1) T.J. Maxx. As shocking as it sounds, I have now become a person who wears workout clothes in order to WORK OUT! Will wonders never cease? Thanks to a great Groupon deal, I have started taking yoga classes for the very first time. During my first class, I could not understand how standing around and breathing constituted a workout. Then I was sore for two days straight and no longer doubted the benefits. The quiet, contemplative exercise seems to be a perfect complement to heart-pounding running. It is nice to slow down and be forced to be present in the moment in our fast-paced, immediate gratification, digital world.
With running and yoga classes, I decided that I needed some more workout clothes so as not to have to do laundry every other day or shorten others’ lives by re-wearing sweat-soaked, stinky apparel. I considered cashing in my sons’ college funds and going to Lululemon, but my practical side won out. I went to my dear T.J. Maxx’s, and like a loyal, faithful friend she did not let me down. I got both yoga crops, running crops, and a pair of sandals all for the price that one item would have costed me at Lulu’s. (Yes, it is necessary to get different crops. Running ones should be breathable enough to sustain buckets of sweat while yoga ones should be thick enough not to traumatize your neighboring yogis in bum-exposing poses.) I left that store feeling like the commercials screaming to random strangers why I was a Maxxinista for life. I LOVE T. J. MAXX!!
2) AAA. Our 10 year old Honda is actually the younger, more reliable car in our family. The other is my mom’s hand-me-down Nissan I affectionately call our hooptie. Whoever said what goes up must come down has never worked the windshield wipers on hooptie. We avoid opening the driver’s side window because it takes a couple magic tricks to get it all the way back up. However, despite the rattling at acceleration and the occasional vibrating glove compartment, it does get Mike to and from work in one piece and we do not even have any duct tape on it…yet. If any car is going to leave us stranded, I expected it to be hooptie. Turns out, it was the Honda.
The only problem we have had with it is that the driver’s side lock has to be manually pushed up/down or opened/closed with the key inserted into the hole. Today I dropped off my kids to school and then went to unlock the parked car as usual. The key would not go in all the way (like it had started to threaten to do over the past few days). When I finally got it in the hole, it felt forced and would not turn either way. I kept at it over and over trying to look as casually as possible while other parents passed me on the way back to their respective (working) cars. I guess I pull off the casual thing well because no one looked my way for a second even as I stood bent over my door for eternity. Finally I called AAA.
AAA operator: Hi, how can I help you?
Me: Uh, I can’t get my car door opened. My key goes in but doesn’t turn.
AAA: Ok, no problem. I can get assistance to you. Where are you located? What’s the address or cross streets?
Me: That church parking lot across from my kids’ school.
AAA: Uh, Ok…let’s start with city?
Working his magic, he not only told me the name of the church but also the correct address. I almost expected him to tell me what I was going to make for dinner since I did not know the answer to that either. Fortunately a friend had sent me a funny show to watch on Facebook that turned my cursing into laughing while I waited for the roadside assistance man. He quickly and efficiently showed me how easy and effortless it was to break into my car. Thanks…I think. And that was that. God bless AAA.
3) Miracle Gro soil. Last summer one of the prizes the boys got from the public library reading program was seed packets. At the time I could convince them it was not the season to plant. Now that it is spring, they could not be so easily thwarted. Do they not know that any plant that enters my house automatically enrolls into plant hospice? Do they not remember my track record for killing living greens (100%)?
I indulged them with a trip to Lowe’s where we picked up the cheapest pots (coffins) and a bag of Miracle Gro soil. I gave speeches to their excited little minds about how difficult it is to get seeds to grow and that they should not expect any sprouts. I said that if nothing happened for a couple weeks we could always go back to Lowe’s and buy plants that were already growing. Keeping those alive would be enough challenge already. I pretty much tried to lower their expectations based on my realistic history. Despite this crushing of all hope, they continued to check the pots daily and ask if I had watered them. Ethan would make sure the blinds by the pots were opened for appropriate sunlight. He would breathe like an obscene phone caller on the empty soil for carbon dioxide dosing. Then today, he noticed something and excitedly called me over. Lo and behold there were millimeter sprouts in each pot! No wonder they call it Miracle Gro. I think I could be like the chapel in Santa Fe with the miraculous staircase and start charging admission for people to see this obvious act of God.
In closing, discount stores rock, get a AAA membership, and have Ethan breathe on your most hopeless projects. I’m taking him and the rest of the Miracle Gro soil to buy some lottery tickets. :)