Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
-- Lewis Grizzard

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"I Can't Take You Anywhere"

When my mother-in-law calls out of the blue one evening and asks to take the kids overnight so they can have one of their infamous movie/game nights,  my mind immediately conjures up images of my husband and I sitting at a table in a dark, quiet corner of our favorite restaurant engaged in a deep and meaningful conversation.  I happily agree to the sleepover and in a little over an hour I have the kids cleaned up, packed up and delivered to Grandma across town.

I race home, change into a nice shirt, and put on my high-heeled "goin' out" boots.  I am mid-stroke in applying a 'touch-up' coat of mascara when the phone's my husband calling to find out where I want to go for dinner.  We go through the usual "I don't care babe, wherever you want to, you decide" routine until we decide that we'll decide when he gets home in twenty minutes.  Once home, my husband confesses that he has a taste for a hamburger and some cheese fries. Forty minutes later we are sitting at the kitchen counter 'googling' and 'binging' the Internet for "best hamburger in Chicago".  We then come to the conclusion that it is getting late and we still have to run by the store to pick up coffee for the morning, so that quaint, mom-and-pop, voted-best-in-the-city burger joint we found on the Internet is going to have to wait for another kid-free occasion.  An hour and twenty minutes later, after he's handled three calls from work and I have called to check on the kids twice, we're headed out the door.  The plan---stop off at Wal-Mart and then make the ten minute drive down the street to the same place we always get hamburgers and cheese fries.

We are just about half a mile down the road and a friendly sheriff's deputy decides to pull us over and let us know that our license plate light is burnt out.  To prove his concern and friendliness, he writes us a little note that states we are now privileged enough to owe the town $75.  My husband, who has a few small  issues with authority, is beyond thrilled at this and proceeds to unleash a veritable parade of profanities that suddenly makes me grateful the children are not sitting in the admittedly, I am not a saint when it comes to the fine art of swearing, but I was even a bit uncomfortable with his tirade!  Finally we make it to Wal-Mart and after circling the parking lot at least three times to find that perfect spot....which on a normal night I would make some smart-ass comment, but wisely decide to keep my mouth shut tonight.... my husband shoves the car into PARK.

My husband is still grumbling to himself as we make our way through the parking lot.  Just as we are stepping up onto the sidewalk my ankle gives out and down with a painful thud I go.  I am in a heap, grabbing my ankle, laughing so hard I am crying, and launching my own version of a profanity parade.  My husband, somewhere between the car and the sidewalk, has managed to loose his crabbiness and is now bent over cracking up at my expense.  This sets off a chain reaction of the two of us snorting and giggling so hard it would put a 5th grade slumber party to shame. After a few minutes of me flip-flopping between cursing, laughing and crying he musters up his chivalry and helps me to my feet.  I hobble to a cart, grab hold and channel my inner senior-citizen by using it as a walker.

Upon entering the store and being greeted with a sympathetic nod by a fellow senior-citizen, I hear my husband teasing me by going on and on with his shpeel  about why "he can't take me anywhere"........ha ha ha.

Luckily and by the grace of God,  we make it to the coffee/tea/jams/and jellies aisle without further incident.  I make my caffeinated selection and upon turning around, realize my husband has disappeared.  Instinctively, I head for the Frozen Foods section to find him gazing, wide-eyed at the vast selection of icecream.  He senses my approach and tries to hide that boyish grin of his at knowing I have found him, and I can't help but smile at how much I love him and the fact we know each other so well.  He throws a gallon of mint-chocolate-chip and another of moose-tracks into the cart and moves on happily to the next freezer where he finds icecream sandwiches and fudge-Popsicles........Twenty minutes and a cart-full of frozen foods later, we are wandering around Wal-Mart like a couple of nomadic tribespeople.  We end up in the Pets section browsing the shelves for chew toys and rawhides for our dog.

Another half an hour passes and we mutually agree we're both starving and head for the front of the store cutting through Young-Men's Clothing, my husband leading the way.  I am chatting away about something or other, when I glance over and see a vaguely familiar symbol that sparks a sudden memory of my childhood.  I shout out in excitement,  "Thundercats.....Ho-oh!"  Now,  I am moving in a forward direction following my husband, but am totally and completely transfixed by this symbol. (you know the one, the black panther head inside a red circle......)  Just as my husband is turning around to see how far off the deep end I have gone this time,  I plow the cart into a display rack full of baseball hats and t-shirts.  The display rack's four shelves have come undone at one end resulting in a massive, but colorful, landslide of neatly folded t-shirts.  The top of the display that had previously been shelving high stacks of  baseball hats is now twisted with one end on the floor,  and the other end is hanging at a precarious angle, baseball hats scattered at least five feet in every direction.  I am attempting to flee the scene of the crime, head down and face beet-red, but there is my husband, once again doubled-over with laughter, cackling at the top of his lungs, blocking my escape route!  I push forward, nearly mowing him over too, determined to slip into a lane, pay for his frozen foods and my coffee and get the heck out of there.  I can hear him laughing and yelling from somewhere behind me, "crazy woman......I swear I can't take her anywhere!"

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