On being Exasperated

Exasperated.

That was my response to the Target cashier who innocently asked how I was doing last night.

Exasperated.

It was a day of running around for work. Three and a half hours driving for a two-hour meeting… after making it to the office for two hours in the morning. Two hoursĀ of store checks, where I did the most half-assed half-ass job. (I think that may be a quarter ass, but don’t tell my boss.) By the end, I was just done, but the bright side of this day was that I ended up on the right side of the city and was able to collect the kids early from school. Winning!

All of us were “starving” and after a failed attempt to convince the kids to have sushi (Littles is such a traitor. She is always down for sushi.) we headed directly to Noodles instead. Bigs insisted on sitting outside in the 85 degree heat. My tropical wool dress was far from tropical… more like swampy from my profuse sweating. From our hot little table we had the perfect view of Target.

I’m not sure if it would be called a brainstorm or stupidity, I asked the kids if they wanted to go after dinner to pick out Father’s Day gifts. We went over the fact that they would be buying gifts for Daddy and wouldn’t be getting things for themselves. Bigs asked if he could spend the dollar he earned. Littles quickly chimed in that she wanted to as well. “Sure. You will have your dollars, but then the rest of the trip will be for Daddy’s gift.”

We discussed what things Daddy likes. Bigs had it all figured out. “I think we should pick Daddy out some Legos.” Littles replied with, “I want My Little Ponies then.” Exactly, no? We talked about his hobbies and special things he likes to eat. In the process we made a decent list. (I’ll follow-up later with a picture of the gift, because it is priceless. Unfortunately/fortunately, my husband is a loyal blog reader and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.)

Upon arrival at Target, each child had to stand on each of the cement red-painted spheres. Bigs had to practice standing on one foot. Little had to scream the entire time that she was going to die from falling off if we weren’t within one inch of each others’ cheeks. It was so much fun, I should have just turned around then and gotten in the car to go home.

We immediately headed to the Dollar Spot once in the store. Cue elevator music as I patiently answered questions about what all 273 items were, what they did, whether I thought Daddy would like them, and if they could have more than one each. Decisions were finally made and we were off to find our items for Father’s Day. I get that Target is in the business of selling things on their end caps… you know impulse buys, but do a momma a solid and don’t put Legos or My Little Ponies on the freaking end caps. Adult diapers, dietary fiber, and vegetables would all make excellent end cap items. Seriously, they saw a loaf of bread on the end cap later in the trip and “neeeeeeeeeded” it.

So let’s talk about the things that I caved on. Loaf of bread, no. Yogurt cups, GoGurt Tubes, Jelly Bellies, and grapes, yes. I felt triumphant that I fended off the requests for 19,326 other SKUs in our “quick trip.” Not really winning.

We pulled the cart up to the check out area and I shit you not, at 6:38 p.m. ONE lane was open. ONE!!!! Technically there was a second lane that had a flashing light that didn’t seem to stop flashing the entire time we waited. I unloaded the cart starting with both children. Bigs ran off to a check out end cap to discover all the wonderful finds. (Can you hear me screaming?) Littles touched every single candy bar in the check out lane and asked to get a credit card (gift card) for herself.

Eye contact is finally made with the cashier and she asks the obvious question. I imagined I looked like a wreck and didn’t feel the need to be fake with this woman who had incredibly kind eyes. She could have rolled her eyes at my perhaps overly honest response, but she didn’t. She smiled and said I was doing great.

Bigs found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle disposable food containers and was asking what they were. WTF??? Thank you Ziplock for advertising to my kid. I explained that they were for saving food at which point the man (he was not old enough to be a father, to be clear) behind me must have caught my eye roll and offered, “Their curiosity is going to serve them well.” I may or may not have rolled my eyes again (I didn’t really, but really wanted to) and responded with my last bit of pleasantness, “Yes. Yes it will. Both their curiosity and their perseverance will serve them well. I just wish I wasn’t on the receiving end of it.” I got a nervous smile in response.

Nikki the cashier caught my eye and held me (not literally.) “You’re going to make it. Just get them to bed. Once you get them to bed take a hot bath. Have a glass of wine. Lavender.” Lavender? “Lavender will wash away the stress of the day. Lots of lavender for you.” I recombobulated the candy in the check out lane while Nikki thoughtfully loaded my cart with all the bags. I turned back to her about to cry and said, “Thank you. I love you and don’t even know you.” She humbly smiled and as I walked away she called, “Don’t forget to lock the door when you take the bath!”

That, my friends, is why we are all in this together, because we can’t do it alone.

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