Kool-Aid Stands & Toilet Diving: A Week in Review
I know the answer to this question without even asking: You ever have one of those weeks?
Yeah. Me too.
First off, I’m a sucker for kids selling Kool-Aid by the side of the road. I don’t know what it is, maybe some deep-seated sympathy or just the effort it must take for these little guys n’ gals to put together an impromptu business with no real hope for making a quick buck. When I see one and I’ve got cash on me, I stop. That’s all there is to it.
Yesterday was almost the exception.
On my way to pick up Jake from the in-home daycare he frequents, I saw three little girls on a corner in the distance. They were laying in their yard, roasting in the sun…waiting for someone, anyone to come by.
That’s the thing about the suburbs, man. Cars aren’t streaming down the roads. Business is never all that good in the hood.
Once they heard the roar of my engine, they scrambled up, grabbed their sign and ran toward the cooler sitting in the hot grass.
The sign said: LEMONADE & FRESH SUGAR COOKIES .25
Now, there are two things about this that won me over:
1. It’s a Kool Aid stand that didn’t buckle to inflation. 25 cents for some delicious Kool-Aid? Yes ma’am. That’s a bargain.
2. Cookies. There are few cookies in this world that I’ll turn down. Sugar cookies ARE NOT one of them.
I tried to think if there was cash in my wallet (which was out of reach) and I didn’t think there was. With a heavy heart, I drove past. As I did, I could see the girls (who were momentarily excited by the prospect of business) lower their signs and their spirits. I watched this from the rear-view mirror as I pressed on the last block to pick up Bubba (Jake). As I collected my smiling, blond-haired kid from his daycare, a scene played back in my head. It was a vision of the night before when I went with a friend (Mr. H) to go see SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and how I pre-purchased both of our tickets online for cheap. I then had a flash of the transaction that took place when I met said friend. Six dollars went into my wallet.
I had cash, y’all.
As I loaded Jakers into the truck, I asked him a question I knew the answer to:
“Jake,” I said. “Do you want to get a cookie?”
“Cooka? (his word for cookie in case you hadn’t…never mind)
With more excitement than necessary, I jumped into the truck, fired it up and headed back to the Kool-Aid stand. The girls were sitting around their cooler, likely ready to close up shop. Having seen me drive by once, they seemed less-than-excited that the truck that dissed them before was coming back again. I rolled up to the curb and dropped the window.
“How’s business?” I asked.
“Good,” the oldest of the girls lied.
“Awesome,” I said, already reaching for the 5-spot in my wallet. “Lemme get a couple cookies and some lemonade.”
“What flavor?” The youngest, manning the cooler asked.
I almost said lemon-flavored but stayed my tongue. What other flavors of lemonade besides pink were there?
She rattled off the different flavors (about 7) and I zeroed in on fruit punch. I’m a sucker for some fruit punch Kool Aid, people.
So, I secured 3 cookies and a glass of some watered down FP for a cool 5 bucks. No change required. THAT”S how I roll.
I handed a cookie to Jake and his eyes lit up like he’d won the lottery.
“Cooka!” We left and headed off to pick up Travis from school/summer program. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I saw the girls high-fiving each other. Five dollars? Well spent.
So, that, along with getting asked to write 3 more books, the new Eels album made half of my week rock pretty hard-core.
On the flip side? This evening…
So, when I work-out at the health club, I take my kids to the Kid’s Club they have there. It’s pretty sweet. There’s all sorts of cool games, things to play on and even computers for them to mess around with. Both Travis and Jake like going there…a lot. It works out pretty slick. I get to work myself into a smelly, sweaty mess and they get to tear it up with a bunch of other kids for a little while before we head home and eat and wind down. The place is usually manned by a couple people watching over the little tykes. In truth, I’ve never had any sort of problem with them.
The deal is, if Jake decides to off-shore a load into his diaper, someone from the Kid’s Club comes and lets me know. No problem. I hop off the machine I’m working out on, run in to change up his filthy drawers and go back to what I was doing. No fuss, no muss. Usually.
Today, while on the treadmill, the woman who runs the Kid’s Club came over to me. Immediately, upon seeing her approach, I thought: Uh-oh. We’ve got a code brown.
Not this time.
I took my headphones off and paused my movie (Spiderman 3) and saw she had a sheepish look on her face.
“Yeah,” she said. “Jake jumped into the toilet.”
I’m pretty sure I blinked twice before saying what any father given such news would say.
“Yep. He’s soaking wet. We took off his socks, but his pants are pretty soaked.”
I was beyond upset. “Fantastic,” I muttered as she walked back to likely not watch another kid make an excursion into the porcelain pool. I wrapped up my stuff, and hopped off just a little bit angry with the world right about then.
Now, I know it’s not easy to watch all of the kids all of the time, but Jake is a scant year and six months old. He’s an explorer and he’s curious about everything. To me, I thought about the horrific things that could’ve happened to him while they weren’t looking. He could’ve been bobbing for outhouse apples, he could’ve pulled the heavy lid off of the tank and conked himself on the head. He could’ve slipped and fell on the wet floor in the bathroom. All because they couldn’t do something as simple as keep the bathroom door closed…or you know, watch him.
As I came into the Kid’s Club, the first thing Travis said was: “Dad? Do we have to go?” I could see Travis’ little friend there (the one that makes him paper airplanes) and I knew he was already feeling slighted. I could also tell by the look on his face that I had A LOOK on my face, too. Dad was not happy.
“Yeah,” I said loudly. “Jake jumped in the crapper. We gotta go home.”
Jake was all smiles when I came in. Whenever he sees me coming, he laughs and runs as fast as his little legs will carry him. Today, even soaked, was no exception.
The Kid’s Club lady came up and I said: “So, um. How exactly did this happen?”
“Well,” she explained. “Two little girls were using the bathroom and Jake followed them in. The next thing I know, he’s jumping in the toilet.”
For added effect, she threw in: “Not sure if the water was clean or…”
I shook my head, ready to explode. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Yeah, I don’t know.”
No apology, nothing. Just an oh well attitude about the whole thing.
“I’m a little upset by this,” I said. “I’m wondering how something like this could happen.”
“Yeah,” she explained, pointing to the door. “We have to make sure and keep that door closed.”
“I just can’t believe no one saw him go in there,” I said. I was this close to saying: What were you two pukes doing while you WEREN’T watching him?
“It’s not a good thing, that’s for sure,” she said and walked away.
Not a good thing. Boy, that’s rich.
I decided it was time to leave before I detonated. I scooped up my (urine soaked? water soaked?) kid and headed out, ready to become a human wrecking ball and knock the Kid’s Club down to cinders. I wrapped Jake in a towel so as not to transfer the maybe-urine onto the car seat and got in. I think I shook my head and muttered ‘unbelievable’ about 9,002 times. As a song we all liked came on, I turned the music up. The chorus is simple:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…
I heard little, sodden Jake in the back singing along with his older brother. He was all smiles, Travis was happy and suddenly, just like that…I was too.
Welcome to my world. Never a dull moment.
Still…I’m going to raise some Cain with that Kid’s Club. Believe that.