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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Thursday, October 26, 2006


A Lunch of Love After a Field Trip From Hell

Today was one of those days that I didn't anticipate being difficult, that quickly turned difficult, and which made me realize that I should have known it would be difficult.

Get it?

Today I helped chaperone my first field trip. Emily's preschool class went to a pumpkin patch crowded with hundreds of kids and parents. Oh, the joy.

I thought it would be fun, I really did. But it just wasn't. It started out fine; Emily, Thomas, and I got to school in plenty of time. That was basically the last good thing that happened. After that I realized that I needed to write the check for Emily's school pictures today. Am I the only person who thinks that important need-to-know dates should be large and bolded and splattered on the top of a form rather than buried somewhere after paragraph three?

So I hurried back to the car to get Emily's picture folder and my checkbook and brought them back to the classroom, where I realized why I hadn't filled out the paperwork sooner. The photographer's instructions about how much the pictures cost where annoyingly difficult. As I struggled with the instructions, it became time to carpool to the pumpkin patch. I would figure out the photo thing there.

"Poo, mama!" was what Thomas said the minute I picked him up to scoot over to the car. Crap. Literally and figuratively. "I have to change my son's diaper... Can you wait for us?" I asked Emily's teacher, who nodded. I rushed the kids to the car, threw Emily in the back, and lifted the hatch to change Thomas's diaper. I felt bad that 10 carloads of families would have to wait for me to change a poopy diaper, but I needn't have worried because as I was changing him the cars began leaving the parking lot.

"Wait! wait!" I shouted, waving a wet wipe in the air like a distress flag. "Wait!" Nobody saw me. I fastened his diaper and ran over to the last minivan. "Will you wait for me? I don't know where we're going." The pretty young mom looked at me and said, "I don't know where I'm going either!"

I told her to go on and that I would catch up with her. I didn't want to be responsible for both of us wandering around Half Moon Bay in search of our preschool class. I buckled the kids as fast as I could and headed off in the direction of the land of pumpkin patches.

And if you think I was cursing, you're right.

I couldn't believe I didn't have directions to this pumpkin patch. I normally don't depend on other people for directions or help and today was a good reminder of why. After a frantic phone call to Mike, I got the teacher's phone number. I didn't call her because just then I caught up to the minivan of the pretty young mom, who seemed to know where she was going.

Except when I turned into the pumpkin patch and parked beside her, I realized that it wasn't her minivan! The minivan I had been following belonged to an older mom with two kids who looked like they were seven. Curses!

That's when I called the teacher and asked her where I was supposed to be going. She told me, although her directions seemed odd. Okay, I head up to Highway 1 and take a left and the pumpkin patch is on my left. "I'll meet you there," I told her. When I hit Highway 1, I realized why her directions were odd. Signs for the pumpkin patch started appearing, but there was no road. And then more signs appeared, but they were advertising a pumpkin patch with a different name. I was confused and so I kept driving. And driving. And driving.

Until I realized that I obviously had missed the &&*^%(## pumpkin patch and I would have to turn around. It was located where the mass of confusing signs were. The whole holiday of Halloweeen seemed to be conspiring against me at that moment. I had a headache and I felt like a failure. I couldn't even get my kids to a lousy preschool field trip.

We finally made it to what should be called The Hidden Pumpkin Patch, and I parked the car. Now to figure out the damn picture instructions so I could write my check and give it to the teacher. As I was sealing the envelope, the teacher walked up. Apparently, everybody was waiting for us so that the class could go on a hay ride. Crap. I didn't mention to her that I had asked the other teacher to wait for us back at the school; it didn't matter at that point.

The pumpkin patch itself would have been fun except for the hordes of kids and parents, the fact my head was throbbing, and my realization that I had miscalculated the picture money and would need to write a different check, this time while walking through a corn field and holding a toddler in one arm. Oh, and clutching YET ANOTHER HANDOUT FROM SCHOOL in my other hand. Will the madness never end?

And the pain didn't stop there. Oh no. After we finally got to leave the horrible patch of orange globes from hell, the kids and I went into Half Moon Bay for sandwiches and to relax. Except that the sandwich shop only took cash and when we got to the counter I realized I was five dollars short, which necessitated a power walk with two toddlers to the cash machine three blocks away from the sandwich shop. Just when I thought the day couldn't get any harder, Emily announces that she needs to pee. Great. Fortunately, I had a port-a-potty with us so we went back to the car and even though we were on Main St. in Half Moon Bay, I had her pull down her pants and do her thing in the open hatchback of the car.

When she said she also had to go poo, I almost cried. Thankfully, she was wrong.

Oh. so the point of this post is that it's Love Thursday and what I loved about today is how it ended on a high note, with Emily, Thomas, and I enjoying sandwiches and chips in beautiful Half Moon Bay. We finally got to relax and spend some quality time together without rushing around like pumpkins with our stalks cut off.

Lunch Date-o-Love

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