My day did not start well today.
Nathan has topped his Christmas list with the dreaded "cell phone". His father is in favor of it, because Nate will be going to middle school next year, (sixth grade will be middle school). He will be ranging more widely. I get it. However, Sara didn’t get a phone until she was 13. And above all, I don’t want to reward him with a device that implies responsibility when he had shown very little lately. He will sometimes do a chore when asked. He filled the wood box yesterday without too much objection. But he was a little shit about helping with supper and found excuses not to help clean up. I would prefer to wait until the beginning of the school year next year and use the intervening time to, let’s just say… train him in a few life-skills. He’s pissed because he wants the phone for Christmas. Everyone has one! Everyone except him! How do I expect him to have friends! Tears. Recriminations. Rants about the quality of my parenting. What he fails to see is that he is digging himself deeper and deeper.
Then I used my commute to get myself wound up about Chuck. The anxiety dujeur (if that's spelled wrong, all you Frenchies need to forgive me) is money and the future. We have figured out our financial life together for the present. But what about retirement? What if one of us gets sick? If I die before he does, what will that mean? If he dies before me? Argh! I never wasted a thought on these matters in my first marriage. First marriages are all about building things together. You have babies, you buy homes. You earn together, save together, do everything in sync and on the same time-line. What are we building in a second marriage? It is a little depressing to think that all a second marriage is about is keeping the other person comfortable and happy as we slide down the hill into old age and death. I wonder if I would be more settled and happy if I thought there was something that we were working toward as a couple. I should try to discuss this with him.
I got all the way to work before I remembered that I was supposed to stop at the camera repair place and drop off my/Sara’s/Chuck’s camera to be repaired. Geeze, I even had a sticky note with the address stuck to my dashboard to remind me. I was preoccupied and on auto-pilot. I pulled into my parking space, swore, and pulled back out again.
I found the camera shop and the lady who worked there looked at the problem, then pulled a face that told me, “DOH! That’s gonna cost ya!” It’s a firmware problem. Huh? Probably needs to be sent back to Cannon. They may need to replace all of the circuitry. It might cost more than a new camera at this point. Sigh. The camera is almost new. Just not quite new enough. And Sara adores it and has become an avid photographer. What caused this to happen? Nothing. Sometimes, it just…happens. To me.
Finally, as I was leaving, I was waiting to turn right into heavy traffic. I was looking to my left…looking to my left… there’s an opening…I just started to pull forward when ZIP! There goes a bicycle, against traffic and on the sidewalk, crossing right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes with barely an inch to spare. Scared the living shit out of me. My hair stood on end. And of course, I stalled out my engine, delayed getting into the break in traffic and got honked at by the guy behind me, who clearly thought I should have just run the cyclist over.
But, the day improved.
Chuck called me to chat for a couple minutes. He doesn’t do that very often anymore, but I love it when he does. Reminds me of when we first started going out. It's a date!
Then, we got a huge donation of graham crackers. Cases and cases. The expiration dates are varied: September through December. If we time it right and watch the stock, we can give them out for snacks for several months before they get really rancid. I know that doesn’t sound great. But we have had no snacks at all for months. I like to have something on hand because so many of our students come straight from work without having eaten. And the kids in the childcare can use a snack, too. I stacked cases of crackers in the office and piled more cases in the garage and was very happy.
And finally at evening staff meeting tonight, Chuck showed up with a giant burrito, which he threw at me in a neat spiral, slugging me in the chest and almost knocking me over. It’ll feed me for a couple of days! And I was able to give him a Guatemalan style tamale, courtesy of my student Alma. I gave mine to him. Kind of like the gift of the Magi, only with supper. Life is good, after all.