It was a long walk back to the car. A long, soggy walk. I was already tired and it wasn’t even noon. There was a kids museum with activities but it cost money and we planned on doing that the next day when Jason was available to have fun there as a family. So I drove. And drove. Found a organic garden and “home brew” store. Sounded interesting. Not a store for kids. “Miles don’t touch ANYTHING.” I was glad he listened for the most part. Mostly because I was holding him. All 32 pounds of him. Did I mention I was tired? They ended up showing him their indoor small compost pile that had worms, he could care less. But I did find him a made-for-kids leaf rake and he was excited about that. I found a couple of things off the 40% off shelf, and bought them, cause let’s face it, girls, when you’re having a crappy day, buying something really does make you feel better. That, and chocolate. I would find a “fun-size” Snickers bar in the car I hid from everyone earlier, so that helped too.
We were getting hungry. Made a swing past the building Jason was at, hoping he would call and say it was time to pick him up, but no such luck. We waited there for 20 minutes or so, me begging Jason through texting just to text me how much longer he thought he’d be, so I knew I could wait or head out again and not have to turn right back around to get him. Nothing. I understood we were there so he could visit. But momma bear and baby bear were getting antsy and hungry and momma bear couldn’t listening to baby bear whine and strain to try to get out of his car seat any more. So I made a decision to run Miles out to some fast food chain and get him some sacred chicken nuggets and apple slices. We had devoured all the snacks I had brought with us, plus there was nothing else to drink. I can only pack so much when there is no refrigerator at my disposal.
Off to Burger King we went, and I think I had the nicest lady ever to grace a fast food restaurant’s cash register. She merely double checked my order in a very friendly way to make sure she had it right and complimented the image on my credit card. It was a painting by Degas. For whatever reason that made my day. Miles sucked down the chocolate milk and ate a total of one and a half nuggets. Sigh. No matter. I had gotten myself a small fry to hold me over, and chowed down on the rest of his nuggets, tried an apple slice and since they tasted like preservatives, had no more and vowed never to make my kid eat packaged apples again. We had shared a real live apple earlier anyway. Sticky and juicy, but it was real and it was a Honeycrisp from Mitchells. Yum.
Surely Jason would be done by now. Still no word. It was 1:30. Trekked back across town and waited in the tiny little parking lot again. At least there was a nice space this time. 15 minutes passed. Miles was at his breaking point. As was I. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is not why we decided it would be the only school visit we came with Jason on. Its a good reason, now that I see how flexible I really have to be with these visits, but it was more about timing, and cost of us going all together for 4 different overnight trips. I will be fine staying at home next time. Having a home base with a fridge and a microwave that isn’t a hotel room on the top floor is so much better. Finally at 1:50 a call comes in. At this point I’m just upset with the whole morning and situation and things not going how I thought, that the waterworks let loose again. The weather was only enabling my emotions. Jason apologized, but I knew that it wasn’t his fault, these were important meetings and he was in constant conversation with two different professors who were giving up their time for him and he had put his phone on silent like a polite person, and had no idea that 3 hours had even passed! I was too upset to ask how the meetings even went at this point, as I made him drive us to Chipotle so I could pig out on a burrito bowl and chips. I was able to be somewhat myself again and asked how everything went. Extremely well, he said, and as visits with faculty goes, that was how the whole trip was for him. Which was awesome! He was invited to a student luncheon, made a quick friend who also has 2 little ones, and the seven faculty total he met with in two days were very encouraging and responsive to the work he was interested in doing. So a very positive trip on that side of things, and I’m proud of him.
The next day for Miles and I went much better. I had my bearings, the rain had let up a bit and we had found a Barnes and Noble that we spent the morning in. Praise God for children’s sections. I don’t have to constantly keep him quiet or contained, just civil. We even found 3 books that he was enthralled with and I just happened to have a gift card on me- lucky Miles! What he really wanted was a soccer ball from the top shelf. I had to explain to him that it wasn’t a soccer ball- it was a globe. And we weren’t going to get it down. Well, sure enough this man comes and takes a kids bench, stands on it and pulls a globe down and takes it away. Thanks a lot man. Now here’s my kid trying to climb on every kids bench to see if he can reach another globe- I’m sorry- another soccer ball so he can coerce me into letting him take it home. Ugh. We made it out with our 3 books alive, anyway, and found a sit down pizza place that just the two of us ate at. Pepperoni for him, Margherita for me. He was pretty well behaved, more like the Miles I know at home, apparently happy with his pizza. We went back to the hotel room, (which entails a lengthy wind up a parking garage, an elevator and down a long hallway to our room) did a diaper change (for him), back down the hallway, down the elevator and since the rain was almost totally let up, got the stroller and took a stroll down the street our hotel was on. I was headed for a Starbucks I spotted down the way to treat myself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte, as a little pat on the back for not breaking down into tears on day #2 of the visit.
It was nearing 1pm and Jason had said he’d be done this time around 1:30. So, being the sarcastic, passive aggressive wife I can be at times, I said, “So like, about 3?” But to my pleasant and humbled surprise, I got a text at 5 after 1 “I’m ready”. Miles and I were just finishing up a Kit Kat from the vending machine in the lobby I decided I would let him share with me since he was being such a good kid and cooling off from our very humid walk. It was still a little misty, but the pouring rain was long gone. I told Jason we’d be just a couple minutes, made our way up the elevator, unpacked the stroller, put baby and everything else in the car, got the stroller all folded up and in the trunk, got myself into the car (one humid sweaty frizzy haired mess by this point) and drove the down and around around around the parking garage levels, out the exit and off to pick up my future grad student husband. We spent the next couple of hours lettting Miles explore at a children’s museum, which was fun, then freaking out when we couldn’t find our one car key anywhere, and it took ten long minutes with Miles carrying on and crying and us getting angry before we did find it, then going back to the room and showering, resting, napping. We needed those last three things badly. The rest of the evening was pleasant to finish out the somewhat stressful trip-it started raining hard again, so instead of walking around to find a neat place to eat dinner, I spotted a Mexican restaurant from the car, so we stopped there. It was a winner. I realized how hungry I was and Jason even said, “WHOA, slow down there, preggo!” It was probably you’re average “authentic” Tex-Mex food, but I found no flaw in it. Only that it was making me commit the sin of gluttony.
Overall, I’m happy to say that his meetings went so well and he felt so positive about them; and I’m also happy to say that the next time he makes a small visit to a school, we will not be with him.
Thus endeth the tale of a prospective grad school visit from the perspective of the moody, hungry and pregnant spouse. Amen.