Alternate title: Honk if you’d like to kick a Canada Goose in the neck. (I figured this title would get me unwelcome traffic, though).
The plan for today was to take the kids on a walk in the woods, which seemed simple enough. Since it’s so warm, I figured I couldn’t go wrong spending the afternoon outside with the kids. They would get fresh air and I would get out of the house: win-win.
After a few false starts to our outing (including both kids falling asleep in the car and me realizing that was best case scenario for me), we reached our destination at a local conservation area. We hadn’t been before and I was looking forward to a change of scene. A couple of friends had taken their kids bird-feeding there and although I am not fond of birds, I decided to suck it up and take my kids. After all, they are suburban kids and I want to make sure they spend a lot of time in nature.
When we finally arrived at the conservation area, I realized we had to pay for parking. I grabbed my credit card and headed to the machine.
Great. I never have cash. Somehow, whenever I have coins, they magically turn into caffeinated drinks. I went back to the car to dig around for quarters and headed back, impressed that I had manage to find six.
Obviously, I should have read the sign the first time. Note: this is when I should have given up and gone home. With a roll of my eyes, I headed back to the car. Again. A few nickels and dimes later, we were set for two hours.
I unloaded the kids and, thinking the trails wouldn’t be stroller-friendly, put Em in a carrier that I hadn’t used before. Off we went.
At the entrance of the trails, we were welcomed by geese – so to speak; they were there and so were we. I hate geese. Dirty, loud, aggressive geese. Sucking it up, we entered the trail and I took some pretty photos.
Opting not follow the bird-feeder trail, we kept walking along the swampy water snapping photos. About five minutes in, I knew the carrier had been a mistake. Small as she is for her age, Em was getting heavy and I was already aching.
I took her out and slung her onto my hip, walking ahead while Q hung back stuffing handfuls of gravel into his pockets to take home to his “collection.” Weighed down as he was, he couldn’t walk without risking losing his pants, so he asked me to help him take the rocks out. I crouched down, positioned Em on my leg and proceeded to empty his pockets.
Cue freak-out in:
3, 2, 1…
Nothing says “lovely nature walk” like a 4 year old throwing a tantrum because his gravel was emptied onto the trail from which it came.
I turned around. We were going home. Forget the plan. Forget the quarters and nickels and dimes. This outing was a bust.
Holding Q’s hand and carrying Em, we headed back – with Q half-heartedly dragging his feet in protest. Thankfully, we hadn’t gone far and would be back in the car in no time.
Not so fast.
Enter evil geese. Did I mention I hate geese?
We were met by three evil geese at the exit of the trail. Stupid geese. My human arrogance kicked it – all-powerful rulers of the Earth and all that. Tucking Q behind me and boosting Em a little higher, I walked on.
We didn’t get far. Before we could get close, one goose hissed. Loudly and fiercely. For a split second, I could have sworn it had teeth, and visions of the evil goose from Shrek Forever After popped into my head.
And then one charged.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
The goose chased us back up the trail and the one with the teeth stared us down. There I was with a 4 year old, a 10 month old, and no phone. I wasn’t about to play chicken with that goose and tempt fate.
After finally scanning for possible escape routes, I scooped up my kids and booked it through some brush, over a ditch, and back onto the road. Take that, geese! Who is all-powerful, now? OK, it was still the geese.
As we approached out car, I saw another mother about to pay for parking and offered her our parking voucher. Apparently, after all that we’d only used 20 minutes of it. Twenty long minutes.
While I was putting him in the car, Q looked at me, held out his hand, and opened it to reveal a piece of asphalt that he’d rescued from the rock-dumping. Asphalt. Of course. Way to teach my surburban kids about nature.