The Day The Music Died

October 28, 2008 7:00 am

Being the parent of an active toddler has many challenges. Making it through the day without my head exploding is one, and killing the time between events is another. I plan my day in shifts, morning until nap, nap until dinner, bath until bed. It’s the only way I can make it through and keep my sanity. Seriously. I know that sounds bad but any of you who have a kid who doesn’t stop, like ever, know my pain. I love my kid with all my heart and wouldn’t trade him for the world but the kid does not have an off button. If I turn around for one second, Graham’s on the table, in the silverware drawer (which I forgot to lock) or taking a toy from his sister while giving her a palm to the forehead. There are a myriad of other things that my adorable son likes to do during the day because he’s cooped up, we’re cooped up, and he is looking to burn energy and get all of the attention (according to him, there should be none for Elliot).

One of the time killers I’ve come to love is our frequent trips to Gymboree. We go after Graham wakes up from his nap on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Friday we go to the morning music class and sometimes we go to play on Saturday mornings too. This eats up a big chunk of the week and I get to see other adults in person during the day. Great, right? Well, last Thursday we were on our way to Gymboree when my cell phone rang. It was another mother from there who I’ve become friends with recently (no, she doesn’t know about the blog). She asked me if I was headed to Gymboree and I informed her that I was. She said to turn the car around. Why? “Casey, this is going to sound like I’m punking you but Gymboree went bankrupt this morning. They came and seized the building and changed the locks. There is no more Gymboree.” WHAT THE FUCK. I asked her several times if this was a joke and if so, it was so not funny. It’s not a joke. Whoever owned the six franchise stores in our area went belly up and they all closed.

I turned the car around and headed home. I spewed a few profanities in front of my poor toddler, a practice I try really hard not to do. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I was actually nearing tears. OVER GYMBOREE. How pathetic is that? You have to understand that besides our house, this is the one safe environment that is ENCLOSED and I can bring my kid to. He can’t get out and although I stay within ten feet of him at all times, he can run free and not get hurt. Taking Graham to a park is great for about thirty seconds and then we spend the rest of the time chasing him down. He runs as fast as he can in the opposite direction of where he’s supposed to be at all times. The only way I can keep him contained in public is the stroller and he’s growing tired of being confined. Gymboree was it. And now I have nothing. Except to be cooped up in the house for the rest of my life.

This Gymboree situation ruined the rest of my weekend. On Friday, we were supposed to go to the Gymboree Halloween party. Bankruptcy interfered with that plan. On Saturday, we were invited to a birthday party. I made the frantic call to that mother and found out that nobody had told her the party was off. She was freaking out, and justifiably so because she had paid in advance for the party and twelve kids plus a ton of other folks were planning on being there. No more. The best part is that a few weeks ago, I renewed our membership for AN ENTIRE YEAR. I also paid for Graham’s birthday party in December. I now have to call the credit card company and dispute the charges which weren’t cheap. The truth is although I care about the money, I care more about the fact that I feel homeless now. Like there’s no safe place that I can go anymore and I lost a lot of the friends I’ve made there. We’ll never spend our afternoons together again and I was always too chicken to bridge the gap and ask people’s phone numbers. Thankfully I do have two friends from Gymboree and they are the result of them asking me to hang out.

On Friday morning, I woke up and started the daily routine. Right about the time I would have usually gotten Graham ready to go to music class it hit me. There is no more music class and there never will be again. I scrambled to find another activity and realized that this is the way things are going to be from now on. No more Gymboree, the cozy location a half a mile from home. When they seized that building on Thursday, it really was the day the music died.


HASAY Update: Since there is no more Gymboree, our afternoon was freed up today. I took the kids on an hour long power walk and jammed to some Fleetwood Mac on the way. Fiona Apple was also in the mix but I had to skip past it since her depressing music makes me want to fling myself off of the nearest bridge. At least I exercised!

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  1. jenni

    What?! They just up an closed?! That’s awful, just awful. I hope you can find another open gym in your area 🙁

    jennis last blog post..Listless Mondays: Pet Peeves

  2. DeeMarie

    I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the loss you’re feeling! And hopefully the money on your card will be charged back asap!!!!

    BTW, lost 1.5lbs last week. Not much but better than gaining!

    DeeMaries last blog post..Be Jealous. Very Very Jealous

  3. carrie

    That really sucks. How dare they!!! Good luck finding something else to do! I feel for you.
    Change sucks!

  4. Sprite's Keeper

    Aw, sweetie. That bites the Zwieback biscuit. The Gymboree near us closed almost a year ago under the same circumstances. Sprite had been there ONCE for a birthday party and had a lot of fun. But on the other hand, you got some exercise in! And the extra time chasing Graham around burns more calories! A win! ????

    Sprite’s Keepers last blog post..Did you know it’s 11:57PM right now?

  5. Lisa

    Wow. Now you have to find a whole new routine. I know what you mean about needing a place for a child to roam without having to chase him down. There is nowhere around here like that and some days I am beside myself with trying to find what to do with him on nights and weekends. Who knows . . . maybe another opportunity will open up. I hope so.

    Lisas last blog post..Yes, we have a new kitchen floor. Don’t tell my parents

  6. Katie

    Ah, that stinks! They could have at least warned their members. I feel your pain!!

    Katies last blog post..Signs that Mild Post Partum Depression has set in:

  7. Laufa

    That totally sucks!!! At least you can go outdoors. We hit freezing last night, which means indoors from now until May. Maybe you and the other Gymboree parents can start a playgroup at each others house and make your own unique instruments. That only means you have to be friendly and creative. Hmm, you will have to go outside of the comfort zone of just watching also. Hope you find a new kid friendly outlet for Graham, before your head explodes.

    Laufas last blog post..HASAY Update

  8. goodfather

    Dang, that DOES suck. My beautiful wife takes the kids to the local mall where there is a pretty nice, giant play area, but it’s no Gymboree.

    Here’s hoping you can find a good replacement!

    goodfathers last blog post..The Shed, Chapter 3

  9. Heather

    Total bummer dude! Don’t they have a recreation center in your area? Or hell, even a Chucky Cheese? Maybe you could go to McDonalds for an hour? Just some ideas, I don’t have small kids anymore, so I’m oblivious to that sort of stuff. Good LUCK!

    Heathers last blog post..My Awesome Boyfriend

  10. Katie

    It would have been a little better if they would have waited intil after Halloween for crying out load!! Jeez that really sucks.

    Katies last blog post..Thanks for the e-bitch slaps…

  11. feener

    damn the economy !!!!! damn it. how about the mall ? ours has the quarter rides and such – plus a disney store and we are good for a few hours

  12. feener

    oh and i love fiona apple shadowboxer….but yes it is sullen ….she is a sullen girl and i get sullen while listening to her.

    feeners last blog post..Sensory Processing Disorder

  13. HeatherPride

    That is so not right. Sorry about that happening! Poor Graham. Poor you. Hopefully you find something else – quicklike.

  14. Miss Jack

    Awww, shit, girl! That bits the big one! I’m sorry to hear about that. You know, if you ever have another loss like that again, (let’s hope not) you can always call on me first. I don’t mind. 🙂 I’m a great listener. Now, I guess you’ve got to go back to those yucky-gross public parks again. Maybe you should invest in those decon suits the CDC wears for the kids. That could be money well spent. 🙂

    Miss Jacks last blog post..He’s Got Curls…He Knows How to Use Them

  15. Miss Jack

    BTW…I miss your comments. You need to get that situation fixed! ASAP! Not even email? WTF!

    Miss Jacks last blog post..He’s Got Curls…He Knows How to Use Them

  16. Mary @ Adventures in Mommyland

    wow I really feel your pain. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and my husband works out of town alot and it can be really alienating. We only have one activity we really do every week, storytime, and I always look forward to it. I know we don’t know each other but really if you need to talk to someone whos going thru the same thing, feel free to email me. –Mary

    Mary @ Adventures in Mommylands last blog post..FaeryDanceDesigns etsy Shop!

  17. Kat@MotherFonker


    It’s… surreal.

  18. Captain Dumbass

    Gymboree sucks! Bring the kids over to my place, they can all run around in the back. My lunch just added 2 pounds to me.

    Captain Dumbasss last blog post..Marriage Is About Sharing

  19. carrie

    twitter wants you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Petra

    Oh man, that blows! So sorry to hear about that. I know how it feels to have a toddler that never stops–and now she won’t take a nap anymore so I am just about going crazy! Not to mention, I work at home…

    Anywho..sorry again and I hope you can find something to fill the gap!

    Petras last blog post..Gold Stars for Everyone

  21. Toni

    Oh no. Casey, I am so sorry to hear that! There is a place around here called My Gym. Maybe there is one close to you also. But, I am sure you have checked for other places. That sucks about the money! Good luck!!!

    Tonis last blog post..Gal To Gal

  22. Ferd

    What are you going to do??
    Maybe you should stay connected with the other moms, who probably feel the way you do, and take turns going to each others houses. At least they are probably kid safe, too.
    Bummer, Casey!

    Ferds last blog post..Recession Proof

  23. anymommy

    We don’t do Gymboree, but I completely feel your pain. When one of our activities is cancelled, mommy does not handle it well.

    anymommys last blog post..Mommy Crack

  24. mrsbear

    Aw, I didn’t know it hit you so hard, I remember you mentioning it last week. That really sucks, especially since you didn’t see it coming. I hope you find a replacement place soon, at least before birthday time. We’ve got a swing set in the yard and that’s where I let Max do all his running around since he’s safely fenced. An actual park is way too stressful, as like your little demon, he is difficult to contain. He had a blast at Wannado City Saturday, they even let him ride the firetruck with big sis. Unfortunately it cost us around $80 in admissions. 🙁

    mrsbears last blog post..Disconnected – Where I Complain About My Internet Service

  25. Steenky Bee

    I tried to comment at work today and then again on my way home, but today is the day my iphone died. No worries, just a dead battery. Did you get your email fixed? I ate a whole bunch of junk today because you never called me out. Ha! Burn on you! Fat on me! Blink once if your service is fixed. Cough twice if it’s not. Circle around four times if you don’t know. Scratch yourself (not there!) if you want me to stop botheriing you.

  26. Steenky Bee

    Stop scratching yourself.

    Steenky Bees last blog post..Emergency Guest Stumping/Emergency C-Section

  27. Steenky Bee

    Hey! I just figured out that I can say anything to you and you can’t email me to call me on it. Neener-neener. Weener-weener. Winner winner chicken dinner. I’m totally having fried chicken tomorrow night for dinner. Well, it’s faux fried, but still, I’ll think it’s fried.

    Also, sorry about your Gymboree experience. We just quit the gym for Henry a month ago and they went belly up too.

    Also? I ate two snack sizes of M&Ms. I don’t like candy, but it was free. If something’s free, people go nutso for it, don’t ou think!

    SKAN! SKAN! SKAN! I’m so dead when you’re email’s back up. Big pinky puffy heart you!!

    Steenky Bees last blog post..Emergency Guest Stumping/Emergency C-Section

  28. Brenda-SeriouslyMama

    I hear you on the only safe place to let them run with wild abandon. Sorry. Just don’t go eat’n you way out of this one. I’m watching…

    Brenda-SeriouslyMamas last blog post..I need a Paranormal Evacuation, stat!

  29. Lydia @ On The Verge

    Same thing here! They just up and closed all of them! Don’t worry, I plan everyday in shifts just like you.

    Lydia @ On The Verges last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Pasghetti

  30. Keely

    Dude, that SUCKS. I know how rudderless you feel, I don’t know what to do with my little demon when my outside-the-house plans get axed.

    Keelys last blog post..7 embarassing things about like, omg! my highschool self

  31. blissfully caffeinated

    Man, that stinks! I’m so sorry.

    When we lived up north the Parks and Rec had this cool program for toddlers which was basically just a big room full of safe and soft climbing toys, tunnels, foam balls and crap. All you had to do was turn your kid loose and keep an eye on them. I would meet my neighbor or play group moms there. It was the best. I missed it so much when we moved because there was no place indoors to take the kids to play. Parks are hard when they are really little. And we do not even have Gymboree here.

    I hope you find something fun to replace Gymboree with. Or maybe someone will buy it and reopen it. You never know.


    blissfully caffeinateds last blog post..Today, in a Very Special World Series Edition of Man Candy…

  32. Back In The Saddle Again : Half As Good As You - Leaving the working world to raise kids

    […] This time last week I posted a woe is me post about Gymboree going bankrupt and me having no place to take my kids to escape the stir […]

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