Friday, September 25, 2009
Here's how this week shook down:
Monday: I may have set my PR for most errands run in a day, in a row, actually. We started by returning our twenty one borrowed items back to the library. If I have not yet expressed my affection for the library, allow me to do so now. We adore the library. We can seldom be found with less than twenty checked out items in our book basket. Our recent favorites have been Poppleton, Little Red Hen Bakes a Pizza, Rumplestiltskin, What a Scare Jesse Bear (Henry's) and All in a Day (mine - that is such a charming book, on my short list of "would like to own" children's lit).
Getting back to the errands...we Fed Ex'd a computer back to Apple, returned a RedBox movie, dropped off three bags of stuff to Goodwill, visited our favorite local mailing station to send off a couple of packages, recycled a shameful collection of plastic grocery bags (I'm terrible at remembering my reusables), lunched at Old McDonald's (the children had to be rewarded for their long suffering and Henry's a sucker for Happy Meal toys; I tried to forget my recent Michael Pollan readings as I watched them munch down chicken nuggets and french fries.)
I can't remember what we did that afternoon, probably just sat around and drooled after such a busy morning. For family night we talked about listening to the prophet and we all got excited about General Conference being just around the corner. As always, I think Henry was most excited about the treat :)
Tuesday: Visiting teaching in the morning - the weather turned chilly while we were inside. Spent the afternoon in a hoodie and jeans - loved every cozy second of it. Afternoon playdate with the Moon's - always an adventure :) Spic-n-spanned the house while Nate was at young men's.
Wednesday: A.M. visit to Target to buy some clothes for Lily who had not a single article to wear in the unexpectedly chilly weather. A friend told me the clearance racks were bulging; I must have missed the bonanza. Paid full price for a few things - the siren song of little girl leggings and baby doll tops is hard to resist. Lost Henry. Panicked. Alerted the army of red-wearing Target employees that I couldn't find my little boy. They called for a "code yellow." Two seconds later a sweet mom who had joined the search effort hollered, "I found him!" In the toy section. Of course. I had checked there; we must have missed each other. I was so happy to see the little goat, his chin all aquiver. We both cried a little bit, the relief of reunion flowing mutually between us. Some things go together - like little boys and their moms.
At lunchtime, we explored a new park with the Harden's. It was a perfect afternoon, mild and breezy. We picnicked, played in the sand, fed the ducks, and walked the perimeter of the pond. Could have stayed for a week - it was all-around loveliness. Nate surprised us with an early return from work (silver lining of having to visit the County Courthouse to pay a traffic ticket, I suppose). We finished up some Halloween crafting. He took the kids to the park; I took dinner (a joint effort with Tracy) to the Courtois family. Reminded myself not to take this sweet life for granted, then got all knotted up inside at the thought of Nate leaving town the following day - to go to Utah. WITHOUT US! I felt so left out. Went to bed with a messy house, a murky-mushy heart and a bad attitude.
Thursday: playgrouped at the park in the morning. Ditched playgroup early to pick Nate up from work and take him to the airport. Lunched at Baja Fresh en route. I fought back tears the entire time and sort of prayed that he would miss his flight and have to stay home. Henry and I shared a burrito as big as my head. We barely made it through 1/4 of it and saved the rest for dinner. The day actually went fine, the evening even better as it was filled with the cozy smell of leavening bread and four splendid hours of girl talk with a dear friend. But the nighttime? It's always a doozer when Nate's gone. I hardly slept a wink, laid in Henry's bed, heart thumping in my ears, playing out horrible scenarios of being burgled and worse. Maybe slept for two hours. Maybe. And as luck would have it, the littlest was up at 6:00 a.m.
The lack of sleep made Friday feel long. And the previous night was so frightening and horrible that I resolved to sleep at a hotel on Friday. The spiteful parts of me felt like if Nate got to go on vacation without us, we should at least get to sleep in sheets that someone else would wash and eat complimentary pastries and juice in the morning. So I phoned the 800 number on hotels.com and made a reservation at a local Hilton. But right at the part where you have to give the green light for purchase, I started back-pedaling. "Wait. I don't know," I hesitated.
"What are you unsure about, ma'am?" the foreigner begged.
"I don't know, I just can't do this. This is silly. Would you please cancel this reservation? Is it too late for that? I can't do this."
"Ummmm, okay ma'am. Let me see what I can do for you."
"Yea, I'm here."
"Okay. I was able to cancel that reservation for you, is there anything else I can help you with, perhaps something in another price range?"
"No...No, thank you."
(sigh) the layers of neuroses are thick!
I felt like a troll when Henry came out of his room a minute later, eyes aglow, backpack loaded with socks, undies and toys, announcing, "I'm ready to go to the hotel!" I gently explained how expensive a hotel would have been and that when mommy's better judgement kicked in, she'd decided we weren't going.
"How about if we go out for dinner instead? And maybe we can stop by Target and I might even let you pick out a little something," I tried my best to sell the consolation package.
"Okay," he said, obviously crestfallen, "and maybe we can go to a hotel another night, when it's not so expensive. I'll just leave my things in my backpack so I'll be ready to go to the hotel when it's not so expensive." The backpack's still packed, waiting patiently on top of his dresser for the hotel spend-over.
Thankfully, we managed to have a pretty fun time executing our alternate plan: dining on the veranda at Market Street and picking out a Batman toy at Target.
Also fortunate: I made some pretty good friends while serving in young women's and was able to lure two boy-crazy seventeen year olds over Friday night with promises of pumpkin bread and a chick-flick. We chatted 'til midnight or so and I slept like a baby knowing there were other, bigger bodies in the house with me.
I was thankful for the good night's rest as Saturday was a really busy day. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, readying for an inspection and a last-minute showing to visiting extended family of the buyers (yes, that was a big hint as to the changes on the horizon for our family). We did Costco and a few other errands to escape the grips of the house in the afternoon and generally twiddled our thumbs waiting for it to be 6:45 so we could get Nate at the airport. Darling little Henry took one lone piece of "Welcome-home" candy corn in a big Jack-o-Lantern bucket for his dad, and on the way to the airport asked, "Mom, when we pick up my daddy, will we be a family again?" Indeed. We were all a little nutty with anticipation!
As deep into the dog house as he'd gotten himself by going to Utah without us, Nate managed to nuzzle his way back into the warmest place in my heart when he came home Saturday evening. (The BYU bookstore ChocolateCoveredCinnamonBears and the beautiful book from the art museum didn't hurt.) It is so good to be together again. So, so good. After he'd showered the grime of travel away, I don't think I let go of him for 48 hours. While he was laying down with Henry on Saturday night, I overheard a reassuring exchange:
Henry said, "Dad, my mom was really sad when you were gone."
"Yea, so you shouldn't lose her ever, ever, ever again."
"Okay. I won't ever lose her again. I'll keep her right with me forever. And what about you and Lily?"
"Yea, don't lose us either."
And so it is settled. We're stickin' together.