8:30 a.m.: The phone rings. It is my husband. The van is ready to be picked up. QT is still sleeping and one of the Ladies has at some point crept into my bedroom and taken one of the iPads.
8:45 a.m.: Pancakes for everyone. I prep the kids that we are going to have to leave soon to go get the van. I tell them I am not sure exactly how we are going to get there. The Lady suggests the Trolley. (Our city has a free Trolley that loops around and connects the area where we saw Frozen on Friday night with the downtown, near where the van is.) I have been talking about taking this Trolley for weeks. We have a plan.
9:10 a.m.: I Google the Trolley. I find out the closest stop to our house and see that they have a mobile app where you can follow the Trolley in real time. I throw on some yoga pants, promise donuts and start barking out commands to the kids, "get dressed, brush your hair, put on shoes we will be walking. . ." The Lady insists on wearing a nightgown with shorts. The Little Lady puts on a peasant skirt with a pair of leggings underneath, a t-shirt and a headband that she keeps at the very front of her head. They both wear flip-flops, nobody brushes their hair, however they do brush teeth.
9:21 a.m.: I check the app, the Trolley will be at the stop in 23 minutes. We can totally make it.
9:25 a.m.: We are in the garage, I grab the umbrella stroller because QT has a tendency to run. The Little Lady insists on riding her scooter. She grabs her helmet and we are off. We make it about a half a block before the Little Lady gives up on the scooter. I am visibly annoyed. I throw the Barbie scooter over the handles of the stroller and loop the helmet around them too. The Little Lady tries to keep up but is insisting that we are leaving her too far behind, the Lady and her long legs are about 10 feet in front of me.
We finally round the corner towards the Dunkies. I have already explained to them that we will be stopping on the way back because we have to catch the Trolley, although I am in serious need of some caffeine.
QT jumps out of the stroller, throws a mini basketball that he was carrying into the road. I stop everyone at the corner, get the ball and check the time. It is 9:50, we are not making it. Dunkies is in sight and I tell the kids that we will go there first. QT starts to squirm, he starts itching his whole body. He is covered in ants.
I am now standing on a street corner with three kids, a stroller covered in ants because it had been lying on the floor in the garage and there was some leftover granola bar in the seat from the kids' trip to the zoo earlier in the week. QT rode for a full 10-15 minutes sitting in that ant-infested stroller. I start picking ants off his feet, the back of his neck. I give him a full body check. I am grossed out. It is hot, I need coffee. We limp into the Dunkies parking lot. I pull the stroller up along side of the building and send the Ladies in for napkins.
(The problem with being a regular at places is that you just can't anonymously wipe scores of ants off a stroller on the side of a building in private. No, the owner of the establishment has to come over and offer to watch the stroller for you so that you can go inside, and you have to tell him that "something spilled" on it and you are just going to leave it outside, but thanks so much!)
10:05 a.m.: Stroller de-antified. Everyone is sitting down enjoying a donut and I have some coffee.
10:15 a.m.: I check the mobile app. We have 13 minutes to cross four streets. We head out.
We cross one street, we cross the next. We cross the third street. The Trolley stop is on the next block. All we have to do is cross over and make a left. We arrive at the corner. The Trolley arrives at the light directly across from us. I make some gesticulations with my hands trying to get the conductors attention. Did I mention this is the longest light in Stamford? We wait for the walk sign in the crossroad. The Trolley turns, we book it across the street. I yell for the Ladies to run ahead, the Trolley stops, the Lady is running in her flip flops and nightgown, her long unbrushed hair flapping in the wind. The Little Lady is close behind her, her ankle-length skirt billowing in the breeze. I am following behind with QT in the (hopefully) ant-free stroller, the Barbie scooter on top with the Dora the Explorer helmet banging against my fingers, the Trolley doors open then close and he drives away without us. I make a half-assed attempt at following him on foot. We will never catch up.
We take refuge on a bench at a bus stop.
10:28 a.m.: I call my mom.
10:31 a.m.: QT has to go to the bathroom. Luckily the mall is not far, in fact we are pretty much at the exact spot one of my early blog posts took place and I know the Barnes and Noble bathroom pretty well at this point. We soldier on. Both Ladies are complaining about their feet hurting from the flip flops. We make it to B&N. On a positive, there is one of the benches from the Art Around Town exhibit right outside of the mall. It is painted with birds though, so obviously it isn't my favorite. We sit on that for a few minutes because the Trolley isn't coming back for another 15 minutes and then make our way to the Trolley stop.
11:00 a.m.: The Trolley arrives. The doors open, we stumble in. It it cool and clean and wonderful. Everyone takes their own seat.
11:22 a.m.: I park the stroller outside the entrance, I send the kids in through the front door and point them to the waiting area. They each take a seat in a large, black leather chair. I give some guy my name, he tells me everything is ready and he will bring the van around. At that point, I like to imagine what it looked like from the inside of VW as the four of us arrived, as we crossed over the parking lot and into that front door, a little sweaty, an empty stroller with a scooter on top, three kids dragging their flip-flopped feet. I wonder did they have any idea of what it took for us to get there?
I will say they had some pretty good customer service though. The kids all got some water and another guy came by with a candy bowl. Of course they can have double bubble gum and gummy worms, it just took us two hours to get here. The guy who went to get the van came back and said that there was a car blocking it and it would just be another minute. Take your time guy, wherever we are going next, we are driving there and it can't possibly take as long as this excursion did.
Then, there she was in all her glory, Minnie-Ru.
11:37 a.m.: The kids scrambled in the van, I threw the scooter and the stroller in the trunk, took the last sip from the dregs of my coffee, blasted the ac, got in and drove home.
In retrospect, I realize that I probably could have just put QT and the Little Lady in the double stroller and power-walked the 1.2 miles to the dealership with the Lady in sneakers, perhaps switching out with her sister or brother for a spell, but the double stroller was in the top of the garage and on Saturday, it just wasn't our journey to take.