I have the key to life, I just left it in the house.
Saturday was a typical day in the neighborhood. We spent the day half-parenting the posse and full-parenting our own kids while trying to finish up one more house project before winter (getting siding on a last little bit of our refurbished back porch). At around 4:00 we decided to go mattress shopping (we’re perpetually mattress shopping here at World of Julie). It generally takes out 73 trips to the car to get everything packed for the two mile trip to the mall. I’d made about 52 of these trips, boys were in the car, when Dave was buckling them in. I started to go back in for Trip #53, when Dave looked at me and said, “Oh! I locked up the house!” All I could do was stare and say, “What?” “I was trying to get us moving along,” he said.
It was one of those pivotal moments that happen so much in marriage, where you can choose to stop the moment and turn yourself around and see it all from your spouse’s perspective, or you can use the moment to vent your day’s pent-up parenting-the-posse hostility. Be proud of me; I chose the former. I did point out (in an exasperated, much-higher-pitch-than-my-natural-voice way) that ZUZU was still in the house. Not to mention my bag with the keys.
But getting locked out isn’t so much the point of the story, as is the neighborhood posse and how annoyed I get with their constant observation (as I’ve mentioned before). They were all practically in our car already, and as soon as they smelled human error they were all there with rat-a-tat questions of, “What’s happening?” “What’s going on?” “Why did you lock yourself out of your house?” “Are you going to have to break in?” (As well as some questions about where we were going and whether we were going to eat a meal out, and, if we were, whether it was going to be lunch or dinner.) It’s sort of like having a litter of monkey puppies constantly at your feet.
We do, you’ll be glad to know, have a backup plan in case we get locked out. One key is at the across-the-street neighbors, who weren’t home. So I ran over to Tim and Sutswana’s house to get our other key (all the time thinking “must get better bra, must get better bra”), with, crazily, members of the posse following me on their bikes (c’mon, I’m a 37-year-old woman running in a bad bra around the block, leave me alone). They actually waited for me at the bottom of the steps while I ran in and got our keys, and followed me again as I ran home (it’s sad how slowly a 9-year-old has to pedal to keep up with me, running).
So we got in our house, and all was well. Except for when we did finally get to the mall to look at mattresses, were getting the boys out of the car, and noticed that Henry wasn’t wearing shoes. At least he had dark socks on, so we all acted casual and sort of pretended they were shoes (plus, he was most likely going to jump on the mattresses, and wouldn’t they rather he be shoeless in that situation?) and went in anyway. The Puritan in me did feel for a moment that maybe we should buy him a new pair in the mall, but my Inner Puritan doesn’t generally stick around too long, and the Inner Hippie prevailed with her thoughts of, “Hey, who needs shoes anyway?”