a tepid mess

01 October 2014

I know I've explained this before and I know no one cares but a refresher, for fun! When it comes to Simon's call weekends there are two different shift options. He is assigned to either stay at work overnight after his shift on Friday and come home Saturday morning around 8 and then go back to work all day Sunday or he goes into work on Saturday morning and gets off 24 hours later on Sunday morning. He doesn't have a choice which option he gets (although we prefer the 24 hour shift on Saturday but he works more Friday/Sunday shifts ... sad/pathetic face emoji) and these weekends are decided many MANY months in advance so I don't know why I act like the end of the world is impending, (Britney Spears 2007 head shaving incident style) while we're swimming through them. I think they just feel more difficult on the more time consuming rotations (this month and last month) because we don't get the weekends to breathe for a minute and Mondays feel extra cruel after a weekend of little sleep and (partially) solo parenting.

But when we are on the other side I'm always like, "oh, that wasn't so bad!!"

Get it together, Mama Fun.

Anyway, If you've ever thought for even the slightest of seconds that I might not be a super vapid, pathetic, and baby of an individual ... this post will absolutely change your mind. I should be more mortified than I am but I'm not ashamed enough to keep this story to myself. I'm sorry.

One of the slight perks of call weekends and night float months is that generally I feel very little guilt after I get the kids to sleep and the house relatively clean (usually around 9 or 10 because Phoebe senses when Simon is gone and is thoughtful enough to adjust her bedtime to keep me company, ahem) about zoning on Netflix. The purpose is twofold: distract my mind from wandering into the dangerous, "someone could break in and kill us any minute" and the noise generally lulls me to sleep sometime before 3am. I've come a long way from intern and second year when I would stay up until five. Yes, I was formerly a (more) special breed of completely insane.

So when Simon was on a Saturday - > Sunday 24 hour shift this weekend and I noticed that the laptop wasn't charging late Saturday morning I stayed calm but felt the panic rising in my heart of hearts. When I spent the entirety of the kids' nap time troubleshooting the problem to find that the problem was most likely a broken charger I decided to do something really stupid: I made an appointment at The Genius Bar in the Apple Store (located in the mall, aren't they all?) for 5:15pm. Simon says I went into Mama Bear mode and felt strongly about protecting my fifth cub (aka the internet) and Simon is probably right. The mall is located sevenish minutes away from our house but the mall is always a huge cluster when it comes to parking so my goal was to leave the house at 4:40 to leave ample time for parking spot hunting and hiking to the mall wearing Phoebe, pushing Theo in the stroller, and herding Julia and Sebastian while coaching them to please hold hands and stay CLOSE to me, PLEASE.

We left the house at a predictable 4:50 thanks to Theo's impeccable timing in the diaper bomb department. Parking was even worse than predicted ...
(FINE the mall isn't a whole mile long but we park about 2.2 miles always. Work with me, forgiving reader.)

And Julia's hair HAD been up in a braid for ballet class earlier that day and was secured with a couple of bobby pins and she decided she was done with that style for the day and unraveled the entire thing on the drive over. Because I don't carry tiny person hair elastics on my person I had to think quickly on my feet to tame her teenage Simba hair ...


... final polished product being a little business up front and a PARTY in the back.

Whatever.

We fought the crowds (really ... it's very bizarre how many people hang out outside this mall on the weekend nights) to get inside and navigate to the elevator because Julia and Sebastian have a wildly unhealthy fears of escalators and try as I might I couldn't figure out a way to carry them and safely get the stroller up the moving monster. So, elevator.

I don't know if it was just the time of day or the arrival of the iPhone Incredible or what but the Apple Store was busier than I've ever seen it. Ever. I approached a harried looking Genius Bartender at exactly 5:17 and a little too proudly announced that I had an appointment for 5:15pm.

Bartender: oooooooookay, what's your name?
Mrs. Confident: Grace Patton
Bartender: (consults iPad mini in hand) hmmm well you are late so we may have canceled your appointment ...
Mrs. Confident:
Bartender: Jason Patton? Found ya!!
Mrs. Confident: oh, no - Grace Patton? 5:15?
Bartender: may I see your confirmation email?
Mrs. Confident: sure!!!

And as I'm pulling it up on my phone I have a horrific thought that is confirmed once I open the email and read that my appointment was made for the other Apple Store at the other mall that is twenty minutes away.

Cue internal expletives and obvious adrenaline rush of panic.

I explain my idiotic mistake to said bartender who says she'll be happy to put me at the end of the walk-in waiting list (thanks!) which is going to be a two and a half hour wait, at the very least.

My heart starts beating in my ears and I decline the generous offer while making sure Simba and Sidekick are still safely playing games on the kid tables armed with iPads.


They are.

I catch the eye of yet another harried employee and ask her where the computer chargers are and she happily helps me. We make sure that a new charger will charge my almost dead computer while she remarks how brave I am to come into the store with my two kids (Phoebe and Theo) while I agree and begrudgingly purchase the new charger because last time this happened they happily gave me a new one but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.

We made our way out of the mall while Sebastian trailed a few steps behind and every four seconds yelled over the roar of the mall buzz, "CUE ME!!!!!!" ("excuse me" in case you don't speak Sebastian) and wanted to show me yet another sparkling something he'd spotted at a kiosk that he wanted, "for my birthday?"

I wonder how he thought to ask that question ...


hmm.

Taking a selfie + a breather before we begin our Ironmom + child out to the van.


Yee haw.

The end.

Just kidding ...

to note/in my defense:

could I have just sucked it up for the night and waited for Sunday to figure it out? ye---no. I know myself and I would've sat there nervously chewing on my cuticles and not sleeping until sunrise and then been a nasty mother bear all day Sunday and Simon (understandably) needs to sleep off his shift for part of the day so I was only delaying the inevitable safari to the big Apple.

why didn't I just watch TV on the TV with the antenna? well, our three channels are located in the basement and I do not go down there after sundown unless Simon is home because predators and my imagination is ridiculous.

Fine, my defense is pretty weak and my notes are pretty shallow but mostly no harm and mostly no foul, right?

And please don't worry. There are only approximately a million call weekends left before July so hold onto your hats, dearhearts. I'm sure something far more exotic and exciting is bound to happen. After all! Winter is right around the bend.

42 comments:

  1. You never cease to amaze me honestly. I'm intimidated by going to the Apple Store without any children in tow.

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  2. Oh Grace, you tell a story like no other!!! And Julia's hair is on point....loving the business in front and party in the back, she looks so old! Oh and you should have totally gone with Jason Patton is my husband and kindly taken that spot!

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  3. Well CLEARLY all you need to cure your 'bout-to-get-murdered anxiety is to take a cue from my husband's book: whenever he's gone for a weekend (not nearly as often as poor Simon is, but he does have the occasional weekend seminar to attend, leaving me home alone with the kids) he forces me through a gun drill. Oh yes. I have to demonstrate to him that I know how to open the safe and get the gun loaded, all in an appropriately speedy "someone is entering the house RIGHT NOW!!" manner. If there was a sarcasm font, I would use it to type that I reeeeaaaally love the gun drills. o_o

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    1. And now that I've typed that up, I'm seeing how redneck weirdo this sounds and maybe I should just delete that comment . . .

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  4. Hahaha. My husband is out on business this week (my birthday, so he owes me double!), and OF COURSE I keep hearing voices outside the house after dark. Finally get up the guts to peek out through the blinds, and the neighbor has decided that 10 at night is a great time to grill. I am probably setting The Bean back months in the "sleep in your own bed" department this week (because, of course, if there's an intruder, the three-year-old will protect me!).

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  5. first of all julia looks like a teenager and I'll take her outfit and her hair. and the other day i couldn't get our box (whatever it's called) to work to play netflix and i cried. then figured it out ten minutes later but i thought my evening was ruined.

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  6. Last time Jeremy was gone for drill his computer charger decided to die the morning of so he took mine. I overnighted one from amazon but it was the worst night ever while I waited. I normally sleep with music on the iPad and a movie going on the computer and the noise from the baby monitor to drown out the creepy noises but that night without my movie I didn't sleep. I wanted to kiss the postal lady when she brought me my charger the next day.

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  7. I dread the day that I need a Genius Bar, because the closest one is a measly three hours away. I literally have no idea what I would do.

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  8. Okay well you are brave to venture to the depths of doom in an apple store with your two children ;) And I am the exact same way when Chris is gone. I booby trap the doors, put an extra baby gate at the top of the stairs (??) because somehow I am safer? And I do not dare go to the basement. The song and crazy gets old fast when he is gone for more than a few days. I have to talk myself off the ledge of insanity!

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  9. Honestly, I am just as much as a nervous wreck when my husband is gone overnight. It's thankfully rare, but still. I don't even like it when he's out past 10pm.

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  10. I have no children and am overwhelmed in the Apple Store. Impressive you made it at all!

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  11. Netflix is the best lullaby when husband's are away, coming from a fellow scaredy cat.

    I remember I carted 6 week old to the genius bar, and I sweated the whole time even though he was asleep because I was so terrified he was going to wake up and oh my goodness what would I do then?! Ha. You are the Ironmom champion.

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  12. You poor thing! I would dread those away nights too! My husband is occasionally away for one night and I have to take a sleeping pill (otherwise the crazy thoughts would take over) think I've told you before I'm a bit of a nutter! You're definitely not alone!!

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  13. I had to go the Apple store last Saturday for Phil and we were 10 minutes late (because Henry had a bomb right before we left AND on the way to the store), so I got to wait 30 minutes for someone to literally take Phil's phone and mail it off. Like that's hard and requires its own separate appointment.

    It is times like those that I almost want to pinch Henry so he will scream bloody murder. If they are going to be dumb and pretentious, then they can listen to him cry. Of course, he was happy as a clam and a perfect angel.

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  14. Every time I read a post call post I think you and I are the same person! I would have bought a new laptop if that's what it took to have Netflix lull me to sleep. As for the basement - yes just yes!

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  15. You are officially a special kind of psycho! However I believe this probably makes you a better mom as you can spot potential threats hours away. Joe's away tonight and I too will be cheerfully curled up with Netflix.
    Such a bummer that Apple is always showing you the grumpy face. I think they've all turned a little maniacal since the release of the iphone, but STILL.

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  16. I just can't with this. Everything down to the map is completely hysterical and sounds like me to a T. My husband travels once a quarter and I barely sleep the entire time he's gone. One time, I thought the baby was dying and calling him 63 times. He had his phone on do not disturb. :-| Anyways, props to you! Apple Store with 4 kids deserves a damn Metal of Honor!

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  17. Julia's hair is gorgeous! And I hate the mall with every fiber of my being. And I don't even have tiny people anymore.

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  18. Loved this saga. Helped to boost my confidence to venture out while my husband is gone! It can be done! (and I'm the one being "brave with the TWO kids). Shame on me.....
    And I barricade all our windows while he's gone....so glad to know I'm not the only one whose mind runs away into crazy land when soloing.

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  19. I am such a baby too when I am home alone. Hate it!

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  20. Omgaaaa I'm dying over here!!!! The someone might break in and kill us? Oh, yes, me too on the paranoid scale! The trip to the mall!?? I did that today. It was a shitshow and I only have three kids. I've NEVER done it before and probably never will again. My two year old semi-potty trainer? Oh, she had to go potty in the public bathroom--orattemptitordie three times. She also wandered aimlessly without her shoes on in store for a while. SO glad you got the charger. It was worth it? (call me aimless rambler #2 over here!)

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  21. Glad you made it through that ordeal!! I read this article a couple of weeks ago and wanted to pass it along :) http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/noelle-howey-essay

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  22. I would have done the same thing. Totally. #TeamGrace all the way!!

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  23. I freak when I go with my 16-year old to the Apple Bar because there is too much going on in there! I constantly feel like we're going to be in a real-life version of "Taken" sans Eifel Tower and Liam Neeson. And she's 16!

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  24. My husband has been regularly travelling away on business for the last 11 years. I still imagine there are serial killers circling my house as soon as it gets dark and I would have done exactly what you did to keep up my link to the outside world! I end up zoning out on netflix or my computer or phone or whatever and I have totally made both my kids sleep in my bed/bedroom with me when I feel particularly nervous (the 12 yr old is starting to refuse....). It doesn't help that our non barking dog has only ever growled and barked whilst looking down our stairs when he has been away. I swear he must have read that Larson cartoon about that.

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  25. Oh this. A thousand times over. Also, I might need style tips from Julia.

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  26. I'm the same when my husband is out of town for work! I lock myself in the bedroom which is so not practical with children. I don't know how you do it! :) and I have the same fear every time we make a genius bar appt. I check the location about 20 times before the appt since there are no less than 10 apple stores in Houston.

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  27. Oh I'm so sorry! It is so familiar since I have 4 littles!

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  28. Who is this Jason Patton? You should've taken his appointment.

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  29. I'm just falling apart with laughter over here. Mostly at the story but also that Julia wears her sunglasses inside. What a baller.

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  30. Great story. Like other comments here, I also fear being alone. There are just too many crazy weird people out there. Everyone..cat included...comes into my bedroom and we lock the door. You are my fav. blogger. Your writing is just brilliant. so damn funny!

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  31. Girl, I hear you! Anytime my husband isn't home, I swear I can hear every sound within a mile radius of our home. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But if I do hear something, I stare at our dog for any kind of affirmation. If he's just dozing, I get mad that he isn't taking his protecting duties seriously. If he does bark at something, I imagine how to use any object within arm's reach as a weapon and create an escape plan to save me and the dog. It's a healthy state of mind haha Congrats on surviving that trip to the Apple store!

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  32. Oh my that is perfect! You are crazy brave and I agree with Bridget, you should have taken Jason's appointment. You could probably take him with all that mama adrenaline. ;-)

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  33. Girl, I feel your pain and I would have SO done the same thing. My husband works nights, and it's taken me a loooong time to not feel completely on-edge every single second that he's gone while it's dark out. Even still, I have my moments. Case in point: the other night, I was home alone with the kids (if that isn't the biggest oxymoron ever, I don't know what is). I was in bed, exhausted, almost to sleep, when I hear the sound of something crashing into the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink downstairs. Then I hear nothing. Naturally, this means that an intruder is downstairs, on his way to the second level to kill me, and he's now pissed that he blew his cover of silence so my death and that of my children will be even more painful. Of course, the best defense for a murderous intruder is the feign sleep. I can just hear his thoughts now as he sees me in my bedroom "sleeping" peacefully: "Oh, well I was going to kill her real good, but she's sleeping so....I guess I'll just be on my way."

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    1. Update for clarity: In the morning when I blessedly rose alive and un-murdered from a tenuous sleep, I went down to discover that the hand soap had fallen into the sink. Which means we probably have a rodent of some kind. Or ghosts. I'd rather have either of those than an intruder.

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  34. Definitely would be tempted to pull a Steve Carrell/Tina Fey a la "Date Night" and take Jason's reservation. Something about snoozing and losing...

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  35. That part where you were at the wrong store on the wrong side of town? Dude, I understood that so much my stomach actually dropped imagining that feeling of despair. Especially because it takes me four million pep talks just to rally myself out the door to go to a mall (malls are the enemy), I, honestly, probably would have cried. Or made that "trying not to cry" ugly face. You know? So, a thousand YAY!s for you and getting a charger that worked!

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  36. Oh, man! Just passing the Apple store sends me into a hyperventilated state. You are so brave my dear. And approaching the dinner hour.

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  37. Oh look at her, you have a little teenager stuck in a 4 year old! Love her

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  38. Julia with those glasses looks incredibly glam.
    When Josh is away, I get pretty scared too. Then there was the time I made the mistake of watching the weeping angels episode of Dr. Who, and I didn't even let him leave me alone in our room to go to the bathroom, I stuck about 2 ft behind him at all times.
    And venturing to the mall with the kiddos, you are brave :)

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