It was one of those mornings where my place seemed even smaller than it was. It was getting messier by the second as Spenser played and I fruitlessly searched for my ear buds. A sippy cup of milk was missing somewhere and I finished Orange is the New Black last night and I was going through withdrawals with no plan for nap time.
We need to get out and do something fun and active. I ran down the list: Blue Balls? Closed. Trader Joes? Yes. Please. Air conditioning, friendly faces, comforting food to look at…
When my mom died almost 19 years ago, I was devastated, depressed and lost. One of the only things that gave me comfort was to walk around Gelson’s, a high end super market, and feel the cool air and look at the expensive, beautiful food. I’d wander around in there for an hour at least. Trader Joe’s is not Gelson’s fancy at all, but it comforts me. And, of course, it’s my husband.
As we started to go to the car, we saw some garbage trucks, so we had to stop and watch those. I’d heard it was going to be overcast and rainy today and was disappointed to feel the hot beating sun on my under sun-screened and over-exposed decolletage.
Then we got in the car and I turned on my air conditioning and felt some relief. I love air conditioning so much. I started wondering what makes some people cold all the time and some people hot all the time. And before you start wondering if I’m going through the change, I’ve always run hot.
We pretty much just go to Trader Joe’s only once a week now, so I was thinking S would be excited to go. But he wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he loves our once a week times and I’m sure he would have been very happy once we were there, but I heard myself saying, “Do you want to go to the park?” and the enthusiasm was unmistakable.
I went to the nice gated, tented park that I can usually tolerate. It was crowded. I put my bag of sand toys down and let S go crazy. I only put out a red bucket, a blue bucket and a blue and red shovel. Three things. I try to be relaxed about the whole sharing toys thing, but it makes me tense. People don’t always have care and respect for other people’s stuff – and I’m not just talking about the little kids.
So, Spenser played in sand and slide and shared sand toys and all was fine. I listened to another mom’s phone call that sounded like she was intriguing with a married man (she was wearing a big diamond on her ring finger herself.)
The first hideous thing that happened was this: I was waiting in line for a swing when a loud, grandma or nanny stood next to me holding an 18 month old girl, with a deep, hacking cough. As I told myself coughs last a long time. I’m sure that child isn’t sick anymore, a gloopy, yellowish greenish wad a mucus dripped out of the little girl’s nose. Before I could be horrified, the grandma wiped that glob of mucus with her fingers and then WIPED IT ON THE SWING SET POLE! I mean… what the??? And you thought kids were the dirty ones? Think again! How rude and disgusting! Some kid was going to touch that and put their hand in their mouth and get that nasty cold!
“Dirty!” I said loudly. I couldn’t help myself. I looked at the spot she’d just touched/rubbed the snot on.
The grandma now knew I’d seen her do the wipe. She didn’t care. If she was embarrassed, she didn’t show it. She pretty much ignored me and just carried on. I will tell you sometimes I will wipe some snot off S’s nose with my fingers and if I don’t have a tissue (I mean if I had I would have used it to wipe the nose) then I wipe it on my own clothes, yo! That’s the kind of lady I am. How do you get to be a grandma and do something like that? Do you just not care about hygiene and other people’s health when you get older?
Moral of this story: Don’t ever touch anything when you go to the park. Even a nice park.
The second thing that happened was that when I was cleaning up my 3 sand toys to go home a dad stopped me. “That red bucket is ours,” he said.
“Oh no, I think it’s mine,” I said, “I only had three things.”
The park toys are always spread out all over. I used to watch my stuff so carefully, now I don’t. And apparently, neither of us had written our child’s name on the bucket.
I’ll admit, since I rarely do the park thing I couldn’t swear on the bucket, but it looked like mine and there was no other red bucket except a squat red one that was for sure not mine.
The dad and I squared off a bit. “I’m 100% positive this one is mine,” he said.
“OK,” I said, “Then someone else took mine.”
The dad asked everyone at the park if the squat red bucket belonged to anyone and no one claimed it. “You can take that one,” he said, “It doesn’t belong to anyone.”
OK, here’s the thing… the squat one DOES belong to someone. Maybe they forgot it, but it still belongs to someone. I’d never just take something because no one claimed it for one second. What’s wrong with people?
I didn’t really care about a dirty $2 bucket. I just hated all the adults there.
Moral of the story: Write your name on your sand toys!
Or: It’s better when I don’t bring any of our own toys; Spenser plays with other people’s stuff and we leave empty handed.
Or maybe it’s better if we just go to Trader Joe’s all the time and don’t go to the park at all!!!
Yeah… I think I’m stuck with the park.
Should have stood your ground:) with the bucket I mean.
Ha! If I really could swear it was mine I would have. I just couldn’t be 100% sure.
Oh my god, rudeness is the most offensive thing to me. Masha says something like that in “Three Sisters.” I’m very cultured. And that snot pole is full-on disgusting. I don’t generally play at parks anymore, but now I really won’t. And the observation you make about going to Gelson’s just made my heart swell. It’s amazing what we find comforting. xxoo
Thank you, Irene. And I love the Three Sister’s reference! We now know what a snot pole is!
Hahaha, this cracks me up. We have been doing well with the park . . . until a mom group shows up and makes it known we are NOTpart of their group. Sheesh.
Ha! The park is always better when it’s empty or I actually know and like at least someone else there!!
I’m so glad to hear you get tense about the toy sharing too. The kids are so good at it but the parents not so much and Toby’s an only so learning to share is good. But f’in eh it’s hard. Go solo mom go.
Ha! Thank you for the back up! And thanks for reading!! xo
Oh, the things I’ve seen at the park when Maya was a toddler. A actually saw a mom throw sand in another toddler’s face after that toddler threw sand in her toddler’s face. I was gobsmacked! Dumb founded! And I had just arrived at the park to have a play date with her and her son. And the toddler she threw the sand at was the son of a friend of mine! Yikes! Sand throwing mama tried to deny it up and down but I knew that my friend wouldn’t lie or even exaggerate about something like that. Needless to say, no more play dates were scheduled after that.
Susan! That’s soooo crazy!!!
First of all, what is “… intriguing with a married man.” Hilarious. Second, I have come to the conclusion that Parks are just downright stressful, everyman-for-himself places. You two have to come with O and I to Nibley, during a weekday. (readers: Don’t tell anyone about Nibley ) It’s like a 40 min drive, but oh so worth it. I vote drive time over the crazy unhygienic adult crowd anyday. And lastly, this is why O has had 3 rounds of antibiotics this year…! Snot spreading Grannies!! What is wrong with people? With teething those back teeth, everything is in his mouth; he literally licks the monkey bars! I’m fast on my way to being one of “those” moms with wipes and Purell, running ahead of him, wiping down the equipment before he touches it, and his hands immediately afterwards!
Yes! We want to come with you on the long drive/clean park! I have been relaxing on my wipe obsession. After toady, I’m going back in hyper mode!