Thursday, March 22, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Zoo lemonade

Who made Thursday zoo day? It isn't like the lemonade is half-off or something.

We have been to the zoo the past 2 Thursdays, and I totally blame Awkward Dad. Well, Awkward Dad and some seriously freaky warm weather. I don't know about you, dear Readers, but I am Midwestern and I don't trust good weather in March. Midwesterners are firmly "when is the other shoe gonna drop" people; the other shoe being snow, that is. However, the Supers don't give a fig when it is gonna snow, they'll wanna play outside in that too. Therefore, off to the zoo, we go!

Where was I? Oh, yes, blaming Awkward Dad. You see, Awkward Dad is on a night shift at the V.A. hospital. Oh. That doesn't explain everything to you? OK, details: When Awkward Dad is on night call at the V.A. hospital, if his patients don't need anything, he can sleep. We have been lucky this week and he has gotten some rather nice 3 hour naps. Now, lest you think he is neglecting his patients, I am pretty sure the good men and women of the hospital administration expect him to sleep when not busy. Why else would they have blocked Netflix and Hulu but provided him with a television that gets basic cable? Plus, his call room has a bed.

Of course, 3 hours is not a lot of sleep.....wait for it.....for a dad. (Zing!) So, he is supposed to nap when he gets home from work. But he never wants to. Never wants to until 5 in the afternoon, that is; when I am hitting my patience wall and neglecting to make dinner because I hate to cook and the children have that magical witching hour when they turn into...well...witches, but that is another post altogether. No, when Awkward Dad gets home from work, he is ready to go, and I believe I have mentioned his predilection for adventure. Recently, he (and Super Preschooler, for that matter) can not get enough of the zoo. And since we did get the membership so we could go whenever we want, I can't find it in me to say no. Not even on back to back Thursdays.

I have talked to you about the zoo before, Readers, so I won't bore you. If anyone is so inclined to revisit our zoo tales of tails and toddlers (see that word play?! Zounds, I am on fire today!), they are located here: part 1, part 2, and was an exciting trip. And I tend to talk. A lot. For the Awkward Mom completest, this is where my solo zoo adventure was chronicled. No, you have heard us discuss the zoo before. Plus, most of you know what the zoo is like with small children, just picture that. Need to sit down? Wanna get a drink? I'll wait. No, tonight, I am here to relate how awkward I really am. See this photo:

Fairly ill framed, but rather sweet picture of me and the Super Boys, taking in the Africa part of the zoo. Nothing awkward here, right? Except Awkward Dad took this photo on our zoo jaunt last week, and as I sit here, still slightly sunburned from our zoo jaunt today, I am wearing the SAME OUTFIT! Didn't even notice until I was sorting through the pictures of last week (this week, we forgot the camera and Awkward Dad never, ever, charges his phone). Here I am looking for a nice picture to add to this post and I am confronted with further confirmation that I am aptly named. Readers, my hair is even done the same way....ugh.

Well, zoo uniforms aside, I bet you wanna know about the lemonade. Now, I have nothing against lemonade. I like lemonade. Country Time Lemonade. The kind my mother made when I was little. The kind Awkward Uncle and I used to mix up and try to sell in front of our house. Our house in a neighborhood where no one ever seemed to want lemonade. To be fair, that may have been due to Awkward Uncle's insistence that the lemonade just needed "a little something." The something being a rock or a few blades of grass. Lemonade we would drink too much of. Lemonade that would gurgle within us, making us laugh as we lay on the front lawn, naming clouds on endless summer afternoons. That lemonade I like.

I think someone is adding a "little something" to the zoo lemonade. It isn't rocks or grass. I could handle rocks and grass; I have kids and cats, for goodness sake. No, it is something tart. And I don't like it one bit. However, as Country Time Lemonade isn't often allowed in our house...something about sugar....I wasn't listening too closely but thought I would let Awkward Dad win a battle for once, the Supers don't have the history with CTL that I have. They love zoo lemonade. Like scary love. Like wanted it when we were there last December for the zoo lights love. I don't get it, but I respect it. It is powerful.

Now, I think in one of my zoo posts, I may have mentioned Awkward Dad's obsession with "zoo food." It holds a magical quality for him, as he was denied it throughout his childhood. And with good reason; zoo food is expensive! As a result, I attempt to pack us healthful and delicious snacks/lunches when we are heading to the zoo. I have yet to achieve this, but I continue to attempt. Today, I have packed 3 cheese sticks, some peanuts, a peanut butter sandwich that Awkward Dad made for one of the Super Boys yesterday, 2 oranges, half a box of animal crackers, and some diet Pepsi. Yeah...I did say attempts. But today there is an addition to my non-zoo food, 3 empty refillable zoo-sanctioned cups with straws that tuck into little holders on the side; the source of a heated debate in the "Carnivore Cafe" last week.

There we are, having our standard zoo fight about getting zoo food. He wants to buy the Supers hot dogs they will take one bite of and leave. But, as my packed lunch is roughly the same as this week's, minus the sandwich, I am clearly losing the fight. I recall saying "OK, 2 hot dogs and some lemonade for them, but nothing else!" I sit down to feed Super Baby and the Super Boys run off to pretend to lock each other in sections of the cafe. It used to an exhibit hall ages ago, and the 1950s, totally un-PC, animal cages are still there. I take a breath. Hot dogs and lemonade, that shouldn't break the bank; it's all good. I am distracted by Super Toddler's screaming; it seems he doesn't want to be the lion, after all. When I turn back to the table, I am confronted by a sheepish Awkward Dad, a tray laden with food, and a gigantic blue jug with a handle.

"What is that?"

"It's a commemorative, refillable cup. We can bring it back anytime we come and the lemonade is half-off! Look! I bought 2 small kids ones too." I hadn't seen those, hiding behind the blue Washington Monument of Lemonade.

"How much was it?!"

"Oh, don't worry about that. It'll pay for itself in a couple visits."

"But how much was it?"

"Think of the long term savings."

A mere glance toward the register would tell me, but I am pretty sure I don't really want to know. I do glance over to the next table, where a Perfect Mom sits in serene glory. Her linen dress is a perfect shade of spring green and her wedge heels are making me drool from here. Her three angels are arranged around the table from oldest to youngest and they are wearing matching t-shirts. She is producing dish upon dish, in matching Tupperware, from her voluminous Chanel bag; homemade hummus with pita chips, homemade potato salad, complex wrap sandwiches on whole-wheat tortillas, strawberries, blueberries, grapes (cut in half), mini-salads for each child, homemade yogurt, I think that is a mango, and individually-wrapped homemade granola bars, with each child's name written on the perfectly white wax paper. They are all drinking water out of metal containers, the adorable scenes of peace signs and children hugging trees winking vibrantly in the sunlight. She catches my eye, shifts her gaze to my howling feral children, then to my baby (who has spit up onto her already stained truck onesie), then to Awkward Dad chowing down on hot dogs, then to my filthy sneakers, and then to the vat of Lemonade we have sitting on our table. Her eyes widen but she quickly catches herself, sending me a perfectly patronizing pity smile. I panic. I turn to Awkward Dad and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

"But I hate their lemonade!"

He pauses mid-chew and smiles up at me: "I know. That's why I got you diet Pepsi. Half-off, isn't that great?"

Since it was colder than the ones Awkward Mom brought, she drank it. With only mild pouting. After Perfect Mom had left.... Catch ya next time, Super Readers! We are sure to have a post about a freak April snow storm coming up super soon!

FYI...Super Toddler does not like pretending to hatch.

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