I cannot begin to describe all the ways in which this week has been exhausting. I may not survive until Monday. I can't wait to get back to work to rest. Really. No one told me that family vacations could be this hard. And we didn't freakin' go anywhere. Just wail until our trek to Disney World. I may die. Of tiredness. One thing is for sure, no Disney until they both prove they can sleep through the night.
There are pictures, oh, how there are pictures. Pictures I am dying to share with you. Unfortunately, I left my card reader at work and I am not going back for it. No one can see my pictures without holding my camera in their hands until Monday. And that's final.
We walked. We carried a baby backpack, we pushed a stroller, we fought, we cried, we collapsed, we ate, we did everything imaginable and about 70% of it was fun. The other 30% involved screaming children or blood tests.
To add a little detail to this post, rather than leave it with the Family Vacation Version of A Tale of Two Cities, I'll share one tiny story from our adventures. I'll call it the "The Survey." (Yes, I know it's not very creative. Leave me alone. I haven't slept a normal night in a week.
Wednesday night we went to the mall. I hate the mall. I loathe the mall. The mall is my nemesis. But, we've been to this mall a few times because of it's proximity to my mother in law's house, it's inclusion of the only Motherhood Maternity store in the state to carry women's sizes, and the fact that it has an Auntie Ann's. I love Auntie Ann's. It also has a Cinnabon and I can never decide which I want. I spend hours in the food court debating and debating.
Brynna loves this mall because it has a very cool play area. Really, for an unmanned area crawling with shoeless midgets, it's quite nice. It has a forest-y theme, with a big tree that you can get inside of and giant butterflies. My favorite part is a beaver dam that has a waterfall slide. It's weird, but weird in a James and the Giant Peach kind of way. So, as soon as Brynna found out that we were going to be in the proximity of what I will call the Y'all Mall, she about fell over herself. "Please let me go to the place with the tree where you can't wear you're shoes." I swear, mothers should get an award for every sentence like this that they successfully translate.
We went and my mother in law, bless her soul, sat in the play area on the parent benches and held Maren and watched Brynna while The Husband and I wandered aimlessly around the mall. We were on our way back when we were waylaid by a woman in all black. Whenever you see a woman in all black who does not appear to be goth in any way, she is either a restaurant hostess or a mall survey person. Since we were not in O'Charley's I tried very hard to avoid eye contact.
It's not that I don't like surveys. In fact, I love surveys. I never turn down a survey. I take online surveys and telephone surveys. That is, in fact, the only thing I regret about getting rid of my land line, no surveys. 911-Schmine-one-one. I miss my surveys. I loved ranking presidential performances and radio stations. I will do almost anything for a survey. Except take one in the mall. I don't know why but it gives me the creeps.
She was persistent, though, and stopped us even though we were both gazing obnoxiously into some gift shop full of Wizard of Oz dolls. She asked us if we would be interested in taking a short survey for cash. I said no. Money, money? I don't think so. If you plan on paying me, it's going to be horrible. Also, it's not for CNN.
Then she begged. I thought she might cry. She had been there all day and she just needed three more respondents and couldn't we please, please consider doing it. It would only take a few minutes. I didn't want to, but I'm a sucker. We took the stupid survey.
After about five minutes of standing in the middle of the mall, trying to count how many movies we've seen in the theatre in the past two months, six months and year. And trying to remember if we saw certain movies in the theatre or on DVD, we moved on to the polling place. The Husband was eliminated. They had enough men in their 30's. But not me, noooo. I had to keep on keeping on.
I was led into a tiny room and seated in front of a computer monitor. Then I was asked a series of questions about upcoming feature films. Had I heard of this movie? Did I like this actor? I was kind of enjoying myself because I am sort of into movies. I don't get to see as many as I did BK (before kids) but I am just waiting for them to graduate high school. Then I'll be at the theatre every single weekend. Maybe I just need to wait until they are old enough for social lives. In any case, I'll be there someday.
But then, the worst possible outcome happened. The questions started zeroing in. They were pointing to a specific movie. A movie I've seen previews for and cringed in horror over. A movie so awful, so terrible, so insulting to me as a human being: Bruno. I won't even dignify it with an umlaut and no, it's not just 'cause I don't know how to make one in blogger.
I hate everything that this movie stands for. I hate the exploitative manner in which it uses national theatres to mock people. Not even people really, stereotypes of people. I hate that it seeks, with every breath it's creator takes to make people feel inferior and to teach that the way to deal with that feeling is to make everyone else feel it more.
And there I sat, watching the previews for the movie over and over again. Ranking which scenes were most appealing. Trying to put into words my intense loathing (and watching the 17 year old surveyor spell exploiting exploding. Apparently the movie is explodative. Whatever that is.
This "few minutes" worth of survey must have taken at least a half hour. A half hour of misery. I believe I have seen roughly a quarter of the movie now, and all I can say is "I think I need a shower. For my brain."
But, I kept telling myself, "I'm getting paid. Don't walk out on this just because you feel your life slipping away from you. Just because you want to gouge your eyes from your head. You're getting money, sweetie. You can go buy yourself some shoes over there when this is all over. And shoes make everything better."
So, at the end, she asked me to wait in the lobby and she would bring me my payment. I went to the lobby and had a seat and started to prioritize my shoe shopping. I need sandals, but I could really use some new dress flats, too. I would like some summer tennies, because mine are looking pretty sad. What first, what first? And she brought me... are you ready for this... really, you should make sure you are seated... $2. That's right, folks, two dollars. Just like in Better Off Dead. All that fuss for $2.
Needless to say I do not have new shoes. My tennies still look sad, I still have flip flops but no sandals and my dress flats have about another month in them. I had to watch a series of previews for a movie that I would gnaw through my own wrist to escape and the whole experience left me feeling dirty and used.
Avoid those girls in black, friends. They are harbingers of doom.