Anyway, all that means is that I loaded the three midgets into the car, packed them a lunch, hauled 6 diapers (Jordan has some fun diaper rash so I change her very frequently) and a few pounds of Cherrios, sippy cups and other assorted kidgarb to the mall where they've got a fabulous indoor play area. Not all of this fits in one bag, so I always carry a diaper bag in addition to my own bag which usually contains my wallet and camera and extra diapers or a change of clothes for the kids.
We got there and all was great - the moms were total sweeties and their kids were just delicious. All of my midgets had a great time and I felt great about my decision to join. Score. Well, Jack's insistence on going potty brought our trip to an end and I swung through the restroom of the department store we had parked outside of to let him do his business and to change the girls and dole out cheese sandwiches.
Once I got all the kids strapped into their seats and had the stroller folded and tucked into the car I reached for my bag to set it on the front seat next to me... and it was gone.
Oh was I mad at myself. I hurriedly unhooked the kids, unfolded the stroller, reloaded them in the stroller, and sprinted with them back into the department store. I knew I must have left it in the restroom and I was just praying that no one had snatched it in the few minutes I had been gone.
At this point, you need to take a minute and picture me. It was raining so my hair was a ball of frizz barely contained with a hair-tie. The kids were all three confused and a little worried about the fact that their mom was sobbing and cursing and begging The Powers That Be for her bag to be there. My mascara was smearing all over my face from the rain and my crying (pathetic, very un-Melissa-like crying [aside: I'm PMSing so I'm a little emotional right now] ). I was sprinting through a fairly upscale department store - in the home section, no less - weaving in and out of displays trying not to knock over a shelf of crystal frou-frou crap that I can't afford even when I HAVE my wallet. The girls were in the double jogger and Jack was perched on the front of it above the swivel wheel, holding on to his sisters' feet for dear life.
It was not one of my more graceful moments.
And of course, when you're browsing in a department store you can not avoid the pushy sales people who bug you and nag you and are uber-helpful when all you want is to find the cheapest shirt you can and get out with your sanity and savings intact; however, none of such people materialize when you actually need one of them. I did what every self-respecting woman does at this point: I called my husband in a total panic and sent him into a total panic and probably made his entire office aware of what an absolute nutball I am. Brilliant.
I finally found an employee who took pity on me (or, more likely, on my kids who now looked not just confused but terrified) and took me to find a floor manager. Several sweet shoppers offered me words of condolence (and mercifully kept their eyebrows down and smirks off their faces) and offered to go re-check the restroom. The manager told me she'd call the customer service manager and have her review the security footage to see if they could see when and with whom the bag left the restroom and if they were still in the store. I, in all my pessimistic glory, imagined someone pawing through my bag, tossing aside my babies' Pedipeds, flinging cloth diapers away, and their greedy eyes widening when they saw the D90 nestled in the bag next to my wallet (which, for once in my life contained a bunch of cash) and every credit card you can imagine (in addition to my Books-A-Million customer loyalty card and my grocery store loyalty card, which for some reason really bothered me). I saw this person (now a full-fledged villain in my mind, complete with cape and dastardly moustache) snatching my money and camera and ditching the bag under some clothing rack before escaping the store and leaving me in a shaky puddle of tears.
I sat down on the floor to wait for an answer from the manager about what the investigation revealed, only to hear, "Miss, they've got it!" I shook my head and mustered only a "huh?" and blinked a few times, convinced I was hearing it wrong.
"Miss, one of the housekeeping staff found it and turned it in to another floor manager; the customer service manager is bringing it now. It doesn't look like it's been opened."
My stomach about fell out my butt. I sent hubs a text message and said they'd found it so he could stop canceling every account we have with every bank in the world and hugged my kiddos (who only looked annoyed now).
Apparently, a member of the staff entered the restroom after I had left to see if it needed to be cleaned. She saw the bag and immediately grabbed it and took it to her boss, handing it over and saying, "I didn't touch nothing I promise! Someone's got a bunch of kid stuff (sippy cups in the pockets) here." The manager just held on to it and called the customer service manager who put 2 and 2 together when she received the call about the insane woman in housewares.
My faith in humanity has been temporarily restored! And my faith in myself and my ability to function on a responsible, adult level has been utterly ruined.
BUT, my trusty camera and wallet and cash and Pedipeds and cloth diapers were safe. I promised the manager I'd be a shopper at her store for life and hurriedly gathered my
So, while you continue laughing at me, I'm going to go (online!) shopping for backpacks.