At the end of a long day, we arrived and pushed the door buzzer. That's the procedure for access to the facility. I imagine there is a monitor perched somewhere atop the double doors that lets the front desk attendant know who is ringing before access is granted. Past the cigarette breakers, through a second set of double doors, we always find a warm "welcome back" from behind the desk. And up the staircase, behind the second secured door buzzer entrance, we now find our 'temporary' new home.
After a day of work, I just wanted to retreat to our room, kick off my heels and climb into bed. No meeting with the case manager, no mandatory chore at 9pm, just me - in bed. Better go snag the computer before Emma does. I decided to head to the study center to check my email before putting my plan into action. As Emma was peering over my shoulder, a voice from around the corner called out, "You guys going to Disney on Ice?" I looked up to find one of the staff standing in the doorway holding a piece of paper. While my expression remained puzzled, Emma answered for the both of us, "Yes! Disney on Ice!" "If you want to go, be downstairs at 6:30." 6:30! But its 6:15! Who just springs an event on someone like that? Wait. I don't wanna go! I just wanna go to bed! Emma on the other hand was delighted with the news. I was still confused. Wait. 6:30 we're supposed to be down stairs? In 15 minutes? How are we getting there? But its a Thursday night...
Fastforward 30 minutes later...
Dressed for the night air, and a 9 block walk, two families and 3 singles headed to the show. I was still a little annoyed that this treat was so impromptu, but the staff person assured us that it was someone else's fault. The facility had been notified of the pending performance 2 days prior to all of us finding out about it. Someone dropped the ball somewhere, but you can't complain too much about free tickets, right?
"How many of you are there?", the ticket keeper for programs asked. "There are 9 of us", our staff person answered. "And how old is that little guy?" referring to the baby in his mother's arms. "He's 1", his mother answered. "Ok, he doesn't need a ticket. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... I'll be right back, don't move. She came back, looked around and took one ticket from some other program's stash. Since we hadn't arrived on time, some of our tickets had been given to other programs who had shown up in larger-than-expected groups. We were handed tickets that were in various sections and told to make it work. Well, ok.
Purses were checked, the stroller was docked, and we were in search of our sections. As we took our seats, I began to feel a little less annoyed. Emma was excited, the show was already in progress, we were surrounded by happy families, life was momentarily good. On cue, Emma remembered the snack stand that we saw on the way in, so I offered to go get her something to munch on during the show. I approached the counter and surveyed the menu. "Can I get a pretzel, aaaaannnndddd, a Pepsi?" "Sure", said the woman behind the counter. "You guys take credit cards, right?", I asked, remembering that I had no cash on me. She told me yes, and rounded up my order. As I whipped out my card, I took a second look at the menu and couldn't quite focus my eyes on the prices. You have GOT to be kidding me! Sooooo... they actually want $5.50 for a $1.69 bottle of soda, and $6! for a bottle of water. This is what I get for not looking at the prices first. I literally stood in awe for a couple of minutes looking at the prices, and holding my card. I finally gave it to the clerk, got my two items that now seemed much less appetizing, and made my way back to our seats.
"Oooooo, Mom, LOOK! Cotton Candy. Please, please can I have some?", Emma exclaimed. "Sorry, I don't have any cash with me. They only take cash." *annoyance resurfaces* After the show, Emma looked at all of the other children playing with their light sticks and repeatedly tried to sway me, as if it were in my control, by telling me how much she needed one because all of her toys are in storage. *cue depression* I felt horrible, and then I felt angry. Who the fuck invites homeless people to something like this! Keeping Emma's drama-queen abilities in mind, I was still sad that she was sad, all because we were let in on this trip with not enough time to stop by a bank. "Ooooo, look at the ears Mom!" Outside the arena gates sat groups of street vendors selling their versions of light sticks and mouse ears. "Light sticks and Mickey ears, $5 each", one vendor called out to the exiting crowd. FUCK! I don't have $5 on me. And then it happened... "Whistles, $3". I remembered that my grandmother had given Emma 'ice cream' money, which I stuck in my purse for safe keeping. "Excuse me, how much did you say the whistles were?", I asked the woman holding the blinking pieces of plastic. "$3". Emma's had exactly three rolled up dollar bills, I handed them to her. She gave them to the woman, and the woman gave her the whistle in return. Watching the exchange was almost like seeing a princess being crowned for the first time. Emma's eyes shined brighter than the colorful lights of her new whistle.
The night was saved from going to shit by a $3 whistle.
This post was written as part of the Making My Mark Memories Rewind Link-up. To participate, click on the link. Participation is open until October 22nd!