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Suburban Island

Friday with a Side of Ice
Friday, Feb. 06, 2004, 10:04 p.m.

QUESTION: Where are my snow boots and umbrella when I need them?

WHAT I LEARNED: You CAN get too creative with a latte.

Another week has come and gone. There’s ice on the ground, kids in the house all day, and I feel a big time cold coming on. I just want to sit in front of the computer for the rest of the evening – after I eat some carry-out Chinese - and have a diary night. I want to wear my Sponge Bob slippers, listen to jazz, and think about things that don’t have anything to do with work, or responsibility, or chores, for a few hours.

There is something about a Friday night. It is like a peaceful pool of warm light that is shining in the spot right between the rush of the week and the rush of the weekend. I love Friday evenings because I can justify lying around on the sofa watching TV, or getting on the computer for hours, or staying up late without the normal exhausting consequences.

It’s just getting through Friday proper that gets to me sometimes. Take this Friday for example. Here’s a brief synopsis of the significant events of this Friday as I see them:

6:30 a.m. – Icy rain is falling. Schools are delayed two hours. I, the mom, have a morning appointment. Not again.

7:30 a.m. – Icy rain still falling. Schools close for the day. I, the mom, still have a morning appointment. Sometimes work stinks.

8:00 a.m. – Icy rain still falling. I walk around on the front porch in my bare feet to see how icy it really is. I deem this the worst idea of the day. My feet feel funny.

8:30 a.m. – I am driving to an appointment even though I would rather not because I have a new manager and I don’t want him to think I’m a slacker. I wonder if he’s working from his warm dry home office today. That's what I'd be doing if I were him.

8:40 a.m. – I stop at the coffee shop for a warming and awakening tall white chocolate mocha. When I put my hand in my pocket, I pull out pieces of ice. When I return to my car, I am shocked to see my brand new cell phone lying in a puddle of icy rain right beside the driver's side door. I am amazed it is still there and that it is still in one piece. Cell phones do not belong in laps. Lesson learned.

11:00 a.m. – In the middle of the client meeting, my nose starts running. I have to use the only Kleenex in my purse – from a pack of bright blue generic Kleenex with a print of little Santa hats on it. Super professional.

12:45 p.m. – Appointment done. I’ve had lunch too. I just need a nice coffee - what with that cold rain. How about some butterscotch syrup in that latte – almost like caramel, right? No butterscotch? You’ve got butter rum? Okay, I used to like those butter rum Lifesaver candies. This could be interesting. No, it’s not interesting. It’s horrible. Just horrible. I cannot describe the awfulness of a butter rum latte. Cost of undrinkable drink = $3.25.

1:10 p.m. – Drive back from client meeting in the pouring rain. Would like to go to bed for the rest of the day but that is the stuff of dreams.

1:45 p.m. – Ditch butter rum latte. Buy more coffee at the real coffee shop that doesn’t have butter rum flavoring. I buy my kids coffees too. I feel better now if quite a bit poorer.

4:00 p.m. – Arrive home. Distribute coffee. Am loved by kids for 3 minutes before they turn back to bugging the hell out of each other (and me in the process). I think I am getting a cold.

5:30 p.m. – Husband tries to dry clothes in clothes drier. Drier gallantly tosses clothes about but drier does not dry anything because there is no hot air being generated. Husband is sad.

5:45 p.m. – Call work friend and tell her I cannot go to her after work birthday bash back in the big city. It is icy. I feel icky. I hope she doesn’t think I’m a lazy rain-sissy.

6:00 p.m. – I no longer just think I am getting a cold. I no longer care if my work friend thinks I am a lazy rain-sissy. That’s because I know I am getting a cold. That is because I know I am getting sick. Now I feel justified in huddling - warm and dry - on the sofa eating Chinese food and watching Trading Spaces while others drive through icy rain and tromp through puddles in sodden coats to buy happy hour drinks in a smoky bar.

7:00 p.m. – Okay, now I really have a cold. I feel really sick. I need tea. I need Santa-hat free Kleenex.

7:30 p.m. – Kleenex use is now in full swing. I bring the box with me from room to room. Now, I really truly don’t care if my work friend thinks I am a lazy rain-sissy. I have a sore throat. I am gargling with warm salt water. I hate gargling with warm salt water. I am not lazy rain-avoiding sissy anymore. I am a person with a cold just taking care of business.

9:00 p.m. – Oh, was I supposed to buy soap for the dishwasher? No clean dishes tonight. I did buy some clothes detergent and hamburger and the latest issue of Woman’s Day during my last shopping trip. Need to remember to refer to illegible shopping list next time.

9:20 p.m. - I am now wearing my Sponge Bob slippers, listening to jazz, and working on my diary. The drier is repaired by husband who is not sad anymore. I have a lot of Kleenex in my Kleenex box - certainly, enough to last the night. I have hot tea and a heating pad waiting in the wings. It’s not my ideal Friday night scenario but it’s all good because after all, I am now officially dawdling in the oasis of peace and leisure that is Friday night.

Today’s Suburban Strategy: Aspirin in the fridge & Captain Kangaroo...

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