It was Tuesday morning and my To-Do list was looking something like this:
- Finish Borderline handout - e-mail to Heidi
- Pack kits & box them up
- Bills and mail
- Send Verizon card to Kristi
- Figure out how to unlock kids' bathroom door
- Clean house
- Teacher Gifts
- Blog post
- Check weather in France
Yes, I'm referring to France . . . the country! Leaving on Saturday for a teaching trip to Europe and am I ready? Signs point to "not a chance!"
But, after all, it was only Tuesday and I had a plan.
Until . . .
ME: (returning from walking Emma to school) Hey, why are you still home?
JOHN: I decided to take the day off! You just got back from a trip and now you're leaving again and I just thought it would be nice to spend the day together!
ME: Oh! How . . . uh . . . uh . . . nice!
Actually, after the shock wore off and I'd viewed the mental image of my to-do list spontaneously combusting, it WAS rather nice to spend the day together. We started with coffee.
Now there's a story, as there often is, about coffee. John's middle name is "Granola". OK, not really, but it should be. He's all about clean living, healthy snacks, working out, limited chemicals, etc. He drinks water with meals, doesn't do soda, and coffee is a very occasional thing.
But about a month ago he walked over to Starbucks with a co-worker and became . . . hooked!
JOHN: I had Starbucks this morning.
ME: Oh yeah?
JOHN: Yes, and it was so good! It perked me up! I had so much energy for work.
ME: Why do you think every office has a coffeemaker, Mr. Dumas?
JOHN: Well I know, but still - I didn't know it was so . . .
And so his love affair with Starbucks was born. Within a couple of weeks he was going 2-3 times a week. I added a budget item for coffee. I'd find him with a dreamy far-off look and ask him what he was thinking of and the answer would invariably be; "Starbucks!" He bought a special mug.
JOHN: Guess what?! I bought a travel mug from Starbucks! Now I can carry my coffee back to the office without sloshing!
ME: Well done. I'm so proud. What does something like that cost? Eight bucks?
JOHN: Seventeen. But I get a dime off my coffee every time I use it!
ME: So you'll have it paid off in a couple of weeks, then?
Little did he know, in his ignorant state of bliss, that tragedy was lurking . . .
JOHN: (a couple of days later) I rinsed out my coffee mug in the break room and put it by the sink to dry and then when I went to get it . . . it was GONE! I assumed one of my friends had taken it to mess with me, so I sent out a stern e-mail to return it. But they all claim that they didn't take it. (voice shaking, despondency setting in) Do you think it's possible that someone *choke* STOLE *gasp* my Starbucks mug?!
ME: (pausing, blinking, staring) Well YES it's possible that someone stole it. It's the BREAK ROOM! People steal all the time - sodas, leftovers, cookies - hello?! They don't even admit to getting the baby in the King Cake! (Louisiana shout-out) Did you at least have your name on it?
JOHN: No, I didn't have my name on it. It's our break room. Everybody leaves stuff in there.
ME: Dude. It's gone. Have you tried an e-mail to everyone?
JOHN: Well I posted a sign. "Lost - one red Starbucks mug. Return to the break room, no questions asked!" but what do I do? If I buy another one and then someone returns it . . .
ME: Just buy another one. If the other one turns up you can give it to me.
JOHN: (lovingly, with a "My soulmate!" sort of tone) You want your own Starbucks mug?!
ME: Not really.
He did buy another one, and the original one was never returned. On Tuesday he made a point of showing me the model of his mug. He pointed out all the features - the flip lid, the squishy ergonomic handle, the shiny loveliness of it - I think I've been replaced in his heart. I'm just sayin'!
He bought a different color than red which he explained was "too flashy". This time he wrote all over it: "Property of John Burniston" and "Do not steal this mug!" It gives the barristas a chuckle.
After coffee we went to Target to take care of teacher gifts. I wanted to cross at least one thing off the list, after all. As we were leaving I went to return our cart and noticed several wayward carts clogging the exit area so I just took a moment to tidy them up.
JOHN: What? Do you WORK here?!
ME: They were all over the place! It was hard to get around them.
JOHN: Oh wait! Here comes Mr. Monopoly!
JOHN: You know - Mr. Monopoly - with his monocle and limousine - to adopt you!
ME: (with dignity) Actually, that was Col. Sanders.
When I was a mid-kid, meaning old enough to return a shopping cart after Mom put the groceries in the trunk, I used to have this fantasy.
Even back then people were rude with the carts. They left them all over the parking lot, and there's nothing worse than thinking you've found an excellent spot only to find it clogged by grocery carts that were not returned to the proper area. At our smalltown grocery store, though, they didn't have those corrals out in the parking lot. If you were going to return the cart, you had to walk all the way up to the front of the store. And I, for one, was sullen about it.
MOM: Karen, return the cart.
ME: But M-aaaah-um, nobody returns the carts! Can't we just leave it here?
MOM: No. Take it to the front.
And so I would begrudgingly push the cart to the front. Mom didn't even drive up there to pick me up - I had to walk all the way back to the car!!!! Even in the RAIN!
It was those long hikes to the store and back that gave me time to develop my fantasy. Here's what I imagined happening:
A long stretch limousine pulls in front of me just as I'm about to cross with my cart. The door opens and a man in a white suit with a big hat, big mustache, and big accent steps out of the car. (He may have also had a cane - I did say Col. Sanders, didn't I?)
COL. SANDERS: I say, young lady! I shuh do appreciate you returning that cart! I had a job at a grocery as a teenager and I had to gather up all the carts in the parking lot because there just weren't enough people like you, little lady. I made my millions in the grocery business but I never had a daughter. I'd like to adopt you!
To this day I always return my carts. But of course I've outgrown the fantasy. If I seem to be looking around as I return my cart it is only because I'm interested in the scenery. Heh
After Target came an ill-timed bike ride where we got drenched by rain and then, when the kids got home from school, we kept the Play Day going by heading to the theater to see Shrek the Third.
The popcorn and drinks totaled $8.70 and I gave the lady a $20.
CONCESSION LADY: We have these collection jars for Children's Miracle Network. Would you like to contribute anything?
JOHN: You can put the coins in there.
CL: Why thank you! She gave me $11 and dropped the thirty cents in the jar.
ME: Well that seems rather cheap, doesn't it? Here, let me put the dollar in there, too.
JOHN: Oh yeah. That will make a HUGE difference!
CL: (joining in on the joking) Yeah, they're all better now!
So we headed to the theater and before the previews started there was a commercial for the Children's Miracle Network. It showed several kids playing and one by one they'd say things to the camera:
KID1: I couldn't walk.
KID2: I couldn't breathe.
KID3: I was very sick.
KID4: I was very sick.
JOHN: Don't worry! A DOLLAR IS ON ITS WAY!!!!
After our active and fun-filled play day we settled, as we often do, onto the couch to watch TV. The general routine is that at 8 pm the kids get ready for bed, brush teeth, and give us "Hugs n Snugs". They then are allowed to read in bed for a half-hour, at which point we get involved in TV. When 8:30 comes around we pause the TV, call up "Lights out!" and the kids answer "OK" and we un-pause.
But there are times when we just plain forget to call "Lights out" and one or both of them decides to just keep reading until further notice. The other night this very thing occurred and Karl went to bed too late.
JOHN: We really have to do something about bedtime. We need a better routine to let them know when they have to turn out their lights.
ME: You mean like one of us prying our butt from the couch, climbing the stairs and verifying that they've turned their lights out?
JOHN: Good God, no! I was thinking a series of tones or something.
We may have a problem. I thought that the season finales of all our shows would drastically reduce our TV consumption for the summer, but now So You Think You Can Dance is starting, and Last Comic Standing, and that Next Best Thing impressions show . . . and round and round we go!
The Boston/New Hampshire trip was a lot of fun. Thanks to Sharon and Co., at Right at Home, for a thoroughly enjoyable class, and thanks to Dawn, Chris, Jenny, Lisa, JenDavis, Tami, Stephanie, Sandy and crazy-Cheryl for helping me run the booth. Couldn't have done it without you! MWAH!
RKQOTD (as Emma and I pulled into the driveway and saw John and Karl sitting in the garage working on a project EMMA: Mom! Be careful! You don't want to hit the boys . . . ME: I'll be caref- EMMA: . . . especially Dad!)