Because we get up at the most ungodly hour (waaaay before dawn), it is usually wise for us to plan activities for morning or at the latest, early afternoon. Also, Mr. Smith had several hours of work to complete before the end of the day, so time was precious. To that end, we decided to head up to The Huntington before our 12:30 brunch reservation, take a spin around the recently renovated and reopened Japanese Garden and then have brunch and head home.
The day looked to be promising. The weekend had been going well (here) and hopes were high for another lovely day. We had so thoroughly enjoyed the Easter brunch (the food, the setting, the service, the music) we were all excited to be going back. We arrived and were shocked at the crowds. There were easily four times the number of people as Easter Sunday. It took some time to park, get admission tickets and get inside the grounds.
We walked past the Rose Garden (the lovely scent of thousands of roses, of every color, wafting over us), where we would be having brunch, and found the Japanese Garden. It is absolutely breathtaking.
And then things started to go wrong. Grand Master H started to take on the demeanor of an overcooked noodle. He was flopping around, complaining so much more than usual, begging to have the waffles he had been promised. Unfortunately, it was only 11:30 and our brunch reservation was not until 12:30. Things were falling apart quickly.
As you can see, he is pretty pale. Of course, I did not notice this until today when I was editing this photo.
As time wore on, he got more and more unhappy. As we sat on a marble bench, waiting, he said he was cold (which should have tipped me off that there was something more serious here than just angst) and would not leave my side.
At long last we were seated, among the rows and rows of roses. We asked our waiter where the waffle bar was. It was at that moment that the wheels flew off the bus and things spun out. As it turns out, they had no waffle bar. There would be no waffles. None. No way. No how.
Add to this indignity that the food was picked over and not even close to the quality that we had experienced on Easter. To say we were disappointed is an understatement.
I was finally able to convince Grand Master H to eat some eggs. He picked at them and then spent the rest of the time like this:
At this point, we have a dilemma. Our eldest child is miserable and wants to go home. NOW! Our other child wants to stay and go to the Children's Garden and frolic for the rest of the day. NOW! We are, in fact, a house divided.
Mitch takes Grand Master H to the car to bask in air conditioned goodness.
I go on the super-heated death march with Famous Baby C (riding in the umbroller) to the Children's Garden. I may as well have walked to Las Vegas. It was Africa hot, crazy crowded and MISERABLE.
She was in heaven. She hung out in the tiny little house with the tiny little furniture for a bit.
And then she hung out in the rainbow tunnel for a few minutes.
But by then, the whole thing had lost its luster. It was too hot, too crowded and no fun without her brother.
We headed back to the car, completely exhausted and utterly defeated.
The children both shunned the bathrooms at the Huntington, which meant that we had to make an emergency stop at the skeeviest KFC in the known universe. Luckily though, Mr. Smith parked so close to the car next to the driver's side (about 12-14 inches) that it was nearly impossible to get Baby C out of the car. After almost doing a faceplant, she squirmed out, we ran to the door, which was roped off due to who knows? There was no obvious reason, so perhaps that is just where they keep their caution tape and orange traffic cones with the stick figure slipping on a wet floor.
We get inside and they have a LOCKED BATHROOM to avoid vandalism. You can use a quarter or a token to get into what I can only imagine will be a pristine, nirvana-like toilet. I ask the EMO boy behind the counter for a token. He reaches under the counter and gives me a washer, which I quickly put in the doo hicky on the door, but the door still doesn't open. So I ask him for another one of the extremely rare and precious washers and he hands me another one. I briefly toy with the idea of letting Baby C just drop her pants and unleash on their floor, but veto that thought. Too many witnesses.
Finally we get into the bathroom and the damn place is TRASHED. Wow, that security system of keeping the bathroom locked? AWESOME IDEA! Works like a charm!
As we are getting ready to leave, there is a commotion outside. It seems that Grand Master H also needs to go. I open the door and pull him into the bathroom. He objects saying that boys shouldn't go in the girl's bathroom, but I tell him, "If you have your Mommy with you, you can do anything you want."
There was some shouting in the car. There was some crying in the car. I will not name names, but it was not our brightest family moment.
I promised Grand Master H waffles when we got home, which I mixed up the moment we got in the door. I cranked out some and he refused to eat them.
It was at this point that it dawned on me that he was genuinely not feeling well. I felt his head. Yup, fever. Low-grade, but fever nonetheless. I talked him into taking ibuprofen and within 30 minutes he was demanding food.
And that, my little chickens, was my Mother's Day. I could not have been happier to have it end.
Isn't that kind of what it is to be a mother? Some days it is the best job in the world. You feel kissed by angels and so blessed to have these little creatures. Other days are just survival training. If you can make it to bedtime without spilling blood or losing anyone, you are ahead of the game.
P.S. Mr. Smith has asked me to mention that he is Super Dada and procured some chocolate cake while we were waiting for the crappy brunch Nazi to seat us. He feels that this vindicates him for earlier demanding that we purchase a grenade launcher for any future nature hikes.
P.P.S. I forgot to mention that there were actual names CARVED INTO THE DAMN TOILET SEAT in the sketchiest KFC ever. How stupid do you have to be to vandalize a bathroom in that particular fashion? Seriously?
P.P.S. Mr. Smith just confessed to me that he was shopping for grenade launchers today. Hmmmm...