Today was one of those days that starts with some hints that you should just stop and put your pyjamas back on, head back to bed and not attempt to go any further. But like all of those days, I ignored those signs and continued, at my peril.
Ok, so I am nothing if not overly dramatic, but you knew that already.
Because of the six months I have just spent in India, I am a bit out of practice in many things – like getting myself and two kids ready in the morning and driving in Melbourne.
My first mistake was getting the kids dressed and ready to go before I was fully ready. So, while I was getting ready, Xanthe sat on the floor and emptied her drink bottle all over herself and then stood up and slipped over in the water. So I had a crying and wet child to soothe and change, and a floor to clean.
Blah blah, stress stress, new clothes found, spare towel chucked on the floor over the puddle, coats on, bags gathered, everyone in the car.
I knew that if I parked in the correct car parking building I would get my car parking paid for thanks to kids business for the bloggers brunch that I was heading to. I entered “Wilsons parking, Federation Square” into the GPS and clicked on the one that popped up – without checking it of course. Why do I trust the GPS? Why?
After several wrong turns in typical morning madness city traffic, we got to the parking building indicated by the GPS and started our swirly whirly ascent as I climbed the car up to a spare parking spot. Upon finding a car park, I took a moment to think, and I thought to myself, this is not Federation Square. Shit. I consulted GPS again and found out that Federation Square was an 8 minute walk away. I weighed up my options and decided walking was better than driving in that city madness again, trying to find the right place. And I really didn’t want to drive around and around the swirly car park again so soon as my nausea had not yet subsided.
We got out of the car, down the lift, and on our way. But small feet walk slowly. On Google maps there is an option for walking directions that gives an estimate on how long it should take. I suggest Google maps should include another option for walking with kids. It takes much longer.
But we got there. In time. Miracle. I signed in and took the kids straight to the babysitters. Xanthe was in ball pit heaven. Millar only lasted 5 minutes before he decided to tag along with me and refused to hang out with the other kids. This made it ridiculously hard to listen to the speakers or talk to brands or my friends. Millar was bored and hungry – he gets hungry when he’s bored.
Remember I said I was out of practice? A proper mum would have snacks in her bag for the very hungry caterMillar.
After several attempts at taking Millar to the kids area and making deals with him about staying for just ten more minutes, only for him to escape the babysitters and run around till he found me…. I had to leave, it was just too hard.
So we left early, and even though I hadn’t spoken to all the brands, I still had quite a lot of bags to carry, as well as the incredibly heavy nappy bag and two small children to wrangle.
I was stressed and a little miffed and as I was leaving a lovely lady at the registration desk made a very helpful suggestion that I leave the bags there, and bring the car back and pick them up. That would have made perfect sense, but I was stupid and cranky and declined. She bore the brunt of my annoyance at driving in the city. Poor woman. I apologise. I’m a crazy cranky old lady that should have stayed at home.
We started our journey. The nappy bag cutting in to my right shoulder and the bags from brands slipping off and needing adjustment every few steps.
I held Xanthe’s hand and let Millar walk ahead. Half way to the car, Xanthe decided she was not walking any further and must be carried. Fun.
We soldiered on. Xanthe on my hip and my right shoulder with several kilos of bags hanging from it, now a good inch or two shorter than my other shoulder.
My feet were also killing me. I love my ankle boots, I do, but at this moment I nearly threw them in the Yarra.
We made it to the other side of the river and I see the red Wilson parking sign above a door in the distance. I make a beeline for it, thinking, “this looks unfamiliar, we must be entering through a different door”. However, when I put my card in to pay, it became clear why the door looked unfamiliar when the screen said, “wrong car park”. SHIT. It had taken more than 30 minutes to get to this point. I was less than thrilled.
Out the door, holding back frustrated and exhausted tears (drama queen much?) we walk across a couple of roads to the correct Wilsons parking and enter the more familiar door. We then found a pay machine that didn’t accept credit cards. Up the elevator to the other pay stations. The first one couldn’t read my card. – panic now setting in – the second machine took several attempts of jamming my card in furiously… then I turned it the right way up and it all went much more smoothly.
$12.24 payment made, we jumped into the lift and pressed 7 confidently. When we arrived at the 7th floor, we walked to where I parked the car, but it was not there. SHIT.
We hobbled back to the lift – oh my god, my feet! – and pressed 6, a little less confidently but hopeful. We exited at the 6th floor and walked to where I parked the car, to find it not there either. So we hobbled slowly down to level 5 to discover yet another floor that I did not park the car on.
Back into the lift and number 8 is pressed with a fierce “you better be the right floor or I am going to lose my shit” kind of confidence.
That must have worked as the car was right where I left it! We nearly skipped to the car. I was gleeful. Hurrah! The search was over, we were nearly almost on our way home and most importantly, there are seats in the car!
I got the kids and the bags in the car, gave the kids a bag of yummy Mamee chips that I picked up at the brunch, and settled in for the journey home.
Down, down, down the swirly car park. Stopping at the barrier arm exit, I enter my parking card. “Outstanding, $12.00” SHIT. I cancelled and re-entered that card again and again, but it kept telling me the same thing; that I owed another $12.00. Looking in my rear view mirror, I see a car behind me, I gesture and start reversing. He backs up and lets me reverse around him.
Somehow I manage to reverse up the ramp and reverse park into a space between a car and a pillar, without hitting either of them! This is the highlight of my driving life. I decide that when I am stressed I am a super awesome parker and should really attempt some more freaky parking next time I get my crank on.
I pop the card into the pay station and it tells me that I have to pay $12.00 for 25 minutes. I realise that it must have taken 25 minutes from the moment I paid to when we found the car. WOW!
I use the helpful intercom thingo to call and plead my case. Very helpful ladies on those intercom things. She tells me to go back to the barrier arm at the exit and call her back from that intercom. I do just that and I am released.
It then takes me over an hour to get home because I am stupid and so is my GPS and I hate driving in the city. But I won’t bore you further with those details.
Suffice to say, I am home. I survived the Bloggers Brunch. Just.