We live in a small town. It's so small, in fact, that any real grocery shopping or doctorin' (as my Mamaw calls it) has to be done 7 miles to the west, in the nearest not-quite-so-small town. That town has multiple grocery stores, two whole pediatrics offices, and the a library that makes my heart go pitter patter. See ... I love our little local tiny town library. But the shelves are limited, which means that browsing is generally limited to a five minute skim of the new releases and a quick run up and down the four aisles of combined fiction and non-fiction offers. The staff, however, is topnotch. And the service ... impeccable.
But for sheer bibliojoy, one can not go wrong by making a drive to the bigger town and killing an hour in the non-fiction section alone, pondering the twenty options on the topic of raising sheep. (This is a passion and dream of Mr. Blandings. I'm a chicken girl myself.) The two oldest children wander at will; you'll remember that Logan is my personal escort thanks to his lack of detail orientation. We all meet back up over in the picture book section, where Oliver likes to throw/work the nifty wood puzzles. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.
Which is probably why it was the first thing that popped into my head when a realtor called and asked to show my house today. It was still early enough in the day that I could do an intense cleaning, pull off naps for the littles and still manage a nice library trip. Unfortunately, I got a little carried away with the cleaning and decided, for no reason at all, that things like the drip pans on the stove needed to be scoured. They were clean already. I do not know what I was thinking. It's not like me to be so deep-clean frenzy, but hey ... I guess everyone goes a little nuts when their house is on the market.
By the time I looked up from my white glove test work, the clock was fast approaching the set arrival time. Fighting back a sense of panic, I rounded up the kids (who had all been working as intently as I was) and shooed them to the truck. We closed the door behind us, buckled in and set off.
I think it was somewhere near the McDonld's drive-thru, where I was picking up some congratulatory milkshakes, that I realized that we all looked like, well ... like we'd been cleaning our house all day.
I was wearing a natty, long denim skirt that is nowhere near as "absent minded professor" as it sounds. On my feet were my usually-cute, but really clashing rain boots. I had thrown my long brown sweater coat over my hot pink shirt and by the way ... did I mention that I hadn't actually done my hair after my shower? Yup. Frizzy curls everywhere.
The kids were not looking much better. Jo was lucky enough to have left a hooded sweatshirt in the truck, which she quickly used to cover her stained VBS 2007 t-shirt. Manolin had no socks under his robeez. Logan's shirt was one that I am certain I've tossed in the rag pile at least twice. Oliver was wearing a pair of not-too-complimentary sweats. And let's not get started on Atticus, whose hair was afro-quality and jeans were barely holding together in the butt.
It was a fine sight, I tell you. A fine sight indeed.
To my horror, as we pulled in to the library lot, I remembered that it was Spring Break week. The lot was especially full, and I recognized several cars from our church. As we wrangled our massive book box out of the back of the truck, I spotted two families that I know, walking in with their preschoolers. It was then that it occurred to me: not only was it Spring Break ... it was preschool story time, too.
Naturally, we ran into a dozen different families that we know once we were inside the library proper. At least one woman seemed a little shocked at how clearly disarrayed we all were. And with good reason: I looked like a bag lady with a baby on her hip, herding a bunch of ragamuffins through the library. No one said anything about our attire or obvious state of dishevelment, but I know exactly what a few of them were thinking:
Boy, they are in over their heads. Five kids. Homeschooling. I hear she's picked up her writing lately, too. Those poor children!
Not exactly our best face forward. But hey, that's life in a small town. People are gonna talk. I guess today, they're just talking about us.