"Two p.m. deadline?" I ask my boss. "No problem."
It's 7:45 a.m. Two p.m. feels like next week.
I pack lunches for Junior and Everett. I drop Junior off at day camp, then schlep Everett and Cam to Everett's preschool for a 9:30 drop-off. (Side note: I still dislike the pre-school teacher who, after eight months of greeting my child with a somber "Heeeeeey buuuuuddy' seems to be a better fit for a convalescent home.)
I say good-bye to Everett then schlep Cam to a 10:15 a.m. doctor's appointment because he's been waking up the last two nights screaming and has now developed pink eye. Am I cutting it close to my deadline? Yes, but I can do this. I can.
We finish up at the doctor's. It's an ear infection. I get back out to the car and rifle through my bag for the keys. I don't see them. Nooooooo. I put Cam's car carrier down and empty the contents of the diaper bag onto the trunk. Empty wrappers. Diapers (clean, thanks). Matchbox cars. Old crayons. Chapstick. A maxi pad. Squished granola bars. DSW coupons.
I bring Cam back inside and ask if I left my keys in the office. Nope. Cam is getting fussy. He's not going to make it much longer without eating. I ask if I can feed him in one of the rooms.
While I feel Cam, I tear apart the car carrier, hoping the key slipped behind a cushion. Nope.
I call my brother. Can he grab a spare house key from my neighbor and meet me at the doctors with the spare car key? Yes. But no one answers at the neighbor's. I call Chuck. He offers to drive the hour home and bring me the spare key. I tell him that's crazy. I call AAA and schedule assistance. They tell me it'll be an hour.
I finish feeding Cam. It's 11:45. I empty the diaper bag one last time. No key.
I take Cam outside to wait for AAA by the car. I search my pockets. I scan the passenger seat for something glinting in the sun. Nothing. I decide to empty the bag one real, real last time. I feel something square shaped way down in the lining, way over on the side. Holy shit. It's a set of keys I thought I lost two years ago. I shove my hand deeper, pushing my way past crumbs and broken crayons and there, I find the car key.
Thank you, I say aloud, even though it's now 12:15.
I call AAA and cancel the call.
"It will still count as one of your service calls," the woman tells me.
Bite me, I think.
I call Chuck and tell him the good news.
"I always hated that diaper bag," he says.
"We got it when Junior was born," I remind him. "Seven years is a long time to hate something."
"It's trimmed in pink. Can we get one that's cooler? More...manly?" he asks.
"With, like, boobs on it or something?"
"Sure," he says.
I drive home. I haven't eaten anything all day, so I shove an old granola bar from the diaper bag into my mouth. Cam misses his nap. I miss my deadline. I'm almost late to pick up Junior. But I'm giddy about a diaper bag with breasts on it, if only for its functionality: Nipples would make damn good key ring holders.
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.