Monday, November 1, 2010

How Shiny is Your Mailbox?

Running errands is not my favorite pastime.  A Bed, Bath, and Beyond sack has been sitting on my dryer since late August.  In it you'll find two boxes of Lifeliner "Plast-o-Mat" shelf liner.  I bought two boxes too many when we were moving Mom into Raider Ranch.  I would keep them in my "just in case" pile in the attic, but the $14.99 price stickers have guilted me into making a much procrastinated return.  Some day - probably next week if the weather is perfect and there's nothing good on TV - I'll make a list of all the errands I've been postponing for the last couple of months.  The list will read something like this:
  1. BBB - ret liner
  2. g'store -  PU RX
  3. W'Mart - spotlight for my BR, drier sheets, BD cards (Jane & Braden), potting soil, eye shadow, wheelie cooler, milk
  4. Dillards - ret shoes
  5. Steinmart - blouse for Saturday?
While I dread this list...despise this list...whine about this list, I thoroughly enjoy making each and every check mark as I conquer each directive.  I generally end up rewarding my diligent behavior with a Sonic cheeseburger and a side of fries at some point during the journey.  

My mom, on the other hand, lives to do errands.  The very thought of running errands makes her a wee bit giddy.  When we were little, Kathy and I set up camp in the back seat of Mom's brown Rambler in preparation for a day of stops, starts, waits.  Cries of "I'm hungry!" or "I'm tired" were met with "Just 30 more minutes, girls!  Then, we'll go home and have yummy peanut butter sandwiches!" or "Carolyn, come up here in front with me so that Kathy can stretch out for a nap in the back seat!" We sat out in the parking lot of Cloth World with our legs dangling out of the open windows waiting while Mom scoured the store for "cute pantsuit" fabric.  Sometimes we bounced on the seats to make the poor little Rambler bob up and down.  Many was the time that we had full on cat fights simply because we were bored and grumpy.  "Stop humming!"  "I have every right to hum if I want to!  It's a free country!"

I don't particularly mind driving my little mother around town to make necessary purchases.  It's the returns that suck the life out of me.  The Size .5 "Ponte 5-Pocket Pant" that we bought  last Monday needed to be returned for a Size 1.  It wasn't until we got all the way to Chico's on Saturday that Mom realized that she HAD bought the Size 1 pant.  "Oh.  I sure thought it was the .5."  The tiny lightbulbs that I bought for her bathroom nightlight were too "bright."  She is pretty sure that Target has bulbs that are a tad dimmer.  Return this!  Exchange this!  Find a better one of these!  My head spins in errand agony!

There was one particular errand that will go down in the annuls of time as "Most Tedious and Frustrating."  Mother had flown to Lubbock for a visit.  The boys were all in elementary school and had lots of activities.  I was one busy stay-at-home mom. A moment of sitting on the couch was a good moment.  "If you have time and it's not too inconvenient..." she began.  Oh, how I dreaded those words.  I knew that whatever was to follow would set my teeth on edge.  There would be "inconvenient" heavy on the "too."  "If you have time and it's not too inconvenient, could you take me to Lowes so that I can look at their mailboxes?"  I began to ping pong questions at her hoping wear her down.  "Mom, you flew here.  Are you going to shove your purse into the mailbox and call it a carry-on when you fly back to Waco?"  "Of course not!  But, I can go ahead and choose one and they can call the Waco store to have them hold one like it until I get back home!"  Teeth grinding.  "Why don't you just pick it out when you get back to Waco?  I'm sure that the stock of mailboxes there is exactly the same as it is here in Lubbock!"  "I know.  But, I want your opinion."  My right eye twitching begins to twitch.  "OK.  Here it is:  Get a white one like the one you had in the first place."  

Fifteen minutes later, we are standing in Lowes on the mailbox aisle staring at the selections. "See, Mom!  There it is!  A white one!"  The display shelf of mailboxes was just above her eye level totally jeopardizing the decision she was about to make.  "Do you think that one's too shiny?"  "Too shiny?!  Uhhhh.  No.  I think that it's just the right amount of shiny."  "I can't really see how shiny it is from down here.  Let's see if we can find one and open the box to make sure."  I can hear my heart pounding.  "Ooooookay.  Let's drag one out of the box to see exactly how shiny it is."  I pulled out a box and set it on the floor.  The ends of the box were fastened with giant brass staples that were impervious to my fingernails.  Ha!  I had her cornered!  "Mom, this box is not going to open up without the use of a screwdriver or a big pair of scissors."  "I'll bet there is someone around who can help us!"  My eyes cross.  "Uhh, Mom?  I need to get back home so that I can run Jonathan and Bryce to baseball practice.  Also, I told Geri that we would only be gone about 20 minutes.  She's probably ready for me to pick up Reed."  "Don't worry!  I'll tell the man to hurry!"  And, off she scurried.

An orange-vested man came to our rescue.  The box was opened.  We waited breathless with anticipation while Mom studied the mailbox's sheen carefully.  I began to shift from foot to foot checking my watch.  "Well, what do you think?  Too shiny?!"  "Hmmmmm.  I...don't...know.  What do you think?  If you were me would you get this one?"  Straining to appear deep in thought, I silently chant "I will respect my mother for she gave me life!  I will respect my mother for she gave me life!"  "Oh, yes!  Certainly!  Without a doubt!  It's my absolute favorite!  Let's get it!  I'll bet Southwest will let you check the box with your luggage!"  "Oh, no!  I can't do that!  It might get dented!  I'm not going to buy it here!"  A pause.  "Actually, I already have this one."  Silence.  Again with the chanting which was proving to be quite ineffective.  "What?!"  My left eye joins my right twitching morse code:  I...will...respect...my...mother...    "I bought this one last week.  It's still in the box in my living room."  "You already HAVE this one?!  Then, why on earth are we standing here looking at this one?!"  

"I just wanted to see if you thought it was too shiny."

That's all I have to say about that.

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