Ah, nothing beats the joy of a successful shopping expedition except to arrive back home safely and have a chance to kick of the shoes, curl up in my computer chair and blog! Quality time deserves the retelling of it to one and all, does it not? And what Mandy and I had today as we ventured out shopping was indeed, quality time!
We were considering traveling over the mountains to the east of us to State College and the malls there but after making a couple of well-placed phone calls to ascertain the availability -or not -of some of the items I wanted to track down and purchase, we ended up following the advice of good old Horace Greeley - "Go West." So, off over the mountains the west we went and landed in Dubois.
We had tracked down the HP 4-in-1 printer/scanner/copier/fax machine this one store had advertised on sale this week -for $49.95 -to the Dubois store and had them pull one off the shelf and hold it for us. At $4.00 and loose change for gas and with the van only giving about 21 miles to the gallon, be darned if I wanted to blow roughly $16 in gasoline and come home sans this piece of equipment!
Whenever we venture over to Dubois Mall, we always like to stop by a certain jewelry store there because the manager of that establishment is a lady I grew up with -right next door to me, as a matter of fact. My good friend, Carm. Or, "Aunt Carm" as my kids all call her.
Carm's mother really didn't need an extra kid underfoot back when I was growing up cause lord knows, she had enough of her own -11 daughters and 2 sons -but I practically lived at their house. Being an only child, with so many kids around over there, I was in absolute seventh heaven, as you can imagine.
Carm's actually a couple years my junior but her sister, Rose, was the same age as me. When the family moved in the big house next door, the three oldest of the kids were already married and had young families of their own but that still left 9 people ranging in age from 6 months to about 17 living next door -and add their parents in made it 11 people in one house. The youngest child and 2nd son was born about 3-4 years after they family moved into this end of town.
Over the years, one of my friend's nieces ended up marrying my now ex-brother-in-law so we even became kind of "back-door" relatives then too. My kids grew up calling Carm's parents Grammy and Pap and all the sisters -and two brothers -are referred to by my kids today with "Aunt" or "Uncle" in front of the person's name. It is a form of respect but it also serves us as a great means of differentiating between other people we may know with the same first names as many of that family have. Hence there's these "aunts" -Eleanor, Joanne, Lily, Helen Ann, Kathryn Jane, Donna, Frannie, Rose, Carm and Sue -and "uncles" -Sonny and Mike. If you're counting names there you notice that only takes care of 12 of the 13 in the family. THe missing daughter would be Carol -but my kids don't call her Aunt, but rather she is now "Grammy" to them because her grandchildren are first cousins to my grandchildren and well, it was just easier to name her this then!
Anyway, where was I? Kind of slid off the beaten track of where I started out with this shopping tale, didn't I?
We stopped and waited for Aunt Carm to finish working a sale and I had a chance then to sit with her for a couple minutes to chat, catch up ever so slightly on what's been going on. Then the business began to pick up and she had to get back to work and I needed to get moving too so we could continue our shopping plans. (Someday though, I'll have to remember to share some stories I have about this great family with you.)
At the mall, I found a nice little black tank top - a mere Five bucks -the printer deal and also got a 12 ft x 12 ft screened canopy thing ($40) to stick out in the back yard where we can park the 6 ft long, folding (hard resin) table I found (only $45 buckaroos) making my total expenditures today a whopping $145 but that was still a good bargain over all for me. Now we can have cookouts in the back yard, eat out there too, park the glider I acquired from my late aunt's home -my Dad's homestead, ya know -under the screened in tent too and not get eaten alive by all the buggy-dos that inhabit hot, summer nights here!
Shopping done, we then headed to the "Eat and Park" in Dubois where we could get kiddy meals for Kurt and Maya for 99 cents each and Mandy and I both enjoyed a nice entre -I had baked scrod and she had chicken and broccoli alfredo. The kids were actually both relatively well-behaved during our meal. Ok, Kurtis was loud -very loud -but not fussing loud -just his version of "talking." Maya did get caught by Mandy playing with her mac'n'che -dropping it on to the bench seat of our booth and ended up getting her fingers lightly smacked and a severe reprimand then too from Mommy for that stunt. When we were about ready to leave -our server -a very friendly, really, really efficient young man -just a great personality this young man had -brought the bill and two little bags containing a "smiley" cookie -one for each of the kids, which was also included in their Kiddy meal! As he handed us the bill, he was showing a great deal of tact and wisdom by motioning to the little bags on his tray holding the cookies and not saying a word out loud about them in front of the kids. Mandy motioned for him to slide these bags -sneakily -to me and I popped them into my purse to use as bribery on the drive home that way.
For all the helpfulness our server had put forth to us, his great attitude, humor, style, etc., we left him a very good tip -a little over 30 percent - and Mandy left him a note too on the back of the place mat. It said:
"TO CASEY! Thanks for the awesome service from the very messy foursome!" Had to leave a little extra not just because of the great service but also because Kurtis -being Kurtis -left many traces on the floor of his visit this evening. A nice trail of bread crumbs from his grilled cheese!
By 9:00 p.m. we were on the interstate and heading back home. Maya was content to munch on her smiley cookie as was Kurtis and things were fairly quiet. Maya did sing a couple little songs -Elmo's "Rubber Ducky" being one of her selections she chose to serenade us with along with a couple others but I can't remember now which ones she selected.
We made the turn off Rte 53 heading to the house and as we started down the hill, just above my son's house, Mandy came to a screeching halt.
"OH NO! OH S**t! Deer!" Mandy cried out and managed to get the van stopped in time for the first two creatures to cross in front of us and we sat there then, dead standstill in the middle of the road, waiting for the other two to take their sweet time and cross over too!
That done, we're moving again and Mandy called her sister-in-law on the phone to make arrangements for them to go up and let Clate's dog -good old Bon Bon -out of the house for his evening bathroom call. While Mandy was talking on the phone, Maya starts jabbering in the back and I started to howl laughing. Why? Because over and over, Maya was saying, quite plainly too -"Oh NO! OH S**t! Deer!" When we made the turn to our street, Mandy was off the phone then and I asked her if she had been able to hear what Maya had been chanting as we came down the hill. Nope, just as I thought, she hadn't heard her but she cracked up when I gave her the news of Maya's newest sentence. I'm hoping it will be a short-lived speech thing there since neither of us made a big issue about it to Maya. We've found in the past when she picks up some rather "colorful" language, if we ignore it, the words go away and if we make a big deal out of it, she then tends to remember them, way too well!
And now, both kids are crashed -dead to the world! Kurt in his playpen bed and Maya, on her nap-pad on the floor! Dreaming of sugerplums dancing in their heads no doubt!
I'll let you know when the tent is up, table set, picnic ready to be served in the near future.
Ya'll come! OK?