The boys and I got home last night around 5:30, after the quickest trip to Bigger Town, USA we have ever made in our entire lives. Ever. Because Mama said NO to all the shopping. When we got home, the TV was turned on, and there it was: The bombings at the Boston Marathon, and my heart broke for families who were involved. My heart broke for the world we live in. And it certainly didn’t feel like the right time to sit down at the computer and write some utter nonsense like I usually do in the evenings.
Boston, all of us here in Small Town, USA are dreadfully sorry; we cannot begin to understand the extent of your pain and the tears of your families. We have prayed for you.
And yes. I drove the boy two hours, one way, to have a fifteen-minute appointment at the orthodontist’s office, so that molds of his teeth could be made. The things we do for our children, all in the name of LET MAMA AND DADDY PAY OBSCENE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO STRAIGHTEN YOUR TEETH AND FIX YOUR JAW PLACEMENT, SO THAT SOME DAY YOU MAY MARRY A PRINCESS, BECAUSE SHE’LL SAY, “MY, WHAT STRAIGHT TEETH YOU HAVE!”
And then we went through the drive-thru line at Starbucks, and we drove two more hours to get home.
Our road trip was quite iffy in the beginning, because of SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! There are only a small handful of things that I hate worse than driving in snow and driving on snowy highways.
1. Being outrun by fast moving lava that burns my feet off.
2. Being surrounded by a pack of seventeen hungry wolves, in the forest, at night.
3. Swimming in the ocean and seeing an enormous dorsal fin sticking up out of the water.
And that’s about it. I am the girl who looks at the sky before a road trip and boldly announces, “Well. Do you see that cloud over yonder? The one CLEAR OVER THERE… on the left… that one that looks just a bit dark? Yes, that one! Well. There might be snow in that cloud, and that cloud might multiply into an entire storm of clouds, so we’d probably better just stay at home.”
Needless to say, I did some pacing yesterday morning around my house, so that I could examine the horizon out of four different windows. Each window had the same news to report, and that was simply THICK, BLACK CLOUDS MOVING IN. I read online weather predictions a hundred and nine times. I looked at webcams, showing me live images of the highway here and there and everywhere.
I was a pleasure to be around yesterday morning, in my quest to just SLOW THE ANXIETY DOWN, GLADYS!
And… against my better judgement… we went. I had an endless conversation with Jesus during the entire trip, about how YES, I MAY BE MAKING A POOR CHOICE HERE BY SETTING OFF ON THE ROADS WHEN THE CLOUDS WERE OBVIOUSLY DARK, and COULD YOU JUST HOLD THE SNOW OFF FOR A BIT, PLEASE, SINCE YOU CAN DO THE IMPOSSIBLE AND YOU LET JOSHUA HAVE DAYLIGHT FOR A LITTLE LONGER THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS EVER GOTTEN IT? Thankfully, Jesus agreed to my pleading, and we simply drove through scattered snow flurries that weren’t anything to worry about.
Well, I came home from Bigger Town with the worst stomach ache I’ve had in my adult life. I felt like a six-year-old again, who needed a frozen kitchen sponge from the school office, to use as an ice pack.
(Yes. That’s what we do at the little private school where I teach. Genuine ice packs filled with gel that never freezes solid are expensive, and do you know what’s NOT too pricey? Dipping porous kitchen sponges from the local dollar store in water and freezing them in Ziploc baggies. Kids love them, as evidenced by the way they clutch them passionately to their bodies whenever they’ve bonked heads on the playground. A frozen kitchen sponge plastered to your forehead says, “Look at me! I am injured! I will tell you the gruesome details about how Jane and I cracked our heads together accidentally under the monkey bars as soon as the stars circling my head settle down!”)
I suspected that my stomach ache (which was threatening to just unleash the day’s meals in a horrific stream of puke) was related to the cheeseburger I ate on the road. It was just a small cheeseburger… the kind you get in a child’s meal. And I’m pretty sure the fast food restaurant tainted it with arsenic, because there was a point yesterday evening when I just wanted to lie motionless on the cold tile of my bathroom floor and never eat again.
I never did puke. And I woke up this morning feeling fine.
Well, I’ve had this tickle in my throat for I can’t remember how long now, but it’s probably been a solid four to five weeks. I coughed the unproductive cough for the first three weeks and ate cough drops morning, noon and night. And then it got better. It pretty much went away, with just the occasional tiny outburst of hacking on my part. Now, it’s back. It’s back with a few chest cold symptoms and some chest congestion. I know. I should look on WebMD to diagnose myself, but then I’ll just hop on the anxiety train about the three hundred different lethal and fatal ailments I could be suffering from, when I’ve finally decided that it’s more than likely some allergies going on. I’ve never had allergies before, so I decided to take a Zyrtec last night. It’s what Hubs does for his nonstop, ’round-the-clock, all-the-livelong-year-through allergies.
Apparently, the side effects of a Zyrtec taken at bedtime when you’re suffering from arsenic poisoning through a cheeseburger is quite similar to going to bed after having eaten your hippie cousin’s chocolate brownies.
I had some dreams.
Mainly, I dreamed that my friend, Janelle, and I were pushing our babies in strollers, because we were out for a walk. This is all fine and dandy, with the exception of the small fact that Janelle doesn’t have a baby in real life. But she did in my dream, and I was pushing Thing 2, and she was pushing a baby of unknown name or origin, and we were on a power walk. We walked to Janelle’s house, which was actually an apartment above the clubhouse of one of the local golf courses here in Small Town, USA. I remember being quite surprised that there were apartments there, because… well… in reality, there are not. We walked up this enormously steep and narrow staircase, dragging our strollers behind us, when I looked down and there was my niece, Miss A (age eight!) in my stroller. I have no idea where Thing 2 went, and I have no idea how Miss A managed to crawl into my stroller without me noticing, but I was not bothered by this. I just continued to drag the stroller and my eight-year-old niece up the stairs to Janelle’s apartment.
At the top of the stairs, there was an enormously long hallway, that was literally covered with wrapped Christmas presents… Hundreds and hundreds of gorgeously wrapped gifts, with enormous bows, all over the floor. I asked Janelle why the gifts were everywhere, when it was most definitely not Christmastime, and she said their apartment was getting ready early this year, and to just step over and around them. It was like being a frog, trying to cross a six-lane interstate, as I jumped and bounced and tried to find bare areas of floor to land in. I eventually took Miss A out of my stroller, and carried her eight-year-old self through the maze, because I kept knocking the bigger presents over with my buggy.
And then… right there in the hallway… was a dishwasher. The door was open, and both the top and bottom racks were filled with cheap, stuffed animals that people can win at carnivals. I asked Janelle about this, and she said, “Oh, one of my neighbors collects stuffed animals, and when they get too dusty, she washes them in the dishwasher.” I asked Janelle why on earth there was a dishwasher in the hallway of the apartment complex above the clubhouse, and she said, “It’s the only dishwasher in the building; we all share it. Sometimes, though, if someone else is washing dishes in it, I’ll take our dirty dishes to the pizza shop downtown and wash them there.”
Obviously. Because that makes perfect sense.
We finally made it to Janelle’s apartment, and when she opened the door, there was her bed, front and center, all made up with beautiful linens.
Right there… in her living room.
She said, “The kids have the two bedrooms in this unit, so we put our bed in the living room. It’s very handy for watching TV. We all just pile on the bed together as a family.”
And then, I simply helped Janelle drag her stroller and her nameless baby into her apartment. I waved good-bye, and my niece and I made our way back through the Christmas gifts, hopping from one piece of bare floor to the other, past the dishwasher full of stuffed animals, and back down the steep staircase.
At the bottom of the stairs was a giant swimming pool, which I hadn’t noticed on the way up, and my friend, Evelyn, was teaching Water Yoga. Yes. Water yoga. She also had on the biggest, thickest glasses I had ever seen, and I asked her about them. She said, “Oh, honey! I can’t wear my contacts in the pool, so I wear these things. I can’t see two inches in front of my face without them.” And then she did a Downward Dog pose, with her head beneath the water, and I feared that she was going to drown. Eventually, she surfaced, and she asked me if we were still on for May 2nd, when she came to teach Water Yoga in my PE classes. I could not ever remember her asking me to teach Water Yoga as a guest teacher in my classes, and I was frightfully concerned that we were lacking a swimming pool. I told her so, and she said that I could just bring the children to her pool.
My niece and I kept walking, and suddenly we were at a gas station, where my Sister and her husband were filling up their truck. They were both sitting inside the gas station, and Sister asked me if I could go put a fifty-dollar bill into the pump and pump their gas for them. I told her sure, and I ran off to do that. Only… ALL THE TRUCKS WERE THE SAME. I couldn’t find their truck, because there were hundreds and hundreds of trucks exactly like theirs near the pumps. I had to call Sister on her cell phone, and ask her which one was hers. She gave me directions, and I found it, but I needed to mark it, so I could recognize it in the mass of carbon copy trucks. I did it how anyone would mark a truck. I measured the hood, which was twenty-three inches across (Which leads me to believe that this was a toy truck.), and then I cut twenty-three-inch-long pieces of fancy scrapbook paper, and I glued them across the truck’s hood. It was very fancy looking, and the paper adornment made it quite different from all the other trucks there.
And then I woke up.
I know that y’all are going to heave enormous sighs and claim that I couldn’t possibly have had ALL OF THAT go on in JUST ONE DREAM last night, but I promise you that every word is true. It was full-color feature film with surround sound; all I was missing was a bag of popcorn.
(I’d like to see a psychologist tackle the interpretation of that one. Where’s Daniel, when you need him?)
And that, people, is why you shouldn’t eat cheeseburgers from fast food restaurants while you’re driving in snow flurries.
And you probably shouldn’t take a Zyrtec before bedtime, either.
Although… the tickle in my throat feels MUCH BETTER this morning, and my stomach ache is completely gone. I am, in fact, feeling rather good today.
It’s probably due to all the exercise I got last night, walking and dragging strollers and carrying second graders.
Y’all have a merry Tuesday evening.