After realizing -- d'oh! -- there was no school today, we turned back home and decided to make first trip of the season to: a playground. That sounds fun! Isn't it nice that it's warm enough to go! We've missed playgrounds, haven't we!
We choose a destination. I get my book and a cup of tea, imagining that while the girls play, I will turn my vitamin D-starved face to the sun, sip, and read a chapter or two.
How quickly I forget... and oh, the sinking feeling on remembering.
First, the playground equipment. Even the newer play structures have to be given a once-over. Winter conditions can weaken or break things, and chances are good they haven't been inspected yet. So if the equipment is metal, is it a) rusted, or b) a burn hazard in the sun? If wood, is it a) a splinter hazard, or b) pressure-treated, potentially leaching arsenic into the two most precious bloodstreams in my universe? If plastic, is it a) mysteriously sticky or b) cracked in such a way as to be sharp, or a pinch hazard?
Then, the layout. Do I have a clear line of sight to the girls? Is there any place here an adult could conceal themselves? When did I last check the sex offender registry?
And always, the problem of Where The Bathrooms Aren't. Most playgrounds don't have 'em. When one of the girls inevitably hollers from the highest point, "MOMMY! I HAVE TO PEE!" I do not want to be scrambling around with her, saying please hold it, please hold it, while I'm looking frantically for a building, or a port-a-potty, or a tree, or any kind of cover, a clump of tall grass, for cryin' out loud. I like to have a deli cup, perfect for this type of emergency, ready in the back of the car, along with extra clothing, first aid kit, wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug repellent, and water. In short, I like to come prepared. But today I'm not, so I hope the girls don't have to pee.
All this, before we even get to the other parents. And on their account, a wee rant: What is it with mothers (in my experience it's almost always mothers; grandparents and fathers tend to say hi) who return a friendly greeting with a blank stare, or worse, the once-over-and-away look? What is your problem, exactly? Life is so freakin' miserable you can't squeak out "hello"? The pole up your ass is too long? Maybe it's barbed, and/or rotating? No? Just your disposition? Well fuck you. And if your dog -- that is a dog, yes? not a rat? -- takes a crap in the playground sand, you are going to hear about it from me, bitch. Here's a little deli cup you can use to scoop. You're welcome.