Ladies Day doesn't mean Manners Day
I herded them into the car and drove in the general vicinity of where Google Maps told me there was a quick oil change joint in Peoria. I chose this sort of establishment because I am familiar with the concept: you pull up, wait in your car, drive into the little garage compartment, wait in your car some more, pay and leave.
It's all very nice and easy because you don't have to get out of the car. Which means you don't have to unbuckle first child, remove first child from car, carry first child to other side of car, unbuckle second child, help second child climb down, balance first child in one arm while trying to keep grip on second child's arm as he tries to run away in parking lot, wait in waiting area with two children, poke eyes out because two children won't sit still or STOP TOUCHING THINGS, Twitter from cell phone about horrid experience while children grab candy out of pay machine despite not depositing any money, take candy away and listen to children die because of unfairness, ignore dirty looks from other man waiting for his car, take windshield wiper out of first child's mouth, pay bill, pick up first child who is now screaming because you are leaving, drag second child by arm as he refuses to walk normally through parking lot, shove second child into car while he yells about wanting a special treat, watch helplessly as second child climbs into front seat and laughs hysterically, walk first child around to other side of car and strap her writhing body into carseat, threaten second child that if he does not get into his carseat THISINSTANTIWILLNEVERTAKEYOUANYWHEREEVERAGAIN, walk around to other side of car, watch as second child scampers into backseat laughing, tell second child there will be no special treat, strap second child into carseat while he wails about lack of special tret, walk back around car yet again, get in car, bang head on steering wheel, start car, drive home, vowing to never, ever, ever take children anywhere again. Ever.
Not that I would be familiar with any of those events.
After I drove about a mile out of my way, I realized I might have missed the oil change place. I turned around, while being interrogated by Jack about where the "car change" place was, and finally located it. I decided to check the price before committing to the procedure and almost fell over when I found out it was $38. Nothankyouverymuch.
Again, Jack shows grave concern over leaving. I explain it was too expensive and surely Mommy could find a cheaper place than the Mobil chain. Walmart! Walmart has an oil change place. Ooooooh, but you have to get out of the car. Dilemmma: save money or damage sanity and place undue stress on unborn embryo. Decide embryo has six more months to get over it. Josh will be so pleased when I report back that I went to Walmart.
I arrived in the lot and hustled the kids out of car, hauled ass into Walmart only to hear the clerk tell me there are six people waiting in front of me. I crumpled to the ground and wept, but he didn't care. So I dragged the children back to the car in search of something else.
You might be asking yourself at this point why I didn't just go another damn day. Valid question. Because at this point, it became the "principle of the thing." Now I had to get the freaking oil changed and no one was going to stop me. Oh ho no.
I started to drive aimlessly in the direction of the new mall (the old mall is still in existence in Peoria, but since this one was built five years ago, everyone calls it the new mall, although it is no longer new) thinking maybe I would just wander around there and entertain the kids for a while.
Except on the way, I saw a drive-up oil change place! Joy in Mudville! Even Jack was smiling and talking about how we CAN get the car changed!
I pulled up to the bay door and asked if I could please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stay in the car with the kids. The pleasant young man checking me in said it would not be a problem as long as he drove the car into the bay. Noooooo problem.
I jumped into the passenger seat, which sent Jack into a state of panic, and the young man drove it in. Another nice young mechanic was about to get to work on the car when a surly mechanic one bay over yelled at him, "Why is that woman in the car?"
Mechanic 1 looked a little startled and said that I requested it because of the kids. Mechanic 2 FREAKS out on him and yells, "Well if the car starts on fire, she'll never get those kids out of the seats in time. You should know better." Because you read all the time about cars catching on fire during ROUTINE OIL CHANGES.
During this exchange between what I find out is a mere worker (nice Mechanic 1) and his boss (surly Mechanic 2), I rolled down the motorized window, removed my sunglasses and said to Mechanic 2, "Dude, calm down. You don't need to yell at him. I told him I wanted to stay in."
Mechanic 2 then turns his seething anger at the gods of carseats on me.
"You can't be in the car," he said.
"I have stayed in the car hundreds of times for oil changes, I will take my chances," I said.
"I can't let you do that."
"They let you do that at Jiffy Lube."
"Well, this ain't Jiffy Lube."
"I can tell you, I wish it was right about now."
"I sure don't."
Since the oil pan was already open and I was staring down imminent death from spontaneous oil change combustion, I sighed and went through the complete works of child removal from the vehicle. (See: paragraph 3.)
Except there was one more little "F-you" from the universe waiting for me. This oil change joint didn't take American Express. Guess who only had her driver's license, AmEx and $18 in cash with her for a $28 bill? Of course. Because the world hates me.
The manager stared daggers into my tires, willing them to deflate by the power of his mind while I asked nicely if I could leave my license and come back to pay later after my husband got home with a suitable Visa card. They said that would be fine and I was on my merry way.
I returned later in the afternoon with Visa in hand and the guy seemed surprised to see me. I asked him if he really thought I would skip out on the bill and he laughed and said no, but that he would not blame me. He then lowered his voice and said he was sorry about the whole thing. I remarked that his boss was a wee bit crabby and he said he was like that all morning. He rang up the order and asked me for $27. I asked why it was cheaper than what they billed me for in the morning and he shrugged. "They must have forgotten to give you the Ladies Day discount," he said, gesturing to the huge banner hanging outside.
So not only did the bastard ruin my day, he tried to screw me as well. In the end, I saved $3 over what I would have forked over at Walmart but gained some outstanding blog material. It was a wash, I guess.