Yesterday I had an ingenious idea. I figured that since the girls and I were going to be out-and-about anyway doing some visiting teaching, we should go pick up some compost. Sure! The girls would undoubtedly be excited about the idea of going somewhere to get DIRT and I've been getting antsy to plant spring vegetables: what could be a better way to spend an overcast afternoon than a drive out to the county compost center?
So, out came one of the back seats in the van and in went a shovel and lots of 5 gallon buckets and even an old kitchen garbage can. Bryan would have been willing to help on the weekend (it closes at 4 on weekdays) but there are so many other fun things to do on Saturdays and those seeds aren't going to magically turn into peas and lettuce chilling in a bag on our counter: what could be so hard about getting it myself? We did it together plenty of times last year afterall.
Admittedly, I did have a little trouble getting there, but that's not unusual for me. First I got distracted as we waited for a train near the freeway entrance (Look! It needs two engines to pull it! Wow: so many cars! Anyone want to count them? 1...2...3...Ooh! There's a freezer car!) and proceeded to get on the interstate headed the wrong direction. Well, easy enough fix. Get off the interstate. Get on the interstate. Try again. (Oh look! There's the same train. Let's count them again! Anyone see the freezer car?)
And then, panic: was it Exit 5 or Route 5 (which is Exit 4)? Turns out it was Exit 5...Route 5 tries to send you off to a part of town we've never explored before. OK. No big deal. Turn around. Try again. Entrance ramp closed? No worries! Turn around. Try again. (Hey, look! There's that train again! How many engines are there? Should we count the cars? Do you think that freezer car is hot or cold?)
Finally, we reached the compost center, and, thankfully, although the clouds were getting heavier, it was still delightfully dry. This was going to work. As I filled out the paperwork for our season pass the girls gawked at the giant chocolatey compost piles out the window, pointing out the bulldozers with typical toddler glee and I started wondering if maybe we could even get the seeds in this afternoon before dinner.
And then I started flipping through my checkbook preparing to pay the $15 fee that would entitle us to all the mulch and compost we could carry away all season long. No. No no no. Did I really write the last check and not notice? Sigh. Thankfully at some point one of us left another book of checks in the van which we've gotten in the habit of using as a back-up if we forget the tithing check on Sunday. A little fishing around and soon I was confidently fanning through duplicates, looking for a blank check once again.
Huh. Really? That can't be right. Flip through again. Noooo! No no no. Could I really be out of checks in TWO checkbooks on the same afternoon? With a carload of kids a half-an-hour away from home?? Ugg.
Oh well. Amazingly, I thought I had seen an ATM for our bank in a small town we'd driven through on our way to the compost center. Turn around. Find bank. Get cash. Try again. (Do you hear a train in the background?) Smile cheerfully at the compost warden in hopes that he won't think the crazy lady with the minivan is too unstable to let in.
Finally. With a happy sigh I backed up into a spot. Sure, it's taken a little longer than planned, but there still might be time to get things in the garden before Bryan comes home. I opened the hatch, pulled out my buckets...and suddenly felt cold splashes on my arms.
And that is how I found myself shoveling rotted yardwaste in the rain, dripping wet, with three cranky kids calling from the van over and over, "can we go home yet?"