Monthly Archives: February 2018

Weekend Snapshots 53

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Friday

On Friday we went to our friends’ house to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The grand finale was the lighting of sky lanterns, which we tried to send up to the heavens with our wishes.

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With each launch I made a fervent wish…

OH MY GOD, PLEASE LET THAT LANTERN KEEP RISING AND NOT LAND ON THE NEIGHBOR’S ROOF!

OH MY GOD, PLEASE LET THAT FLAMING LANTERN THAT JUST FELL INTO THE AZALEA BURN OUT BEFORE THE SHRUB BECOMES COMPLETELY ENGULFED IN FLAMES!

OH MY GOD, PLEASE DON’T LET THAT NICE MAN I JUST MET AT THIS LOVELY DINNER PARTY SELF-IMMOLATE AS HE TRIES TO LIGHT THE FUEL CELL ON HIS LANTERN!

Saturday

My daughter and I spent the day at a local high school for her Destination Imagination tournament, where I served as an appraiser for a category in which she was not competing. (“Wear a funny hat,” they told me)!

What’s Destination Imagination? my sister asked.

Well…it’s an activity for kids who…aren’t athletic, was my daughter’s coded explanation.

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My family and my friend and I went to see Postmodern Jukebox that evening…Those are some crazy talented artists!

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 Sunday

We made a flash visit to Arlington to meet up with some of my family, including my sister & her crew who were down from Princeton. We went to our nostalgic favorite, Peking Gourmet Inn:

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One of these things is not like the other…Spot the giant among pygmies.

 

Old People Dating

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A repost in honor of Valentine’s Day…

Thanks to our church, which hosted a Parents’ Night Out yesterday, my husband and I were able to go out on an extremely rare date night. Our daughter fit the target age for the participants, and I somewhat eagerly enlisted the boys to be helpers. My husband brought the kids from home and I left work so that we could all meet up at the church at 5.

As we signed the kids in, the kind adults who were supervising the evening asked, “So what are you guys going to do on your date?”

“Uhhh…we’re not really sure yet,” I admitted, “but I guess we’ll go out to dinner.”

“Where do you guys usually like to eat?”

I’m pretty sure they weren’t asking about our dashes into Subway between soccer and piano practices, or to Panera on a Saturday in the middle of a day of running errands with a minivan chock full of kids…It’s the kind of question that would be easier to answer if a date night was something that happened more frequently than say, the appearance of Halley’s Comet in Earth’s atmosphere.

The last time we had a regular date night was fifteen years ago, when we were married with no children. We were both singing in the church choir and practice was on Thursday evenings. I was pregnant with our first child at the time, (the boy who is now 6 feet tall), and I was always ravenously hungry. We would go to Ruby Tuesday, which was both close to our rehearsal, and had a menu that met both of our needs. While my husband demurely nibbled at his salad bar dinner, I would devour every last bite of one of those Pantagruelian platters groaning with three different kinds of meat. You know…the kind that would only be appealing to obese middle-aged men and me in my pregnant, callow youth.

Yesterday, as we got back into the car, we giddily pondered our restaurant options as wondrously as if we were contemplating a rare and precious diamond. We made a spur of the moment decision to go to an Italian restaurant, because we can be crazy like that. We showed up at 5:30 with all the other geriatrics.

As I sat there in the warm and elegant ambiance, I drummed my fingers impatiently, my eyes darting around, wondering if the bread would arrive in my lifetime. After gulping down the bread and an appetizer that we rashly ordered in our expansive mood, we were both full.

“I guess it’s too late to cancel the rest of our dinner, right?” I asked.

We had a couple bites of our main courses, but took most of them home in boxes. This would have never happened in our Ruby Tuesday days! After polishing off my meat slab platter, I’d still be picking croutons off my husband’s salad.

Dinner was done and we still had a couple of hours to go before we had to pick up the kids. The restaurant is right next to Trader Joe’s, so that’s where we headed next. We got into an intense debate about the merits of Trader Joe Honey Nut O’s versus Honey Nut Cheerios.

“Their version tastes much better than Honey Nut Cheerios,” my husband told me, “It’s less sweet.”

“Well, it may taste better, but the misplaced apostrophe is burning my eyes,” I replied.

As we rang up our purchases, we still had an hour and a half before we had to pick up the kids.

“Well…what should we do now?”

“Oh, I know! Let’s go to CVS and pick up my prescriptions and get Epsom salt,” my husband said.

“OK, Gramps! Let’s do it!”

As my husband was paying for our purchases, I remembered I had a $5 coupon attached to a CVS receipt that was floating around in my purse. I pulled it out and tentatively showed it to the cashier. “Would we possibly be able to use this?” I asked doubtfully.

“Sure!” she said as she tore it from my receipt.

As we walked back to the car, we were both jubilant. My husband said, “I can’t wait to try my Epsom salts!” I said, “I think this might just be the best day of my life. I feel like I just won the jackpot! This is the first time in my whole life that I’ve actually been able to use one of those CVS coupons. I’m so inordinately happy, I think I could dance a jig right here on the sidewalk! Could you smell the scent of victory, crackling like ozone in your nostrils when I got to use my coupon? Because I sure did!”

Flush with my unexpected success, I had another idea…

“HEY! Let’s go to the CoinStar at Harris-Teeter!”

We drove over to the grocery store and my husband obligingly lugged in the heavy container full of change that I had stashed in the car.

Have you ever used CoinStar? It’s mesmerizing to watch the sum grow from piles of pennies that have just been lying around the house. We didn’t want the magic to ever end. After emptying our container, we pulled out every last penny from our pockets and wallets until the clinking of the coins finally stopped.

Wow. This is the best date ever,” I said with a sigh of contentment, “First, the coupon and now this!”

It was now 8 o’clock.

“We still have half an hour. We’re supposed to pick up the kids at 8:30.”

“Yeah, but I’m sure it will be fine to pick them up early. And then we can get home, so I can try my Epsom salts.”

And that’s what we did.

And it was good. Really, really good. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky…

Read the rest of Starfish, by Eleanor Lerman here.

Youth Sunday & Other Forms of Torture

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We woke up at the crack of dawn to get to church by 8 am for the first of two back to back services led by the youth of the congregation.

A couple weeks ago the boys were asked to perform a Mozart duet as the closing voluntary. Those two short weeks felt like an eternity in hell, during which time I was roasting on a spit in slooooooow motion.

Just learn one page! I exhorted as they sturmed und dranged over the impossibility of pulling it together at such short notice. You can play the first page twice!

Please don’t be mean to your brother! I begged my older son, who becomes a complete tyrant when it comes to music.

You’re getting there! Just keep practicing!!! I nagged for two weeks straight.

Hey, Olympic committee! I totally deserve a gold medal for my performance of a lifetime! And a trip to Disney World. By myself.

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And then the church sprung the torture known as “Rite 13” on me. I have now been subjected to this particular agony three times…Thank God it’s the last one I’ll ever have to endure.

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This girl laughed in my face during the whole ceremony as tears leaked out of my eyes, and I guess that was a blessing, because it probably saved me from the ugly crying that would have disgraced us all…

It’s a wrap. I’m going to bed!

Hoops

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While we were in Arlington, the kids were itching to get outside and play basketball. I drove around looking for a free court and we eventually ended up at my old middle school. Williamsburg Middle School is barely recognizable to me now…

“Did you like going to school here?” my daughter asked as we pulled into the parking lot.

“Well…does anybody really like middle school?” I mused.

I remembered that walking down the hallway was like walking through a minefield. I remember having my bra snapped and my butt pinched, and whipping around to a sea of grinning faces. I remember the nightmare of an overgrown, shaggy boy who would nudge me into the lockers with his giant pot belly to belch in my face.

But as I thought about it some more I remembered that it was at middle school that I met friends with whom I am close even now. It was here that I began to act and sing and discovered that there was something other than studying that I could do…

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“I guess it wasn’t so bad…,” I concluded. I made new memories by spending the next hour watching my own middle-schooler and her big brothers shoot some hoops.

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Good citizens of Arlington! Aren’t there better places to park than on a basketball court?!

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