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  1. We’ll laugh about this later.

    When I think of anniversaries I think of a nice dinner, probably one that I didn’t have to cook, candlelight gilding the glasses, maybe soft music, going out to a movie or a play or something.

    Disregard the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an anniversary like this, it still persists in my head.

    Disregard the fact that one of the most fun anniversaries we’ve had was a trip to the botanical gardens (my idea), dinner at Wendy’s (it was what we could afford and what we had time for), and a live hockey game (his idea, thoroughly enjoyed by both of us. We had nachos and did not get hit by any flying pucks. A lady two rows up was not so lucky.).

    Anyway, on to this particular anniversary day.

    My aunt invited us to see a simulcast of the Met opera at the movie theater. Only a few theaters do this and we would travel about 40-45 minutes to get there. All well and good, my mom agreed to take the kids. We figured that by the time we got up and got moving that morning we could drop the kids at her place (40 minutes away) and still easily make it to the theater in time at noon…well, 11:30 am which was when my aunt wanted to meet. No problem.

    The night before we were to go I found out that we were also expected to pick up my grandparents and drive them to the show. Our car was filled with the usual detritus of crumpled papers, fallen toys, and approximately 40,000 free-range chip crumbs.

    So now I would be sitting with my aunt AND my grandparents for my anniversary. Cozy. Through slightly clenched teeth I said we’d see them at 11:00 am.

    “Oh NO, dear, we need you here at 10:45 am so that we have time to get into the car.”

    15 minutes to get from the house to the car. Neither grandparent needs a walker or anything. I took a deep breath and said ok.

    So…in the morning we rushed the kids out of bed and into clothes, jumped into the (still dirty) car, and made the 40 minute trip to mom and dad’s. We had just enough time to admire their tree and scrape all the crap out of the car and into the trunk. No time to vacuum, we just tossed a clean towel over the seat because the clock was running down.

    On the way to my grandparents’ I instructed my husband to keep a tight hold of the popcorn bucket when we were at the theater. My grandmother is on a one-woman campaign to keep me from getting fat and would think nothing of confiscating the popcorn if she could get away with it.

    Another 15 minutes and we were at my grandparents at 10:45 on the dot. A superhuman feat for us. They looked at us, a bit surprised, and offered us coffee and cookies, having just gotten back from wherever they’d been themselves.

    After a long debate, we parked our little car at their house and took their big old Buick, my husband driving. Now we would have to go back for our car…previously the plan was that my aunt would drive them home. Add more travel time later.

    So we finally reached our destination at about 11:30 and came around the back of the mall to the theater to see…fire trucks! Lots and lots of fire trucks all lit up like Christmas.

    Upon investigation we found the rank scent of smoke and my aunt getting a refund for the show because…are you ready for this?…the popcorn machine had caught fire! Theater closed until 5 pm, so sorry.

    Nothing left to do but go to lunch. That sounded okay to me (not being quite as big an opera fan as my husband is) and there was a steakhouse right outside the mall. We could have a sort of anniversary dinner…even if it did include relatives.

    My grandmother, after considering taking us to Subway, took us to Johnny Rocket’s instead…it’s a 40’s-themed burger place. Pretty good. Not steak, but good.

    Grandparents and aunt decided they would go back together and leave us to hoo-hah around the mall. We could bring their car back later.

    After they’d left my husband and I looked at each other with identical thoughts. Finally! Time free from the kids! Damn…trapped in a mall?! Neither of us are mall people. But this mall was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere…nothing else to realistically go do.

    And no theater till 5 so no movies.

    A little stunned, we went to the discount music store, the pet shop, and the book store. I brought up the idea of getting the Christmas shopping done for the kids which he took as a mildly improper suggestion (husband doesn’t do Christmas shopping without a fight).

    So we drifted, eventually had dessert (blizzard for him, smoothie for me) and both got heartily sick of the overcrowded mall at about the same time.

    On the way back he suggested that once we got home we could get honey duck from the Chinese place (for us this is in the better-than-average takeout category) if we got back home in time.

    We didn’t. Are you surprised?

    My grandparents didn’t want to turn us loose when we took the car keys back.

    My parents didn’t want to turn us loose when we went for the kids.

    My husband’s bronchitis cough and his laryngitis were a lot worse by the end of the evening.

    Finally…at about 8 pm…we made it home. Mom had given us a couple of fund-raiser hoagies so I didn’t have to cook supper.

    I guess that fits the anniversary-food category. I didn’t have to prepare it, anyway. It tasted great because we were all starving. If I'd had candles they probably would have lit my hair on fire rather than gilding any glasses. The kids were bushed, hubby and I were, too.

    So, that’s the story of an anniversary in the real world. Actually, the next day was our official anniversary date. I did laundry all day so my husband could leave again in the truck.

    Hey, I know I’m lucky. He was home for this anniversary and we did get out from under the responsibility of the kids for a bit. Sometimes that’s the best you can hope for.
  2. Don't you hate when you spend the time composing a forum post only to have your post orphaned and forever unread in the next two seconds?

    This, appropriately enough, is just such an Orphaned Post from a Pet Peeves thread. I write even a humble post such as this with the faint but persistent hope that someone will read it.

    So if you're reading it, thanks! You are not one of my pet peeves!

    "Hey, Mom?"
    "What?"

    Bananas that are green when you bring them home and immediately turn brown and spotty.

    "Hey, Mom?"
    "What?"

    Gravity. Seriously. I never thought I was a klutz but I hate reaching for things only to knock them off of wherever they're sitting.

    "Hey, Mom?"
    "WHAT?!"
    *silence because the child has wandered off*
    Why do I keep falling for this?

    Hypochondriacs.

    The cart pusher at my local grocery who won't stop leaping in front of me at every opportunity to 'get me a cart' then tell me to tell his manager what a rockin' cart pusher he is. He also goes out of his way to get in my way so that he can apologize for being in my way even if he isn't in my way. Here's an idea...just round up the errant carts and put them where people need to find them!

    Coughing. It hangs on forever.

    Small sharp toys on the floor combined with my stockinged feet.

    That plastic packaging that everything comes in that you have to destroy using scissors, ax, blowtorch, and jackhammer. Nothing less will do it and you have to watch that the plastic doesn't remove a finger in the process. It certainly tries.

    Batteries. Talk about things always dying on you.

    Speaking of packaging...how about those miles and miles of plastic-covered metal ties that hold toys in their packaging? Christmas is coming. I want wire cutters.
  3. Note the Unwritten Rule of the Golden Gator!
    *** Do NOT under any circumstances talk about or make reference to the weapons business on the shop floor! ***

    Located at the edge of the expensive and tasteful Pouponer District, the shop is in an old two-story narrow brick building painted a tangerine color with ornate white trim across the top of the front façade. 'Golden Gator Antiques' is spelled out in large metallic gold letters on the front of the building with a life-size greenish (oxidized) gator firmly anchored across the bottom, its open mouth just over the door. Its scales are gold-tipped as though if you rub the oxidization away the animal is made of gold.

    The front doors are painted white and have multiple panes of glass in them. There is also a large display window. All windows and doors have pull-down metal shutters for when the establishment is closed. There is also a security system.

    An old-fashioned bell jingles when the door is opened or closed.

    Inside, the shop floor is divided into two rooms with polished parquet flooring. There are antiques on display everywhere and usually an old man or an old woman lounging in a corner reading a newspaper or appearing to be asleep.

    There are also two shop dogs (Rotweillers – Dulcedo and Ira) usually in attendance during shop hours.

    The next room back is a small consulting room. It is plush with red carpeting, and overstuffed antique furniture. This is where private conversations take place.

    Other rooms are normally not seen by customers for either business unless Cyriana has good reason to let them in there.

    Cyriana doesn’t live on site nor does she keep large stockpiles of weapons at the shop.


  4. So my eight-year-old daughter and I were discussing some theological concepts in a bible verse (John 5:24 if you’re curious enough to look it up) specifically about everlasting life, death, and the enormous word ‘condemnation’.

    We were discussing each piece of the verse so that she could understand it a bit better and she was doing great.

    Kids are pretty pragmatic, really. I explained that when everyone’s born to this world, they would die at some point; it’s the way this reality works. She nodded, unsurprised. By the time you’re eight you’ve noticed that death is a part of life (unless you’ve been very sheltered).

    Her take on ‘everlasting life’ when I asked what it meant was that we’d be “POOM! Outta here!” as she smacked her hands together with the top hand taking off like a rocket for heaven. Her smile was huge.

    ‘Condemnation’ was a little tougher and I explained that when buildings are condemned it’s because someone has inspected them and declared them no good, useless, not able to do what they’re designed to do.

    When I explained that the Devil likes to try to say that about us she was pretty indignant with Lucifer and expressed tartly, “That old devil shouldn’t say mean things about us!”

    I agreed, however, “But sometimes he’s telling the truth. When we sin we do prevent ourselves from being the person we’re meant to be.”

    “Yeah,” she said intensely, “like yesterday when some of the bigger kids stopped our kickball game.” She went on to tell me what happened with some heat.

    Stifling a grin at the apt, if somewhat offbeat illustration we went on.

    “So we don’t want to sin, right?”

    “No!” She agreed vehemently, “Like kicking your brother in the butt! That keeps us from being the person we’re meant to be.”

    The bus came at just that perfect moment.

    With a big grin I kissed her goodbye, waved, and laughed all the way back to the house.

    It really lifted my spirits to have the weighty subject of sin reduced to:

    Thou Shalt Not Kick Thy Brother in the Butt!

  5. Some things I love:

    Books

    Exploring libraries

    Smugly walking in the rain or sleet with an umbrella

    The whisper of leaves in the wind

    The funny things kids say

    The sharp taste of ginger tea

    chocolate chip cookies!

    knowing someone likes something I created

    creative cooking

    Colors! Sunsets, vegetables, flowers, yarn, paint, etc.

    Dewdrops on spiderwebs

    cranberry juice over ice

    satisfaction of a job well done

    my family

    snuggling with my kids as I read to them

    a creek in any season

    autumn

    a sweatshirt on a cool day, especially if it's warm from the dryer

    hot chocolate

    the right word at the right time

    seeing the pattern emerge when I'm crocheting

    Books

    Spring

    posies, even if I don't know what they are

    unexpected gifts

    Giving things away

    Making homemade chili and baking bread on a cold day so that the windows in the kitchen fog up

    Greeting my daughter with warm bread and cold butter and a big glass of chocolate milk when she gets home from school

    Chocolate milk with exactly one ice cube

    My DAD!

    Books

    When my jeans fit just right

    boots! (all kinds)

    good RP interaction

    wildly imaginative writing

    lazy summer days

    anyone with a good sense of humor

    my double-thick furry blanket from Mexico

    watching my three-year-old son dance or run with that little skip in the middle of his strides as thought he's got intermittent rocket power

    when my daughter learns something new and I can see it really 'click' in her head

    books

    when my husband gives me that 'It's us against the world, Baby!' grin

    knowledge

    the perfect moment in early morning or late at night when I feel like the only person on earth who is awake (i can hate this, too)

    being right! (sometimes this actually happens)

    lighting effects on snow

    building stuff with my kids out of snow

    puddle stomping

    Giving away produce from my garden or extras of something I baked or cooked.

    (perhaps to be continued...)