Thunder storms are still rather traumatic experiences for my kids. The other day, while we were sitting at the table eating our lunch of fried potatoes and eggs and sausage, the wind picked up and the kids promptly froze, tense and watching.
“I saw a scar of lightening!” my daughter yelped.
That night we had more storms. I was reading to the kids when a boom of thunder caused me to involuntarily scream. Which is a really bad thing to do when your kids are borderline neurotic. So we all huddled even closer, some of the kids under blankets, and I continued to read, except that my kids kept interrupting to tell me things like, “It lightninged and my skin yanked!” and, “My tummy almost flew out!”
Upon hearing that his PA cousins were moving to TN, my older son said, “What? All our cousins are going to be extinct!”
At supper, I asked my husband, “What’s your biggest regret?”
“Marrying you!” the kids promptly chorused.
And then my older daughter piped up. “I know your biggest regret! Having us!”
Except she said “garet” instead of “regret” and we all busted up laughing.
A child’s no good, very bad day had deteriorated into a full-blown sob-and-bellow fest. Reasoning was pointless, so I sat down and took notes.
(While reading the following quotes, wail the phrases at the top of your lungs. You get bonus points for crocodile tears.)
(Also, keep in mind that this is a very small sampling. Yes, you may feel sorry for me.)
1. “You hardly ever feed me and every single day it gets hotter and hotter and that’s why I want to go to the swimming pool!”
2. “I only need one person in my family!” (“Who?” I asked.) “ME!” the child bellowed. “With two brothers and one sister, that’s complicated!”
3. “I’ve been waiting for so many things for my birthday which I’ll never ever get!”
4. “There are so many places that I’ve never gone to! Or that I’ve gone to and want to go back to!”
5. “I’m never able to do what I want and it’s no fair!”
And now, it's my turn to rant:
I have a beef with the library and it is this: when I, The Patron, mess up, I pay money. But when they, The Library, mess up, I still pay money.
THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
Recent scenario: I have a ton of books checked out and I faithfully call in to renew them because I certainly don’t want to risk getting smacked with a fine and each time that I call—and I do this for the maximum renewal times because we checked out half the library and it's taking us a long time to read them all—they tell me that the books have all been renewed and I believe them but then when I finally return (almost) all the books and arrive at the counter with the other half of the library's books, they say, Oops, it looks like one of the renewals, like, FOR AN ENTIRE CYCLE, didn’t actually go through and you owe us 24 dollars. This, my friends, is baaaaad.
There are other times when the library messes up and I-The-Patron get the brunt. Like the times (about 4-6 times each year) when they tell us that we have lost one of their books so we scour the house and turn the furniture upside down and reorganize the bookshelves and then I call them up and say in a wee small voice, Could you see if it’s maybe on the shelf? and a few seconds later the person comes back on the line and says, Yep, it’s right here, and I am half happy with relief and half mad with rage BECAUSE I HAD TO SUFFER THROUGH A FREAKIN’ BOOK TORNADO FOR NOTHING AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN APOLOGIZE!
Here's an idea. Maybe, in the cases when the library messes up, the patron could get an account credit, a we-are-sorry-we-falsely-accused-you-and-stressed-you-out-for-eight-days-and-so-at-15-cents-a-day-you-now-have-a-credit-for-1.20. Wouldn’t that be nice?*
Or, maybe they could implement a tier system! Frequent patrons, the heaviest-and-most-faithful-users-of-books, could apply for a gold membership card (or some such snazzy thing) and its accompanying higher levels of grace, trust, and librarian-patron comradery.
Please note: I do not mind paying fines when they are mine. (I mean, I mind, but I’m a big girl and can take responsibility and learn from my mistakes and remember to renew my books on time in the future. Most times, anyway.)
Also, please note: perhaps these mess-ups are due to faulty computer systems? Perhaps all libraries struggle with this?
Then again, maybe there are some whiz libraries who have figured out how not to treat their patrons unfairly. Perhaps those libraries would be happy to share the enlightenment? Pretty please? With sugar on top?
Also, also, please note (i.e. PPS): Our library has some wonderfully friendly and helpful librarians, and for them I am grateful.
*My girlfriend’s brilliant idea, not mine.
One final note: the latest Kitchen Chronicles.
This same time, years previous: in my kitchen and barn, whole wheat zucchini bread (it's the best ever), homemade shampoo and conditioner, braised cabbage, salvation's chocolate chip cookies