Comedy of Errors

This week my kids had Wednesday and Thursday off from school for conferences.  Because it would make too much sense to give them off Monday and Tuesday and get a 4-day weekend out of the deal.  Of course, I didn’t realize that they were off from school until I had already made personal plans for one of their vacation days.  I’m on top of things like that.

After one day of hanging out and home listening to the kids bicker, I decided we needed to have a plan of action to survive the second day off.  Preferably action that took us out of the house.  Fortunately the weather has been sheer perfection this week, AND I happen to have a zoo membership that has only been used once.  No brainer, right?  The only drawback was that I didn’t particularly care to take three kids to the zoo alone, so I persuaded a friend to bring her daughter and come along with us.

I got up early this morning and started packing lunches and otherwise preparing to take 3 kids to the zoo for the better part of the day.  I made sure to have my husband put the extra seat in the minivan, and I thought I was doing well.  Of course, when my friend arrived, everything seemed to fall apart, as it always does when I’m trying to get out the door.  I think I went in and out of the house about 15 times before we finally backed out of the driveway.  I was about halfway down the street when I reached for my trusty sunglasses, only to discover that they were somehow missing.


I stopped the car and ran back to retrieve them, looking all over the house until I discovered them on top of my daughter’s dresser where I’d set them when I helped her get dressed.

Finally we were off!  Like a herd of turtles, I quipped, as we turned out of our development.  Little did I know that it would turn out to be a false start.

A quick glance at the dash told me that we were dangerously low on gas, so before we got on the highway, I stopped to tank up.  It’s a good thing I did because when I went to get my credit card out of my wallet, I realized my photo ID was missing — the very photo ID that is required along with my zoo membership card for admittance.

After a few minutes of fuming and sputtering, we turned around and drove back through town to my house to collect my driver’s license and then back to the highway, adding about 30 minutes to our trek into Philly.

I wish I could tell you this sort of debacle is unusual for me, but it’s more the rule than the exception.  The worst part was that I wasn’t alone.  Usually the only one I inconvenience is myself, but today I couldn’t apologize enough to my friend for dragging her into my chaotic existence.

We finally got on the highway and headed toward the city.  Fortunately the traffic cooperated, and I was driving close to the speed limit when we passed a cop on the highway.

But we soon discovered that the comedy of errors was far from over.  When we arrived at the zoo, I missed our turn into the members’ parking lot and had to drive several blocks out of our way before I could make a legal U-turn.  Not that I’m above making an illegal one, but I happened to see the police officer patrolling the area right before I made the turn.  (Are you seeing a pattern yet?)

We did manage to park and get into the zoo, and after a pit stop for potty facilities, we FINALLY began our zoo-rrific adventure.

All was going quite well until we were on our way to exit the park, and my daughter suddenly realized that she didn’t have her purse.  This is a Vera Bradley purse with several of her most prized possessions inside including a change purse, her favorite scrunchie, and a one-of-a-kind purple pen.  (It’s one of a kind in her 6-year-old mind, anyway.)

Exhausted from a day of traipsing all over the zoo, we stood in the middle of the pathway deliberating about what to do.  We weren’t sure where she’d left it, but it was our hunch that she left it at an exhibit on the other side of the park.  Of course there was no guarantee it would still be there, and I had a good mind to leave and not look back, but my daughter was distraught.  And it did seem rather irresponsible to not even try to find it.

But can I just say how very weary we were at that moment?

Finally, we decided to try to retrieve it, so we set out across the park.  When we arrived at the exhibit, there was no purse to be found, so we headed back towards the exit, empty-handed and forlorn.  Along our way, I happened to see a staff member, and in a stroke of brilliance, and I assure you, those are few and far between, I stopped her and asked where there might be a Lost and Found.

She asked me what we were looking for, and I told her.  “Wait just a minute,” she said.  “I’ll go get it for you.”  And sure enough, she walked into a nearby building and returned a few minutes later with the purse.

Now I ask you.  What are the chances that I stopped the exact staff member who had collected the bag, and we just so happened to be right by the building where they keep the Lost and Found?  I even discovered a Starbucks on our way out of the zoo.  Our providence, it seemed, might be on the upswing.

We all walked back to the car and loaded up and set off for home.  Once again, I noticed a police officer behind me right before I began to make an illegal U-turn to get to the highway.  No, believe it or not, I do not have a habit of making U-turns, legal or otherwise.  It would seem this zoo needs a better traffic pattern.

Finally, six hours, four ice cream cones, one pony ride, and two sleeping children later, we arrived back in the ‘hood, just in time for dinner.  And wine.

It was worth it.  I think.

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26 Responses

  1. I feel your pain and the post title is PERFECT. Last Friday, I spent SEVEN hours driving back and forth trying to deposit an insurance check, withdraw $500 lousy dollars and make a down payment on my “new” van.

    SEVEN hours.

    By the way, did you know you MUST have a check endorsed by ALL payees to DEPOSIT an insurance check. Writing “For Deposit Only” on the back won’t do it. I did not know that. Now I do. I hope and pray I never have an opportunity to forget this important fact. Driving from my bank, to my husband and back to my bank – just for his signature. I was so tempted to sign it myself.

    But that would have been wrong.

  2. Oh, oh, oh… this could have been me! Drives my hubby crazy – the guy who always puts everything in exactly the same place so it will be there when he needs it, unless of course I moved it 🙂

  3. I did see you pass the house a few times yesterday and wondered what you forgot. Glad you finally had some fun and that C got her Vera back. I know you would have heard about that for a few years to come.

  4. I’m reminded of the time we followed you to the bloggers picnic and had to make some u-turns along the way! I see a pattern here. But the bottom line is you spent time with your kids and despite all the debacles, I’m sure they had a great time!

  5. You want to hear another crazy story? My brother lost his wallet at DISNEY WORLD when he was in 4th grade. He was notorious for doing this. We went to the lost and found. The wallet was there–with his money in it!!

    Oh, and I love your story. This stuff is always happening to me. I love the era of blogs now because I don’t fee like such a lonely disaster:)

  6. OH man, what good providence on the purse. My four year old wants a Vera Bradley. We lost a kitten at a shoe store one day because the little darlin had put her in a “home” and put the home back on the shelves. We looked through dozens of shoe boxes but never found that poor kitten. No one ever turned it in.

  7. What a day! Don’t you hate when inspiring plans go every which way but loose? Love the fact every thing turned out fantastic in the end.My son lost his favorite teddy bear on the flight from Hawaii! He cried about it for days.

  8. I have a love hate relationship with days like that. They can add adventure, but they can sure stress someone out.

    Glad she got her purse back, it can cause so much more pain the joy some days to carry one around.

  9. This is why I am a hermit and never go anywhere. It takes a full on day of planning, and at least a 2 man team, along with loads of cash, and several lattes to get through.
    I’m exhasuted just thinking about it!

  10. I was totally prepared when I took Boo to the Zoo. I went to school in West Philly so I know my way around. Found a great parking spot. We had a great time.

    Despite being there for hours and going to almost every exhibit and seeing all of his favorite animals, he only recalled 10% of the trip.


  11. Are you sure you aren’t describing our trip to the zoo in Tulsa on our ‘staycation’!

    The most horrible experince ever..try to plane a great weekend for the kids to see all sorts of animals and all I got was a very unethused ‘yeah’ when asked if she wanted to see the flamingos. At least she liked the camel ride.

    And the back and forth out the door before you really leave…its common knowledge in our family that not a SINGLE female can be ready to go without at LEAST 5 trips back into the house no matter if we are going to go church, grocery shopping or just to the mail box!!!

    Glad it turned out okay and you didn’t get a ticket..was just waiting for that one.=)

  12. Oh my word…that is funny. I’m so glad your daughter got her purse back. The same thing happened to me when I was about her age but I didn’t get mine back. I’ve been a purse-hoarder ever since. 😉

  13. That was exhausting! But, it sounds like the day ended well and you survived a school conference day.

  14. I’ll bet the kids had a blast and (except for the purse incident) were oblivious to anything going awry. And, about the purse, whether 6 or 60 a missing purse is traumatic! Good for you for trying to find it and not blowing it off. Sooooo glad you found it. God’s banner over C is love!

    PS Don’t let the girls take purses to the zoo next time! Give ’em something they can tie to their bodies. 🙂

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