I must warn you.
I am feeling about as creative as a lump of moss on a felled tree in the mountains.
And when my creativity is at a low point like that, it usually means that I bounce around from topic to topic, like a pinball on a sugar buzz, and I seldom write anything that…you know…makes any sense.
And that differs from my regular writing…how?
Our weekend was good. Good and cold. Sweet mercy, the cold! The scientists keep talking about global warming, but my nose hairs froze into solid structures this weekend, as the Arctic breezes blew in and yanked the breath out of our mouths whenever we had to venture outside. I’m not even sure that the mercury made it to the five-degrees-above mark over the weekend, and the windchill certainly pushed the temperature into the Land of the Negative Numbers.
My friend, Amy, and I started our weekend early by hitting Starbucks on Friday morning. Amy, you see, had texted me a couple of weeks ago, while she was balancing her checkbook at home, and she wrote, “Starbucks is evil. It is sucking the money out of the checking account. I loathe the day it came to town.” I had to type the message out in full, because Amy is famous for leaving all the vowels out of her text messages, so that I often feel like saying, “Vanna, I’d like to buy an ‘e,’ please.” I just couldn’t do that to y’all, typing like Amy texts. Amy, you see, is the Queen of Texting. I’d actually pay money to see her go head-to-head with a fourteen-year-old girl, armed only with their cell phones and a dictated message which they had to send out. My money would be on the one who ISN’T fourteen. Amy rocks the texting industry.
But yes, a couple of weeks ago Amy and I lamented the fact that Starbucks is eating up our kids’ college funds, draining our checkbooks, and turning us into mad women who will do anything to scrounge up enough change in the sofa cushions to at least buy a tall drink. Never mind the grande or the venti. When push comes to shove, and all you can find is a stack of dimes that you intended for your 3rd grader to use in his lunchbox for milk money, the tall will do. A couple of weeks ago, Amy and I contemplated breaking up with Starbucks, so as not to put our families into the poorhouse and force our children to work minimum wage jobs as adults because they had no funding with which to attend Harvard and Brown.
And then, on Friday morning, I fell off the wagon with a loud thud and texted Amy, saying, “Are you up for a meeting at Starbucks this morning?”
We like to call it a “meeting” for simple reasons. If Hubs calls me while I’m at Starbucks, I can just tell him, “Honey, I’m in a meeting. I can’t talk right now.” And then, low! He has no idea that I’m sitting on the leather sofa seat at the famous coffee house, armed with the boy’s milk money and a tall latte in my hand.
The only problem is this: Hubs is actually quite bright. And the first time I told him that I was in a meeting, when I was really at Starbucks, he bought it. And I felt guilty. I truly did. The second time I tried it, he went all Encyclopedia Brown on me, and demanded that I bring him a venti mocha breve, extra shot, with whip, when my “meeting” was finished. Oh, Hubs, you missed your calling. You should have been a detective.
This is why I continue to stay with Hubs. It’s because he’s an enabler. I’ll proudly announce to him that Amy and I are breaking up with Starbucks, and Hubs will lure me the next day by saying, “Doesn’t a coffee sound good?” And, since I am helpless to resist the pull that Starbucks has on me, I immediately hop off the wagon, of my own free will, and offer to drive us there.
Whenever I’m feeling completely uninspired and uncreative, I tend to get a bit wordy. Hubs claims that I could never be a Navy SEAL, because SEALs don’t have time to type so many words, or even READ so many words. But truly? Becoming a SEAL has never, ever, not even one time, been on my list of things I hope to do someday, because I know that they are trained to drop out of helicopters into ocean water and swim to shore, and there is no stinking way that I would actually do that.
Sharks, you know.
After my meeting at Starbucks on Friday morning, I had to go to Wal-Mart. Actually, begging Amy to meet me at Starbucks was simply DELAYING THE INEVITABLE, as I knew that I had to go into the super shopping center, only I had absolutely no desire to do so. None. So when Amy texted me back and said, “Doll, I look like death, but I am powerless to resist your invitation for the latte and I will come there” (without vowels), I rejoiced.
Eventually, though, Wal-Mart could not be put off any longer, because we were roughing it at our house without paper towels, laundry detergent, or food.
One hundred minutes later and many dollars poorer, I escaped the super center, and then spent the rest of the day unloading and unpacking grocery bags. It was not a grenade that I wanted to lay on that Friday, but I had to, for the sake of my family and their need for Pop Tarts. Our cupboards literally looked like Old Mother Hubbard’s.
On Friday night, our friends, Missi and Dave, had their annual (and very huge) Christmas party. Picture 75 adults in one house, with 20 or so small children weaving in and out of everyone. It was fantastically fun. We wandered, we mingled, we talked and we talked and we talked, with scads of people, until I was simply too tired to stay awake any longer.
So, you know, we left at 9:15.
That’s what “old” will do to you.
On Saturday morning, the boy wanted to venture off to Home Depot, because it was the first Saturday of the month, which means…KIDS BUILD FOR FREE! The boy hasn’t participated in Saturday morning building sessions at ye olde Home Depot for a few months, so he was convinced that it was time to go, and, for some reason, he was convinced that the project offered that morning would be something as grand as the Taj Mahal, and he was so excited to get there.
And Home Depot is right smack across the street from Starbucks.
Apparently, everyone that we are even remotely familiar with decided that escaping the house on a brilliantly cold Saturday morning was exactly the thing to do, because we ran into scores of fine families that we know.
And (I did the math) 8 out of 10 of those families had Starbucks cups in their hands while they were at Home Depot building.
It was for practical purposes, you know. Since the temperature was Minus Ninety-Six, the heat of the lattes radiating from the cups kept our hands from getting frostbite.
The boy didn’t get to build the Taj Mahal, but he did get to build a super fine wagon, which was big enough to transport three Lego mini figures, and then low! For the first time ever (at least in our world), the building project came with a FREE Ralph Lauren paint sample, so that the kids could take their itty bitty wagons home and paint them.
Thanks, Home Depot, for sending home real paint. The kind of real paint that doesn’t wash off. My poor kid is deprived, as my rules have been simple: The reason that America offers art classes for kids at school and at the YMCA is so that Mama doesn’t have to have glue and paint and glitter in her house. End of story. Needless to say, the boy is half crazed with Glitter Madness Syndrome whenever he’s allowed to come into contact with it. He’s never been allowed to use it at home, because the glitter stresses me out, so he tends to, you know, overuse the glitter when he is blessed to lay his sweet little hands upon it.
I think we might have actually lost the Ralph Lauren paint sample on the way home. Dad-gum-it. Where did that little packet get off to??
On Saturday afternoon, I returned to Missi’s house, because our church was hosting a Tour of Homes for the women’s ministries department, and Missi’s old Victorian home was selected to be on the tour. You know, because it was built in 1800-something. And because of all the original woodwork. So off I went to Missi’s, for the second time that weekend, as she asked me to be her co-hostess for the tour, and I can only tell you this…
Her house was so spotlessly and wonderfully clean, it would have made Martha Stewart raise herself to her feet and clap from the heart, as she shouted out, “Bravo! Bravo!”
I think I had Clean House Envy.
Being the co-hostess at Missi’s house meant that I was allowed to stand around with a cup of homemade hot cider in my hands and chat with all the ladies who came through on the tour and proclaimed, “Oh my! Is this the original stained glass window?”
And then, Hubs texted me and said, “Your parents’ water pipes broke.”
End of text.
Hubs never gives any details. It’s why Hubs qualifies for SEALhood. He’s succinct. He’s to the point. He never glamorizes anything with frilly words. No one has ever accused him of being too wordy.
So I made some calls, and it turns out that a rather big break happened in a rather big pipe beneath my parents’ house, in the crawl space, where all the dirt is.
So, you know, hello mud! By the time I finally made it to their house to offer whatever assistance I could, my mom had already cleaned up her basement, and my dad was crouched in the crawl space, cutting the pipes apart and mumbling to himself.
I doubt that he was singing sweet songs of praise, people.
In all things, we’re supposed to give praise (you know, the Bible tells us that), so the praise here was a big one. My parents were home when their pipe burst, and my dad had the water shut completely off within a couple of minutes, after they realized exactly what the enormous noise was that seemed to be coming from their toilet. So, the damage was very minimal — primarily, it was a lot of wet concrete floor with some mud that oozed itself out of the crawl space.
And then, my dad had a couple of guys who came over to help, and Home Depot was still open, so things went relatively well, although they have decided that maybe some tree roots or something might have actually had the nerve to grow into the pipes, so I think that a very large plumber’s snake is going to be used tomorrow to determine this. But the broken pipe is fixed, and it’s better than ever.
Are there any readers who are even still with me? Or have y’all dropped off already, because, oh my! The wordiness has just been entirely too much?
Today we went to church, and we went to my niece’s 5th birthday party, which was enormous fun, and we had our small group at the church tonight, and we are home now and wondering if adults who have not yet reached the age of forty can actually retire, buy a condo in Arizona, and become Snow Birds.
To escape the cold and all.
And that, people, is the wordy version of how we spent our weekend. Hubs would have written things entirely differently. He would have said this: “Had some coffee and a big Christmas party. Fixed a pipe and went to church and had another party for Miss A.”
And then he’d drop out of the helicopter and swim for shore, with black streaks of paint all over his face, and an Uzi strapped on his back.