Now, to be fair, usually on an outing to Bunnings I am quite capable of nearly killing my own children. Junior trolleys to the achilles, protestations over desired time at instore playground, shameless begging for multiple items we don’t need like bondcrete cement additive and solid pine fence posts etc.
A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle one of life’s roadblocks. A trip to Bunnings with my three children, all under 3.5 years old, on my own. I’d been watching too much of The Block (is there such a thing???), too much Reno Rumble (there definitely is such a thing – sorry Scotty Cam – I still love you), and I needed succulents and an aggregate pot. I could not bear another day without these items. If I didn’t have them then and there, my home would no longer be fit for human habitation. So why not go out for an afternoon adventure to Bunnings. Good idea.
Big. Huge. Mistake.
Error in judgement number one: “I won’t need the pram”.
YES YOU WILL!!!!! YES YOU WILL!!!!! Abort mission!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ABORT.
Now frankly, it went quite well to begin with. I sashayed past the sausage sizzle stand in the carpark holding my littlest on my hip, with my twins hand in hand, feeling smug about my super mumness.
I am amazing. Look at me with my brushed hair and my matching shoes and my three kids doing what I tell them to.
Smugger still, when one of the sausage sizzle volunteers called out “good job mum!!”.
Yes, I am amazing. Look at people noticing how amazing I am.
I managed to get my three year old double act past the instore playground of death and salmonella without so much as a pleading tone or stern word. I didn’t even glance fleetingly at the Hardware café, lamenting its lack of licensing. I mean I would never need a soothing alcoholic beverage at Bunnings anyway. Never ever. Not any time that I have ever been there. Nobody goes to Bunnings to get hammered.
I’ve got this, I am amazing and nobody else is a better mother than me. Yay me!
It was with sheer disbelief and yet more smugness that I swanned through the checkout, surrounded by much oohing and ahhing about how lovely my children are (subtle code for what an amazing mother I am) and happily allowed the check-out operator to pack a box of items for me to carry on my other hip. I can do this, I don’t need a free hand. Because I am nailing this and I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore. I am the Nordic Goddess Frigg – goddess of marriage, motherhood, childbirth and wisdom. Come to me with your questions and fears, because I am filled with much knowledge and wisdom.
And then came the balloons.
Would my children like a balloon? Why of course. Absolutely. Because I am a loving mother, kind and generous to a fault and my children deserve balloons because they have been so wonderfully well behaved. Balloons on STICKS no less. Because if there is anything better than the magnificence that is the balloon, it is the balloon on a STICK.
Until, that is, you walk outside the hallowed doors of Bunnings and a mere breath of wind moves the air. Until a sparrow farts and creates a slight stir in the atmospheric pressure.
At which point one’s hard earned balloon; one’s much beloved balloon that is coveted with one’s life; one’s newly appointed most favourite item in the history of free items given out to placate children at large chain stores, takes leave of its tenuous attachment to aforementioned wonder stick and proceeds to fly across the car park.
Two children. Frantically waving around two lonely white plastic sticks. Two balloons bouncing tauntingly in two different directions across the Bunnings car park.
And suddenly I am the Nordic goddess of frigging hell my kids are in the middle of oncoming traffic.
My kids wailing like arctic sea lions grieving the demise of their young to the waiting jaws of an orca pod. Darting around desperately in front of slow moving vehicles trying to retrieve their holy items.
And there I am, in the middle of a traffic island, baby on one hip, attempting to free my hands of precious channel 9 approved succulents and highly breakable design savvy pots while caterwauling at my hysterically crying children who are frantically chasing their balloons, like lambs to the slaughter, in front of large four wheel drive type vehicles because that’s the kind of vehicle one drives to Bunnings. If not being run down by oncoming vehicular death traps then at the very least nearly poking each other’s eyes out with white balloon sticks come Game of Thrones calibre deadly weapons.
Calculating retrieval plan. Brain attempts to assess danger level of placing slow crawling baby on traffic island relative to leaving two fully mobile children already amid carpark of doom to fend for themselves in the great balloon emancipation of 2015.
Aforementioned ingratiating sausage sizzle volunteer appears stage left to come to my rescue.
Enter pitying “you fail at life” eyes as pro bono sausage chef retrieves my children while Bunnings red shirted superhero appears from nowhere (otherwise known as the trade counter), collects bouncing balloons and swans in graciously accepting my offer of thanks and undying gratitude for not forcing me to break either my on trend earthenware or my children’s limbs.
And here is where I am afforded a two person entourage to chaperone me to my car. Never have I felt less like a rock star despite having my own security guard come super-nanny and professional Atkins approved chef. All the while, the giant red gavel of judgement looming over me as I’m shame facedly escorted to my car.
“We see this happen all the time” I am told reassuringly by the red shirted balloon baron.
AH HA!!!! I knew this wasn’t my fault. BUNNINGS!!! Bunnings is to blame!! Bunnings nearly killed my children with inadequate balloon stick attachment specialists. This might be cause for a strongly worded letter.
And yet, amid the clear negligence of Bunnings balloon stick securers I am irrevocably softened as a long standing and universal question has finally been answered. Ever been in Bunnings, beseechingly searching for the sweet pea seeds or a do it yourself shower screen installation kit, and there is nary a red shirted sales expert in sight?
Well now you know where they are.
Doing their civic duty in the car park, helping a frazzled and flummoxed mother of three who thought she was nailing it (and was clearly mistaken), get to her car without losing her children and her dignity.
Thanks Bunnings, I owe you one.