Rabid Mommy Needs Her Time Out

I’ve been resisting this urge to get on a train to I-don’t-care-where, just to stare out a window, into others’ backyards with their leafy above-ground pools, gritty grills, hammocks; where I don’t exist for them so they can ask nothing of me.

Instead I bought a bottle of Mommy’s Time Out:

You can see it’s now empty.

I’m sad.

Just so you know, I didn’t drink it all in one night. I started on the evening of the day when our gerbil Bochella chewed through the top of her water bottle.

Buying a new water bottle for an animal is not something you can put off until your next errand; unlucky for me, I had no errands planned for that one errand-free day.

“How can you be out of water bottles? What if there’s a thirsty gerbil? A mouse? A rabbit?”

This was the second pet supply store I had tried.  I was trying the local local stores first, as the boys are, by this time of summer animals themselves, rabid ones, within five minutes of being in the car. Their scrabbling gets worse the more we get in and out of the car. Especially now that one mini-van automatic door doesn’t work, as one fights to get out the other’s door.

So for this stop, I’d left them in the car. I could see them in between lost-cat posters in the pet-supply store window. They were rabidly clawing at each other.

I guess I was looking rabid myself, as the owner took a step backwards, nearly tripping over his own stacks of kitty litter no-scent boxes. “We’re out. So sorry.”

The owner of the previous store, having been the first to witness my rabid desperation, sent me here, to her competitor. Whom clearly she detested: “Don’t tell him I sent you. Please.” She’d turned away, to stroke the store’s cat, as if she were sending me to an ex-lover.

I was feeling too rabid now not to tell him: “Even that nice lady down the road. She doesn’t even have no water bottles.” I was reduced to using double-negatives, something I was glad my boys were not there to hear.

This guy had a goatee, tongue earring and snake tattoos up both arms. He looked more like he should be working in the creepy magic-slash-costume store where my youngest has begged me to take him for magic lessons, amongst mannequins bedecked in Vampire costumes.

She sent ya, ha?” He didn’t looked scared anymore. Only too satisfied.

Yes, she sent me pointlessly. And what if, besides thirsty small animals, you had rabid sick-of-summer children, like mine? Whom you’ve already dragged to Target and Staples to find the highlighters that one store didn’t have, or the crayons the other did? Sneaker shopping where they still run up and down the aisles like four-year-olds? For whom even mixing magic potions of baking soda, canola oil and food coloring in jars to scare off aliens had grown old?

Let’s just set some things straight. I adore my little monkeys (my boys), but after July 1 when my mother fell; then a 103-degree tropical cruise; then packing and repacking for our NH “vacation” where my son contracted the cocksackie virus; then home to face six hours with him in the emergency room …

Yes. I want school to start. I want my dull daily routine back.

Back to crisis water-bottle shopping: It was after this second store, that I stopped in the liquor store – well it was just next door.

Through our van window I signaled to the kids I’d be right back. They were too busy clawing each other to notice, so that bought me a few minutes.

To grab my favorite wine: Mommy’s Time out.

“Is that it?” the cashier guy asked without looking away from some game on the wall TV.

I was glad not to have one more person notice I might be rabid.

“That’s it,” I said. I’m done, I wanted to say. But now I had to go allllll the way down to Petco. Just next door  to Target and Staples and all the other mall shops I thought I was done with.

Of course I had to let the boys get out at Petco, as it is always a respite, with real animals, not just supplies. And we found a water bottle!

But then there were the ferrets.

“I really, really want a ferret,” Ryan crooned as he can at Game Stop when I refuse to buy him a brand new Mario at regular price.

“And I still want a parrot,” Kenny said, standing wistfully in front of a noisy cage of fluttering birds.

“Let’s look at gerbil toys!” I said, having no desire to return to old conversations  from a year ago, when we’d been trying to decide on a hypoallergenic pet, one Daddy would tolerate, and settled on our gerbils, Bochella and Rosey:

But I was in such a state, I too was susceptible to pet therapy – you know, when people come home with a dog and a cat on a whim. Though I was only looking at these dwarf hamsters I’d never seen before. Robos! So CUTE! I wanted one:

What’s a bottle of Mommy’s Time Out without a dwarf hamster?

I would find that out later, when I was finally able to drag us all out of there without new pets, only some ridiculously expensive chew tunnels for the gerbils.

The first time I bought Mommy’s Time Out, it was as a kind of gag gift for a mom friend, but it evidently was an old gag – every mom I knew had already drunk it. I mean, who wouldn’t at  $7.99? It’s actually not too bad; keeps well for a few days in the fridge, as you wouldn’t want to share it with anyone – per the pic on the label, you need to drink it alone in a corner staring at a wall (maybe this is where I would have preferred staring out a train window):

I didn’t get to drink it in a corner, (never mind on a train) and I wonder how many moms do. Maybe they’re like me, sneaking in a sip here and there, as I snuck the bottle into our cooler for a dinner beach picnic; Daddy would be home late, the clocked ticked too slow, and as tired as my boys might be of the beach (not one last rock they wanted to collect), it was the best place to wile away the last of summer evenings.

And where I was able to get a few Mommy-Time-Out sips in before too-bold gulls actually plucked hotdogs out of the thermos as swiftly as a fish from the bay; the boys got into a sand/mud fights; Ryan cut his foot on a shell.

But that sip was delicious.

And today the boys are actually back in school. Damn. The house is quiet….

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