Saturday, May 3, 2008

Now I just need a handheld GPS

Ever since I got my car GPS I can't even follow Google maps I rarely get lost, woohoo! Or I do but I can easily find my way back with my trusty buddy illegally sticking to my windshield. I've joked that if my kid' were learning to talk now, their first words would be "calculating route" which they find hysterically funny. Ms. GPS is like a member of the family, one minute a source of amusement, the next causing strife as the impatient kids wait for me to program it. "You've been there, mommy, you don't need it" one yells as I program it for the short trip to school. In my defense, I'm obsessed with it I want to prepare for alternate routes in case there is traffic.

But it hasn't solved all my navigation problems, as the kids could attest to this past weekend. We managed to get ourselves lost twice, much to their dismay and my frustration. Fortunately this happens often enough I can laugh, but these cases were truly out of the norm, or at least I hope they are, and not a further sign of the kids rotting my brain. To be honest, it's not that I was really lost, I knew where I was, just not how to get to where we were going.

Saturday started out with such good intentions, we'd go to the Mountain View Parade. After dealing with K's standard complaining, whining, and crying that happens whenever we are doing something different, we set off. I drove by the intersection where our school would meet, miraculously only a mere 5 minutes late, and it was empty. No worries, we'd find them, or if not walk with someone else. I parked and shamelessly latched on to some woman and her kids wearing out schools shirts. I did try to call out so she wouldn't think I was a stalker, but she was also finding her way and clearly her mind was filled up with that and keeping track of her three boys. We found the group, waited around in the heat while mommy apologized for the fact that most of the other kids had bikes and scooters. Next year, I promised. We walked, we ate pseudo ice cream in the park, lunched on bagels and cream cheese, and were left with 30 minutes to get to a nearby Mountain View park for a soccer play date, plenty of time, just not quite enough to fit in the toy store trip I'd bribed them with to get them dressed in the morning suggested earlier in the day.

We headed towards where I thought was the car, stopped on the street where I was fairly sure I'd parked, and had to decide left or right. Tried left, nope, went right, uh oh. Must be the next street. Nope. The next? Now it was getting ridiculous. No car and wandering around Mountain View with two hot boys. "Don't speed" D kept calling, since I kept inadvertently walking faster to speed up the search. Fifteen minutes went by, with my older son piping in with such helpful comments as "I knew this would happen"and "use your GPS mommy." It was now T minus 10 minutes to play date and I called my husband. He was heading this way and I suggested he pick the boys up, but I just felt so silly that I told him to forget it, we'd find it. 10 more minutes went by, me wandering around like an idiot. The streets didn't even look familiar - I knew I'd paralleled parked by houses, not stores, and right behind a long driveway. Called hubby again, said he'd better come by or there'd be a play date with no boys. Kept on walking...success!! I think there is some law of nature that you must confess your embarrassing predicaments in order to resolve them. Texted that I found it, laughed at myself, and rewarded myself by dropping off the kids and running errands and fetching my husband an iced coffee.

Fast-forward to day two of the weekend. Another good summertime idea of a bike ride to try out their cool new bikes. There was of course more drama until we finally get on the road. This time the bribe suggestion was to ride over to K's best friend's house, who we discovered lives just a few blocks from us. Unfortunately, that few blocks is as the crow flies, right over the train tracks. I was thrilled to discover a bike path under the big bridge with the speeding cars, less thrilled when it ended in a long fence. I discovered a very tall ramp, but after hauling the two bikes up we realized it ended on the wrong side of the road. At least the kids had fun running up and down it. After teaching D that he can pedal backward to stop rather than slamming into a curb, we ate a snack while I tried to divine a path through the fence and across the tracks. I even used the satellite map feature on my iPhone to see if we could spy a path. It was pretty cool looking, seeing ourselves from above, but no luck. We made the best of it, riding over to Le Boulanger for more bagels, cookies, and iced coffee for mommy this time. And I managed to laugh at myself again, called said friend's mom to explain how our potential surprise visit was thwarted and invited her over to swim.

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