I don’t get paid to endorse products, but if Cuddle Duds offered, I would accept.
Because in December, when the first crisp tint of winter approached, I armed myself by diving into warmth. Every fleecy piece is labeled Cuddle Duds.
For the beginner, start with the fleece leggings. Arctic winds be darned, they aren’t cutting through the sheer rapture of that squooshy soft barrier. It’s like being a cow, nattily dressed and impervious to the cold. Plus, the leggings go right over your natural winter coat…so you don’t have to shave. Bonus!
Then I recommend the throw blanket. It’s a good intro piece — accommodates the need for warmth, as well as the convenient travel sizing. And, when the dog jumps into your lap — as dogs are wont to do, in my experience, especially when I’m in my Dud — the throw is easy to launder.
If anything propels me to launder anything, it’s Dog Smell. And the need for work pants.
As a convenient side, buy the pillow that matches your Dud. Because it’s super comfortable, of course, but also, you wouldn’t want to not own the set. I think that’s a Good Housekeeping rule of thumb from the 1900’s.
Third, go with the fleecy top, because…fleece.
Then there are socks, gloves, scarves, pajamas, and the mother lode, the comforter.
Now, the comforter is not for the novice, I must warn, because other humans want you to share, for one thing, but second, the cover is enormous — perhaps I didn’t strictly need the King size for my queenly bed, but hey, when given the choice, I went large.
And then there is the dog issue. I fiercely protect my Dud against dog-dom but in the middle of the night, I feel the hefty harrumph of the moose-dog landing atop my perfect coverlet and I’m far too comfy to wrangle any beast mid-morning.
So. As added protection, I suggest layering the Dud beneath another less attractive, less dear, more expendable topper. Because laundering a King-sized anything is not a simple task. And who wants to wash their Dud every single night? Not this girl. That’s far too domestic for my temperament.
Get out there and get your Dud!
Caveat: when cloaked under a semblance of protection such as three layers of fleece, I must advise you not to touch anything metal.
I could light a house on fire just by touching its corner, that’s how much static is in my aura.
If I see you out and about, it’s wise if I don’t hug you, unless you have a defibrillator handy.
It really boils down to a half-bag of charcoal.
For as many years as I remember, my mother has never shown up to visit me without a gift, a present, a thoughtful something she found somewhere that reminded her of me and she’d be darned if that item didn’t land in my hands soon, soon, soon.
Because she’s a helper.
I paraphrase Mr. Rogers who remarked that in times of uncertainty or trouble, look for the Helpers.
They’re the people taking charge, certainly, running into the fray to fix things, but they’re also behind the scenes, cleaning up, erasing the rubble so as not to remind anymore.
They’re the silent folks who stand in one place, unobtrusive, calm, ready and waiting for the troubled to approach.
They’re the ones who feet called to be specifically there, specifically then, holding onto an object for reasons they can’t fathom until it comes in handy to complete strangers. They sit and wait for something they can’t define with faith that things will come clear.
For the last two weeks, a loved one has been undergoing life-altering medical procedures that have blessedly kept him alive so he can continue his mission of service to God and his family. His helpers range from doctors and nurses, to bedside family, to friends preparing feasts for the vigilant, to specialists and engineers in other countries who built machines never dreamed of a few decades ago but that now extend lives.
Helpers are miracles dropped into a course of events.
I’ve had help, too. At a work lunch last week fate sat me next to a local preacher, a man I’d never seen in town and certainly never met, until that particular day I desperately needed counsel. (You’ll be glad to know I let him finish his stew before pouncing upon him to bend his ear.)
That same day I texted friends, asking for prayers from states away. Requests linked into a multi-state chain spanning the prairie to show God how much Oklahoma needed a hand. The prayer blanket, comforting in its weighted concern, seemed visible.
Family who couldn’t be at the hospital sent a basket of chocolate the likes of which I’ve never seen except — maybe on one of those air flight catalogs — because sugar is a love language we all understand. And what happened? Well, hello: chocolate, a magnet. So sharing happened, and then stories bubbled up, followed by laughter, and proximity, the kind that calls to anybody wandering by, asking them to huddle up, to lean in with kindness and compassion and faith.
And pass the truffles, please.
Then there’s my Bubs, who doesn’t understand the enormity of everything because he’s a kid, whose responsibilities include school, band, after-school obligations, all things I need him to continue, because it buys time for me to wrestle comprehension to the ground so that I can be a parent and he can be a kid.
That’s his job.
On the other hand, he wrangles with gravity, too, not understanding enough to know how to put together the questions roiling in his head.
In came his helpers: school personnel I recommend any family adopt. They’ve been right there, all day with the Bubs, lifting the weight with him.
How do you say thank you big enough to people like that, who go above, beyond, over, and through the realms of job requirement to solid human compassion for this one awesome kid as well as the other four hundred plus who walk the halls everyday?
A fruit basket doesn’t seem to cut it.
All of this has a point. My Helpers, Bub’s Helpers, the family’s Helpers: I see you. And I am so grateful. And though the limits of space or money or time may impede the appropriate responses, those of us in your care thank you. I hope one day to repay the love and kindness while you don’t need it, while things are fine, while life is plugging along beautifully. But if crisis comes, I will be there. With prayer. And hand-knitted socks. Or food…maybe that someone else made, because you’ll want me to spare you from my kitchen endeavors. Or I’ll bring a half bag of charcoal. You know, whatever you need.
Oh, egads, I hate when I’m wrong.
In my enduring quest for culture and time with my mama, I succumbed to the pressures of Higher Theatre and ventured into a matinee of “Rent” in its final performance in the big City.
Have I mentioned I hate musicals? Except…see…last month I saw Carole King’s “Beautiful” and found it magical. Loved every minute. Like, butt-danced in my chair. That’s love, people, when you butt dance in your chair.
And in the flood of love for all things cultural after one single play in the last too many years, I bought pit seating for two to see the City’s 20th anniversary run of “Rent”. Because…Pit Seating. We wanted to see pores open and sweat run out.
And we did.
And it was great. So much talent, so much fun, so much activity it was like sitting too close to the bears during a three-ring circus…I knew I was missing stuff but I couldn’t take my eyes off what was right in front of me.
So maybe I didn’t get all the nuance or every plot point. The real point is that I had a great time. And I had Mama Time. And I watched young people sweat and work their tails off while I ate M&M’s and bottled water. And felt just as exhausted as they did — emotionally, figuratively — and didn’t need a shower afterward.
In fact, I needed ice cream, because I was hungry and it was that much more Mama Time to discuss and review.
To sum up: well, whaddya know…I like musicals. Darn it. My wallet really can’t afford my liking musicals. Or my newfound addiction to Pit Seating.
We prairie librarians are on the cutting edge of fitness, I don’t know if you know that.
We hoop now. Hula hoop. It’s a new thing, never seen before.
Our first class was led by an instructor, an honest to goodness professional hoopist — it’s a word now; just made it up — who walked into the building swaddled in a dozen hoops of varied sizes and colors and asked, “Ready?”
Do you know how hard it is to get grown women to agree to attend a hula hooping class, even when we cloak the fun under the term Ladies’ Night?
Nearly impossible. The fear of embarrassment, trepidation about ability, threat of injury — it could happen, you don’t know — all add up to “uh uh, no thank you, but have fun with that” type responses.
So our small group of risk-takers — we numbered seven in all — trudged to the back acre on a remarkably lovely evening — a gorgeous 70 degrees, the sun at its golden, magically-flattering angle and hue. We followed our cute cute cute instructor who led with the boom box (yeah, I’m old), to ignominious displays of lost agility and old age.
We were comforted to know we would go down in the presence of friends.
But here’s the weird thing: we didn’t stink. We weren’t great, but we were only red-faced by exertion and sweat. Hooping for longer than five minutes is actually taxing, who knew? We had great music by bands I’ve never heard before and couldn’t tell you now, as their names were bizarre and sounded less like rockers than out-of-date food stuffs – Rancid Milk, Pickled Cheese Product, something like that — and we actually had hoops rolling around our middles like they were made to be there.
THEN. The instructor said, “Let’s learn some moves.”
Uh. I thought I was moving. This round piece of plastic is upright; I’m calling it a win.
But before long, we were actually turning within the hoop, and walking around still hooping, and rolling the hoops around our wrists like brightly colored lassos any cowboy would be ashamed of.
Here’s a fun detail: did you know that on the prairie the weather can change in an instant? One moment we’re blissfully hooping in the twilight, the very next moment we are running from leaves hurtled from trees like organically grown throwing stars — one lady actually caught one in her throat, I kid you not — screaming like we’re being bitten while the temperature dropped twenty degrees.
It was close, but we all survived.
We ran back into the library giggling and sweaty and decided, no more hooping for us!
Because we had snacks. Snacks trump everything.
Oh. Oh. Oh.
It’s NaNo time again, time to write 50,000 words in a quick 30 days, and of course, I’m in it to win it. Gonna do this thing! Let’s go! (Insert “Animal House” scene, John Belushi running away to battle while his friends sit and watch his weird exit.)
This year I sat a moment and examined my previous attempts, all of which met the critical 50K bar of excellence, but none of which completed a story. That’s where the post-NaNo editing was supposed to happen, and when at last I pulled up the files to begin, I got stuck in the morass of my own verbiage and fell asleep a lot. My stories still lie festering and staring blankly until I get the cojones to rework and complete.
It’s a mess.
And what did I do for those half-successful but not to my own par all previous seven times? I Pantsed it. (That’s a real verb in the NaNo world.) I wrote and wrote, with no thought for rhyme nor reason, spewing lyrical genius from atop my cerebellum onto the keyboard with abandon and glee.
Ain’t so gleeful now, am I?
On October 29th, so so late in the game, I decided I’d make an Outline, the middle school equivalency to torture; loathed them then, loathe them now. But Pantsing wasn’t working, I reasoned. Maybe Plotting was the way of my future, especially if I wanted to finish a story.
Being the book geek that I am, I consulted not one but seven tomes on the subject of writing, planning, navigating, and getting-onto-paper the visual translation of the audio in my head.
Most all of these helpful books say: Start in the middle.
Are you kidding me? The middle doesn’t come around for two full weeks! I haven’t even come up with an opener besides “Once upon a time…” and these helpful self-helpers have effectively left me quagmired in a stew of over-wrought thinking, over-whelmed and eating ice cream for both supper last night and breakfast this morning! (Though, you know, that’s not really my complaint here.)
Today is Day 2 of NaNo, and though I floated a lot of words onto the Doc yesterday, today I’m tapped. I got nothin’. Yet my grey matter is storming the castle, screaming, “Just Pants the thing, this one last time. Do research the other eleven months and next year we’ll try this outline thing. We’re running out of time, Dudette [my brain calls me “dudette,” a weird affectation that I’ll ponder later as some sort of brain condition, but for now, Dudette doesn’t seem to rile me]. Get this thing in the books and be done!”
And yet the other half of my brain, the tenacious, not-quite-there side, says no, we gotta figure this out this year.
“Think through the details,” rational-but-annoying Me says. “Create the back story and the “why” and generate the point of the whole telling. Get an outline. Get to work. We have 29 days.”
But since I always have finished before Thanksgiving — because who needs to think of a nearly-done novel around the turkey table; no, all focus should be on mashed potatoes — that’s less days.
Adding to my panic.
And more reason for my brain to keep throwing images of pants onto the screen of my frontal lobe.
I’m telling you, people, I don’t have enough ice cream left for this level of tension and no time to get to the nearest freezer section, because of course I’m in the middle of the prairie.
This is going to be a long month.
Okay, I am too busy to be playing the middle between two lawn junkies. One keeps his at a constant three inches, the other keeps his so short that I’m not certain actual blades of grass are growing. I think he may have literally hit dirt, and one good dust-nado will take out whatever green is left of his lawn.
I like to keep my crop of earth somewhere in the middle of Naked and Manicured, and by middle, I mean: if my grass is around five inches tall, I consider it a win.
This morning, while driving back from dumping Bubs unceremoniously upon his hallowed educational grounds and returning to the house where a hot shower before work and hopefully some magical coffee which someone-other-than-me had procured — and there isn’t such a Someone, but a girl can dream — awaited, I mulled my To Do list.
Crestfallen, I realized the first thing on the list was the lawn.
Thanks to recent rains and a lack of interest on my part, I may have had substantial grassy growth in need of maintenance.
I thunked upon it: “Work all day. Bubs’ tae know do. Work next day. Bubs’ tae kwon do. Work some more. Dishes. Good night, work some more? Really? Then Bubs’ whatever-else-Bubs-has. Oh, and laundry. Crap, and more work! Therefore, I can schedule the lawn for…eleven days from now…or…” I realized, “This morning …meaning, two hours — one-and-a-half if I don’t shower, and oh, that can not happen — in which to mow.”
Recap: before work at 11, I need to have scalped the acreage.
I ran the numbers twice more, looking for a loophole. I had none.
So I did what any good mom does: I panicked, opening the garage to release the Deere and quickly ride the plains. Whew! And an hour to spare!
But in my Atta-Girl moment, I realized I’d forgotten the ditch, the seemingly endless ditch, waving its four foot tall fingers nearly beneath my nose in a taunting gesture. I wanted to return the favor with a digit of my own, but I didn’t.
The ditches require the push mower; therefore, I pushed.
Did I mention the wind? Or the dust? Or the endless stream of truckers doing whatever-they-do-in-the-Out-There during daylight hours honking repeatedly as they passed their gigantic truck tire mere inches from my struggling hide?
Annoying! Weird! Dangerous! But oddly flattering.
But no, no, random honking in the Out There was too strange to be complimentary.
And so I grumbled as I dodged and mowed, finally –finally! — finishing the task.
With the mechanical beasts back in their housing, I darted into the house, ran to the bathroom, started the shower, and just as I was searching for the clock to tell me the time, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.
Okay. So that’s why I received random attention from speeding vehicles.
And back to weird.
Because in the mirror was a dirty, wild-eyed female Disney villain wearing sleep pants, a questionably presentable t-shirt, and fuzzy dusty green-tinted houseslippers.
And the hair. In art, it might be called something between Medusa and “Foliage Waving from the Ocean Floor.” Hair should not look like that. I was matted.
Needless to say, ego in check, I crawled into the shower, made myself presentable and walked out the front door with my newly coiffed head held high. Because, hey, I may be That Neighbor now, but my ditches look really good.
Plus I got to work five minutes early.
Plus plus…I finally got coffee.
Our local high school prairie band, the Pride of Piedmont, traveled twenty arduous miles to participate in the State marching competition. After a morning of practice, they endured the prelims to pass gracefully into the finals last night.
As a Band Mom in the Works, I had to attend and take my budding percussionist Bubs with me, of course. I mean, it was a must: to sample the future, to taste the air, to sense the incoming.
And to buy probably the world’s worst popcorn — twice! — but that’s an aside.
Twelve bands from around the state earned their way into the finals, which began an hour early, as weather was forecast to ruin all evening plans. Things needed to move quickly in order to duck for cover before impending high winds and tornadic conditions disbanded — see what I did there? — us early. (It was a hot day; cold fronts and hot air don’t blend well, causing Disruption, Madness, Entropy, the Big Three.)
As an Okie, I was ready: I brought a raincoat. That was nearly Scout-like behavior for me, the ultimate non-forward thinker. I was ridiculously proud of bringing a coat, shunning it quickly beneath the bleachers without another thought. My inner storm-sense felt no whisper of anything but excitement and snare drum vibrations.
Our band didn’t play until 8pm, while clouds rolled in, iPhones everywhere tuned to weather radars, and breezes blew a tiny bit more forcefully than minutes before. Weather aside — because hey, weather and Okies are an ageless duo, married lo these many years (it does its thing, we ignore it) — tension was palpable. Even Bubs had abandoned his twelfth request to get up and leave and do whatever pre-teens deem fun aside from sitting still with their moms.
(Let me take a moment to feel my maternal gene quietly cry and shrivel.)
When finally the Pride marched afield, happy Piedmontian feet stomped repeatedly across aluminum bleachers, drowning out any thunder that dared approach. Our anxious crowd sounded like a herd of buffalo trampling grasses, leaving deep, deep footprints, and video-graphing every step, because buffalo do that, as they, too, care about posterity as much as any glowing Band Mom alive.
And the band did us proud. They were lovely in their blue and black with silver striping, recreating the Black Plague, the death, the mayhem. Our stricken teens ended up prostrate across the yard lines, valiantly playing the parts of corpses as Doctor Death beneath his crow mask wandered between castaway instruments and polyester clad bodies to fully appreciate his reign of doom.
It was epic.
And Bubs loved it, too.
So. Snapshot of the future, right there.
And the rain, though it dropped teaspoons of rain upon us during the tabulating and subsequent award ceremony, held back until much later. It knew our wrath should it fall prematurely.
And instruments are expensive, so thank you, buffalo of yore, for your input into holding back the storms until all the tubas were packed and the bells rolled away.
The future is bright.
(Though I’m not certain my poor raincoat, resentfully discarded hastily beneath my seat, made it back to the house…)
My divine mother got two tickets to the Carole King musical, “Beautiful,” playing in the City’s own Civic Center Music Hall last blustery-chilly-rainy night.
Carole King! Whose Tapestry album played so often atop my LP stereo that its grooves were no longer distinguishable.
(It was my mother’s album…ahem. Sorry, Mom. I seem to confess too much on this blog…)
We were behind the pit…we were seated on the floor…we were practically counting sweat pores on all the stage players…and it was pure fun, a romp through the late 1900’s so fun I found myself bobbing in my seat. (I’m sure that defies some sort of Broadway Show Etiquette rule that those of us accustomed to the nosebleed section of the theatre do not know. (Really. I looked up toward where I’ve sat before, and gosh, the Could-Have-Been-Me in my seat looked like an ant, one leaning way back in its seat with Kleenex stuffed in her nasal orifice. Been there, done that.))
A few things I learned last night:
1. We were all dancing dorks. Granted, we had a great time, lovingly blissful, dancing in shiny suits and beehive ‘do’s with arms waving and butts wiggling and all the while having an absolute blast. Which brings me to number two…
2. I could never have been selected for any upright musical group ever ever ever…Why? Bat flaps. While the lovely ladies attired in strapless satin dresses and office pumps on the stage were parade-waving, elegantly swan-like with their balletic arms, I knew if I tried the same, I’d knock the Do-Wopper next to me unconscious with the extra selvage beneath my upper arm and while I would be remorseful, my defense would certainly be that I had no control; I was not able to stop the onslaught. Once that skin gets to moving, it’s its own tidal force and must come to rest in its own good time. Bummer. Dancing do-woppingly would have been fun until the waving started.
3. Magical costume changes! I don’t know how they did it, but the actors were donned in Everyday Wear one second and Right Before My EYES — no exaggeration — they pulled a David Copperfield and were suddenly –SUDDENLY! — wearing sateen any prom queen would pull another girl’s hair for. Magical, I tell you!
4. I now have a visual for “The Locomotion.” I’d always sung it, and moved my then-young-unstretchy arms in a facsimile of something train-like, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. The true “Locomotion” requires far more cardiovascular interaction than I attributed to it. Those singing actor geniuses were sweating! I admit, I never once sweat while rendering my weird Loco-movements, thus I was doing them all wrong.
5. Carole King — funny, brilliant, prolific, an artistic phenom. I had no idea the breadth of her repertoire until last night. She and her writing partners were all over the musical map with the scope of lyrics they contributed to the musical world and I’ve never had so much fun sitting in one place — knees wiggling, head bobbing, burning up the sit-in-one-place calories — as when I watched “Beautiful” with my mother.
6. Art is so damn sexy.
If I’m not five minutes early, I’m late.
At least, in my brain I am.
“I’m sorry I’m late, traffic was a bear…” I always apologize, shoulders up, head turtling into my neck. Even though it’s the prairie and “traffic” consists of the occasional harvester or a snake in the road.
“You’re not late! Not at all!” says my gracious host, eyes wide with disbelief.
But I hate to not be prompt. Even in college, I’d rather not go at all than squeeze in through a doorway a minute or so after the bell. because hey, I didn’t want a gazillion eyes upon me. School is hard enough without judgment from strangers.
Thus…I missed a lot of classes…sorry, Mom.
So when I shout with near apoplexy at my Bubs, supine in slumber, “Get up! We’re late,” it’s shocking, he doesn’t really listen.
Normally, we are not late to school. I might be taking that last curb on only two tires, and teachers certainly wake up when they hear the chirping of my too-quick tread across that last speed bump, but we aren’t late to school.
Last Wednesday, I may have possibly quite likely mistakenly erroneously not set an alarm to waken me at the normal pre-dawn hour. And perhaps the only cue for sunrise was the snout of my giant moose dog snuffling lovingly into the middle of my face, thus causing me to notice I could see his face in the sunshine, startling me enough to bolt out of bed at 7:33 am, a full 53 minutes past my normal bedside departure.
“We’re late,” I warble as I thump upon my sweet child’s delicate blanket-encased body. “Get up now, please, we’relatewe’relatewe’relate…”
And as I hurriedly don flip-flops and a hat and dub whatever-else-I’m-wearing as appropriate for Office Attire to Drop Off the Late Student, my beautiful boy ignores me.
Wholeheartedly and with no contrition, he ignores me.
“We’re late!” I scream, hurriedly grabbing his coverings and sweeping them back in a flourishing arc. “Throw on clothes, we’re late!”
Finally — finally! — the boy senses urgency in my tone and arises. (Who am I kidding? The stand-off ended in, “If you don’t get up NOW, you get no tech for a year!”)
With a last look at the house, I back the truck and race across the potholed prairie expediently, assuredly, and not-at-all over the traditional speed limits, and chauffeur the boy to the school’s front door.
“What time is it?” he at last asks when I open the front door and shoo him inside.
“7:53,” I remark, with the told-you-so writ large across my derision. I picked up a pen and signed the boy in on the office desk tablet, noting with a blue Wildcats pen to the world about my Mommy Fail for the day.
“Oh. Weird,” he answers while I wait impatiently for elucidation. “We really are late, not just your late.”
“Yes! Yes, we are!” I answer, all patience gone. I turned to face him full on and finished, “And it was the dog’s fault, so now I have to go home and kill him. Have a good day!” And with a pat on the head, he was off to class.
I turned to leave and find clothing suitable for public perusal before work. And coffee.
Unfortunately, while my child may have understood my humor when I’m impatient, homelessly dressed, and under-caffeinated, the proximal office attendants were a bit wary.
They look at me funny now.
I tell myself it is because they admired my hat and rakish insouciance for morning style.
The fancy truck I drive tells me the pressure of each tire. Which is good, because tire pressure is not on my priority list…ever…
When the tire “map,” as it were, popped up the other day, it told me all the tires were low by about five pounds.
So I gunned it to warm the air and gain some pressure.
I wish I were kidding.
But the owner’s manual seated within the car pocket subliminally told me I was acting like an irresponsible beginning driver.
“Don’t ignore my warnings. I’m high-tech; you’re not; you’ll lose,” the truck announced to my chagrin, because it’s right. It’s always right.
Besides. I needed gas. And an Icy Drink.
Under the guise of Adult Vehicle Maintenance, I pulled into a prairie 7-11, one so busy that it’s hazardous. But it has the best Icy Drinks: just the right juice/ice combination so important when enjoying a frozen beverage.
“Bubs,” I said, as I pulled up to the air compressor. “I’m going to leave the key on, and you’re going to read the gauge,” which I displayed with my best parade wave at the dashboard control, “And tell me when the pressure number reaches 41. Okay?”
(Note that I was so proud of myself for using correct vernacular instead of pointing and using nonsensical words ending with “-icky” or “-ingie,” as in: “I’m going to push a button to get air to squirt into the wheel…valve…thingie.”)
“Okay,” he proudly respond as the driver door slammed shut behind me at the precise moment the radio volume escalated to a level left behind with high school and days of “cruising.”
“Turn it down!” I barked, indeed using a pointer finger to enunciate my point. And I frowned; it was All Mom there for a minute, though I really like Imagine Dragons and my toes betrayed me. They were thankfully hidden by the enormous truck body so I could retain my Mom Status and get away with a wiggle in my butt.
At the first tire, the one most perilously close to empty though not low enough to have caused any true alarm, I unscrewed the valve cap and proceeded to push air through the stem. Down about five pounds? I’ll count to…10…
“What’s it read?” I yelled in to my child, ever vigilant to his mother’s voice.
“Turn down the radio!” I repeated atop a window bang. Things were getting heated.
“What?” came the reply over the stilled air.
“The gauge, on the dashboard, what does it read now?”
I waited a beat.
“Okay, what about now?”
“It’s been two seconds!” I yell, rising to stroll quickly to the open window and wave my rubber hose dealie in my son’s perplexed face. “What does the gauge read now?”
“36,” he said, his eyes wide but sparkly, because, hey, I was waving a hose in his face, and yeah, that’s pretty funny, but fortunately he didn’t laugh. Smart kid. Mostly.
“You didn’t even turn your head and look!” I noted loudly.
“Oh,” he mumbled, then turned to read the number. “38.”
I paused. I’d counted to 10 and only gained 2 pounds.
“Alright,” I muttered, more to myself and the guzzintas in my head than to my boy. “Fine. I’ll count to 20 then, sucker.”
And I did.
And after a similar verbal exchange as previously, I heard my boy say, “It says 45.”
“Yeah. 45…is that good?”
“Yes,” I answered. “If I were going pontooning in this thing.”
“Never mind, never mind,” I said, canceling the ensuing conversation post haste.
Did I want to air the others up to 45, stay balanced, would that work??
No, no…I’m kidding. I knew the situation was overinflated, never fear.
With a fingernail, I proceeded to release some of my hard-won air.
“What’s it say now?”
“Yeah, uuuummm…I’m looking…”
“I don’t believe the gauges have moved.” My spirits were low. It was a hot day. I’d been at work all day. I had no Icy with which to cool my ire. Things were dicey, I’ll admit.
“Still says 45.”
“But I let out so much air,” I said to no one in particular, because of course my son had found a Big Nate book in the previous half second and cared not one whit for my predicament.
“Fine,” I said, again surly. “I’ll show you how to let it out, ya stupid ol’ stupid ol’…” (Insert any swearing you like in there; I’m sure it’s as accurate as any illustration would be.)
“Okay,” I said after letting the tire relieve itself. “Howzabout now?”
Oh, sweet Lord in Heaven, he’s so cute…don’t let me use this air hose inappropriately, I prayed as I stomped my unhappy self toward the driver window and popped my head to check for myself.
“It looks like a big red butt,” my son whispered in my ear.
And sure enough, I’d lowered the pressure so much that now the tire map glowed rouge and indicated with a decidedly butt-like icon that indeed, the tire was low, low, low.
“What now?” Bubs asked.
“I get rid of the butt.”
I stomped back into place, shot air into the air like I knew what I was doing — all the while relying on my bird like instincts to tell me when air pressure was optimal — and released the hose when any good bird would.
“What’s it say now?” I called for what I hoped was the final time.
“Perfect!” I screamed at anyone within listening range. “Mama earned an Icy Drink.”
I wrapped the hose around the waist of that delightfully inexpensive air dispensing machine, stormed into the store toward the frozen concoction dispenser and filled two cups to the brim.
“I got no trouble until the butt glows red.” I’m gonna print it on a bumper sticker.