November, 2000: Library books helped maintain my sanity while stuck on bed rest in the final trimester of pregnancy with Erin. The mister turned in the last batch of books while I was in the hospital after delivery.
March, 2001: Library notification of a missing book and the bill for replacement cost arrived. (Mad search ensued. Book found under bed. Uh-oh.) The book was returned to the library and the baby displayed to the librarian along with the bill. Despite the explanation of, "I was GIVING BIRTH," the librarian in charge of fines proved unsympathetic to the circumstances. She decreased the amount owed to reflect the $21 late fee rather than the $22 book price. How gracious. Irate library patron left without paying the fine, and vowing to forgo the benefits of an active library card in the face of stupidity.
June, 2010: Leaving Erin at home under her Daddy's care to watch t.v. while clutching her glitter-covered plastic box of baby teeth and chomping on gauze post-extraction, the elder offspring and I headed for the new library branch a couple of blocks from the house. The big kids have lived with Mom's enmity toward the Pleasant Suburban Library since Evan was in kindergarten. It seemed reasonable that they should accompany Mom on this errand of restoration.
We entered the long avoided coolness of my one-time haven as defensive supplicants. I explained a tad too cheerfully to the nice lady that, "I need to pay the most asinine library fine ever levied." She took a step backward, but then proceeded to the keyboard to look up the offense. I paid the fine while explaining how it came to be. The lady very apologetically explained that there would be a $1 fee for a replacement card. (The original was recycled into confetti. Very small bits of confetti.) Fair enough.
The big kids and I each picked a couple of volumes off the shelves, checked out, and stepped out of the building with our shiny renewed library cards. The kids waited very patiently while I entered an abbreviated portion of each title into my phone so the calendar will alarm two days prior to the due date. We are reinstated into good patron status, and none of us is anxious to sacrifice another decade of library access over late fees anytime soon.