Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What a woman wants

Don't lie to me, guys: I know you spend countless sleepless nights wondering about it. You know your girl isn't always happy, but you don't know what the franchise you're supposed to be doing about it. Some guy in Hollywood tried to answer the question with that Mel Gibson movie from a few years ago. And maybe it helped--for awhile. But the dilemma is still plaguing you. Well finally, I have the help you've been looking for.
Here it is: we women, although we seem like selfless paragons of virtue (and in so many ways, we are) are still selfish beings. And this is what we really crave: the ability to choose. To choose without feeling guilty about it.
I realized this last night as I was snuggling up to my husband. He's leaving today for a week-long trip out to Oregon to see his brother. He asked if I'm going to miss him. Now this is a tough question. Not that I won't MISS him, but in some ways, it's a vacation for me too when he goes away. Here's why: at night, I get to decide when I want to go to bed. And when I do, I can read or I can go right to sleep, and I don't have to worry about what he would prefer. And this is what makes it beautiful: I get to choose. I decide when to close my sleepy little eyes, and there is no guilt about putting him out if he's not ready to sleep.
That's why ladies like Girls' Night Outs so much. There's something about going out for dinner or drinks and doing WHATEVER WE WANT! We don't need to wipe chins or consult on price limits; we order, we eat, and then we sit back and talk.
At this time, guys, you might be feeling a little put out. Maybe you don't like the idea that your girl wants to get away from you and hang out with other women. But really, you shouldn't think of it like that. Here's what I want you to think (and believe me: it will be good for you). When I get home from a GNO, I have spent a good two or three (or so) hours getting all the chatting done. I've talked about books I've read lately and the hottest guys on the silver screen; I've talked about what our kids are doing lately and what bugs me about parenting; I've talked about my hair and my flabby spots and I've gotten encouragement to keep working out; I've talked about trips I want to go on and places I want to see. In a few words: I've spilled out all that talking you tune out anyway.
When I come home, I don't need to rehash those things with you any more. You get to spend the rest of the evening with a quiet girl who is REALLY grateful that you let her spend a few hours with friends.
This is what your woman wants, guys. Time. Time to be young again with her girlfriends. To talk about food and kids and clothes and movies. Time to be selfish and crazy and laugh long and loud. Time to refresh so she can come back home and be a mom and wife. And in between those nights out with the girls, maybe an hour or two here and there by herself, an hour or two where she can do whatever she wants (selfishly) sans guilt.
Now, I'm not saying I have all the answers; I don't. But I'm pretty sure I've nailed this, for myself at least.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Woman of My Word

I said I would post book reviews, and I've read hmm...maybe 3 books since I promised that. So I'll start with my most recent finish: The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. After our most recent reads (hmm, let's see: a woman and her father who both contract cancer, war-torn Afghanistan, a high school shooting, and a man who loses his job and plunges his family into near-ruin), we decided to read something light-hearted.
I'm really not sure who thought this book would fit the bill. As soon as I read the first instance of Georgia's (the main character) quickly-mentioned queasiness or headache or sudden dizziness, I knew something dire was in the offing. And guess what? My premonitions were correct. Not only did Ms. Georgia have cancer, but she DIED OF IT ON PAGE 329, 11 pages before the last page of the book.
What a happy mood lifter this was. I think I've got to be a stronger voice in the book selection process. How about a little David Sedaris? Augusten Burroughs? Mark Haddon? I want to laugh so hard I cry. Not just cry.

But here's the book review you've all been waiting for:
Georgia Walker's baby-daddy deserted her soon after he found out she was pregnant and she caught him sleeping with his boss. She wanted a man who was constant; he wanted...freedom, I guess. So Georgia was left to support herself and her baby alone. In Manhattan. With a not-too-great job. She was sitting in Central Park one day with baby Dakota, a girl, knitting and crying in self-pity. That's when Anita came upon her. Fortunately, Anita was a kindly widow with an apparently endless supply of time, money, and compassion. She helped Georgia out of her self-pity and into a better financial situation: first as a knitter for hire for the rich and idle, then as the owner of a shop of knitting supplies and advice.
When the story opens eleven or so years later, Georgia's shop has become pretty successful and a group of her regular customers decides to start a knitting club on Friday nights. Young Dakota tests her burgeoning culinary skills on them, delighting the members with cupcakes, cookies, muffins and the like. A radically feminist grad student joins the club with insidious intent: to write her dissertation on outmoded women's hobbies that indicate the patriarchal nature of society--and she ends up becoming a knitter herself. Lucie ends up making a probably prize-winning documentary about the film, while also knitting like crazy for the child she has conceived with the unknowing aid of an online dater/father candidate. Anita slowly falls in love with the owner of the deli downstairs, who conveniently owns the whole building and (at the end) lets Walker and Daughter continue to operate (after Georgia's death) rent free. Peri launches her handmade handbag collection (thanks to Georgia's help) while working at the shop. KC is a sloppy knitter, but she passes the LSAT after losing her job in the publishing industry. Kat gets the courage to divorce her philandering, domineering (really rich) husband and opens an antique shop. And Georgia reconnects with her baby's daddy, her mother, AND her grandmother before dying.
It's all wrapped up so neatly, isn't it? Such a happy-tearful ending. And in a sense, I appreciate what it's saying. I like the way these women of different backgrounds and places-in-life can support each other and encourage each other. I like the way they hang out at the yarn shop, and I think I'd like to visit a place like that and feel and smell the yarns.
So what is bothering me about this? Why can't I just be happy for their happiness (and why can't I sympathize with their sadness?) I think part of what irks me about this book is the fact that most of the time, I never felt wholly immersed in the story. Whole sections were written reflectively, almost as recaps of action. Other sections felt like they were being narrated from the top of a nearly-transparent cloud: the writing created a distance from the characters that was too far to travel. But some parts drew me in: the descriptions of the shop, of Marty's apartment, of Cat's scheme to ditch her husband, of Gran's home in Scotland. But most of the time, I just slogged through the book, waiting to care.
My final advice: don't read this book unless your book club makes you. There are more and better boks out there. PS: I'm not alone. Check out the diversity of reviews on amazon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer thoughts

It seems that my motivation to get things done is indirectly related to the amount of time I have in which to do them. What I mean is this: during the school year, I have a limited amount of time in the evenings to keep up with housework, make dinner, and hang out with the family. But somehow, I get it all done and still have time to read, write and create.

So it would seem that during the summer, when I have all flipping day, I would be a dynamo of work. Right? Wouldn't that make sense? And in April and May, I always set goals for my summer vacation, goals which are really not beyond reach. However, despite my best intentions, I find myself frittering away my days, and by the time I go to bed each night, I am really not certain at all how I've spent my day.

Here is what I think happens:

1) Instead of waking up before six (like I do during the school year), I luxuriate in the bliss of summer and sleep till 8: two hours lost to snoozing.

2) Instead of showering, dressing, and drinking my coffee on the go, I leisurely sip my way through a cup or four whilst reading a book: two hours lost to sipping and reading.

3) Then I feel guilty about slobbing around in my PJs, so I take a shower and get dressed. By now, it's time for lunch.

4) Eat, do dishes, think about dinner, look at the dust on the piano and think about waiting one more day to tackle house cleaning. Now it's after one.

5) I look at the clock and spend maybe 1/2 an hour wondering where the day has gone, then check my email, facebook, think about whether anything interesting has happened that could be blog worthy. But nothing has because I'm not doing anything.

6) Spend the rest of the day reading guiltily, thinking about all those goals I created in the spring, deciding to get to them after I clean the house.
7) Stay up late because it's summer vacation and I think it's a little sinful to watch the hour hand tip past eleven. Result: sleeping later the next morning.
Well, I finished cleaning today, and I have taken a shower and gotten dressed (and I know, it's lunch time). So I'm going to look over those goals after I feed the masses. And I will start one of them today. Or maybe think about it while I'm baking outside watching Clint help Tony and Anne build a tree fort. Drrg.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How do you define camping?

From what I hear, you can go as rough and wild as you want. I know a few people who like to camp in the middle of the wilderness and hunt or fish or forage for their meals. I think they pee in the flora, and I doubt they take showers. These are serious campers.
Then there are the other kind of campers. The ones who buy the huge diesel trucks to pull their huge campers, complete with extra rooms that slide out and awnings that roll out to protect them from rain.
Then there's me: here are the things I don't like about camping: my feet are more dirty than I'd like, my clothes soak up the smell of wood smoke, my air mattress always deflates, and the bathroom is too far away.
But my kids love to camp, and my brother-in-law is very persuasive. So when he proposed a Father's Day weekend camp-out in his back yard, I shrugged and agreed to try it again. But when Friday rolled around, I realized I really hadn't given the weekend much thought: that is, I hadn't considered AT ALL what we were going to eat, nor that I had made other commitments such as open houses and meetings. Therefore, we decided to do a quick jaunt Friday night, leaving early on Saturday. After scrounging up enough food for dinner and breakfast (but forgetting things like drinks, paper products, a cooler, lawn chairs...) we set out under very ominous skies.
It rained on and off all night. As I stood under the tarp, feeling the damp seep into my pants and my curls, listening to Jared fuss about how he was afraid of the rain, I wondered (as I do each time at about this wet stage in my camping experience) why I was doing this. When Jared snuck into the house (the rule was: kids--and adults--could only enter the house for bathroom usage), I followed him. We hid out in the basement, he busy with toys and me with my book.
The night got darker and the rain fell harder and Clint and I decided to leave with Jared for the safety, warmth, comfort of my parents' house (less than a mile away). Were we jeered at? A little bit. Did I mind? Hell no. I was going back to civilization. Did I feel a twinge of guilt for leaving Lauren and Jonah to tough out the storm? Maybe a little--for Lauren at least. I knew Jonah was in his snake- and frog-catching element.
It was a stormy night and with each clap of thunder, I sighed in bliss, knowing that I was comfortable and dry on a mattress that was impervious to deflation, the only possibility of dampness from the window we'd left open for the breeze.
I woke up, took a shower, drank two leisurely cups of coffee, and went to pick up my kids and their damp sleeping bags and tents. Will I test my resolve again and try camping one more time? Maybe. Will I ever like it? I doubt it. I am just too fond of clean feet and a dry bed.
Sorry, Dave.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another goal

Here is what I am going to do this summer (and I WILL accomplish them all, bwah-ha-ha):

1) send out a query letter each week (or more) for A Minor Revolution
2) create, sign, and address birthday cards for everyone on my list--for the NEXT WHOLE YEAR
3) start my etsy shop FOR REAL
4) read at least 5 "literary" books, not just fun stuff (any suggestions?)
5) blog about every book I read from now on (maybe an online journal like this will be easier to keep)
6) work out at least 4 days each week
7) anything else?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What happened today

I wish I could tell you, but Clint is laying down the law and he said I am absolutely forbidden to tell anyone. Let me say these things, and I'll rely on your collective creative genius to figure it out:

1) 9 centimeters
2) Clint DOES have some fat on his legs
3) 4 below the surface and 26 above
4) Walgreen's is the only pharmacy near our house that is open 24 hours
5) the tree in Jason's yard is still not totally cut down

Didja figure it out?

6) oh, and I got to go to the emergency room today

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A new attitude

It is a truth generally acknowledged (by mothers, primarily) that just when we feel most at peace and spiritually centered (like for example, when we are elbow deep in dishwater and scrubbing thoughtlessly at the remnants of macaroni and cheese in the pot) that something dreadful hits the proverbial fan.
That was me about three hours ago. It was quiet and the suds caught the setting sun in a refractory confection that dazzled my end-of-the-school year benumbed mind. Clint and Lauren were in Ann Arbor on a Craig's List crazed hunt for a new(er) piano, Jonah was taking care of recycling and compost. And I thought Jared was playing in his room.
Just as I was letting the water out of the sink, I heard Jared sliding down the stairs--not walking, mind you. He walks when he's confident, slides when he's hiding something. "Hi, mom," he announced. "I cleaned up all the poop."
If you're not a mom, this might sound like a good thing. But if you're a mom--or if you're at all familiar with the cleaning capabilities of the average toddler--you know this is quite, quite far from a good thing.
I dropped my rubber gloves and sprinted for him, and as I did, I noticed that while he was still wearing the same shirt he'd had on earlier, the pants were all new. "Where are your clothes, Jared?" I asked, trying to smother the rising sense of panic. That was when I smelled the unmistakable smell. I couldn't tell if it was wafting from his body or from another location--or both.
He smiled at me, his face an angel's, and he shrugged--a new trick he's recently acquired. "I don't know," he said.
I followed my nose and found a discarded pair of slightly soiled undies in the middle of his floor. But these weren't the undies I put on him this morning. "Where are your clothes?" I asked again.
He pointed at his shirt and smiled again. Is a two year old capable of playing dumb? I'm asking you honestly. I don't know if he's less clever than I think or far more clever than I fear.
I sniffed again and followed the trail to the bathroom, where I found a pile of very soiled undies and pants on the floor right next to the toilet.
"Oh," he said. "I had a assident." His smile, in case you haven't met him, is irresistible. "I'm sorry, momma."
After I stripped him and put him in the tub, I cleaned up the mess, finding a few more rather disgusting surprises in unexpected places. I'll spare you the details. But as I was scrubbing and throwing the whole mess of things into the washing machine with a healthy squirt of germicide (don't worry: Jonah was supervising the bathtub), I had to stop and smile at the whole thing.
Yes, he had an accident. And yes, it was really disgusting. But that was the worst of it. On the positive side, I had a potty-trained toddler (and I didn't have to do any of the work), and this little boy had done a darned good job cleaning up his mess. I am blessed any way I look at it--no, every way I look at it.
And there is only God to thank for all of it.

I need this book

You probably already know this: I got my MFA in Professional Writing from Western Connecticut. For every semester, I attended a week long residency, an intense six days of workshops, lectures, and readings.
You may not know this: the author of this book, Daniel Asa Rose, is one of the program's writing mentors.
You probably don't know this: he told us this story at the last residency I attended (August 2007), and I laughed so hard I cried.

I haven't read it yet, but it looks hilarious. The story he told us of his trip to China with his cousin Larry was intense, surprising, and slightly shady. Like most of Daniel's stories, actually. He's a great writer with a gift for quirky wordplay and a unique ability to highlight the absurdities in life. If you want to read a great book, get this. I plan on ordering my copy right now.

Oh, and click on the pic of the book to get to amazon. They have a short video clip of Daniel talking about the book. Watch it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How soon do you let go?

I have a confession: when I go grocery shopping with Clint, I spend the first ten minutes in mortal dread that he will suggest splitting up (which is his way of saying he's going to ditch me in the grocery aisles while he goes to look at the hunting/fishing/camping/hardware/anything but food section), and then I spend the next thirty-fifty minutes blissfully comparing prices and ticking things off my list, and then I spend the next ten minutes in a state of ever-rising panic as I look for him, pacing back and forth past all the aisles he could be in, never finding him until anxiety has spun my brain into cotton candy.
Maybe my mom lost me once in a store--I don't know. But being separated like that scares me, I think because I'm afraid I won't be able to find my way back.
So now, when my kids come to the grocery store with me--or any store--or the mall, they ask the same thing (so much like their father, aren't they?) (I'm talking Lauren and Jonah here--IF I take Jared, he stays firmly parked in the cart). And what should I say? Jackson is a small town, and they're probably safe to go to the other side of the store--they are 11 and almost-14, after all--but they're both SO CUTE, and even though I make them leave their "Please Kidnap Me: I'm Helpless" shirts at home when we go out, I still worry.
I worry the whole time we're apart, and I usually go looking for them long before our arranged meet-up time. Can't help it. I'm not a nervous person, really, but I know how amazing my kids are, and I don't doubt for a second that their inestimable value is clearly stamped across their foreheads.
So here's the thing I'm trying to wrap my brain around: Lauren just got back from a class trip to Chicago with her eighth grade class. And the rule was this: the students were allowed to explore on their own (at museums and on Michigan Ave) as long as they stayed in groups of three. Am I paranoid? I'm not trying to cast aspersions on her chaperones--I trust them all. But...Lauren's so cute! What Chicago kidnapper wouldn't want to steal her? Would two other girls be enough protection from such a villain? or enough deterrent from his fiendish schemes?
It's done and she's home and safe and had a fabulous time. Maybe I need to get a longer leash and hold her a little less tightly. She's going into high school next year, and she'll be one of almost 2000 students. She is smart and capable and a lot more mature than I think I realize. Yes. I have almost talked myself into being less sheltering (smothering?) (why is the word "smother" so close to "mother"?).
After all, I can just refocus my (ahem) sheltering tendencies on the baby. Well, the almost-three year old, who says he isn't a baby anymore at all, but a little big boy. He still enjoys a good coddling, and he certainly won't be leaving the cart anytime soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If you know Jonah...

It has been twice now that I've wished I didn't send our camera to Chicago with Lauren. But I'm sure she's making good use of it; hasn't dropped or lost it; is taking pictures to spur memories.
Because I want to show you what Clint got me for my birthday, but even more, I want to show you what I just found on the couch.

You know Bubbles, the forty inch tall stuffed lamb? The one Jared sleeps with? (PS: Bubbles is getting old, and he's developed a probably fatal hole over his heart)

And you know Big Elmo, the thirty inch tall--uh--Elmo? The one Jared also sleeps with?

Well, when I went downstairs to help Clint serve up my belated birthday cake, I found this tableau.

Picture this:

Big Elmo and Bubbles are sitting at opposite ends of the couch, facing each other.
Big Elmo has a Nerf dart gun pointed right at Bubbles.
Bubbles has a dart stuck deep in the hole in his chest, and the red socks Jared wore today are tucked neatly around the dart. They look like fabric blood.

Who is this kid?

Why I love etsy

There are so many reasons, but here are the two latest:
1) Clint got me this scarf from Michelle Brusegaard's shop (click here) for my birthday. Isn't it beautiful? I'm going to wear it tomorrow with jeans and a white t-shirt. I can't wait. It's lightweight jersey, screenprinted by the artist herself. It's really long and very soft. I LOVE it! Thanks, Clint.

Photo courtesy Michelle Brusegaard

2) I bought this print for Clint for his birthday from Irene Suchocki (click here), but after I spent all that money on his GUN, I decided to keep it for myself. It was always for me anyway, though, wasn't it? It's called Another Green World and printed on metallic paper. The color is so vivid and rich, isn't it? I can't decide where to put it in the living room. If only my husband would get busy finishing our bookshelves and mantle, I'd know how much space I have. But check out Irene's shop. She has so many beautiful photos; you'll love her interpretations of landscapes, flora, and Paris. So many of them have a lyrical, dreamlike quality. I wish I had more money and a few more walls.

Photo courtesy Irene Suchocki

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Older and wiser

There is much widom that comes with age; I know that to be quite true. Learned it, in fact, today.
For the same reason that prompts wives to vainly hope that their husbands will read their minds and get them the lingerie/book/box of chocolate/dress/handbag they've been craving, in my foolish younger years (when I was but a wee lass of 32--and in many of the years before that) I did not tell anyone when my birthday was approaching. This year I tried a different tactic.
I have been reminding my friends and students for, oh, something like a month. For the last week, I have started each class with "Today is my last Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday(etc) of being 33." They caught on quickly.
And you know what? In terms of well wishing, today was the best birthday I've ever had. Check this out:
--by 7:00, I had hugs and kisses from my husband and children
--by 8:00, at least 30 teenagers had wished me a happy birthday
--by 9:00, I had opened a birthday card from my favorite English teacher (thanks, Amy)
--by 10:00, I had served chocolate cake, made by one of my students (thanks, KC) to surprise me, to my third hour class
--by 12:00, I had been visited by Gretchen (what a cool surprise!) with an iced coffee and biscotti
--by 12:15, I had been sung to by my homeroom class
--by 12:30, I had served brownies, made by another pair of students (thanks Myria and Kyle) (another surprise) to my homeroom class
--by 1:00, I had been serenaded by a student (thanks, Adam!) and gotten a birthday card signed by 15 students
--by 2:00, I had been sung to by another class of 20 students
--by 8:00, when I got home and checked facebook, I had 20 or so messages from friends and family

Note to self: don't let another birthday slip by, hoping someone will know and remember and pass the word on. Why waste a day full of so many hugs, chocolate opportunities, and full out glory?

Note to you: try it for your next birthday. It's way fun.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And the icing on the cake (actually, there isn't any) (it's an idiom)

The problem with having our birthdays a day apart is the cake. Do we want to be extravagant and have two different cakes? Since Clint decided on something that I find particularly delicious--much more so than carrot cake--I graciously agreed to share our cakes this year. Probably didn't hurt my decision making process with the thought that due to my allergies, I haven't run in about a month. I don't want to have to work off two cakes. Plus the bread pudding with creme anglaise we made on Sunday. A few bites of that are in the fridge too. (blissful sigh).

Birthday candles and the cake:
Williams-Sonoma's Flourless Chocolate Cake with fresh whipped cream
and raspberry glaze.
Does it get any better? I'm asking you.

He's Thirty-Seven: Let's Celebrate

Sometimes I'm so clever I amaze myself. Usually, I wimp out on birthday and Christmas gifts for Clint because he really only likes two things: hunting and building stuff. And I know absolutely nothing about tools or weapons (or any of the gear that goes along with them). But this year, I outdid myself and impressed the socks off my husband. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's how it started.
We don't really make formal lists, but when Clint and I were talking about our birthdays and what we might want (mine is tomorrow), he mentioned the sort of thing I usually get him. "Really, Kir," he said, glancing at me while we drove to church. "A few nice dress shirts and a pair of jeans. It's really all I need."
"I don't want to get you what you need again. That's what I always get. I want to get you something you WANT." I knew I was whining. I'm not sure who I was pitying more: myself for not having the guts to walk into a tool or hunting store and belly up to the counter, or him for not ever getting something really cool from me.
"Well, if you wanted to get me something REALLY cool, you could get me a--" and he babbled something about a gun, really in a pretty quiet voice, eyes on the road. I heard these words: 12 gauge, pump, something about barrels, and turkey. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I was pretty sure it was some sort of gun. I laughed at him.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought this might be the year to do it. I didn't have any other great ideas, after all.
So I talked to a couple of very helpful, reliable sources (his brother Ric, an avid hunter, and those of my students who also love to hunt). They gave me some suggestions about brands and price ranges, and I was off the next day to Schupbach's, the sporting goods store in Jackson.
When I got to the counter, I looked up and up into the craggy face of Tom, a man who looked a lot like my Grandpa Greiner. "Are you lookin' for a gun, missy?" he asked.
I smiled my stupid-sweet smile. "Yes, for my husband. His birthday is next week."
"Do you know what you want?" He was so patient--and maybe a little condescending.
"Well, my husband said something about the number 12 and a pump and maybe two barrels--and he likes to shoot turkey and deer." Now let me set you straight, in case you were beginning to doubt me: I am not dumb, but I can play it very well. I use this routine every time Clint sends me to the hardware store, and it has saved me lots of time. Try it. Smile cute and squeeze your native intelligence into a box, and presto: instant helpfulness from the staff, especially men.
Tom showed me several guns, and I ended up going with a beauty: a Mossberg 500 with 2 barrels, one for hunting turkey and one for hunting deer. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it LOOKED so much prettier than the cheaper (used) plain black one, which seemed only to be missing the bright orange knob on the end of the muzzle to make it a child's toy.
I put it on layaway, and then began to bend my mind toward the task of setting this all up.
Finally, I hit upon the perfect plan (thanks, Amy and Kris, for your help).
One of my students, Mike, had been totally interested in this whole gun-purchasing process, so he got to be the lucky winner. Today during our Creative Writing class, I had him call Clint's cell (he didn't answer) and then his work # and use a script I had prepared for him. Finally he got through. This is what transpired:
Mike: Hi, is this Clint Genthner?
Clint: Yes.
Mike: Clint, this is Mike from Schupbach's Sporting Goods. We have an item in layaway for you. Do you know anything about this?
Clint: No--
Mike: The tag says item#52646--This IS Clint Genthner, right?
Clint: Yes, but I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't order anything.
Mike: Well, could you come down to our store today to sort this out?
Clint: Um--yeah, I can come down after school. Would that be okay?
Mike: Sure, that would be great. Ask for Mike at the counter.
Clint emailed me right away, asking if I knew anything about this. I played dumb again.
After I got done with school, I called him and asked for the scoop. I suggested that maybe some of his students had gotten him a surprise gift. He thought maybe the principal had ordered something for his archery program at school and forgotten to tell him. "I'm on my way to Schupbach's right now," he said.
Hmm. This was a problem. I had the layaway ticket he needed to pick up the gun. "How about if I come down too and meet you there?" I asked.
"Why? It's probably just something stupid."
Hmm. Now what should I say? "Well, what if it isn't? What if your students got you something? I want to see it too!"
"Well, come on down. But you're probably coming into town for nothing."
I was so gleeful as I drove the few miles downtown, I couldn't stop laughing. It was that tight giddy laugh of the very self-satisfied person who has done something truly genius. But as I drove and reflected on our last conversation, I thought I recalled a hint of suspicion in Clint's voice. I had to allay it. I called again.
"Yes?" he said.
"Hey, how do I get to Schupbach's anyway?" I asked.
How smart am I now, huh? It worked.
When we got there, he still looked confused and wandered up to the counter, pulling a slip of paper with the numbers 52646 on it. "Should I just give them this?" he asked.
I pulled the layaway slip from my purse. "Maybe this would help." My smile was PLASTERED across my face.
Of course, the first thing he saw was the price, which boggled his eyes a little, but it took him awhile to decipher the brand name and model number information--and figure out what that slip represented. Even still, I don't think it sunk in until the beefy lad at the gun counter brought out his gun.
He started to breathe pretty heavily and leaned on the counter. "Kir?" he said, and his voice was so soft I could barely hear it. "You got me a gun? You really bought me a gun?" Then he hugged me so hard my back cracked, which was great because it's been hurting a little the last few days.
Yeah, I'm going to be riding on this victory for years.I think this is his happy face.