What follows is a long story about our spring break last week. Skip to the end for links to posts from last week with discount codes you may have missed. Quit reading all together if the female body and all its wonders make you queasy.
We didn’t have big plans for spring break this year. The only thing we “had” to do was get the girls’ passports, for which I’d made an appointment a month earlier. Not because I’m super organized, but because you either have to make an appointment that far in advance or go wait at a post office in hopes that you get in that day.
YES. POST OFFICE.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of applying for a passport for yourself or your children, let me tell you: it’s exactly as fun as it sounds. The process for renewing an adult passport is not quite so convoluted, but when your kids’ passports expire it’s a whole rigamarole.
So I printed out the forms and read through the attached instructions a few times before I started filling out the paperwork. I assembled what I needed according to the instructions: expired passports, copies of my driver’s license and of my husband’s, maybe copies of their old passports? It was a lot of stuff and I had to read between the lines until I was cross-eyed to figure out exactly what was needed. AND my husband had to take the day off of work because both parents have to be present or you have to get a notarized affidavit. You know, to make sure you aren’t trying to leave the country with stolen kids.
The day of the appointment I was a bit of a nervous wreck because I remembered the appointment from five years earlier and the woman at the post office who handled the passports was not at all warm and fuzzy. I didn’t want to do anything to piss her off. I had my husband review all the documents, too, just to make sure I had everything.
SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t.
We arrived on time. Ms. Not-Warm-or-Fuzzy did not care. In fact she chastised me from the get-go because we printed our forms on one piece of paper, back and front, and YOU CANNOT DO THAT.
Problem 1: We must fill the forms out AGAIN so there are two separate sheets.
Because I’ve seen this movie before, I asked her if there was anything else I needed to double check before we got started. She did not appreciate the question even though I was trying to ensure a smooth process for all. She asked if we had their birth certificates. We did not, I told her, because the expired passports prove their citizenship per the instructions. She retorted YOU MUST HAVE THE BIRTH CERTIFICATES. I asked, kindly, where in the instructions did it say that. She grabbed a highlighter and scribbled all over the instructions as if she was Melissa McCarthy in an SNL skit and said HERE.
She was wrong.
We asked for a supervisor. The Supervisor WAS warm and fuzzy and agreed that it did not say we need the birth certificates in our instructions BUT conceded that the instructions provided to Ms. Not-Warm-and-Fuzzy do indeed state that we must provide birth certificates to prove NOT CITIZENSHIP but: PARENTAGE.
Problem 2: The birth certificates are at our house which is 20 minutest away (40 minutes round trip) and they accept applications by appointment only. And both parents have to be present. And my husband took the day off.
There was yelling. Ms. Warm-Fuzzy-Supervisor shushed us all and offered us an appointment an hour and a half later. We accepted, gratefully.
We drove home. Silently for most of the way. Our children had been with us this whole time. And were so well behaved it was almost like they weren’t.
Once home we filled out the forms AGAIN and found the birth certificates. It was lunch time but there was no time for lunch. So we returned, hungry, to the post office with our corrected paperwork and required documents.
We walked in and Ms. Not-Warm-and-Fuzzy was waiting. We passed everything to her. We had to pay .30 for two copies because we needed a copy of our Driver’s Licenses for EACH APPLICATION.
Problem 3: Duh. I am an idiot.
We signed a couple things. We wrote three checks totaling about $190. We thanked her for time and patience and my husband even apologized for the earlier brush up. SHE DID NOT CARE.
*NEXT IN LINE*
So obviously that was great Spring Break fun, but because we like to spoil our children, the next day we took them to the Houston Zoo. ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE IN HOUSTON METRO AREA.
Problem 1: Traffic near the zoo was not moving.
Even Google Maps could not find a route to help us out of the mess we were in. In any direction we turned, it was a parking lot. And most museums in Houston are near the zoo so we anticipated increased traffic during spring break, but this was traffic of biblical proportions.
Problem 2: I’m going to do my best on this one for the delicate among you, so let’s just say time was not on my side on this particular day due to unpredictability of certain cycles in life. Womanly cycles. AHEM.
Finally, FINALLY, we broke out of the gridlock. But that only landed us in the Medical Center, which is adjacent to the museums and the zoo but also not traffic friendly. My husband, the driver, made an executive decision and pulled into the first parking garage we could find. He said we could walk to the zoo from there. Google said it was a 15 minute walk. Which was way better than sitting in traffic for another hour.
Until I stood up.
If you aren’t a woman, you do not have the physical ability to understand what I mean. If you are a woman, let me tell you: I knew I was about to have a problem. I knew my body was proceeding with “things” at a faster rate than I expected. I knew I was unprepared. And I knew I still had a 15 minute walk to a bathroom.
Problem 3: Woman cannot control ALL of their bodily functions.
Taking small steps in my amazingly supportive Birkenstock sandals, I shuffled along sidewalks behind my husband, each of us with a child in hand. I shuffled even through the grass we had to cut across, accepting the leaves and dirt that entered my sandals as collateral damage. Small steps don’t actually affect the, um, flow, by the way. But I felt like I was doing what I could.
As we approached the entrance and saw the SEA OF PEOPLE waiting to get in I lost all hope until I remembered: we already purchased our (discount) tickets at Fiesta, at my insistence.
Problem 4: No problem because I am awesome.
So I shuffled as fast as I could past the entrance and to the bathrooms and addressed my situation. Which was not good, but no visible damage had occurred. However, based on the supplies I packed and how things were, um, moving along, I knew the rest of our outing would be precarious for me.
And yet, as a mom does, I proceeded with our day.
We saw monkeys. And cats. BIG cats: a cougar, a tiger, lions, jaguars. We had an overpriced and underwhelming lunch. Saw more monkeys. Rhinos. Chimps. An ape. And then we only had three things left on our list. Well, four if you count Dippin’ Dots. We needed to find 1) the ocelot, 2) the tropical birds, and 3) the red panda. And the aforementioned 4) Dippin’ Dots of course.
All was well. I was managing my personal situation. It was less than ideal, but I was working with what I had. I was optimistic that I could avoid a messy incident.
We found the ocelot. Which was ADORABLE by the way. We stopped for Dippin’ Dots. I got the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor. Then all we had left was birds, red panda, and a last trip to the bathroom for dear old mom (that’s me).
I insisted we stop outside the tropical bird building to take a few pics, since we had been neglecting pictures for the most part. We took a few of the girls and a few selfies/usies. I knew I was pushing my personal limit, but we were SO CLOSE to the last bathroom stop I thought all would be well. We entered the bird building and my husband and the girls were looking at the birds behind glass. I, however, was just over it. I urged them to move along toward the open bird area so we could be done with our day.
Problem 5: Open bird area.
I stepped into the open area and paused to make sure they were following. I started to take a step forward, my foot moving ahead of my body, and that’s when I felt something warm hit my toes. Bird poop. A bird flying over us dropped a steaming pile of poop on my open toes, which had been so happily nestled in my beloved Birkenstocks all day long.
POOP. On my toes. And my Birks.
But I’m a mom, goddammit, so I pulled the travel packs of tissues and wipes from my backpack and got to work. No goddam bird was going to ruin my goddam day when my own body was already trying so hard to. Asshole.
My family, unsure whether to laugh or hide, watched as I wiped the poop from my toes and my sandal. My husband tried to pick up the poopy pile of paper I’d dropped on the floor, but I stopped him. I mean, I was already poopy. Why spread the poop?
Cleaned up, I walked in my poop shoe (as it’s now called) with my family to see the red panda. The red panda who was just lying on a branch, sleeping, as if a bird hadn’t just pooped on me. SELFISH RACCOON-LOOKING RED PANDA. Just looking precious like that was his only job. Asshole.
Then we stopped at the bathroom and everything was fine. Well, manageable but whatever.
So that was Spring Break 2017. Dampened by passports, threatened by my body, and pooped on by a bird.
But, hey, at least we got Dippin’ Dots.