What started as a "we'll get up and go" directive from my dh turned into a five hour delay. With the rest of us packed and watching out the window, "I'll be home soon" became interminably long. The business doesn't stop because we want to leave. Several hours into our wait, I begin to think of folding. I can't keep up the house of cards charade with the boys. They don't have a grasp on hours and minutes when they just multiply into "too long."
Finally in the car, I always fall for the last ploy... "I just need one last stop at the office, it'll take a minute." "Mutiny" crosses my mind. By now, at 4 in the afternoon, we're starving, tired and I have used up an exhaustive supply of patience.
We stop for dinner at 9:30 pm. Whether it was the spicy and heavy food or the long day of hurry up and wait, we arrive exhausted at our hotel and settle in for one of those really long nights of little sleep.
For some reason, Nolan can't sleep. He is up poking one of us every few minutes. I give up trying to sleep after 2 am and we all acquiesce to getting up shortly after 6. I begin dreaming of home and my bed.
Realizing McDonald's would be one of the only places open and serving breakfast, we jumped in the car. We plugged the name into our new GPS and started looking for the closest one. A list with many locations popped up. So we jumped on the highway and began driving. Several minutes later we realize our GPS has routed us to the airport! We void the directions and begin again for the next location which is back the way we came from. We quickly discover its the airport McDonald's again. Now traffic is beginning to pick up for the morning commute. I'm beginning to crave my morning bowl of shredded wheat and fresh ground coffee. We pick a suburb and head off in a new direction and this time its a long drive. Finally after many turns and confusing directions we arrive at a location that is no longer a McDonald's! I don't think any of us were even talking to each other by the time we finally found breakfast at yet another McDonald's. (The next day we discovered one just 6 blocks down on the same street as our hotel.)
Next we decide to go to the Mall of America. Ah the sheer number of stores is staggering. If you can't find it here, it doesn't exist. I am thrilled to begin tackling this long list of winter items we desperately need. We are shopping for winter boots when one of the boys has to use the restroom. Sounds harmless enough. Since I am off in another part of the store looking, my dh decides to take the boys on his own. Without telling me. Of course, minutes before I had warned him I didn't have my cell phone with me, but it fell on inattentive ears.
So in true Clark Griswald fashion, what should have been a 15 minute excursion, quickly developed into another 5 HOUR separation. At the Mall of America. Did I mention how many stores there were?
I tried everything I could think of to find them. I walked to all of their favorite stores. I sat and waited by the car until I was shivering with cold. I found a pay phone that took credit cards, but my card was new and I didn't have the new pin number memorized. So I couldn't use an ATM or the phone. I had two dollars on me. However the stores are not allowed to open their till to make change. So I had to find something to buy that left me with enough change for a phone call. Just try finding that "item" when a 12 ounce diet coke is 3 dollars, because you are at the Mall of America.
Finally, the Nestle cookie guy took pity on me. He broke policy and made change for me after I bought a cookie. I had enough change to make a phone call. I don't know if my dh was really happy to hear from me or not :)
When I say I was apprehensive to take the boys to the water park alone that night, can you blame me? I would have to say though, it was the highlight of our trip. For two active boys with some pent up excitement and energy this was the place for them. For 4 hours they swam, and tubed and sat in the hot tub and ran through the sprinklers. Fortunately sleep came quickly to us all that night. It seems we were going to need it for day two of our adventure...