It was a lazy holiday Monday morning. Ed had to go into the office — something to do with a video of our mayor smoking crack at a drug dealer’s apartment, I don’t know — and I planned to drive the kids out to Scarborough to visit Ed’s parents.
We’d had a late breakfast and I let the kids sneak down to the basement with the tablet to watch My Little Ponies on Netflix. Oh, the stuff I thought I was getting away with as a child. I now realized my parents just couldn’t be bothered to enforce their own rules.
I finally decided we’d better get going if I wanted to make it out to Scarborough and back before dinner. One by one, I cajoled them into getting dressed: ordering one kid up to his room, bringing down clothes and coaxing another out of her pajamas and full-on toddler-wrestling with the littlest.
Eventually, they were all dressed and they immediately scattered to all different parts of the house. Fine. I gathered up diapers and sunscreen and sun hats. I tried to make myself look somewhat presentable. I lined up their shoes and put my own on.
Mary was wondering around and crying out of hunger and fatigue by now. Crap. If I stopped to feed them lunch, it would push the departure time back another 45 minutes, easy. I called Grandma and asked if we could eat there. She said, sure, we could have grilled cheese.
Done deal. I yelled for them to come get their shoes on. We were going to Grandma’s house and we were leaving right now. I opened the back door, ushering all three kids outside and reached for the car key.
I reached for the car key. There was no car key. We’ve been sharing one car key ever since we lost the backup copy one month after we bought our car four and a half years ago. Because what could possibly go wrong? Why have a backup key when you can live life in a constant state of fear and anxiety instead? Clearly, this is my life’s motto.
The car was sitting in the driveway, but the key was hanging out downtown in Ed’s pant pocket. And, really, this was almost a best-case scenario. At least it wasn’t lost. But the crosstown trip to Grandma’s house that I had spent the better part of my morning gearing up for was a no-go.
So we ate and Mary napped and I forced the kids to play out in the yard because goddammit it’s a nice day and we will enjoy it if it kills us. I read the same one paragraph of my book fifteen times between playing catch with the most sullen and unenthusiastic kids in the entire world, setting them up to play with bubbles, cleaning up the spilled bubble solution, pouring myself a glass of water, getting water for the kids, wiping butts and going to the bathroom myself.
After naptime, I fed them a snack and once again gathered up sun hats and sunscreen and water bottles and tennis balls and called them to the back door. I laced up runners and buckled up sandals and, huh, only one toddler-sized Croc. Where is the other one?
“No really, you guys, where’s Mary’s other shoe? Where is it? Someone must have seen it. Mary? Do you know where it is?”
“A-hah!” she said.
“Great. Where is it?” I asked.
“Bah!” she said, pointing to an empty shoe box.
“In the box?” I asked.
“A-hah!” she said.
It wasn’t in the bloody shoe box. Nor was ìt in any of the other vaguley box-shaped places she pointed at. After a freaking eternity of searching, I finally found the stray shoe wedged under the door of the fridge. Of course.
So we went to the park.
And then, this morning, we were all set to walk out the door when I saw one, single Croc sitting on the shoe rack by itself. The other one is still missing.