When we last left the McGlinchey family, the Mom (that would be moi) had just discovered that she was sending her wee son to camp on an empty stomach . . . .
"Hey, no problem, " I thought. "We have just enough time to stop at the McDonald's where we bought the orange juice yesterday. Surely they have some sort of sweet roll product."
WRONG. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. The only portable breakfast items on McDonald's menu (or, at least, on this franchise's menu) were variations on a sausage biscuit. The Little Kid: not a big sausage fan. But there was a hotcakes line item, above a more expensive hotcakes meal line item. I ASSUMED (naively) that the cheaper option, without the meal appellation, would be a simple container of hotcakes. This being a fast-food restaurant with a drive-through feature, I NAIVELY ASSUMED that said hotcakes would be made somewhat portable.
WRONG. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
I ordered "just hotcakes," and a sausage egg McMuffin for myself. I handed the bag to the Little Kid and told him that he was in charge of breakfast distribution. I mean, two items: how hard could it be?
PJ: Mom, there's this biscuit thing with a little hamburger patty.
Me: Oh, that's my breakfast. Open the other container.
PJ: NO. There are two things in the bag, Mom. A biscuit thing with a little hamburger patty, wrapped in paper, and a tray thingie with ANOTHER biscuit and hamburger patty thing, a big pile of eggs and pancakes. Oh, and THIS.
[Little Kid reaches up and shoves a hashbrown cake under my nose.]
Me: Um, okay, either they got our order wrong, or "just hotcakes" means more than "just hotcakes."
PJ [wailing]: How am I supposed to put butter and syrup on my pancakes with all of this other STUFF on my plate? Oh - OW, OW, OW! The pancakes are burning me!
I pull into the first parking lot on my right. I survey the contents of the bag and determine that, in fact, our McDonald's "breakfast-to-go" is one hot mess. Literally. The pancakes are searingly warm. They are smushed on a plate along with a ridiculously large pile of scrambled eggs and a sausage biscuit. The syrup is ridiculously runny - like, the most watery syrup I have ever seen. And there's a ton of it, and I only want to put a dab in the middle of each pancake before I stack 'em double decker sandwich-style, but then what do I do with what is left over, since there's no way to reseal the container? Okay, yes, I knew going in that hotcakes were on the "less portable" end of the breakfast food spectrum, but THIS IS McDONALD'S, so in the back of my mind I was thinking that, surely, SOME REASONABLE ADAPTATIONS WERE MADE TO MAKE THE STUFF HALFWAY CONVENIENT TO EAT.
WRONG. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
Like a battlefield general, I start making snap command decisions.
Okay, this plastic bag is going to be the haz mat bag. Pancake - butter, dab of syrup. Repeat, and top with last pancake. Hand to child on styrofoam tray that the "NOT just hotcakes" came on, with instructions to pick it up like a sandwich. Dump butter and syrup containers in haz mat bag. Shove a reasonable amount of egg product into the smaller sausage biscuit, dump the remaining egg into the haz mat bag. Leave the sausage egg McMuffin that I actually ordered in its paper wrap, chunk the hashbrown cake that came from - where, exactly? - into the paper sack with the other sandwich and reserve for Daddy. To eat, or to fling at Direct TV Guy - his call. Double-knot haz mat bag until we get in the vicinity of a trash can.
At this point, it dawns on me that, in some alternative universe, a down-on-her-luck mother and her child are ordering "just hotcakes" and a sausage egg McMuffin, because they only have $3.31 to their names, and when they open the bag and discover a veritable cornucopia of bonus breakfast food, they praise a loving God with tears streaming down their faces.
I have more than $3.31 to my name - in fact, on this particular day, I even had more than $3.31 in cash in my wallet. (Trust me, this is a notable accomplishment.) As such, I am the ungrateful snit who is kvetching about the fact that THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH FOOD, and WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS INCONVENIENT FOOD, and NOW WE'RE GOING TO BE PUSHING IT TO GET TO DAY CAMP, AND HE MIGHT MISS ARCHERY.
Yeah, First World problems, for sure.
As we are nearing the camp, there it is on my left: the Donut Palace with a drive-through window. The very same Donut Palace that we have been passing en route to camp for years, and saying, "Hey, some morning when we aren't running too late, WE SHOULD DRIVE THROUGH AND GET SOME DONUTS."
Tomorrow, the thrilling conclusion, wherein the Big Kid makes Daddy really, really angry, when Daddy was really, really angry to begin with, on account of Direct TV's deceptive trade practices, and yada, yada.