"Clunk! Clunk! Clunk!" our books dropped down the shoot into the bin. Why do they make the return bin so noisy in the library?? I feel all eyes turn on us as we nosily drop our pile of books in the return slot. "Oh great two little kids" I can hear people thinking. We quickly make our beeline towards the children's section were we can hide between the shelves and take comfort in the fact that if there is a child screaming there is a chance it will be some other poor mother's kid.
"How about this one?" "How about this one?" I hear as Lucas and Alex quickly accumulate a big pile of books. We then head to a table and sit down to weed out the books I know they will never listen to. We get our pile ready, usually around 20 books and head to the checkout.
"Can we do the self check-out?" Both kids plead. So I give in. Luckily the self checkout at our library is really nice, you only have to put the books one at a time down on this pad, doesn't matter what side is up, no trying to line the barcode perfectly under the little blinking red line.
We get about 13 books scanned and it happens again. "Cannot scan, account has exceeded its limit". All that loud clunking earlier was for naught as they haven't emptied the bin yet and scanned our books back in. We have had this problem before and it can be resolved, it just means a trip to the regular desk where they can override it. So I put the books we have scanned in my bag and carry the others in my hands. And then Alex makes a beeline through the security gates and out the doors! I stand there paralyzed! I have a pile of unscanned books, it will make the security gates beep (you can read about that fear here).
"Lucas, get your sister" I hiss.
He heads over to the security gates and yells "Alex, come back!"
"Go get her, don't yell!"
He stays in the same spot and says very loudly (but not yelling) "Alex we aren't done, come back."
[Editors note: Alex is still inside the building, there are two sets of doors and she is just out the one set getting a drink]
Alex finally looks our way and I plead for her to come back in. Which she does. We then make our way over to the main desk. I place my books on the counter and explain what happened. At this point Lucas is twisting the rope line dividers and Alex is pushing out the "enter here" sign. A librarian comes and puts the sign back and gives Alex a look that quickly has her running to my legs.
We get our books scanned and head out. Lucas is talking nonstop about "why does the building curve here?", Alex is hopping over all of the cracks in the sidewalk a foot behind me. I am muttering under my breath about everything that just happened. And then a car pulls up, the driver rolls down her window.....
"Your children are adorable" she says with a smile and then drives off.