Mar said...

This post shows not just some great flexibility and resourcefulness you have but also what a great community you've built for yourself and your kids. You really do a great job, you know.

Snickollet said...


I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I don't have to be at work until 9:30. And I leave at 4:30 at the latest. I don't love my job, but I do love the hours.

Starbucks, Trader Joe's, and Walgreens share a parking lot in a mini-mall on my way to work, so it's easy for me to nip in and pick up a few things on my way in. I drop the twins off at 9:00 and have a 20-minute commute, so if I'm resourceful, I have time for a quick pitstop.


Snickollet said...


I got the Radio Flyer Voyager. I've gone back and linked to it in the post. I haven't had time to assemble it, but another twin mom I know has it and loves it.

In theory, I did not want a plastic wagon--I would have preferred wood. However, the plastic wagons are the ones with the great features (canopy, seat belts, etc.) Sigh. What's a suburban mom to do?


Momma Mary said...

We got the same wagon. And I LOVE it. It has rubber wheels, so important, and will haul A LOT. :)

I'm glad you had a good night, despite being locked out, and that you had a good sick day, despite being sick! yay!

Trish said...

Reading your post reminded me of when my sister and I used to lock ourselves out of the house in the summer when we were young (a weekly event). Fortunately, we had no central air, so the windows were always open. Just took some shimmying to get into the kitchen window, and voila! Problem solved!

Wait a minute - maybe that's where my Bunker Monkey got his climbing proclivities! Augh! And I've been blaming the hubs for years now! Crap.

Good job on the good couple days. Although undoubtedly you will have days that are icky again (cause, you know, life sucking sometimes and all that), it will be a great resource to know, in your mind, that you have had, and will have again, days like this. Comforting, I think (much in the way I am comforted by good days in the midst of my depression, when I think I will never be happy again).

And aren't the simple days the best? Our past weekend was much the same - just Bunker Monkey in his newly-inflated kiddie pool, splashing around for two days, and lots of hanging out, iced tea, and enjoying the weather. But it was a much-needed balm.

Green said...

I liked this post. Thanks for the read.

Diana said...

Sounds wonderful!!!!

Kady said...

I too am prone to locking myself out of all sorts of things. My (most embarrassing) lock outs. (1) I locked myself out of the house when I was sans husband, and with my 1 1/2 y.o. daughter still inside - she was watching tv when I went outside to water the lawn. Landlord (who lives nearby and has spare key) was not around, and the fire dept had to come break the lock. That was shit scary. (2) I locked myself out of my car 1 hour before I had to get on a flight, again w/ no one around. (3) I locked myself out of a rental car in the middle of nowhere somewhere in S. Carolina.

Yea for catastrophes that turn into anything but!

Julia said...

That was some week there.
I am glad you were able to make such good use of being locked out of your house. We don't have friends anywhere as close to us as you guys do.

And I am so happy for you that you got the free coffee. It's such a small thing, but it's enough to make you smile there for a bit.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time here, and what a great lock-out story I was greeted with! You sounded so calm about everything... impressive!

Dontcha just love when you benefit from a Starbucks screw-up?!