Going anywhere with five children is always a circus, and going anywhere with five children in the rain is a monkey circus, but the goat-rope monkey circus award goes to going to FSI with five children in the rain. Why is it that nobody else ever has any children at the same time I'm parading my five look-alikes through the hallway? Brandon always walks fast, but it's never fast enough to evade the stares.
So last Wednesday it was raining, hard. We owned two umbrellas before coming to Virginia, but Joseph pulled them out of the UAB pile when we were separating items to be sent here. When we got to Virginia, our two umbrellas were in Belgium. Now we own three umbrellas (all black), but only one is currently in Virginia. Since I carry the baby (whose car seat shade-thingy is missing) I got the umbrella and the other children trailed behind me, ducky-style with their hoods pulled up.
I had been late for the last shot appointment, so I made extra sure to get everyone out of the house on time. Well, almost on time. We would have been pretty close to being on time if I hadn't missed the light, missed the turn, and had to pull a U in order to wait at the light again. After showing the guard my ID and placing it on the seat next to me, I barreled down the road to visitor parking and almost ran into Brandon, waiting in the rain to tell me that visitor parking (all five spots) was full.
He hopped into the car and we circled the parking lots along with five or six other cars looking for open spots in the rain. I could see that anything remotely close wouldn't be open, so I dropped by the entrance and ordered everyone out to wait inside while I trekked back alone, with the umbrella. After ten minutes of circling (and now fifteen minutes late for our appointment), I finally gave up and parked illegally. Everyone else was doing it, so I gave into peer pressure. After all, who would be towing in the FSI parking lot?
I muttered curses against the trees and verdant lawns that hadn't been paved over for parking as I hiked the half-mile back to the entrance where Brandon and the five children were
There are times in marriage where it's just better when both parties say nothing at all, so I waited again, patiently, while Brandon went back out in the rain, with no umbrella.
Thankfully nothing else was going on in the med clinic, so we all recovered from the soaking while watching old episodes of Friends. I think that Beauty and Beast would have been more audience appropriate, but I don't think my children were interested enough to ask about various jokes. I watched, fascinated that Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox's hairstyle and clothes were ever considered attractive - by me, no less.
Eight pokes and six lollipops later we were done. The travel office is just down the hall from the med office so we stopped in to schedule our plane tickets. Did you know that mileage plus members flying from Dulles to Dushanbe via Frankfurt and Istanbul can earn 7,134 miles? Eleanor just joined mileage plus last week, that means that our family can earn 49,938 miles in one trip. Not too shabby.
Brandon decided that taking all of the goat-rope monkey circus out in the rain to trek a half mile back to the car was a bad idea, so he dashed out for his third trip in the rain to our Golden Sienna-Van. I waited
Relieved, I shepherded the goat-rope monkey circus outside and into various carseats. As I finally climbed into my own seat and buckled in, I caught The Eye from Brandon. I figured it couldn't be too bad, considering that he was driving the car, but I pretended nonchalance as I asked about his return trip.
"Everything okay?" I smiled, "You really could have taken the umbrella, you know."
"Welllllllll," he drew it out, focusing The Eye on me. "It all ended well. But you'd better be lucky that I run so fast and was able to beat the white truck that boots all of the cars that are foolish enough to park in illegal spaces."
And then he went back to driving. I kept sitting. And we stayed quiet for awhile.
Maybe next time we'll just take the Oakwood shuttle.