Our goal was to leave home by noon. Realistically, I knew that meant we would leave by 1:00. At 1:27 when the car wasn’t loaded yet, I began to get worried. We had to make it to the bank by 2:00, because the bank closed then. We had checks to deposit, and if we didn’t make it there, we would have no money until Monday. It would take 20 minutes to get to the bank from where we live. That meant, at this point, we had 13 minutes for Mr. E to pack his clothes and for us to load the car and be on our way. No problem.
By 1:43, we were in the car and headed up the 2 mile dirt road. As long as we did 45 MPH up the dirt road and we didn’t hit any red lights along the way, we’d make it in time. Luck was on our side, and we made it to the bank parking lot at 1:58. Mr. Everything went running in, and we thought he had made it in time. As he stood at the counter, speaking to the teller, she stamped the backs of the checks and got ready to deposit them. Then, the server went down. It was 2:00, and the main office had shut down this branch’s system. We didn’t make it in time. The teller told Mr. Everything to deposit the checks through the ATM, and it would automatically give us $200 in our account. That was a great idea, except it didn’t work. So, we left the bank with no money in hand and no money in the bank. And this sums up the story of our lives.
On the way to the bank, the Goose had said the words that are way too familiar: “Oh no! My phone!” I had flashbacks of the plane trip home from Antigua when she left her phone in the pocket of the seat in front of her. It was at this point that I began to wonder why we had given the 12 year old a phone. I told her to suck it up and deal with it because we weren’t driving all the way back for her phone. She said she had left it in the camp's ATV, and it would get wet and ruined if we left it for days while we were in Brandon. So, with a sigh and a growl, we headed back to camp.
The Goose had not exactly been on her best behavior all day. In fact, even before she said she had forgotten her phone, we all were ready to vote her off the island. It had been a bad day so far, and she was exceptionally whiny and difficult. We all have our moments, but the Goose is really, really good at being difficult. To add to it, the fact that we were having to drive all the way back to camp for her phone was not setting well with the rest of us.
Meanwhile, I knew that my parents and sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew were all waiting for us to get to Brandon. We were supposed to be at my parents’ house by mid-afternoon or early evening to celebrate my daddy’s birthday. The chances of that happening were quickly diminishing.
On the drive back to camp to get the stupid cell phone, the Goose got pretty disrespectful. I won’t even go into the details, because I would not want details of my misbehavior put on the internet for all to read. I will say, though, that this disrespect resulted in Mr. E slamming on brakes and coming to a complete stop on the dirt road. It also resulted in both of us being turned around in our seats, really showing great control by not knocking her teeth down her throat. The final result was the tiny turtle’s bowl getting flipped in the back of the Suburban and all our luggage getting wet with turtle water. Things were not looking good for the Goose.
The reason we discovered that our stuff was wet was because we unpacked the Suburban when we got home. The Goose’s behavior was bad enough that we were just not going to go to Brandon. The Beetle and I were going to go, but the Goose and Mr. E were going to stay home. I did not want it to happen this way. I didn’t want to go to Brandon without half of my family along. I also was afraid at this point that Mr. Everything might do permanent damage to the child. (Not really. Don’t call DCF. If we didn’t hurt her when she said what she said, we aren’t going to.)
By this point, the Goose was crying, I had cried and the Beetle was lying on his floor in his room. I convinced Mr. E to let everyone go to Brandon. The Goose was begging for our forgiveness and saying she didn’t want to ruin granddaddy’s birthday. We fell for it, so after drying up the turtle water, we began loading the car. Again. I assured Mr. E that the Goose would be on her best behavior because of the explosion we had just had. It would be a great trip, I said.
The Goose headed to get back in to the Suburban, carrying her turtle tank. I informed her that the turtle was not going. She started to cry and beg. She said the turtle would die without her. I said we would really miss Skittles. She would die without her turtle. I said we would miss her too. I was over it at this point, and I knew that turtle was not going. In fact, I remember saying something about having to pry the turtle from my cold, dead hands to get it in the car. You see, my children might be strong willed, but they didn’t fall far from this tree. When I choose a battle, I win. Period.
So, in the car we went…one father, one mother, one brother, one sister and one very large Chihuahua. No turtle. Then, the wailing began. For a good 15 minutes, the Goose repeated, “I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle,” over and over and over. Mr. E and I were too exhausted for anger at this point, so we just found it hilarious. She would say it and we would laugh. This probably was not good parenting at its finest, but you know, we all have a breaking point. I was laughing so hard I had tears flowing. The Beetle video taped the Goose saying, "I want my turtle...." Come to think of it, I really hope it’s not posted on Youtube.
The 2 ½ hour trip ended up taking about 6 hours total. By the time we got to my parents’ house, we were fried. My family had already eaten after waiting all afternoon and evening for us. I did manage to pick up a cake and some ice cream, and we shoved a few presents at my father. We didn’t even have a card for him. Daughter of the year, that’s me.
So, our simple trip home turned into a long and drawn out journey. I hope the trip home is not nearly as long. If it is, I might just walk. I think it would be less painful. -Al