I went and I brought.
My Saturdays are supposed to look like this: Consort goes to a business breakfast thingy, and we see him mid-afternoon. He is pleased because he has discussed the future of Internet technology, and I am pleased because I didn’t have to discuss the future of Internet technology. During the morning, I take Daughter to dance classes, during which time I stare off into space or flip through a battered copy of American Ballet I keep finding under the bench. Then, Daughter and I go home. It’s not a big day, it’s not an interesting day, but it is a predictable day.
Last Saturday was a great, whacking irregular verb of a day. After dance, we were to head to the beach to see friends and meet up with Consort. After the beach, Daughter was to be shuttled to my mother’s house for a half-sleepover (you fall asleep at your Grandmother’s house, you magically wake up at home), and then we had been invited to a dinner party. A dinner party, I might add, which was ten minutes from the beach where we had been all afternoon, but forty-five minutes from my mother’s house. Sadly, the state frowns upon keeping the kid in the car with the window cracked while we enjoy a civilized dinner, so across town we were to go.
Saturday morning, Daughter ate cereal and watched Fantasia and I contemplated packing. On a regular day, I needed clothing for Class #1 and Class #2 (each class has its own specific wardrobe requirements), along with something to wear to arrive. I threw all those clothes on the couch and dumped them into her exercise bag.
Now, she’d also need something to wear for the beach; dump t-shirt, sweatshirt and jeans into bag.
We might possibly go onto the sand; water shoes into bag.
Might it warm up, or might Daughter ignore the cold and insist on swimming?
Swim suit slipped into the bag, along with towel and three kinds of sunblock, because each bottle has about a thumbnails’ worth left.
I then pondered. There was something I meant to give the people we were going to see, but what was it?
Oh, right. Tea set Daughter has outgrown was found in the bottom of the closet and slipped into the exercise bag. While in her bedroom, I grabbed another sweatshirt, in case the t-shirt got wet at the beach. It got wrapped around the beach toys, which were then all stuffed into the exercise bag, being held down by the bag of magazines I had meant to bring to my mother’s house for weeks. Luckily, her exercise bag is one of those LL Bean canvas hold-alls, but I seemed to be testing the limits of the phrase “Hold-ALL”.
I was dragging the bag towards to front door when the phone rang. It was Consort, sounding stressed.
“Did I leave my black work bag there?”
I looked around the house.
“I see at least three.”
Some people collect stamps. Some people collect black work bags.
“Find the one with the computer in it.”
“Good,” he said, sounding relieved, “I thought I left it at work. Can you bring it with you?”
I thought, “…are you, perhaps, planning on giving a PowerPoint presentation to the seagulls?” but I did not say it, because who am I to deny someone their security blanket?
“Also,” he continued, “are you getting some flowers for the hostess tonight?”
I wrinkled my nose. I know the rules of social interaction, even if I rarely appear to indulge in them.
“It’s actually not quite done to bring flowers to a dinner party,” I explained, “because then you make the hostess stop preparing the dinner, find a vase, cut the flowers and then find a place for your flowers.”
“Do you have another idea?” Consort said cheerily, clearly soothed enough his precious computer was on its way to him that he was willing to play my etiquette reindeer games.
“Scented candle; if she doesn’t want it, it re-gifts beautifully. Matter of fact, I picked one up for her yesterday. Shoot, where did I put it? I gotta go, I’ll see you this afternoon.”
“Bye. Oh, could you bring my brown shoes?”
Ten minutes were spent looking for the scented candle, only to finally find out I had already put it in the exercise bag. I have no recollection of doing this.
I scanned the pile of objects waiting to be shuttled to the car. Dance clothes, beach clothes, tea set for beach people, magazines for mother…
[Quick trip to Daughter’s room to get pajamas.]
pajamas for half-sleepover…
[Quick trip to bathroom for toothbrush and shampoo. Quick return trip to bathroom to leave shampoo, as mother was highly likely to have shampoo, and I was getting obsessive.]
toothbrush, scented candle, computer bag…
AUGH! My dinner-party clothing!
[Quick trip to bedroom for pants, shirt, shoes.]
[Quick trip to bedroom to get Consort’s brown shoes]
During all this, Daughter had been blissfully watching dancing hippos and ignoring her mother. Finally, the sound of me gargling in stress drew her attention. I threw her Class #1 outfit and said “Get. Dressed. Now. Please.”
I then darted to the car with the first pile of goods. I came back in the house to find Daughter peering into the exercise bag in giddy pleasure. She pointed.
I looked in the bag. The cat had inserted herself between the tea set and my pants.
“She wants to come with us!”
I can certainly understand why. The only other things left in the house were a pair of scissors and some decorative icing. I’m sure she thought we were moving without her.