Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Library and Hug Hug

This post happened in January, earlier this year.  Thankfully, I never have to return to this library since we moved and so far, I have no record at the new library. 

On the final moving day, I had a bag full of books and a couple movies in the front seat to return.  I didn't have the girls with me so I thought it would be a pleasant good-bye process - a simple drop in the hopper.

20 minutes after dropping off the goods, my phone rang.

"Mrs. So-and-so...this is the library.  You returned your movie boxes...with no movies."

They were still in the DVD player...I mailed it.

Enjoy the tale!

So I wasn't planning on writing about this particular adventure to the library until my best friend found it so humorous to concoct a picture in that creative, graphic-design brain of hers and send it to me in an email.  Amanda always seems to call when I'm leaving the library and gets the brunt of my frustration - which she finds hilarious.  Not wanting her work to be in vain here, please, let me explain...

It all started with the Wiggles book.  We lost it.  I mean, I have no clue where it is.  We've offered rewards.  We've had contests to search my house.  It's gone.  Scott thinks our friend Chris took it home with her after her visit when Rachel was born - since she had to read it to Elizabeth exactly 765 time, but of course, she denies any foul play.

I had to pay $14 to the library and the receipt is good for a year if it turns up.  It hasn't.

Since then, I've been late about a million times and have racked up enough overdue fines to pay one of their librarians salary - which you can only do when you check out 30 little kid books at a time and forget which day they're due back.  So I've had to develop quite the organizational system - counting the books we bring home and writing the number on the day on the calendar that they're due back.  

We use the Mickey Mouse bag as our library bag and I keep the receipt for the books in there - to double check my number on the calendar.  And we plan the trip to the library days in advance, which helps with my coaching Elizabeth on her behavior.  (Talks sort of sound like a scene out of Turner and Hooch.)

"You will not run or pull off books or yell or scream or cry or lie down on the ground at the library.  You will not run from Mommy or beg for the Wiggles DVD or cry when Mommy wants to grab a Joyce Meyer book, or a cookbook and child rearing book on the run."

I've tried driving by and returning the books in the hopper...which never works.  The girls know when we're supposed to go inside and I have a holy fit in the backseat if I take a step towards the building without them. 

So you can imagine my horror as we drove up to the parking lot last week and it suddenly dawned on me that it was Martin Luther King Day.  *Groan.* "Honey...the library is closed.  See, there are no cars there."

"Mama! Library!  Push the button!"  (She gets to push the handicap button that opens the main's a pretty big deal.) 

"Honey, we can't push the's closed.  Mama's so sorry...the library is closed...we can't go today."

I turn around in the parking lot and my children scream all the way home.


So Tuesday comes and I still have all the books in the Mickey bag in the front seat...counted...  That's how I knew that Hug Hug was in there.

We go through the library and my children are actually great.  Elizabeth found a princess book she was thrilled about and wouldn't let out of her grubby mitts.  Rachel was gnawing on a string on my sweatshirt and was happy for a moment.  I should have known I was pressing my luck. 

I put the books on the counter and gave the lady my card.

"You have a book out," she said.

"I do?  Which one?"

"Hug hug," she answered.

"Oh no," I said, relieved over the simple misunderstanding.  "I just put the books in the hopper.  It's in there.  I counted all the books."

She looked at me, unsympathetically, and said, "Riiigght,"  while looking at the computer screen.  In front of her, I know, was my library rap sheet:   Annie-crazy woman, address, two bad kids, a million dollars in late fines and loser of the Wiggles book.

She looked up.  "I actually just checked all those books in and it wasn't in there."

Elizabeth started fussing...the princess book was on the counter.

"I'm sure it was in there," I said.  "I double-checked all the books.  I have a system now."

She gave me a sure you do look and said, "Ok, I'll go look again."

As she went in the back, an old lady came up and told me how adorable my kids were while, at the same time, lecturing me on Rachel not wearing socks.  I told her that I was sure she was wearing socks when we left the house and somehow they got lost, while I'm thinking, "Please don't call DSS...I put socks on my kids."

Elizabeth:  "Mama?  Princess...?"

The librarian comes back.  "It wasn't back there.  Do you remember what it looks like?"

"Yes," I said.  "It's a little square board book.  I know it was in there."

"Well, I'll go look in the board book section for it."

Now I started to get peeved and so was Elizabeth.  Rachel was no longer pleased with the string.  I'm sure her feet were cold. 

Now, the board books are in the real little kids section of the library and to say it is the least big straight is a lie.  There is no organization and is one jumble of toys and books and mats.  It's awesome, really...but there's no hope in finding a singular book.

She comes back empty handed. 

"It wasn't over there," said Captain Obvious.

"I know, I just turned it in...with the rest of my books,"  I repeated.

"Well, I don't see it and I can't check out any more books for you until you turn it in."

This is the point that I begin to the public library.  "You're kidding right?"  Elizabeth started wailing for the princess book.  "I'm sure it just fell out in the car or something.  Can't you just check it out again for me?'

"We're really not supposed to do that ma'am," she explained. Plus you have a record, I know she thought.

So I stood there with my two now-crying children and my 30 non-checked out books on the counter and weigh my options.  I could leave with no books and a hysterical Elizabeth.  I could go out to the car and attempt to look for Hug Hug with a hysterical Elizabeth and a wiggling Rachel.  Or I could try to strong arm the librarian.

Option 3... I gave her the silent stare.

Scott coined this method of just looking at someone without talking until they decide to give you what you want.  Lucky for me, she broke quickly.  Seriously, like I had just done a Jedi mind-trick or something.

"Ok, I'll just recheck Hug Hug out for you just this once," she said.

Perfect.  "Oh thank you so much.  I will look in the car for it.  I'm sure it's just right there."

She gritted her teeth through her smile.  "Oh, I'm sure it is."

Elizabeth dries up as soon as the princess book hits her paws and I led my circus out the front doors.  Elizabeth hit the handicapped button and I'm sure all eyes were on us as we left.

Stupid Hug Hug.


  1. I'm sorry, Annie. I had to laugh. I can totally picture this. I just visited the library myself today. And my kids always hit the handicap door buttons when we're there. I think they have given some people quite a smack with the doors. And I, too, had late fees today. But lucky for me, my librarian let me pay half and still check out our books. Jayna, however, was throwing around her self-made styrofoam plate "spaceship" she had just made for a craft after storytime. So I'm standing in line trying to get her to stop throwing flying objects in people's faces while I check out. And some people think it's cute, and some do she just continues to do what mommy is trying to teach her not to do "in the library." Anyway, I am sorry for you, and hope you do not give up on your library trips. I could tell you a story or two about other mothers in our library today that I just felt so sorry for their kids. I think, at least we are trying to be good mothers and be involved with our children! PS - I might try that "silent stare" thing out sounds awesome...and awkward. But if it works....

  2. I am laughing SO hard right now... :)