The first fail of the day had already happened, and it was not going to get the best of me.
I got the kids all dressed and ready, put them in the car and drove almost halfway across town to an event that was. . . THE FOLLOWING DAY.
Feeling stupid and guilty for having disappointed the kids, I decided to take everyone to Michael's to gather supplies for my son's what-the-crap-have-I-gotten-myself-into Martha Stewart knight's costume.
In the mall garage I took my ticket from the machine and put it oh-so-responsibly in my wallet. Almost immediately I spotted a woman heading to her car. She pointed to her vehicle, and seconds later we had rockstar parking.
Sweet! I thought. I totally deserve this!
I ushered the kids down the escalator and into Michael's, which was packed. While I caught my bearings in a store that reminded me of how much a crafter I was NOT, I noticed a sign advertising that Michael's, the store that just roared DIY, would be happy to provide you with their professional pumpkin carving services.
What had the world come to?!! We couldn't even carve our own fucking pumpkins anymore? We were that precious, and that time-crunched? God Forbid your jack-o-lantern didn't look like it was carved by Michelangelo. No wonder we were all so anxious, angry and insecure.
The death of the imperfect, yet lovingly carved pumpkin was clearly a symbol of our failures as a nation, as a culture, and as a civilization.
And I had to take a picture of it. Make that two.
Finished with my mocking, we found some of the supplies we needed, and it was further confirmed that this costume would have me visiting every store in the city. We checked out and made our way up the escalator and toward the garage.
Crap! I forgot to validate the parking!
I searched in my bag, in the interior pouch where I KNEW I'd put the little blue card. Nothing...
I pulled the kids into World Market to try to find my ticket and get it stamped. I squatted down by the front window and began rifling through my purse. Receipts dating back to 2007, candy wrappers galore, but no ticket. I looked desperate and ridiculous. And my kids were acting like VIPs at a preschool rave.
"Guys, I can't find the ticket we need to get our car." I hoped the image of us walking six miles home -- an urban Trail of Tears -- would scare the shit out of them. "Be quiet so I can focus, ok?"
It was as if they heard, "Do a Karaoke version of 'U Can't Touch This'!" My pain and suffering meant nothing to them.
I decided to take them back to the car. At least there I could contain them and not feel like the store manager had announced:
Attention shoppers, at the front of the store there is an African-American woman who has lost her parking ticket and who can't control her kids worth shit. Gawk at her STAT if you want to feel better about yourself.
We went to the car, and strapped in. I rifled through my tote bags in the trunk as though I had lost my engagement ring. About 6,000 prospective parkers asked me if I was coming out. When I shook my head, several thought I was lying and hovered anyway.
Mr. R began to show some concern, especially when I buried my face in my hands and released a few sobs that rode the fence between fake and real. Lady A, however, cackled like someone watching the Bridesmaids poop scene while stoned. Her brother tried to get her to showoe some compassion, but she couldn't have cared less.
"BE QUIET!!!!! "JUST BE QUIET!!! I LOST THE TICKET!!! NOW I HAVE TO PAY A FORTUNE TO GET THIS CAR OUT OF THIS FUH, I MEAN SILLY GARAGE! WHEN I SAY I NEED QUIET, YOU BE QUIET, YOU UNDERSTAND?"
Now I was getting all Braveheart if, of course William Wallace had had a uterus. And a car.
I’d give it one last try. I unloaded the kids and marched back to Michael's to retrace our steps.
"Has anyone returned a parking ticket?" I asked a cashier.
"No, but feel free to look around," she replied.
I didn't have to go far -- it was right there, on the floor where I'd dared to not only mock, but photograph the Pumpkin Carving sign.
Ok, Michael's and Martha and people who outsource their jack-o’lanterns, you win.
You totally win.