One for the books

The library STRESSES ME OUT. A visit always plays out in the following manner:

  1. Kids beg me to go to the library.
  2. Kids spend 7 hours scouring the library to find books they want to read, at times consulting various librarians for assistance.
  3. Kids are super psyched about the books they’ve just checked out and start reading them in the car on the way home. In silence. It’s amazing.
  4. Kids get home and dump books in various places around the house.
  5. Kids forget about books for three weeks.
  6. I begin to receive emails that the books will be due soon. I ask my kids if they are ready to return their books, knowing full well that the only interest they’ve shown in them was during that five-minute car ride home.
  7. Kids say no, they need to hang onto them so they can “finish” reading them. Um, right. I realize that they renew automatically anyway, so it’s all good.
  8. Three weeks later I get an email that tells me the books will soon be due. I point this out to the kids and tell them if after a month and a half they are not going to read their books, then I am going to return them.
  9. They beg and plead for me to renew them AGAIN because they really, really, really want to read the books and how can I do this and they’re in the middle of them (nope.) and PLEASE YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO US.
  10. I try to renew the books online but realize I have to get up off the couch to get my library card number and that is way too much effort so I just blow it off.
  11. I get another email a few days later saying the books are now overdue.
  12. For several days I stress out about the fact that the books are overdue, but I have no idea where the kids have stashed them all and I need to remind myself to ask them when they’re home but I always forget. Meanwhile, I imagine my late fees creeping up into the double digits.
  13. I search the house while the kids are at school and somehow find all the books. It takes me three minutes and I have no idea why I thought this was an impossible task, considering three of the five books have been sitting on a bookshelf under the television that I’ve been staring at for, I don’t know, EVERY DAY.
  14. I drive to the library and am BESIDE MYSELF thinking about how much in fines I’m going to have to pay, vowing to make my kids pay me back every last stinking cent for their ridiculousness.
  15. I sheepishly tell the librarian that I need to return books but they’re late.
  16. She checks the books in, one by one, and I’m standing there, hands sweating, nervous that she’s going to (a) yell at me for having the books for so long and (b) tell me I owe the library $137.
  17. She says, “That’s 15 cents.”
  18. I announce to her that my kids will definitely be paying me back every cent of that because they need to learn a lesson, yet I secretly realize that when I ask them each for 7 cents, they will laugh at me.

This is just too much stress for one person to have to deal with.

Photo from Wayne County Public Library.

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