all the time. I didn't really want to buy anything, and I had no money to do so anyway.
I just really enjoyed going to the mall and looking at all the pretty things.
She always said no.
Why?! Didn't she want to leave the house and peruse all the fancy things that we wanted but
couldn't have? Didn't Woolworths have that irresistible pull on her, too? Wasn't she just dying
to watch me try on shoes and outfits?
Her no always baffled me. That is, it baffled me until I became a busy mom of four.
Need something picked up from the store at a moment's notice? It's urgent? There's a deadline?
Well, no problem! Ask a mother of four to pick it up for you. This is how that 10 minute errand will go....
1:06 - Get the phone call. My mission is to obtain a prized food item at a ridiculously low price from the under-stocked store. Every other mother in town is on the same mission. We must suit up, man up, and get ready to push and shove our way to the display at everybody else's expense to claim the Holy Grail of grocery items.
1:07 - Realize that our one car is gone. To work. With my husband. Duh.
1:08 - Call the husband at work. He can make it back at break time if I promise to make it snappy and get him back to work before his 15 minutes is up.
2:30 - start getting the kids ready to leave. Wash hands, wash faces, get snacks. Where are the shoes? WHERE ARE THE SHOES?? Where's the other one?!?!
2:50 - Stand outside so as not to miss the 'bus'. If the husband leaves at 3 pm, he'll be here at 3:07 pm, leaving us 8 minutes to transfer, drive back, and drop him off at the door.
2:58 - Kid 2 is hungry. Run inside for a snack.
2:59 - Kid 3 has to pee. Runs inside.
3:00 - Husband should be leaving work. Kid 4 has to pee. Squats in the driveway.
3:01 - Run inside with Kid 4 at arm's length. Change her. Start laundry.
3:05 -Waiting. Waiting. Don't get dirty! No, you can't get another snack. Hold it in!!
3:07 - Van arrives. Throw the kids in. Momentarily panic as both drivers try to figure out if husband driving is faster, or the wife.
3:09 - Emergency stop 200 ft from the drive. Forgot to buckle Kid 4.
3:11 - Stuck behind a tractor. Turn up the radio to muffle any adult words from the driver.
3:16 - Drop husband off at work. Hope no one notices the 16 minute break.
3:24 - Meant to go to the Superstore, but went the 'scenic' route downtown instead.
3:25 - No, we can't go to the library. No, we can't get Timbits. No, I don't have money for the second hand book store. No, I said we can't!
3:47 - Quiet in the back of the van as the kids munch on donuts and read library books. Driver is hoping the extra caffeine from the coffee will take care of the jack hammer between her temples.
4:06 - Drive by the Dollarstore on the way to the Superstore. No, we can't get a toy. No, it will just break the first time you use it. No, I'm not paying for more junk I'll just have to pick up off the floor anyway.
4:22 - Kid 1 is pouting, Kid 4 is wailing. Plastic pieces are strewn throughout the van. Kid 3 inquires about Dollarstore warranties.
4:29 - Pull into the Superstore. March the kids in single file to the front doors.
Bedlam. Mass hysteria.
4:32 - Carry Kid 4 so as not to lose her. Kid 1 has her stiff upper lip on, while Kids 2 and 3 hang on to my skirts to battle the crowd. Freezer empty. Display case empty. Staff looks like they'd rather be anywhere but here. No radio to turn up.
4:38 - Realize it's time to pick up husband, and supper should be on the table in less than half an hour. Buy some cheap frozen pizzas and a throw together salad for health reasons. No, we can't buy Kinder Surprise Eggs. No, they're illegal in the USA. Seriously!! Yes, we're Canadian, what's your point?!
4:50 - Back to the van. Where are the keys? WHERE ARE THE KEYS? Not in the ignition. Dump purse onto pavement. Got 'em.
4:52 - Emergency stop. Forgot to buckle Kid 4.
5:01 - Screech to a stop at husband's work. He knows enough not to ask.
And that is how an entire afternoon is wasted, and how the pharmaceutical industry makes so much money off nerve pills.