Remember when I joked about how excited I was to have the opportunity to send the freshly-licensed-to-drive Derek out on a silly quest to pick up something I forgot at the supermarket? Yeaaahhh...I should know better than to jinx myself like that. You see, I was sooo pleased to find a tasty-sounding baking mix at Whole Foods--one that also didn't contain gluten, or any of the other myriad ingredients I'm supposed to continue to avoid for the time being--that I neglected to read the directions, to find out what one needed to add to it, to make the magic dessert...ness...happen.
In short, it called for a stick of butter, which we typically don't have in the house. Oh, and also vanilla, which I discovered we only had a few drops of left in the container. And...since he was going anyway, I figured he could pick up some capers, for me to toss into the pasta salad I was making for that night. What a strange list, right? Especially for a teenage boy who is pretty darn near unfamiliar with shopping--I mean, sure he's accompanied me plenty of times...but he's never been "in charge" before. So really, this could be the biggest lifesaver ever...or--equally likely--an unmitigated disaster.
At least his sibling offered to tag along--either for moral support, or to watch and laugh while the spectacle unfolded, I'm not entirely certain which. I even had to wake the High Schooler up...on a Saturday...to accomplish this task. (Hey, CAKE waits for no one, I always say....or....maybe I'll make it my new personal motto, starting now? Whatever, the boy needed to get out of bed, that's my point...) As he sleepily crunched his cereal, I did my best to explain exactly what I wanted, and approximately where it was located in the store. (Riley had already written it all down--naturally.) Then I handed him some money, wished him good luck, and sent him on his way (with fingers firmly crossed).
Oh, and there was one other teensy little wrinkle: they were under time constraints, since Husband needed his car back in about a half-hour to leave for his soccer game. So, no pressure or anything. I watched the minutes tick by...creeping closer to the deadline...and finally they barreled back in the door, triumphantly waving their supplies (in a reusable bag that they'd remembered to take in--extra points for that, young men--well done!). Butter: check. Capers: yep. Vanilla: mmm...yessss...but did you absolutely HAVE to buy the $7 bottle? "We were in a hurry...and it was the cheapest one!" they claimed. (I looked the next time I went to that particular store, and the one they'd chosen was directly beside one that cost less...but for their initial foray into the world of "picking things up for Mom" it was still an acceptable mission completion.)
But wait--there was still more learning to be done in the financial field this weekend--Derek had requested a tutorial on how to actually use his new debit card to make purchases and retrieve funds from the ATM. Alrighty, then, my son(s); let's do this thing! First we stopped at a cash machine, since Derek had run out of "walking around money" anyway. I talked him through inserting his card, entering his PIN, and selecting the options for "withdrawal" and "print receipt". Everything was going so well...right up until the stupid thing spit out a piece of paper that read "unable to process"...with NO crisp twenty dollar bill. Uh-oh. That made both of us nervous, as it was the first attempt to access his account electronically--and it'd failed miserably.
But we here at Team WestEnders are nothing if not persistent...and by this of course I mean "impossibly stubborn"...so were we going to be deterred by this admittedly-annoying but hopefully-temporary setback? We were NOT. Next, we tried a gas station quickie-mart, to see if Derek's uncooperative piece of plastic would allow him to treat us to some frosty beverages. The boys chose their Gatorades...I filled up a mondo-Diet-Pepsi (it'd been that kind of day)...and we approached the counter with collectively-bated breath. This time, I got to instruct him on the chip-reader checkout procedure,..aaannnd....success! He now possesses the skills to approach any convenience store scenario with confidence in his abilities...to pay for snacks. (That's falls under the heading of Valuable Life Skills, doesn't it? Look it up--I think it's in the Road Trips chapter...)
Since that had gone so swimmingly, we decided to give the ATM another try, at a different branch. I'm happy to report that in this case as well, his card worked just fine--so I have no idea what was up with the other one's bad attitude. Riley hadn't wanted to bring his own card on this trip, but he paid close attention and--knowing him--took copious mental notes, so that when it's his turn to pay for something, he'll be ready. Now all we have to do is set them up with the daily text alerts, so they're aware of what their balance is at all times...and they'll be ready to spring upon the world at large.
Speaking of which: I've been informed that they have Big Plans for this in the near future, so maybe I should also call the fast food joints in our area and warn them the W-brothers are coming? On second thought, nah...where's the fun in that? (At least I can say, "My work here is done"...for now!)