A Mix of Agnes Skinner and Nick Nolte

It’s been so beautiful, sunny, and warm here and is forecasted to be so for the entire long-term forecast – except for today. Today it’s cool and rainy and the boys are on a field trip to the zoo. Have fun, guys!

This brings to mind the last field trip to the zoo, when Mark was in grade one and he had just recovered from pneumonia, and it poured rain and the zoo was so busy with school field trips that the kids had to eat lunch on a picnic table outside, squatting on the benches so as to not soak the bottoms of their pants. Good times! Thankfully most of the activities will be indoors, but still.

Being soaked to the skin was not one of the risk factors listed in the “Consent and Acknowledgement of Risk” form that I signed, which seems like a terrible oversight. Instead, these are the risk factors that I need to be aware of:



Horseplay! That’s one I haven’t seen before and believe me, I’ve seen some doozies. Circling back to that last field trip, three years ago, one of the cited risk factors was “Possible Animal Escape From Enclosures” which made me envision children being trampled by rampaging giraffes or being taken prisoner by the gorillas. You will note that “Animal Escape” is not listed this time but “Getting Lost or Separated From The Group” IS. There is no need to be separated from the group UNLESS there are escaped animals chasing you, children.

Wait, what does “Equipment Failure” mean? Does THAT mean possible animal escapes? I feel like I need more detail.

In the package of information for the zoo, there was a specific list of behavioural expectations that I was requested to discuss with my children, no horseplay being one of them. Also: do not run away from the group. I kept reminding them in a sarcastic, sing-song voice all week, Remember, guys, don’t run away from your group! but then I remembered when I volunteered at the museum field trip last year, and I had third-grade children continually running away from the group. Running away from the group is an actual real risk. I get complacent because I know my own children would never run away from their group leader, so I assume all children would be equally obedient, but this is not the case! As I recall, I solved that issue by informing my group that if they didn’t stay together, we would just stand in silence and not see any exhibits until it was time to leave, cementing my status as the “non-fun mom volunteer”. Starting the day hopeful and cheery, ending it sounding like Agnes Skinner and looking like Nick Nolte’s mug shot. This is the summation of nearly all my volunteer activities.

In any case, I hope all goes well and no one gets lost. I tip my hat to the volunteers today. I am – obviously – not one of them, for the humble reason that I have an appointment at the hair salon, and I book my appointments a minimum of three months in advance, so changing them is not always an option. I’m this close to actually looking like Agnes Skinner, so time to get a colour and catch up on my useless and also somehow mind-boggling reading of People magazine. I STILL don’t know why Kim Kardashian is famous.

Speaking of mind-boggling, last week I zipped out to Costco, with my list in my purse. It turns out that one of my children had been writing on my list for reasons of their own. I have no idea what this refers to or why it was on the back of my Costco list, but I’m looking forward to the receipt of my elf tail armor.



  1. Kim Kardashian = sex tape. Also relentlessly self-promoting mother who wanted to be famous and didn’t care why or for what.

    I would also be That Mom at the museum. Or the zoo. Or the anything. RUN AWAY FROM THE GROUP AT YOUR PERIL, CHILDREN.

  2. You have identified one of the reasons I don’t volunteer for field trips anymore: I am so often totally unprepared for some of the ridiculous things kids other than my own children do on field trips because I assume no child would do something as dumb as run away from the group in a public place and HIDE or attempt to repeatedly pull up plants at the Oregon Gardens or constantly try to touch the dinosaur bones at the Science Museum, and yet, there are always a few kids who are just beyond the pale (as my mom would say). It’s those few kids that burned me out on field trip duty.

    Your son’s shopping list is ever so much more interesting than mine…

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