Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Low-Key Memorial Day

Ah, Memorial Day weekend...when a festive, Summertime mood overtakes people, and they spend their time enjoying picnics, pool outings, barbecuing, and all sorts of outdoor activities with their families. And we here at Team WestEnders are no different...oh, wait a minute...we actually did...um...NONE of those things. So, how did we pass our 3-day mini-vacation?

Well, let’s see...Saturday I barely caught a glimpse of the boys, as each of them hung out with their respective friend groups. Riley went to his Middle School (I know! On a day he didn't have to!) to use the field for a pickup soccer game with some of his buddies. Derek joined one of his pals to watch the televised Carolina Courage contest--since, you know, they consider themselves such HUGE fans of the new women's professional soccer squad in our area. (In all seriousness, they did attend the team's inaugural home match...and they each bought a t-shirt. So I guess that counts...) He popped back in long enough to inform us that his posse had hatched a dinner scheme: to make use of the fundraising coupon books they'd all bought (sold to support the High School baseball team, by their friend who's a player) by picking and patronizing one of the participating eateries.

Okay, then--one day down! Sunday began with church for me and the kids, after which we’ve made it a habit to take care of any errands that make sense, based on the proximity of certain stores in the area. In this case, since Husband's birthday always falls on or around this particular holiday, they wanted to pick up his gift—the idea for which, amusingly, he'd shared with them, rather than me...perhaps because it involved a trip to a home improvement emporium? Yeah…male solidarity at its finest....however, I ended up driving them there, since Lowe's is literally across the street from our church. And amidst all the extravagant, complex, endless variety of items available at such an establishment, what did he request, you might wonder? Just a longer garden hose, so he can water the flowers he planted down by the mailbox, at the end of our steep driveway. Ha! All gender stereotypes aside, I helped the boys locate the correct department and identify an appropriate, affordable option—so there!

While we were already out, we were also passing by the place where Derek and Riley usually get their haircuts. They had originally planned to go out by themselves and do this without parental accompaniment, since as Derek said, “That was fun last time; can we do that again?” I’d readily agreed…since they’d passed the test by returning with completely normal ‘dos when left to their own devices…but again, the opportunity to just get it over with was too good to pass up. (And…would you believe there was NO WAIT?! Honestly, you can’t beat that…)

Then, for even more entertainment…they got to go (are you ready for this?) shopping for shoes! Oh, right, they’re teenage dudes…this isn’t the biggest thrill for them. Apparently, though, it IS for Husband, who upon finding out that I intended to shuttle them to the outlet mall to replace some of their worn-out footwear, eagerly asked if he could come. Um…whyyyyy? “Because I never get to go shopping!” he responded. Well, if you’re that enthusiastic about the trip…YOU take them! I mean, this is not an all-hands-on-deck, two-parent operation, here. I did catch him gleefully commenting to his sons, “Mom’s turning us loose in the outlets….without supervision!” Then he chortled, “We can do some damage, boys!” “HEY,” I called from the living room, where he hadn’t noticed me sitting, “I heard that! And by the way, you ARE the supervision, genius!” I believe his reply was, “Doh!” but I’m really not sure he was suitably chagrined….

As they piled into the car to leave, I felt it prudent to remind him, “Use your best judgement…and make them stick to a budget!” He simply grinned slyly at me as he rolled up his window and claimed, “What? I didn’t catch that over the radio!” Siiigghhhhhh…fortunately, my Voice of Reason—also known as Riley—was part of the retail run. I knew I could rest assured that at least ONE of them would be cost-conscious…especially since Riley was the one who’d adamantly insisted he didn’t need us to waste money on any new footwear for him…even as I held up one of his sneakers and pointed out the strips of rubber that were peeling away from the soles.

After their successful sojourn (in which they selected very nice shoes…and most importantly didn’t break the bank in the process), believe it or not there was one more bit of family bonding on the agenda: a birthday dinner. Now, we’re pretty backed up on this, with three of our birthdays falling within a month of each other. So technically, it could have been Derek’s, Husband’s, or my choice. We gave Derek first pick, but he immediately passed it off, stating that he didn’t want to be responsible for the venue this time. That left me next, and I already knew where I wanted to go: the Chopt salad restaurant that just opened near us. True, the Male Trio might have rolled their eyes a bit…or groaned softly under their breath…but they gamely agreed to give it a shot, for me. And while it obviously wouldn’t have been their first (or 10th) selection, they were pleased enough with their meals…if not entirely stuffed afterwards.

Finally, our bonus day off, in which we actually seemed to have a stretch of free hours in which none of us could think of any obligations we needed to fulfill, whatsoever. So, with no place to go, and nothing to do, we could concoct, at the very least, an entertaining afternoon, yeah? Sure! Except that Riley woke up with some kind of…respiratory plague…and his labored breathing and copious coughing put the kibosh on any rambunctious endeavors. Instead, everyone took a more leisurely approach to the day—admittedly, it might not have been super-exciting, but we all still appreciated the fact that we weren’t at work or in a classroom! Oh, and since Husband’s not so much a “cake guy”, I baked (gluten free, but absolutely the best such mix I’ve yet discovered) chocolate chip cookies for his birthday treat. 

So, R&R...and sweets….make for a delightful end to a long weekend, wouldn’t you say? Tomorrow it’s back to business…while various members of Team WestEnders will be sporting fresh haircuts…showing off new shoes…testing out an upgraded hose… sneaking leftover cookies—and trying to cure Riley of his miserable malady. Looks like it’s gonna be busy…I’d better go get some sleep!

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