I know that someday you'll find better things.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Of Mice and Meth

"I'd say it's a bargain at twice the price," proclaimed Russ about his deal of the day. It really was. The toaster oven from the neighborhood CVS pharmacy was on clearance for $7.50.

Toaster ovens have been a source of intrigue for years, but I refused to pay those towering Amazon prices. And the Goodwill ones, well, those were just oogey.

"It's odd that you wouldn't consider the options at Goodwill," Russ mused. "You've bought other household stuff there without a problem."

"Lamps, Russ. I've bought lamps. At no point would the lamp touch anything I intended to put on my tongue."

His surrender was swift. "I guess that makes sense," he said. "Especially since the original owners could've cooked all kinds of awful things in it."

"Awful things," I concurred. "Gluten-y things."

"Or mice," I added.
"Or meth," he said at the exact same time.
"Mice?" he chided.
"Meth?" I scoffed.

Sometimes he is so impractical.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Back to the Future

The writing prompt seemed fairly straight-forward, as usual.

Write about something you'd do differently if you could go back in time.

Hmm. A deep one. 

So many mistakes, so little time. How could anyone name just one?

I turned the page in her homework journal, eager to see if her regret would be consistent with my prediction. The time she and Caleb wandered off down the beach at night and nearly gave us a heart attack was surely a worthy event for this assignment.

"I wouldn't change anything because I like who I am and I'm okay with what I've done."

A good mom would have let it go. A good mom would have celebrated her second-grade daughter's cavalier perspective. But the night those two rascals got lost clearly hadn't chiseled a lasting lesson in her the way it had on me. I had a responsibility to hammer out a little bit of guilt, right?

It's the least a mediocre mom could do.

"That's very... confident...  of you, which I do admire... but I think your teacher was hoping you'd write something more... reflective."

Rare, as you've probably guessed.

"You know," she said slowly, thoughtfully, "I suppose there are a few things I could change." Hallelujah.  The kid had a conscience after all. I closed my eyes and waited for the sweet sounds of confession.

"The Civil War, for starters. And while I was back there, maybe I could be president and sort out all of Martin Luther King Jr.'s racism problems so that he wouldn't die."

This was certainly an unexpected twist of events.

"That's not really what I was trying--"  Okay, I'd tried to squish her over-confidence once. Could I really attempt to do it again and still maintain a modicum of self-respect? I did the only thing a marginal mom could do and admitted my defeat in the form of an exasperated sigh. "Nevermind. That's fine. Go ahead and write that down."

So I treated myself to my own little guilt trip while I watched her grip that pencil and...
Not write.
Not erase.
Not do much of anything. For at least two minutes. Maybe longer.

Had I broken her? Yes. 
All I'd wanted was a little bit of humility, and I'd gone and damaged the kid.
Dadgumit, if only I could go back in time.

I couldn't take it anymore.  "Why aren't you writing anything?"

"Well, I just can't do it, Mommy. I'm sorry, but this homework is asking me to think about altering the space-time continuum, and I've always been taught that you should never, ever mess with the space-time continuum. We wouldn't be who we are today if everyone could just go back and do things differently..."

I can tell you one thing that regularly defies the space-time continuum without remorse, and that is karma

I'm pretty sure I was being punished for my confidence-squishing from the moment this homework was assigned.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Snooze Angel

Just because it didn't make it into the Bill of Rights doesn't make it any less inalienable than life or liberty. When it's cold and rainy, hitting the snooze button definitely counts toward pursuing the American Dream.

Nine minutes can quickly become 27 minutes or even more if you accidentally turn off the alarm altogether, which is apparently what every member of my household did this morning.

Except for the one person who doesn't have an alarm clock.

So, my eight-year-old woke up on time, made herself breakfast, got herself dressed, roused the rest of the family, packed her backpack, made the lunches for the entire clan, brushed her teeth, combed her hair, donned a coat, and was ready and waiting by the door at 7:15.

I can attest to this, because that was the precise minute when I yanked on a shirt, raced down the stairs, uttered several apologies, mumbled a few profanities, apologized again, and observed the state of the situation from my state of panic.

"It's okay, Mom," she said cheerfully. "I took care of it."

And, in fact, she had. She really had.
I was shocked, and impressed, and very grateful, and I told her so as I gave her a huge hug.

"No problem," she said. Then, as gentle and loving as can be, she put her hand on my arm, gazed up into my eyes, and said,

"Mommy? Try to put some pants on today, okay?"

I probably would have anyway, but I especially did so in her honor.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Case of The Great Googler

When the phone rang on Sunday morning,  I answered it. Major progress, if you know me.

I was immediately rewarded for my courage.
"Is this Courtney Robinson, the real estate agent?"


"Why, yes, it is. How may I help you?" I sat up a little straighter and reached for my notebook and pen.

"I have your box. They delivered it to me, even though I don't live at your address." Then she rattled off the address on the box, and her own address, and the one on the box again, to emphasize that they were not identical. Both addresses were located in the city to the north of mine.

This was not at all how I'd anticipated the conversation would go, so I paused to swallow and collect my thoughts. Too long, apparently,  because the voice on the other end continued.

"So, when can you pick it up?"

Was this a test? A trap? Did I need to reveal more information?  Did I need to obtain more information?  No. No, I did not. This could be shut down efficiently in two sentences--ten seconds, max!--and I could reclaim my Sunday morning.

"It's very considerate of you to call, but I'm afraid you've reached the wrong Courtney Robinson. It sounds like the box was meant for a different Courtney Robinson."

"No, it's for you."

Hmm... this was going to be a tough nut to crack.

"I'm truly sorry, and I applaud your dedication,  but--"
"Is this Courtney Robinson?"
"Yes, but--"
"And are you a real estate agent?"
"Well, yes, but--"
"And do you have blonde hair? Because I am looking at your picture right now."

Wait, what?! 

"My picture is on your box?" I was genuinely surprised by this turn of events.

"It is your box," she grumbled, "whether or not you are willing to admit it."

She was interrupted by the sound of barking.

I suppose I could have hung up while she disciplined the dog(s?), but I got the distinct impression that she'd keep calling me until this was resolved.

We needed a direction. Enough was enough. Time to take the wheel.

"Perhaps it would be best to notify the post office or the shipping company, so they can deliver the box to the correct address," I offered hopefully.

"Well, what good will that do?  You said you don't live there. Don't you want your box? Why don't you want your box? Why would you order a box if you didn't want it?"

I began looking around my bedroom for a hidden camera, because conversations like this do not happen in real life.

"The box doesn't belong to me. It is for a different Courtney Robinson. One who probably lives at that address. And who definitely wants the box," I added.

"Another Courtney Robinson? That's just ridiculous. Another Courtney Robinson. Look here. I put your name in The Google and you popped right up. You. The real estate agent."

Luckily the Hounds of Heck interjected again. I thought hard, and when she returned, I was ready with a new approach.

"So, how about this weather we're having? Pretty crazy, eh?" Which was true. And when it's crazy, it's a very popular conversation topic. A real crowd-pleaser. Had to keep the momentum going-- "Say, since it is so cold and icy out, perhaps you could contact the post office to pick up the box to deliver it to me. Or better yet, just write 'Return to Sender' on it and set it outside, okay? It'll be fine. Trust me, I do it all the time." Time for the big finish. "And thank you. Thank you so much for helping me to get my box. I'm sorry for being so difficult earlier. I must have been confused."

And that was that.

Total extraction time: 12 minutes and 57 seconds. A gracious exit with everyone's dignity intact.

know what you're probably thinking, but it was not time wasted. Someday she might need a real estate agent, and she definitely knows how to find me.

Thank goodness for The Google.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Frequent Flyers

1. Always keep a few bottles of Gatorade in your bag. 

2. Don't zig-zag across the street, or else you'll tire yourself out.

These are two essential tips I learned today from a professional flyer-delivery person. Yup, it is his profession, and judging by his dazzling-white smile, it must pay enough to support frequent and thorough professional dental care.

Our paths crossed shortly after my 250th flyer and my three-hour mark.

There was a little confusion at first because he thought I was a professional flyer-delivery person, too.

As if.

If I was darn near ready to collapse from exhaustion after three hours, I doubt I could do it for consecutive days and consecutive weeks.

I don't know if I did the math right, but three hours at a conservative estimated walking speed of 3.0 miles an hour might be NINE miles. 

Without ever leaving my own neighborhood. Without ever straying more than a mile from my own doorstep.

And there are still 350 flyers to be delivered. I don't even want to think about that math.

Well, my new flyer-buddy must have sensed my frustration,  because in his entrepreneurial wisdom, he suggested that perhaps I hire him for future deliveries.

He charges $30 for the door-to-door delivery of 600 flyers. He's very trustworthy,  he says. ("I text you at the end of every street, and I never throw your flyers in the trash.")

Fair enough.

In fact, that's a bargain. I'd probably pay $30 to avoid ever walking an extended period of time again, even if flyers had nothing to do with it. 

If this reminds you about my plan to hike the 2,179-mile Appalachian Trail back in 2004 with my soon-to-be ex-husband, I urge you to hold your tongue. Because this is 2015, and I am no longer a spring chicken. 

In fact, if you said, "Hey, you can either walk a marathon or pay me $30," I'd drive to the nearest ATM and give you $40, right then and there.

Walking. Hmph. 
It's so pedestrian
(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Besides, who am I to horn in on this guy's turf? He's the professional. The neighborhood shouldn't have to suffer an amateur like me. 

I think we can all agree that everyone will be better off if I hire him to make my future deliveries.