It seems like—particularly after the first full week of reintegrating ourselves as a family of four and everyone managing work and school and stuff—the weekend should be a time to relax and unwind and simply have fun. We should… sleep! Watch television! Meet up with friends and simply hang around with no set goals in mind!
Well, I’m sure that’s what SHOULD have happened. You know, if I wasn’t such a giant meaniehead. But you know… I am Mom, hear me suck the fun out of everything. HOORAY!
It actually started with poor, long-suffering Otto. I’m sure Otto would’ve LOVED to loll around this weekend and watch cars go around in circles on the television. Instead, he got up at o’dark thirty on Saturday and started driving north. My covert flute escapades have nothing on what customers at some random Dairy Queen in Virginia must’ve seen on Saturday afternoon when Otto met up with my ex and transferred the rest of Chickie’s belongings to his car. So, really, Otto drove for about 17 hours straight, which means that everything else that happened here was leisurely in comparison. Right? Right.
Monkey woke up on Saturday wanting to see his pal Lemur. Ever since they stopped going to the same school, we’ve tried really hard to get them together every week or so, and poor Monkey was jonesing for a fix—they hadn’t seen each other for several weeks. I had promised I would see what I could do. But when I called Lemur’s mom, it turned out that earlier that week, she and one of Lemur’s brothers had had a stomach thing. [And we all know how I feel about stomach ailments.]
“We’re all fine now,” she said, “we’ve been better for a few days.”
“But… only the two of you got sick?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound unsympathetic. Because I am REALLY GOOD AT MATH, y’all, and there are five people in their family. Puke bugs spare NO ONE. This virus hadn’t even worked through HALF of their family yet. I want my kid to see his friend but not if it’s going to bring plague upon us, y’know?
In the end, a compromise: I suggested that we skip a Saturday meeting and talk again on Sunday morning. If everyone was still healthy, maybe we could get the boys together then. Maybe that was dumb; would a single day make a difference? I didn’t know, but I was wary, and it seemed the best defense.
Monkey was disappointed, but seemed to understand. I offered that he could come shopping with his sister and me, but he opted to stay home and play Minecraft. I was shocked that that sounded more fun than our plans.
Us girls, however, had a MISSION. This was both exciting and terrifying, because for a bargain hunter such as myself to steel for paying full retail is really quite difficult. It seemed the thing to do, though. See, Chickadee joined Track. This is Very Good because sports! Exercise! Staying busy and being healthy and all of that, yay! But… the coach mailed me to say that she needed running shoes AND spikes. And rather than just bargain hunting for a deal, we needed these things kind of quickly, plus it seemed like maybe instead of cheaping out I should actually Do It Right so that she doesn’t end up injured or anything.
So we went to a local running store. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but there is! My GPS happily announced that we’d arrived when we were still a block away. (Dear Garmin, THANKS, JERKS! Love, Mir.) Somehow we figured it out and walked on in, though, and I explained our predicament to the nice salesgirl. She nodded and went and got someone else to help us, and we were then treated to a long philosophical lecture about the necessity (or lack thereof) of spikes for high school track unless you’re a short-distance sprinter. He then asked if we saw Chickadee as potentially being “very, very fast.”
I was trying really hard not to laugh, but the bemused look on my daughter’s face was even funnier than the notion that I might have somehow produced an award-winning athlete. (“How can I put this?” I started. “Oh! I know: She’s in the marching band.” I made meaningful eyebrows, meant to convey “this is my awesome kid whom I love like crazy but who is probably only going to run really fast if she’s being chased by a hungry bear.”) I explained that mostly I just wanted to make sure she didn’t hurt herself; that she has mild scoliosis and a history of problems with her hip and I just wanted to make sure that she was adequately supported while shuffling her way around the track at whatever speed she’s able to attain.
The salesguy chuckled and suggested we go with a good pair of running sneakers and return to order some spikes if it turned out that she really needed them. We agreed that that was a good idea.
Next came the fun part: Running stores have all kinds of cool equipment. First Chickadee stood on a thing that caused a pressure-coded picture of her feet to pop up on an associated computer screen, and this was when we learned that she has “very high arches.” (Funny, doesn’t “arch” kind of IMPLY “high,” or am I missing something…?) Next she got taken into a back room where she had to run on a treadmill and her feet were videotaped. Then we got to watch the videotape in slow motion, which I thought was merely so that we could confirm that she runs like a girl, but apparently was so that the salesguy could assess her pronation.
After all of that, he brought her out four different pairs of sneakers to try on. Each pair, he would say, “How do those feel?” And Chickadee would kind of stand there in them and say, “I don’t know. Like sneakers?” SHE IS HELPFUL. But eventually she put on a pair and said, “Oh, I think I like these.” That was exciting because that pair wasn’t even PRETTY, so I was certain she was basing that on how they felt.
The salesguy immediately launched into a speech about how most shoes raise the bottom up to meet the arch, and that’s fine, but it makes for a heavier shoe, but these ones, THESE REVOLUTIONARY ONE-OF-A-KIND SHOES, they have a band across the top that brings the foot down rather than bringing the bottom up, and that makes for a lighter shoe and lots of people find them really comfortable and isn’t that great.
“Fantastic,” I said, as he finished his lecture. “I think he just said this is the most expensive pair, honey. Good job.” We laughed as he assured me that all of the shoes were about the same price.
Chickadee went and ran on the treadmill again to make sure the fit was good, and then as she stepped down she whispered to me, “Do you think they come in any other colors?” Apparently the blue pair she was wearing weren’t quite jazzy enough. I had a hunch, though, and it was because I was pretty sure the original salesgirl had been wearing the same ones in purple. We inquired, and yes, they came in purple, too. Chickadee grinned.
I went up to the register and payed A MILLION DOLLARS for her shoes. Only, not really. It just felt that way. No joke, this was the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes. I kept trying to tell myself that I had to view it as an equipment purchase. Also, the saleguy gave us a 10% discount, possibly because he was afraid I was going to have an aneurysm in his store.
To compensate for this purchase, we did the entire rest of her outfitting for about $30, and that included new socks. (Socks at TJ Maxx, everything else from Goodwill, and let me just say that if you wear a teeny tiny size you will have to dig at Goodwill, but the stuff you find will apparently almost always be in pristine condition. Maybe everyone else outgrows that size too fast to wear their clothes out.)
After, we went for groceries, and somehow Chickadee convinced me that because Otto was driving ALL THAT WAY to get her stuff, we should totally buy him a CAKE to thank him. I may have said, “Huh, it almost sounds like YOU want cake but you are trying to make it sound like you’re being thoughtful and therefore play on my predictable weakness for kindness to others,” and she was all “Cool story, bro” and then somehow we ended up buying a cake. Weird.
Monkey had requested pizza for dinner, so I made them pizza and made me a bunch of roasted vegetables (so virtuous! also still recovering from the sticker shock with the sneakers!) and we sat around watching Big Bang Theory for hours. (Chickie had arrived home with a bunch of DVDs, claiming this was her new favorite show, and HOOBOY now Monkey cannot get enough of it.)
Eventually I shooed the kids off to bed, and sometime in the middle of the night Otto and a carload of Chickie’s stuff arrived.
On Sunday, Lemur’s mom called me bright and early to let me know that Lemur’s OTHER brother had been up all night puking. VINDICATION. I mean, uh, I was very sorry to hear that. I was also sorry to have to tell Monkey that his friend was still germy and contagious, but as Chickadee and I got her metric ton of stuff sorted and put away, he happily bounced in and out of her room to chat with us.
Later there was some cleaning and laundry and I gave Otto the haircut I’d promised him about a month ago (hey, it’s been a busy month), and then last night we had breakfast for dinner because I am
lazy awesome. And after that, there was cake (for the gluten-eaters).
Do we know how to par-tay, or what?