Northerners, you probably never see those “VISIT FLORIDA!” ads running this time of year, right? Do you know why? Because from roughly July 4th until Halloween, it’s rainy season. Also: muggy season, bug season, too hot to get the mail season and oh yeah, hurricane season. Unless you enjoy a 98% chance of monsoon from 4-5:30p every day, rounded out with 8,754% humidity, our weather is less than spectacular.
Our son will be 16 months old in about a week, and I can count on one hand the number of times it’s been necessary for me to use an umbrella to get him to our truck after school: three. Three times, ever. Today was one of those days.
It’s important to know that I am lacking many important umbrella skills, such as “opening them” and “closing them.” Also, “walking with them.” It is an impossibility for me to use one to get myself in and/or out of my vehicle, let alone accomplishing this task with a small person on my hip. But today, I had no choice.
And so, in the overly dramatic fashion you’ve grown accustomed to, I’m sharing Umbrella War 2014.
Friday, 4:30pm. My brain has been on things like online shopping, wine, take-out pizza and hanging out with Miles for about…four hours. When I realize how close to 5:00pm it is, I start shutting down. No need to take on any additional tasks or call any clients; it’s the weekend, I’m out. I shuffle the props on my desk and secretly play Candy Crush until 4:57pm. Then I pack up.
“I’m leaving this spare umbrella up front for you, Kristin,” a co-worker calls. Umbrella? For me? Why?
OH, BECAUSE IT’S MONSOONING YOUR FACE OFF OUTSIDE, THAT’S WHY.
Ugh. RAIN. Throughout rainy season, I have feared the day that I would need to pick up Miles in a stupid thunderstorm. I peeked out the window and knew it was not going to let up. At. All.
Okay, we can do this. I grab the spare umbrella because, like a genius, I left my own umbrella in my car. I walk outside and attempt to open this standard umbrella. I am unable to open the umbrella. I shake it, jiggle it, try to force the arm thing to extend. I give it a mean look, then I feel guilty and ask it pretty pretty pretty please just open, and then I realize I need to push a button. In the process of pushing said button, I cut my finger on the umbrella. This does not bode well for future umbrella use.
I get to my vehicle. I open the door. I stand there and stare at my seat, wondering how to get from here to there with this gawdawful umbrella without drowning. After hurling myself into the vehicle and banging my knee on the steering wheel, I pull the umbrella in and throw it to the floor. The left side of me is soaked, but only the left side, so I’m still in this umbrella game. I look at my finger and realize it’s oozing blood. FROM AN UMBRELLA. Help me, Ronda.
The spare umbrella was comically small, which I blamed for the clown car act of getting in the driver’s seat. My own umbrella was big; it could easily cover not only me, but my son and a small herd of baby elephants. I felt confident we could give this a go.
Important fact about my umbrella: It’s not actually my umbrella, it belongs to my mother-in-law. She left it at our house, and I’ve been holding it hostage. I’ve never needed to use it until today. I just knew it was big because it was very long (that’s what she said) so I assumed it must be superior to all umbrellas that have ever existed.
Arrive at school. Torrential downpour (now with added lightning!) continues. Deep breath, we can do this. Step out of the vehicle. Attempt to open umbrella, end up with umbrella stuck in a tree (small tree) and still closed. Eff. Free umbrella from tree limbs, realize six parents have already managed to exit their cars and get to the covered walkway while I am still standing here, under a tree in the rain and lightning, trying to open a damn umbrella. Finally get umbrella open.
Find out that the black writing on the umbrella doesn’t say “Property of Kristin’s MIL” and actually says “PLEASE RETURN TO YMCA.” Wonder if parents think I stole the umbrella. Wonder if parents listen to The Village People.
Make it through the flooded parking lot to security gate one. Open gate, try to walk through, realize umbrella is too wide and I am now stuck in the gate. Many swear words run through my brain, but not out my mouth, because this is a Presbyterian school. Raise umbrella up above the gate because I am not clever enough to just turn it sideways. Partially soaked on my right side now, but still not totally soaked. Still winning.
Arrive at security gate two. Enter code. Open gate. Walk through…no, wait, don’t walk through because I’m STUCK AGAIN. Angels of Meteorology, what are you doing to me?!
Make it through gate, totally soaked. Set umbrella down. Walk to classroom. Spend 15 minutes drying off and playing with the kids while the same little boy who always cries when he sees me wearing yellow tights sits in the corner and cries because IT’S FRIDAY AND I WORE YELLOW TIGHTS. Sweet mother. Decide we should leave before the meltdown of said boy grows worse. Realize I have used lots of capslock in this post; it’s because my brain speaks only in capslock during trials like Umbrella War 2014.
Successfully open the overly large stolen umbrella while holding Miles. He is fascinated, and keeps telling me we have an “umbwewwa.” Yes we do, kiddo. An umbwewwa with a vendetta against your mama, but hopefully it likes you more than me.
Make it to vehicle. Open door. Stand there staring, again, trying to figure out how we do this. Prop umbrella on the roof of the truck and the door. I AM A GENIUS. Get Miles in the carseat. Wind blows; umbrella begins to fall, Miles grabs the handle and yanks, umbrella turns upside down, dumping water all over me and then poking me in the butt.
Thanks, umbwewwa. Before you poked me in the butt, I really thought I’d won this round and earned your respect, but apparently I still have much to learn.
Close umbrella, give up, get in truck. Throw umbrella to the floor where it now joins its friend Spare Umbrella. Spare and Stolen hang out together under my brake pedal, threatening to snag my yellow tights and prevent safe stopping.
Dry off. Realize it has stopped raining. Look at both umbwewwas; call them bastards before hitting the road to finally finally finally go home.
Miles was mostly dry. So we’ll call this one a draw for round one of Umbrella War 2014.
Blame it on the rain,