To keep what’s left of my sanity and broaden my kid’s horizons I decided to take them on the road. Not in the traditional sense, like with a rock band or the Ice Capades, but to somewhere that wasn’t our house.
In some people’s eyes going to breakfast, grocery shopping and the bank might not sound like much, but to The Gang of 3, AKA Daddy, Daughter and Son, it was an adventure full of potential.
My wife helped dress the little critters and me before she headed out to work where she makes sure all the necessary parts go to all the necessary places in a timely fashion. Before you ask, she’s not an employee of the U.S. postal service; I did say a timely fashion. She probably saved me at least an hour by also “doing” my daughter’s doo (as in hair). My partner-in-life half-jokingly told me a while back that she’s going to get me one of those Barbie heads to practice “doing” hair on to improve my mad hairstyling skills. Surprisingly she hasn’t mentioned it again since she saw me drool all over one at Target when I thought she wasn’t looking. In my defense, have you taken a gander at one of these things?
She’s It’s hot. I was going to put a link to one here in the post but I want people to finish reading.
The Gang of 3 headed down route 66, er I mean, Hopkins Road, bright and early and ready to take on the day. Three vs. world, like Thelma and Louise, except there were only two of them and they were both women and they killed themselves, but besides that, we were just like them, we were in a car.
The word “car, car” was repeated often as we drove towards our first destination, then the kids asked me to be quiet, because they saw the cars, too. We passed a swamp that we go by quite often and as usual my daughter fondly reminisced about our picnic there last year (see Do Fish Eat Sticks on a Picnic?).
The leader of our gang, my daughter, asked if we were going to Mickey D’s or BK. When she was an infant I got on my high horse and told myself that my kids would never go to those places and now she knows them by name and logo. To our credit, though, they don’t eat at them more than once a day… usually.
The actual destination was kept secret until we pulled into the parking lot and my little girl yelled, “The Original Pancake House” and her brother said, “Car.”
I slipped my backpack/diaper bag over my shoulders, scooped the boy up and attempted to shut the van door while my daughter caught rain drops on her tongue at my side not looking too concerned with my predicament. On the third try the door slid shut and we navigated our way through the puddle-filled parking lot. I unsuccessfully tried to avoid them and my daughter successfully stepped in every one of them.
We rung ourselves out in the foyer and waited to be seated. After standing there for about an hour I noticed that the sign said please seat yourself. The restaurant was lucky I saw it because I was just about to leave because of their bad service. In all actuality it was less than five minutes, but seemed like an hour to me, because I get grumpy when I’m hungry, just ask my wife.
After the waitress brought us three coffees, er three juices, my little girl ordered strawberry pancakes for her and her brother to share and I decided to eat light, you know, eggs, toast, sausage, home fries and pancakes with a side order of bacon.
Amazingly, the kids behaved very well the whole time. The boy stared at an elderly gentleman well past politeness, but I didn’t mind because it kept him quiet… you know how loud those old guys can get.
The waitress disappointed me by not complimenting on how well behaved we were and what a great dad I must be. It’s not that I’m in need of praise, but I do deserve it. Right? Right?
We packed up everything that would fit in the bag and headed back out into the rain. Neither kid minds getting rained on, but it does nothing for my hair so I tried to hurry the loading up process. The only problem with that is that the car seat’s puzzle-like locking mechanism always gets tangled up when I hurry.
Finally, the soggy Gang of 3 cruised toward destination number two, Wegman’s. The list was short, so I thought, until I noticed the multiple additions my lovely wife must’ve written on there that morning. Oh well, we were all on a caffeine or sugar high so we could handle it.
The stop at the deli counter proved that breakfast was a success, because both of my offspring turned down the obligatory slice of white American cheese by shaking their heads and rubbing their bellies. The first whine came when we noticed that the live lobster tank was empty, but I got over it quickly. We made our way down almost every aisle except the one with the feminine products, because my wife’s a kind woman. The checkout girl was friendly to the kiddies, but kept eyeballing the boy when he played with the bag holder. Don’t get the wrong idea, it was an inaminate object, not a pimple-faced teen-ager.
The rain had stopped by the time we rolled outside so the formerly soggy Gang of 3 took our time getting to the van to unload the numerous bags of groceries. You’d think that the very children that were going to use most of the things purchased would offer to help put them in the van. But no, they just went right in their seats without lifting a finger. Ingrates!
I was shocked to see that it was 9:45 AM when I headed toward the bank because the guy that needed me to sign some paperwork was leaving at 10 AM, I thought.
I did my best Dale Earnhardt, Jr. impression and raced toward my destination. I got there at 9:51 AM, just under the gun. Unfortunately, when we went inside, one kid in my arms and one attached to my belt loop, they said the guy left at 9:30AM. Bastard!
Oh well, it was no big deal, so we leisurely drove toward home. The youngest member of our gang rubbed his eyes and yawned as we pulled into our driveway.
This type of experience foolishly boosts my confidence in my abilities as a father and makes me think that they’ll be good whenever and wherever we decide to go to next. That’s actually a good thing because we need to get out of the house from time to time, or at the least, I do.