Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life, my hardworking, adorable, loyal, loving, and teeniest-bit-OCD Dan.
We got engaged right around Valentine's Day and celebrated our 15th Valentine's Day this year by going out to dinner to a new restaurant and had a blast. I was lucky to go out twice this past weekend; once with Dan and once with three of my bestie girls to celebrate a 40th birthday of one of us. And the important thing to remember is that it was not me. Because I am much, much younger than all of my friends. Really. I am.
It was so nice to get out of the house, showered, dressed appropriately, and enjoying good food. And the six glasses of wine between the two dinners helped, too.
I really, really needed some time out of the house and away from the kids.
Michaela and Jenna thought otherwise, and when I saw them on Saturday morning, Michaela was giving me a blow by blow description of what happened. I couldn't sleep, she told me. Daddy let us stay up late. We watched a Charlie Brown Valentine's Day special. That all sounded fine.
Then she hit me with The Guilt: "When I was having trouble sleeping last night, I started counting up all the hours I was with you yesterday. And do you know how many it was? FIVE HOURS! That's IT!! FIVE HOURS!!"
"You'll survive," I told her.
Because an "Out and About" post isn't complete without a few good Walmart stories, here are the latest:
1. Around the time of Michaela's birthday, I bought a bunch of gifts for her at Walmart. They were mostly small plastic toys of some incarnation or another, and I think they totalled about $100. A Hispanic girl my age (you know, young) was checking me out at the register and struck up a conversation.
Girl, in a deep, fast paced, Rosie-Perez-accented voice: This all for your daw-ta?
Me: Yeah, it's her birthday this Friday.
Girl: Humph. If I was you, I'd put some of this away for Christmas.
Me, laughing nervously: Yeah, well, she's a good girl.
Girl: This is alotta stuff. Put it away for Christmas.
And for months, I've been been repeating the phrase This all for your daw-ta? under my breath to myself. It's somehow mesmerizing.
2. You know how there are greeters at the door of Walmart? They welcome you in when you arrive and as you leave they scan your cart for large items and sometimes ask to see your receipt to double check that you are not stealing the box of diapers or 12 rolls of paper towels. Most of them are very nice and friendly and pleasant, and because I usually go the same day and time every week, I generally see the same employees. There is one lady who does the greeting and checking and she is a real piece of work. She's one of those deceptive people who appears fairly normal- pleasant, even- the first time you talk to her but then you quickly realize that she's insane.
So the first time I go through, I of course have Alec with me and she makes a big fuss over him. "Who's the handsome little man?" she asks, and I tell her his name is Alec and she wants to know how old he is and I tell her. Then of course she makes a comment about him not wearing shoes (because all of Walmart is out to reform my atrocious parenting habits, for sure) and launches into her OWN story. And I hear the whole thing: she has five kids, her oldest is 34 and her youngest is 17 and she's divorced from their dad and she whips out her cell phone and shows me the picture of the puppy her ex husband bought her youngest WITHOUT CONSULTING HER, and she could kill him but now her daughter loves the dog so she has to keep it.
And I'm all, "Uhhh... here's my receipt for the paper towels."
And then I make some lame comment about how busy she must be and high tail it out of there.
So the second time I see her, I of course have Alec and she makes a big fuss over him. "Who's the handsome little man?" she asks, and I tell her- again- that his name is Alec and she wants to know how old he is and I tell her. And then she tells me, "I have five of my own: my oldest is 34 and my youngest is 17. And my youngest is supposed to be with my ex for the vacation and instead he called and asked if I can keep her the whole week and I said, How am I supposed to drive her around?"
And I'm all, "Uhhh... here's my receipt for the diapers."
So the third time I see her, it's handsome man, how old, I have five kids, oldest is 34 and youngest is 17 and before she launches into the Ex-Husband Story of the Day, I just say, "Wow! You must be REALLY BUSY!" all enthusiastic and she is cut off at the pass.
Then the next time, which is like two days later, it's handsome, old, five, 34, 17, and as she's reaching for the cellphone picture to show me I just smile, say, "WOW! SOOO BUSY!" and walk out.