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June 16, 2021

Sometimes it's hard to be me: you're laughing with me, not at me

I'm gonna come right out and say it, in case you didn't know:  

sometimes it's hard to be me. 

Sometimes I BELIEVE that I have super powers and I do a bit too much. 

Exhibit A:  I slept a ton a few weeks ago, waking up Sunday morning feeling rested. Later in the day, that rested feeling turned into a need for more rest. I was confused, but never one to deny myself a nap - I napped. When I woke up, I wondered if a large truck had driven over my head. That was Memorial Day. 

On Tuesday, I felt well enough to load the 3 toddlers and one 10 month old in my care into the Great White along with my faithful companion, Mini, and head to the city. She and I took my little tribe to the Shedd Aquarium. So fun. 

What was I thinking? I asked myself out loud. It took longer to load people in the car than anticipated. This is not new. It's life with littles. Duh. What happened to my brain? As much as I like to think of Mini as a mini-me, I have to tell her everything to do, to load, who to change, where to buckle. Sharing a brain would be so much easier and time saving.

Three tots and Mini holding baby
- checking out penguin.

Then, there was traffic. Cars drove up to the front of the line and wanted to merge as if they didn't realize that their lane was ending  - I turned to Mini and said: THIS IS WHEN I NEED A SIREN ON MY VAN. I didn't let anyone sneak in front of me. I was in the GO-AHEAD,-HIT-THE-BIG-WHITE.-ME-NO-CARES frame of mind. 

As we passed the exit for the zoo, I looked at Mini and I tried to 'splain myself. "I guess I was thinking the Shedd wasn't much farther than the zoo. What's wrong with me?" Never mind what Mini's answer was. She still thinks I'm amazing. Of course. 

Our tickets had an arrival window. As we sat in traffic and fretted about whether to bypass the parking garage in hopes of scoring closer street parking because of how late we were . . . that arrival window CLOSED. Mini and I agreed:  NO ONE COULD TURN US AWAY. RIGHT? LOOK AT US. THE EFFORT WE'D GONE TO WOULD BE CLEAR TO STAFF. 

We hoped. 

We did NOT sing Baby Shark on this visit.
I ban that song from my home
.

At last, the Shedd was in sight. I chanced it, with parking that is. I drove down the road away from the parking garage that would add another 15 minutes to our walk to the Shedd. We'd score parking, RIGHT? 

Wrong.

Half of the street along the lakefront between the Shedd and the Planetarium was blocked off. They were filming something.

I wanted to roll my window down and shout:  FILM THIS. CRAZY LADY IN THE RUSTY WHITE VAN PUSHING THE ENVELOPE -THIS IS WHERE THE ACTION IS TODAY, FRIENDS. 

Instead I asked the parking attendant if I could turn my big ass van around in the parking lot at the end of the road, that lot was where I'd park if all else failed, and fail it did. The lot was blocked off though for the filming people. He let me drive through the lot . . . on two wheels, because I had to high-tail it back to the Shedd and do the faraway parking garage . . . while the clock was TICKING. 

Mini and I came up with a back up plan, if the Shedd was strict about their ding-dang arrival window. We'd walk along the lake and look at boats for a bit and the tall buildings. We both agreed that'd be lame. It'd be kinda "LOOK KIDS, BIG BEN"-ish. But, two year olds can be easily impressed.

I pulled up to the sidewalk in front of the Shedd. *I have a history on this sidewalk. Note to self:  share that story soon.  

Me:  OK, WHAT IF I LEAVE YOU HERE WITH THE KIDS AND THEN I PARK OVER THERE. I CAN RUN BACK. THAT'LL BE FASTER.

Mini:  OK, MAYBE I'LL TRY TO ENTER? I'LL TELL THEM YOU'RE COMING.

Me:  UM, SHIT. HERE'S MY PHONE. WITH THE TICKETS PULLED UP. BUT THEN YOU CAN'T CALL ME IF THERE'S A PROBLEM.

Mini:  HERE, TAKE MY PHONE. (one of us had a working brain. Helpful).

Low and behold, there was an even pricier outdoor lot that was a stone's throw away from where I left her. I didn't know about this lot. So much easier than the stadium's $25 parking garage with elevators and freaky low ceilings that make it scary to drive a big ass van in. I was happy to park in this $30 lot. Hell, I would've given them $50. 

(I've uploaded a 14 sec video below so you can see what it feels like to drive the white van in a parking garage. Claustrophobic much?)


Well, I almost couldn't give them ANY dollars. The sun's glare, plus me rushing, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to work the 'insert credit card here' machine. There was a button way too low for a person driving a kick ass rusty van to see initially. 

No, the cars behind me were NOT upset that I'd woken up depleted of brain cells. Thanks for asking. 

I sprinted to the entrance of the museum. Something in my pocket started screaming, like Halloween screams and I realized Mini was calling me. Note to self:  ask her why she has a screaming for a ring tone.

Mini: We're in. Everything's fine. The lady was nice. She said for you to just come to the door and tell her your name and she'll let you in. All good. 

I bypassed all the people in line, walked in the door. Mini waved at me from over to the side. I announced my name to the employee woman at the door. 

"ERNIE SHENANIGAN, I'M HERE." 

I looked towards Mini and took a few steps. 

Mini:  YEAH, THAT WASN'T THE SAME LADY. 

Me:  OH, UM  . . . 

No swear words were uttered in the making of this adventure.
We had an impromptu lunch by the water. Shedd is on the left.













I turned back but the woman didn't seem to mind that I'd missed my entrance window by over 15 minutes, flashed her my 'credentials' verbally, and then just marched in like I owned the place.

Oh, my sleepy day on Memorial Day? A relentless sinus infection took over me that week. Somehow Tuesday, our Shedd day, was the only day for about 10 that I ended up headache-less. When you read this, I'll be at Tank's orientation with him. Very grateful that I got antibiotics and am feeling MUCH better before we board our plane. 


20 comments:

Ally Bean said...

Despite being in a haze you did a great job of making a good day of it. I'm with you about parking. I'll pay way too much just to feel safe and park easily. The last photo is my favorite. Who doesn't like an impromptu picnic?

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are such a brave person! I don't know that I would ever want to leave the house with ALL of those little humans. EVER.
I hate driving a regular SUV in a parking garage, so NO THANKS of the gigantic van.
I'm sorry you weren't feeling well, but are on the mend now. Isn't it funny how your body was like: SLEEP, you NEED SLEEP and you didn't even know it.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, I have a pic of my girls and I in that same picnic spot about 15 years ago. :)

Kara said...

Well, it looks like a beautiful day, and I'm sure the kids had fun!

I always duck when I drive into a parking garage. Because even though the roof isn't going to hit my car, IT MIGHT.

Martha said...

OMG it IS hard to be you lol, but it looks like the day turned out great in the end. I'm so glad you are feeling better now. Enjoy your trip!

Maddie said...

Just driving a big van would make me apoplectic. But driving a big van and negotiating all those obstacles (traffic! film crews! parking!)..... eeeek! Mario Kart (video game) level difficulty! I am in awe of your unflappability. Also laughed at the Big Ben reference!

Ernie said...

Ally - It was a fun day. Far from dull, but once we were in there it was smooth sailing. The picnic was fun despite the fact that we miscalculated the number of goose droppings. And a seagull stole some veggie straws from one guy's lunch. He was so confused. I love to save a dime and score street parking, but that was not in the cards that day.

Ernie said...

Suz - Oh my gosh - the first time I drove in a parking garage in the great white, I kept instinctively ducking. It's an optical illusion that is totally unsettling.

I bet you would leave the premises with the small folks too. Just to maintain sanity. These walls can start to close me in. Nothing like a change of scenery, well - unless we are talking nap time, there really is NOTHING like nap time.

Um, I spoke to soon. This stupid cold/sinus infection moved into my chest. Started using my steroid inhaler and thought I was all good. Then I flew to Omaha with Tank and felt like an elephant was on my chest part of the way through our visit. Saw the doc again today. She wants a chest x-ray. If I feel better tomorrow, I'm skipping that. She told me to rest. I laughed.

Ernie said...

Suz - You shoulda called me - I would've met you for lunch. ;) It is a cool location.

Ernie said...

Kara - The kids did have a blast. Not everyone makes the Shedd part of their rotation of places to visit, so this was unchartered territory. We were there in February and got a membership, because it makes sense for us to join wherever we go. These littles got a treat.

My van once got scraped on the roof/stuck in a parking garage. Then I had to reverse out. Um. That sucked. There was a line of cars behind me. It was at an out of state Irish dancing competition when I had 5 kids with me and Coach stayed home. Total nightmare.

Ernie said...

Martha - I am home now, and just the trip to Omaha was an adventure. Has anyone heard that Southwest had a system issue? Um, they cancelled flights. That's foreshadowing for a post I must right one day. I also got more sick during our college visit. Well, I sound an awful lot like Debbie Downer now. Switching gears. . . the Shedd ended up being fun. So glad they let us enter late.

Ernie said...

Maddie - Ah, so glad you got the Big Ben reference. Reg told me today that his buddies are wanting to all drive in the Great White for their away b-ball games during the summer league they're playing in for the high school. You know what's nuts - the high school is not providing them transportation. Huh? Anyway, he told me that he promised to drive them all in it next year when he gets his license. I laughed. NO.WAY.IN.HELL. will a new driver drive that car (or its replacement). It takes some adjusting to handle that monster.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh man, what a time! I hear you on parking, I hate parking even my mini-van in tight spaces, so I totally understand. Glad you made a good day of it!

Beth Cotell said...

I hate parking garages in a normal size SUV. I can only imagine how much ducking I would be doing inside your giant van. Glad you guys had a great day! And I'm excited for Tank that you guys get to do an in person orientation. Peter and I have to do a Zoom orientation next week. BOOOOOOOOO!

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

You are BRAVE. No one, I mean NO ONE. Wants to drive a van into the city. Not even delivery people! Add toddlers??? WTF. You are my hero. That last picture is perfect. I've only been to the Shedd once when Anna was little and I only had to take care of her but we took the train. :)

I'm glad you're feeling better. Sinus infections suck. :(

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! Driving in the parking garage I could never do it. I would definitely be ducking! And I can totally identify with the stress about missing the window to get in. That is me totally; Then I'd remind myself there is nothing I can do about traffic, parking and anything else holding me up -- take a deep breath and realize not everyone worries as much about punctuality as I do. What a great care giver you are to take those littles on adventures. Amazing!

Ernie said...

Nicole - I once parallel parked the Great White van outside my kids' school. I happened to do it like I knew something of parallel parking and had some crazy confidence. Where did that come from? A woman stopped to tell me that she was in awe of my parking job. Never to happen again, I assure you.

Ernie said...

Beth - Oh, the ducking and with good reason. I once had the roof of the car get scraped in a very old parking garage. Yes, his orientation was in person and it was a great time. A few hiccups, but Creighton did a great job.

Ernie said...

Kari - Ha. I don't really mind driving the van around. The thing is if someone bumps into me, what do I care? I'm a rusty old van. Well, not me - but you catch me. I have a great view up in m'van too. Parking though, ugh. Total stress. That's why I heard small angels singing when I found the outdoor lot that I was unaware existed.

Only once to the Shedd. We must rectify that. Of course, that might mean I pick you and Anna up in m'van, but I'm down for whatever. Total field trip for you, the home schooling goddess that you are.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - That's a gift I think that older people get, not calling you old, since you haven't revealed your age - but I feel like as I age I start to remind myself that there's not much I can do. That means I get to chill. Not always successful. I was sort of confident on this trip that I could point at my small army of short people and ask the Shedd people to take pity on me. I do enjoy an adventure. It reminds me of when my kids were tots. Oh, the fun we would have.