Today is a Pro D day. No school for anybody. I arranged to have the day off. We stayed in our pyjamas, played some Minecraft (the kids) and wrote in our journals (me) and drank coffee (me again) and then we played Angry Birds the Physical Game where you make towers and then launch plastic birds via catapult. We listened to music and looked at books. We made a card for Arlo’s friend whose birthday party was today, and then we got ready and left the house. At TEN FIFTEEN AM. Sigh. So awesome.
The amount of time we have hasn’t changed. There are still 24 hours in a day, but something about the way the days are configured makes it feel like less. There are days when it feels like I’m hurrying all the time, days when the hours fly by. There hasn’t been a day in a long time where I looked at the clock and said, “Oh, is it ONLY X:OO?” Lately, it’s always later than I think, which leads to that sinking feeling, that “Where is it all going?” panic.
It’s all connected — seasons changing, fog rolling in, general malaise.
This week I was sick, too, so I spent three days feeling awful, two days working and feeling less awful, all those days feeling like I’d never get caught up on MY TIME MY TIME. I was sick enough that I couldn’t even make a convincing argument for doing anything. I just wanted to sit around, go to bed early, sleep longer. I still do, actually. My sinuses feel weird. I’m suspicious.
This morning, we dropped Arlo at the birthday party at a lazer tag place and then Eli and I went on to Superstore to buy Halloween candy and a few groceries. I offered to buy Eli lunch at the mall and he chose his favourite food court food: KFC popcorn chicken and fries. I had amazing fried rice and stir-fried vegetables and ginger pork. So salty. Salty enough that my eyes started to itch. Fast food, huh? Salty.
We did some walking around the mall, as I am on my annual fruitless quest for a jacket. We went into a store and the sales girl said, “Is there something in particular you are looking for?” Ordinarily I would say no thank you but the way she asked, it sounded like she really wanted to know, and since there is something in particular I am looking for, I said, “I want a jacket, but not a cropped denim jacket. And not a moto jacket. And not a parka. And I don’t need a fur-lined hood, even if it’s fake fur. And no belts. And no quilting.”
(She was very sorry she had asked. She will likely be revising her question to the standard, “Let me know if I can help you find something today.”)
Eli is super helpful as a shopper’s assistant because he knows I hate fake pockets. He went through all the jackets and tested them out.
“FAKE POCKETS,” he announced whenever he found some. “HOW LAME IS THAT.”
He got a few laughs and I could browse unmolested. Wins all over.
I realized as we walked that I hadn’t hung out with Eli at the mall (or anywhere, really) in a very long time. We used to go all the time, on the days he wasn’t in preschool, or on sick days. Just walking around like all the other people who need a place to walk around inside. Standing in the toy aisle, looking at toys. It’s been months since I hung out in a toy aisle.
(The toys haven’t changed much.)
As we made our way back to the car to go pick up Arlo, I noticed Eli still had the paper bag the popcorn chicken had been in.
“Should we look for a garbage can?” I asked.
“No, I’m keeping it,” he said. “It’s my precious memory of the day I had popcorn chicken.”
(awwww, right? Awww.)
More to the point, it was evidence to show his brother.
“What? You had POPCORN CHICKEN?” Arlo sputtered.
“Well…I guess I did get to play lazer tag and eat pizza and cheezies and cake.”
I didn’t have to say a word. They are self-parenting. It feels like I’ve done enough work for now. I plan to drink tea and lounge on the couch resting my eyes and sinuses for the rest of the day.
I don’t know how I fell behind on my commenting mission, but anyway: you write dialogue well. I know it’s your kids’ dialogue, but still, it flows nicely.
I have never had popcorn chicken. Actually the last time I had KFC was when I was pregnant with my now 11 yo. There was an office function and myself and another pregnant woman were told by a the receptionist, “I know pregnant ladies have to watch what they eat, so I ordered just salads for you two. You’re welcome.” Then the other pregnant lady tried to explain that salads made of noodles or cabbage coated in mayo were not exactly health food. Then the salad-pusher got all defensive and weepy and the other pregnant woman got upset. Someone tried to lighten the mood by making a comment about how people use to think it was okay to smoke while pregnant. Guess who use to smoke when she had her children in the 80s? The salad pusher. MORE DEFENSIVENESS. And I ate a whole lot of chicken while the manager tried to calm everyone down.
And that is my precious memory of KFC.
Good luck w/ your jacket search!