Confession: Family Day Disaster


This week, I want to give a bit of a snapshot into our real life. We’re parents. Life is messy. And, it seems every time we try to do something as a family, things go sideways, and last week was no different. In fact, it was one thing after another.

We decided to take a weekday off for a family day with Youngest. The day would feature the dollar movie theater, then we’d swing by the library for a book on hold for Youngest (age 10 and home schooled), and maybe go bowling. Since it was a Tuesday, that meant Oldest (age 17) and his girlfriend (whom I adore) would be joining us for dinner and Forged in Fire later. It sounded like a big day, but a fun one. What could go wrong?

We made our way to the dollar theater near our home for a matinee. Carrie and I sardined ourselves into our seats and set a large Coke Zero between us and munched on popcorn. Everything seemed fine.

As the previews ended and the movie started, Carrie went to reach for the drink. The cup shifted awkwardly, popping the lid off, and pouring Coke Zero all over me! It drenched the popcorn. My shirt and jeans were soaked. My seat was sopping. There was soda dripping from my fingertips. There was an ice cube in my pocket.

I knew immediately she felt horrible. It was an accident. I knew this was not something to get mad about. So I calmly, jokingly, licked the spilled drink from my fingers and laughed. We didn’t quite know what to do at that point. I didn’t want to move seats, causing a disruption to the other viewers. I didn’t want the awkwardness of being a fat person trying to get out of that seat while drenched. I didn’t want to soak a different seat, causing more work for the employees. It wasn’t regular Coke, so it wasn’t sticky. It was just wet. We decided to stay. Carrie got up to get napkins.

It’s at this point I realized my seat wasn’t cloth. It was waterproof pleather. And then something happened I will never forget.

My menstrual pad started to soak up the ice cold Coke Zero.

I hadn’t boiled my Diva Cup, so I was stuck wearing pads. Knowing we’d be out all day, I wore an overnight pad, that soaks up 10 times its weight in liquid. And it began to drink in the cold beverage from my jeans and my seat. My junk was met with icy cold sogginess from mons pubis to buttcheeks.

This was not a situation napkins could solve.

As we left the theater, it was almost dark outside. Heavy, ominous clouds filled the sky. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The air was significantly cooler. As we drove home, my jeans nearly dry thanks to my cold liquid-soaked pad, it started to rain. The plan was to just drop me off so I could shower, and head to the library for the book. By the time we got to the house, it was torrentially pouring big, painful drops. The run from the driveway to the front door soaked me even more, and I raced upstairs to shower. That should be relatively simple, right?

Part way through my shower, I realized I had forgotten to bring a big towel with me and hang it over the shower curtain rack, so I’d be forced to reach for a regular bath towel. Oh well, I thought. And then the lights flickered.

And then I was totally in the dark. The power was out.

There are no windows in our bathroom. It was pitch black, the shower still sprinkling down on me. I waited, hoping the lights would come back on. They didn’t. Then I remembered our water heater is electric, and hurried to rinse off just as the water began to get colder.

The reach to the towel rack is a dangerous one for me. I’m short with short arms. That’s why I always hang a towel over the shower curtain rod. I couldn’t see how far I needed to reach to gauge my balance.

This is how I die, I thought. Falling out of the tub, hitting my head on the bathroom floor, wet, naked, and bleeding from my vagina.

I stretched and reached in the dark. I willed my arm to reach out farther. My fingertips found the towel as I balanced precariously from in the tub. Success! I dried quickly to find my phone for light and to text Carrie about the power outage. But Carrie was having problems of her own.

The road to the library was flash flooded. The water was nearly up to the doors on the minivan. The road had become a river, washing cars down the hill. Carrie and Youngest witnessed no less than 3 accidents, one involving a car floating into a telephone pole. They abandoned the book mission and managed to turn around and get home safely.

Not long after they made it back, Oldest arrived with his girlfriend from school. Having had to walk several blocks to where he’d left his car, the two of them were soaked through. They were hoping to use the dryer, but no dice without power. They changed into Oldest’s dry clothes, which were comically large on his slight girlfriend. We had a laugh about it, and checked the power company’s outage status site from our phones. The power wouldn’t be on until well after dinner, so we decided to go out to our favorite Mexican place.

By the time we got home from dinner, the power outage time was extended even further. The kids all decided to go to the girlfriend’s house to have something to do.

Carrie and I sat alone, in the candlelight. We talked a bit about the ridiculousness that was our day and our situation. All was quiet. We were alone, in the dim candlelight, with nothing to do. So we did what any middle aged couple would do in that situation.

We decided to make a run to Walmart for a game to play.

We figured Yahtzee would be a good time waster. As we left the toy aisle, I spotted a set of glow necklaces, bracelets, and sticks. We threw it in the cart and headed home for our date in the dark.

As we approached home, we noticed the street lights illuminated on the road to home. Sure enough, the power was back on. We felt a twinge of disappointment. The idea of playing a game in the dark sounded like fun. So, we decided to crack the glow goodies and turn off the lights and play anyway.

The kids came home and we sent Youngest off to bed in glow jewelry, and Oldest played a round with us there in the dark.

Even when things go sideways, our family always finds a way to make the best of it.

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