Thursday, December 2, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Some days, it would be nice to just stay in, wrapped in a soft sweater, sitting cozy by the fireplace.

But we live in Florida. In Florida, a sweater is a person who has constant pit stains. And the only fireplace I've seen around these parts is at Cracker Barrel. And they don't even have a fire in it, just some decorative logs.

So, yes, two days ago we were all sweating to death. It was 90 degrees. We were in shorts and flip flops, the state shoe. Most of our kids can't tie shoes at age ten. I kid you not. What's a shoelace?

And then today, today, this morning, it was an ugly fifty degrees with a stiff breeze. Socks had to be procured. Shoes were dug out of closets. Pants were tried on and found to be too short, leftovers from last February. They would have to do. Jackets were hunted down and rounded up. The kids really wanted snow hats and mittens, and down parkas, but we didn't seem to have any of those. Onward we struggled, into the nippy morning chill. I'm pretty sure some tears were shed in honor of the bitter, arctic cold.

Being Thursday, we had to pick up my niece and head up to Orlando and the kids' homeschool PE class. Me, five kids, long drive, lots of red lights. We finally make it over to the park, my attention straying between the gas gauge doing its best impersonation of empty, and a sheriff's helicopter circling overhead. The park where we attend PE is hidden behind a high school, and we ran into the school's security patrol blocking the access road.

"The school's on lockdown. You can get back to the park but just drive slow - my people are everywhere."

My people. Yeah. I've seen Mall Cop.

"Is there anything we should be worried about?" I asked, mesmerized by the police chopper pounding above our heads.

"No, it's fine."

Okay then. We made our way back to the park, exceedingly, painfully early. As usual. We were, of course,  the only ones there. No one else was dumb enough to drag five kids out into the freezing cold with a police helicopter watching our every move. I thought to call my husband, and he checked out the news online. Yes, the school was in lockdown, along with other schools in the area. Something about armed robbers on the loose, fleeing the scene. Police were out in force. Great.

Some friendly parks and recreation fellows pulled up alongside us, and echoed the news. Armed robber, suspected to be in the woods, maybe we shouldn't be there, yada yada. Those would be the woods directly flanking the park. Nice.

I herded the kids together and, per the parks guys' suggestion, we walked over to the recreation complex building, intent on getting inside. The doors were locked and no one answered our knocks. They probably thought we were armed robbers.

Just then, my brother-in-law called to let us know PE had been cancelled; they'd just called him. It was dawning on me that everyone else seemed to have fled the area, and no one was coming in. We hightailed it back to the car, the police chopper now seeming just feet above our heads. I maintained the calm, steady force holding the wee ones in check and preventing panic.

Actually, I think I stepped on one of them in my haste to get back in the car. I know it wasn't the little ones because I had one dangling from me and the other held in a death grip by the arm. My voice may have been a teensy bit higher than usual.

Doors slam, seatbelts click. The engine revs.

"I have to go to the bathroom."

I was gracious and didn't flatten the police officer now guarding the exit. Where were you ten minutes ago, buddy?

Fast forward to Seven Eleven. I managed to squeeze about 3 and a half gallons of gas out of the lone ten dollar bill in my wallet, bladders were emptied, and only once did I hear the plea for Slurpees. I piled a mountain of Cheerios on the car seat between the baby's legs, hoping if he couldn't reach them he might at least stop screaming long enough to try to get them. No such luck.

The drive to park number two went something like this :

"Feliz navidad! (ba da ba da ba da da) Feliz navidad! (ba da ba da baaaa)"

"Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Waaaaaahhhhh! Waaaahhhhh!"

"I wanna wish you a merry Christmas!"


"I wanna wish you a merry Christmas!"


"I wanna wish you a merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heaaaaaart!"

"Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Waaaaaahhhhh! Waaaahhhhh!"

The boy is a natural singer.

And I am a natural attractor of red lights. I'm pretty sure we hit every single red light between Orlando and the new park. And slow tourists. And several patches of closed road. Apparently December 2nd is Annual Road Sodding Project Day. Who knew. 

An hour at the park, a dropoff to four children, and a scream-filled drive home later, I needed a nap. 

"What's for lunch?" 

"Can you help me with my English lesson?"

"I want to watch Strawberry Shortcake!"

"Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Waaaaaahhhhh! Waaaahhhhh!"

Check please.


Michelle said...

This post actually made me LOL. Bravo to you, I would have been a wreck by the time I hit the 711. haha

Mama Bee said...

Oh man, I can totally relate to these days, well written and made me laugh out loud all through.