Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Girl Scouts Love Ice Cream. Chaos Ensues.

Seriously, this week has been made of chaos. It started out crazy, to be sure, but then got completely thrown off the rails on Monday night, when I got a text from the children's pediatric dentist's office reminding me of their appointments at the CRACK OF FREAKING DAWN on the next day! I always forget the spring dentist appointments, because I never have my next year's planner in October when we have our fall dentist appointments.

Mental note: Buy my next year's planner in early October.

Anyway, there was the dentist, and then afterwards there was the hours-long saga of trying to get passport applications in. I say "trying," because after all that, we were still only able to get Matt's and my passport applications in, not the kids'. Did you know that you can't pay for a passport application with your credit card, and also that the applications are reeeeeeaaallly expensive, so you 100% don't have that amount of cash on you? I had to drive across town and back to get the checkbook. Also, you have to pay for each application with its own check! This information only came AFTER I'd driven across town and back. Guess how many checks that I had left in that checkbook?


And? AND?!? I'm just going to go ahead and tell you this, so that when I'm in federal prison you'll know why, but the post office worker basically told me to lie on my passport application. Why on earth I have to write down the birth dates and places of my mother and father I do not know, but I left some of that info blank, because I do not know it, and when the postal worker told me that I HAD to write the information down, and I told her that I had no way of getting it, she said, and I quote, "You just have to write it down to the best of your knowledge."

I said, "So I should write down information that, to the best of my knowledge, could be my birth father's date and place of birth, simply because nobody ever specifically told me that what I'm writing down isn't his date and place of birth?"

She smiled at me like, "Good job!", and that's how I lied on my passport app. Whatever, federal government.

Let's just fast-forward, then, to the two, count them TWO tornado warnings that went off during our one-hour fencing lesson that night. I was already out of sorts because the fencing instructor had us play a "game" earlier that is, I swear to god, the worst thing that I have ever been required to play. We divide into two groups and sit on our butts on either side of the gym. A fencing glove goes in the middle. We each, on each side, have a number. The instructor stands in the middle of the gym like a giant asshole and taunts us by saying sentences that hide numbers in them in douchey ways, like "I am going to the store."

There's a two in there, get it?

Ugh, right?!? I am dying just having to tell you this.

So anyway, when the instructor says your number, you--and the person with the same number on the other side of gym--run for the stupid fucking fencing glove, and snatch it, and run back to your stupid fucking spot, except that whoever doesn't get to the glove first can still CHASE DOWN the person who got the glove and tag them.


The first time my number was called, I bolted across the gym, grabbed that fucking glove, and started running back to my spot, and then the little kid who also had my number--oh, because all the other students other than me are CHILDREN, have I mentioned that?--tagged me. I lost my head a little, and I lunged for the little bastard, and the instructor was all, "Whoah! Whoah!", and I was all, "Oh, are we not allowed to tag back?" all innocently, when everyone in that entire gym knew that I'd been about to tackle that kid to the ground.

For the rest of the game, whenever my number was called, I'd act like I was totally getting up to run my heart out, but then I'd just kind of jog a couple of steps and go sit back down. Like, I'm willing to be pretty chill with all the other kids in these fencing classes, but the fact of the matter is that I am practically 40 years old, and if I don't want to play chase and tag and find the hidden numbers with a bunch of children, then I am not going to. They've got my money already, and I know that fat check that I wrote wasn't made out to "Middle School Gym Class."

I maybe feel a *little* bad about how bad for morale I was, because maybe I heckled just a little, but eh. It was a terrible game.

So of COURSE neither of the two tornado warnings could have happened while I was reliving my worst memories of adolescence (did anyone like junior high gym class?!?), but instead they both happened during the actual fencing instruction. We'd just gotten started on beat attacks and then boom, off went the tornado sirens. We threw off our masks and trooped down the stairs, sweaty and irritated. At the bottom of the stairs, a guy in the epee class turned left to go out the door to his car, presumably, instead of right to go into the interior hallway, and all the kids behind him started to follow him. So then I have to shout, "No, no, children! We don't go out into tornadoes!" Instead, the other three girls in the class and I for some reason scrunch ourselves into the safest alcove, declare it off-limits to "boys," and sit, knees together, and bond for twenty minutes. We make fun of the kindergarten artwork. We make fun of the epee fencers. We theorize about the coming tornadopacalypse. The two girls who aren't Willow try to explain to me about Kool-aid commercials--did you know that the Kool-aid man is STILL A THING?!? You know, the giant anthropomorphized pitcher of Kool-aid? And he's still a creeper! The girls both began to describe, in elaborate detail, a commercial in which the Kool-aid man is jumping on a trampoline, and LIQUID SPLASHES OUT OF HIS HEAD.

At this point in the day, I am pretty much hysterical with exhaustion, and I cannot stop laughing at this image. The girls agree that it's funny, but hey, Lady, it's not *that* funny. One of the girls asks, "Is it because you think it's something perverted? Do you think it's--" and I immediately slap my hands over my ears and shout, "Do not finish that sentence! I cannot legally listen to you finish that sentence!"

Seriously, middle schoolers are off the freaking hook.

During our next interlude in the basement hallway, because of course there was another one, I focused the conversation on the adorable backpack and light jacket that the other girl had rescued from her stuff on the way down. Lots of things that one can do with an adorable backpack and light jacket if one is hit by a tornado. One could make a roof to pad us from the debris falling on our heads. One could rescue kittens, if there were kittens in the Boys and Girl Club, which there are not. One could carry one's fingers that were severed by flying glass.

Middle schoolers. I tell you what.

Fortunately, the rest of the evening merely involved Will and I walking a couple of city blocks in a downpour with no protective gear (what we would have done for light jackets!), and although we also spent most of the day outside in the rain today, as well, I am happily now warm and dry, except for my feet, which are always cold, and I have a cat on my shoulders, and I'm ready to tell you about what I logged into Blogger to tell you in the first place, which is this ice cream trip that Matt and I took the kids to the other day.

Ah, now I remember that I ended up on the subject of my chaotic week in general because this trip was also surprisingly chaotic. Normally, Girl Scout trips are run reasonably well, and this one promised to be as well-run as they come, since we'd received an email itinerary of the event that informed us that we'd be divided into two groups, one of whom would enjoy the make-your-own-sundae bar first while the other group went on a guided tour of the historic ice cream parlor and residence. Then we'd switch. Gold standard group field trip organization.

Except that when we got to the ice cream parlor, an hour's drive away, I was greeted with my worst nightmare of event organization: a couple of teenagers in uniform, looking worried and befuddled. They were standing behind the counter where the make-your-own-sundae bar was, and after several families sat down and smiled politely and waited patiently for a while, one of the teenagers ventured, "Um, you can come make your sundaes now, if you want."

"Uh-oh," I said to Matt. "They don't know that we're supposed to divide into groups. Should I tell them?"

"Don't get involved," Matt advised.

"Bystander defense!" Will piped up immediately. She is always super helpful in any difficult situation.

I didn't get involved, but I watched with a worried eye as I otherwise happily shoveled in ice cream sundae that the line for the make-your-own-sundae bar was getting longer and longer and more and more chaotic. All the seats were full of people eating ice cream, and still the people came. Twice as many people as the room would hold--DUH!--filed in, as the panicked workers continually resupplied the sundae bar and looked stressed out.
The ice cream, though, was freaking amazing.
There was SO much sticky ice cream. So much noise. And then the kids started feeling the sugar.
Got their tempers nice and sweetened!
 More noise. Some running. A little fellow sitting next to Matt was practically bathing in his ice cream. Every bite that he took was only an approximation of a bite, as most of the spoonful had rather ended up on the table, in his lap, on his face, in his hair, etc. I was consumed by the idea that this child was going to touch Matt, with his waving, sticky spoon, or his damp, sticky shirt, or his filthy, sticky face with sprinkles sticking to it. I could not relax.

And then, I kid you not, some kid crammed somewhere in the room bumped something, and an honest-to-god calliope began to play.

"I am going to die in this ice cream parlor," I said to no one.

"It could be worse," Matt cheerfully offered. "Maybe Ted Cruz is about to walk in!"

This is why he said that:

Apparently Ted Cruz had already been to our ice cream parlor that day, but what if he'd forgotten his jacket, and then he walked in and saw all these wholesome, corn-fed Girl Scouts, and wanted to take selfies or film a commercial with my children? Would I engage him in political discussion, or would I cave so that my kids could get their picture taken with a presidential candidate? What horrible things would Will say? Would Syd in fact vomit ice cream on his shirt while reporters snapped photos, and then would those photos end up on late-night TV?

That calliope was still playing, by the way.

I was worried that just as there had been 60 people eating ice cream all at once, there would also be 60 people trying to take the tour all at once, but it turned out that the ice cream parlor had decided to cancel the tour, and only one other family, along with ours, would not stand for that, so we actually got quite a lovely semi-private tour. Afterwards, we walked across the street to the giant indoor playground that is one of the greatest things about Indiana. As the kids ran around, Matt and I sat and I tried to breathe through the remains of my panic attack.

All of a sudden, though, I looked out the window and could not help myself. I shouted, "Oh, my god! There's a man on a segue walking a dog!"

And then, "Oh, oh! He's also got a kid on the segue!"

"AND a Bluetooth!"

"Hurry!" Matt insisted, "Take his picture!" He was just teasing me, but I was so worked up from the ice cream parlor chaos that I frantically grabbed up my camera and snapped a bunch of photos of this totally random, totally minding-his-own-business man:

Oh, and here's the scariest picture of all:

He is looking RIGHT AT ME! This guy can SEE me through the window of the indoor playground, and he's clearly baffled and upset, like "Why is that crazy lady papping me?"

Because I have lost my mind, that's why.

tl;dr I don't like competitive games that remind me of middle school gym class. Unorganized crowds make my skin crawl. And I have lost. My. Mind.

Oh, and I think that we're going to have our very own make-your-own sundae bar at home this weekend!


Tina said...

Was there a purpose to the middle-school-gym game?

I totally felt your anxiety while reading this post. We just started attending some of the local homeschool events and I have to say, I HATE big crowds. I also hate being the new person, but I will survive it.

At least the ice cream was yummy!

julie said...

The game is probably good for plosive movements, cardio, and problem-solving against an opponent, but mostly I imagine that it's meant to be fun. Interestingly, the boys thought it was super fun, but none of the girls enjoyed it. To be fair, there are way more boys than girls in that class, but still... I'm suspicious.

Being the new person is hard, but stick in there! It 100% gets better!