There aren’t many days that I can point back on and say they were exceptional. It’s part of the magic for when one of those days occurs.
That one time a few years ago when my dad played hooky from work, and we wandered Whole Foods, ate a lunch of tidbits from the store, and then continued our wandering at Houston’s science museum. Truly exceptional.
Today joins the list.
The day began early this morning, where I awoke to a five-year-old in my bed. The alarm went off, and he groaned, “Nuggle me, Jo.” I wrapped my arm around his little bird ribs, gave him a squeeze, and hit the snooze button. Nine minutes later, I was up and at ‘em and convincing him to do the same. After all, we had a busy day ahead of us.
Many moons ago in an absolute fit of feeling like an out-of-shape lump, I encouraged a friend to sign up for a marathon with me. After watching Chicago and remembering how miserable running a marathon feels, I promptly got the notion of a race in February out of my head. Alas, I forgot to tell my friend of my change in intentions.
Bad friend. Bad, bad friend.
So after he’s logged his miles dutifully for several weeks, he inquired about my progress. Then the crickets chirped, and he shook his fist at me from afar.
Today was finally the day that the race was to occur. In exchange for not having to take my brother’s dog to the vet, I agreed to babysit my sister’s kids. Keeping to my word (that time, anyway), I showed up to her house early to get the girl dressed, pack a bag of sand toys, and get on the road.
With only a quick stop for donut holes, we high-tailed it the two hours to the Texas coast. As we grew nearer to our destination, the darker the sky grew. As we pulled into the parking lot, the sky opened. We sat in car for a bit for a good amount of the rain to pass, and then we huddled together under hooded jackets and a huge umbrella the previous owner left in the trunk. We ran across the street and into a tent set up for the race. A quick glance at the timer told me I was about two hours early.
Once the rain cleared, those two hours were quite fun. I pulled out a lawn chair and book for myself, and the kids got their toys and my digital camera for their entertainment. All was going well for about an hour and a half, when the sky opened again. I grabbed the babies, stashed them under something, and ran to the car to toss everything into the trunk. We again headed to the tent, where the kids pet on some friendly dogs to pass the time.
Someone gave us tickets for free smoothies, so I nourished the kids. Then, glancing behind us, I saw my friend’s dad also in line. We joined he and his wife for some fun in the last 30 minutes before our beloved runner came through. In the distance, we finally saw a black shirt with blue shorts. We lined up along the finish area and cheered him in.
It now being late for lunch, we bid our goodbyes. Halfway to the car, the girl announced she needed to pee. I’m not about to let my impatience lead to pee in my car, so we walked back to the portapotties. Apparently she’d never encountered portapotties, since she leaned in and asked me to please flush.
Once she tinkled, we headed back toward the car. Only now, the boy announced that he needed to poop. I groaned a little since we were just there, but again, I’d rather not have poop in my car.
He apparently had never encountered a portapotty either, since he was also shocked by the audacity that some people have to let their poop just sit in a hole. One by one, he went through the available pots, checking out the holes and what exactly was in them. When we got to the last stall, he realized the futility in his quest, had me wipe the seat down, and finally let his poop commingle with others’ poops.
With both kids sufficiently emptied, we finally made our way to the car. Now, I don’t have a fancy car by any means. I’m borrowing something from my dad’s friend, and my family refers to it as The Donkey because of its (ahem) lovely shade of brown. However, I refuse to treat any vehicle the way this one’s been treated.
After the two rains we ran through and a couple hours playing in the dirt, the kids were covered in sand and muck. I’m not about to get that in my car, so I stripped both of them down to their undies and the shirt under their hoodies.
As I’m stripping the boy (and he of his dignity), a man walked by and told me that he’s been watching me with my kids and that they’re adorable, truly ‘the American dream’. Who am I to argue with the man that my children (by proxy) are beautiful and wonderful and all that other gushy stuff that people seem to think when someone in the family sprouts them from her loins? As far as kids go (and I’ve changed my thoughts on this topic a lot lately), these kids are rad.
In minimal clothes and buckled into car seats (them, not me, on both counts), we stopped through McDonald’s, and drove the two hours home. I deposited them with their mother at the meet-up spot, and she clothed them appropriately for her plans. I headed back home to rest my bones.
After cleaning the fast food out of the car, I was coming into the house and noticed a plastic-wrapped box beside the door. For a moment I thought my dad sent my mom flowers, but I did the mouse clicks on that transaction and know where and when they were sent. With a little confusion, I saw they were addressed to me.
My Internet friend recently held a flower-giving contest on his blog, and he surprised me with a bouquet. I was neither nominated nor did any nominating, so I was truly surprised to see his card with a poem about how awesome we are. They’re now in my bedroom, giving the room a much-needed adult-like feel.
I’m admittedly a sucker for things like flowers and jewelry. You do nothing but enjoy how pretty both are; yet in that lies their actual purposes. Both gifts say, “You cannot eat these, use them as a mode of transportation, or recognize them as reusable assets. They are completely pointless except that they are pretty and remind you that I think you’re cool enough to buy something useless that makes you smile.”
And now I have some in my room.
Soon after my flowers got watered and displayed, my dad’s truck pulled up. I came outside to give my parents a hand with whatever they needed carried in, only to find that my dad was alone and shoveling gravel into a few holes in the driveway.
Where’s Maa? She bought a car. Where is she? Driving the really fast car really slowly.
30 minutes later, Maa pulled up in an absolutely dream boat car, tossed me the keys, and was like, “Go. Have fun.”
And “go” I went.
I don’t want to go into the specs here, but Oh. My. I drove it like a 16-year-old boy. Only instead of driving a five-speed Datsun like it’s a Mercedes CLK320, I drove the friggin’ CLK.
The Donkey can rest with my dad’s coworker once more.
See. El. Kay.
Now, it’s not mine-all-mine. But my mom’s telling me that she’d rather drive the quite-new, good-on-gas Civic (my car now, since I just wrote a check for it) to commute to work. So during the day, it’s mine, mine, mine.
And, really, if I pick up a few good weeks of Forex trades, I might go ahead and write a bigger check to make it officially mine, mine, mine. After all, I so see my mom as more the C230 type. I just have to convince her of that — ha.
Now, if my day wasn’t already going spectacularly, I got a Facebook e-mail from a friend I hadn’t talked with in ages. She and I were really good friends when I first moved to Chicago, only to lose touch when the group severed and she moved across the country for grad school. Lo and behold, she was asking my opinion about moving to Austin.
[insert geeking out noises]
Last week I spent the weekend there, re-exploring the city and seeing what all has changed for the better since I left. There’s a lot there I want to continue to explore, and I decided this week that a move needs to be made. Living in Houston has brought the family closeness I’ve been hoping for; however, I don’t need quite this much closeness to love the heck out of everyone in my bloodline. Add to it that I do need the things Austin can provide: a nearby BFF, an active social life with great people, outdoorsy things to do, (admittedly) a hint of romance, and now this friend who is one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known for reasons galore.
In sum, as the clock finally ticks past midnight, I’d like to give a huge high-five to February 14, 2009. You were an awesome day.