Thursday, October 9, 2014

Zoe vs. the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the movie---based on the book by Judith Viorst---is being promoted as a comedy, but to me it sounds like a docudrama. I know all about having a string of bad luck.
A few Saturdays ago I was taking Zoe to a birthday party at a gymnastics center. The party started at three. 
Our day started at 5:45 a.m., when Zoe woke us to ask when we were leaving for the party. Um, in about nine hours. She was to ask at least twenty more times.
Each hour.

Coming soon to Xbox.

The party was in the neighborhood, but far enough away that I'd rented a Zipcar. I'd walk to the garage while the Husband stayed with Zoe. The 2-o'clock pickup meant I'd have plenty of time to return, install the child seat, install the child, and head to the party. 
By 1:30, Zoe was bouncing off the walls, and I was starting to worry she'd be too exhausted to bounce at the actual party. So I left a bit early to get the car, limping all the way.
Why the limp? No idea. Either I injured myself or I've been wearing the wrong shoes, or I'm old. In any case, something is wrong with my ankle. It may even be swollen. 
Or I'm getting cankles. It's hard to tell since my glasses fall off when I bend down to look. I know. Don't go falling in love with me.
I come back with the car and go upstairs to get the booster seat.
Which is nowhere to be found.
We conduct a thorough search of the apartment. It's small so this takes about a minute. Since we don't have a car we barely use the booster, and so I'm forced to conclude I left it in a relative's car. Clever Mommy!
I still have time so I call a friend to ask if I can borrow one. I drive over, get the booster, and drive back to get a not only still hyper Zoe but a quickly becoming cranky one too.
I hustle her downstairs, strap her in, then turn the key in the ignition.
Nothing. I try again. Still nothing.
I call Zipcar and work my way through the menu with an increasingly whiny Zoe in back repeating: "Where's the party? I wanna go to the party. Are we still going to the party?" 
I finally get a customer service rep who informs me I have the wrong car. Apparently the parking attendant gave me Tesla* but I was supposed to get a car named Bogdan. (Why the cars are Serbian, I don't know.)

A hapless killing machine, the Toyota Yaris
is known as the Gavrilo Princip of cars.

Both Tesla and Bogdan were Kia Fortes and since there was no name tag on my car and it couldn't talk like Kitt, the parking attendant made an understandable mistake. I have no idea why I was able to start it the first two times but I didn't have time to learn what was likely unlearnable. 
Upshot: Zipcar switches the reservation and then Zoe, Tesla, and I are off. I check my watch. Five after three, officially late.
At the first red light I turn to check on an eerily quiet Zoe and, as I feared, she's asleep. I turn off the A/C and open the windows trying to revive her. She snores. I sweat.
Five minutes later I drive past our destination. Two minutes later I realize I passed it and circle back to look for parking.
I find a spot, turn off the car, look down, and notice a hole in my shorts, at the inner thigh. Nice. I am apparently Hulking out, but less from anger and more from cake. These are my favorite shorts too because they go past the knee. Since becoming a mommy, the days of shorts above the knee are gone because that's where I keep my spider veins. And though my shorts aren't that short it still would've been nice if I'd shaved my legs. Which I haven't. 
To recap: limp, holey pants, unshaven. Harried because of the car mix-up and the booster seat drama. Now let's add more sweating as I maneuver a sleepy cranky four-year-old out of a borrowed booster seat in a rented car so she can go to a party. 
I carry her down the block---her weight emphasizing my limp so I'm a ringer for Quasimodo---enter the party, and spend a good twenty minutes trying to persuade a cranky child to have fun. Eventually she gets her mojo back and is soon muscling other children out of her way. 
After the activity portion, there's pizza and cake and juice and the utter mayhem of twenty or so children. Throw in a conch shell and we'd have had another Lord of the Flies on our hands.

Tesla was the first scientist to harness the raw
power generated at a children's birthday party.

Soon the party's winding down but Zoe isn't. And she wants to take out and play with everything in her goody bag.
I bribe her, saying she can take out one item as we walk to the car. She hands me a mini bottle of bubbles to open. The plastic stretching across the top is not kidding around. Eventually I use my teeth. Once it's open I find it's just as difficult to get the little wand out since you can fit only one finger inside the bottle. So I have to tip it, causing some of the soapy water to spill.
Zoe gets upset. But after blowing a few bubbles her bonhomie is restored.
Then she drops the wand back in the bottle and can't get it out.
Zoe gets terribly upset. I have to spill more liquid to get it out. I hand everything back but now the soap's gotten too low for the wand to reach.
Zoe gets terribly and horribly upset. The bubbles having betrayed her in every conceivable way, she doesn't want them anymore. At the car, I take the bubbles from her, place the open bottle on the dashboard, and strap Zoe in. Then I get in, cross my fingers, and start the car. Go, Tesla! As I pull out, the forgotten bubbles fall off the dashboard. Slippery soapy bubbles all over.

Let's review: the gait of Quasimodo, the legs of Sasquatch, weight-related hole in pants, incipient cankling, copious sweating, sticky. 
At the next red light I decide to let the Husband know we're on the way home so I pull out my phone. Dead, naturally.
I glance in the rearview mirror to check on Zoe and spot a pimple on my chin. For the last time: Stop undressing this blog with your eyes.
Zoe: 64; Universe/Mommy: 0
* Names changed to protect the innocent. Actual names may or may not have been Serbian.


  1. "After the activity portion, there's pizza and cake and juice." What were they thinking?

  2. This post reminded me why I left Brooklyn. So many bad, sweaty memories. xoxo

  3. Haha. I like to feel I'm providing a service!

  4. What are we ever thinking? When's bedtime?

  5. Bubbles. They seem so innocent and yet they are slippery hot mess of evil. Maybe Chinese finger traps would be more appropriate?

  6. I too am hulking out from cake. Literally. I had like three pieces this weekend.

  7. True!. There should be laws.

  8. Not much of a cake guy, but the wife bought some double stuffed Oreos and some ice cream that I ut a hurting on from time to time.

  9. Perfectly respectable. I'd murder a double stuffed Oreo myself.

  10. This was HILARIOUS!!!!! My favorite "Or I'm getting cankles. It's hard to tell since my glasses fall off when I bend down to look. I know. Don't go falling in love with me.". I have so been there (minus the limp). It's amazing how much energy we expend to have so little fun.

  11. Thanks, Susan! Helps to know I'm not alone, though I may be lagging behind because of the limp!

  12. This was much funnier than Alexander's day, although I didn't have to live through it. And I rarely wear shorts - capris cover hairy legs and spider veins. But not cankles.

  13. Capris or yoga pants do seem to be the Mom uniform. I keep telling myself I have accepted this! Haha, thanks, Dana.

  14. Oh, you poor thing. I HATE, no, LOATHE days like that. Makes you want a do over, but realize it's not worth it because something else (probably far more embarrassing/horrible) will happen anyway. Hope the hubbs gave you a little break when you got home to recoup!

  15. He got me a bottle of red wine. That helped. Haha. Thanks for visiting.