|"There's some good chompin' |
sand over here, Susannah!"
There are days where you feel like you've unlocked the door to Competent Adulthood. Then there are other days where bang your head on the beam of Ignorant Idiocy.
Today would most likely skew towards the latter.
It didn't start out that way. No, the morning began with a cleaned kitchen, three loads of put-away laundry, prepped lunches, and an invitation to join our friends (and their daughter Emily, who happens to be Nora's favorite short person ever) at Foster Beach. While Zuzu took an utterly conflict-free morning nap (a half hour earlier than normal to ensure a 10am beach arrival, at that), Nora and I packed the car with all manner of beach gear. I blogged. She used the potty. The day seemed like it was skipping towards Easy Street.
During the [ten minute] drive towards the harbor, however, Nora conked out. Hard. She slumped over in her seat and snored. ("Peace out, afternoon nap," I whispered to the sunroof.)
Now, I've lived in Chicago for ten years. I've been to the beach a multitude of times. I've been to Foster beach dozens upon dozens of afternoons. I pulled off onto the harbor drive and drove for a few blocks until I reached the free lot. ("Seems to be farther than I remembered," I said to the sunroof. "Stop talking to me," the sunroof retorted.)
Unloaded one bag. Popped Zuzu into a sling. Unloaded the cooler. Grabbed the portable seat. Woke Nora. Woke Nora. Poked Nora. (Carried Nora.)
After hefting two children and potentially too much gear across the [Hotttttt...I lost a Crocccc...] sand, I set up camp- and realized that I had left our beach blanket in the trunk. (As I looked wistfully back across the sand over a dune towards the parking lot, I bid the blanket adieu. 'Cause that trip wasn't happening again.) Didn't see our friends, but figured they were either coming shortly or perhaps farther down the beach. So I texted them. By this point, Nora was already half in the water and Susannah had consumed her first fistful of wet sand, so I knew I needed to keep communications brief.
I asked where they were. (They asked the same.)
I'm in front of the Mexican restaurant, I told them. (Which one?)
Near the dog park. (There are no dogs here.)
I had a sinking suspicion that one of us had arrived at the wrong beach. And, if I had to wager...
I Googlemapped myself. (Because I live in the future.) And yes, turns out, even though I had driven down Foster Avenue, I had taken the side road that connected to Montrose Beach. (Damn you, Chicago Parks Department and your interconnected web of parks and grasslands and free beaches!)
By now, Nora was catching herself in her fishing net and Zu was yelling at her second fistful of sand, so I knew we had to stay put. I sheepishly apologized to my friends. I know they understood, but I accepted my punishment in the form of sitting amongst some of the loudest examples of questionable parenting this side of the internet. (Actual quotes: "You are so stupid. Not everything is about you." "Why you gonna run off? Bring 'er back and here and hit 'er for me.")
I missed my friends.
So did Nora. As she ate a sand-covered pb&j, she sadly announced that "Emmanee" was at a different beach. She used a passive tense for her statement, but I felt every inch of the blame.
Susannah was just happy to tag along, wherever it was that she got to eat her handfuls of sand. The presence of the beach blanket might have cut down on some of this roughage consumption, but she seemed to prefer it this way.
Proving yet again that ol' chestnut: One person's foray into dementia is another person's bacteria-ridden prize of a snacktime.