Yesterday she agreed to meet a friend at Starbucks at seven am. The two then planned to speedwalk "the loop" through a development called Seven Hills or something like that. It's right nearby, almost next door, this development, but is yet another planned development that has everything, from bike paths to parks to picnic areas and, yes, hills. Most unusual. It makes a nice ride on a bike and Mary wanted to start speedwalking it as well. She took off on this mission while I monitored the boy. Got him into the shower and dressed. Which is to say I simply told him to arrange his plan differently and shower and dress first. Then I actually cooked some waffles for him. He was dressed and fed and everything was cleaned up and I was starting to worry about time when Mary finally called. I was almost out the door, ready to take Joey to school anyway. Mary had had to wait for her friend and the loop took longer than she expected, so she was over an hour late getting back than she'd planned.
I said I'd take Joey to school and tell the teacher that Mary would not be able to volunteer that morning. Mary usually gives the class an hour every Monday morning, working with students on reading. I said that I would volunteer instead. So that's what we did.
The teacher welcomed me, set me up with one reading group and a chapter in a Junie B. Jones book. I went into a central room (sort of a wide open hallway), found a couple of chairs, and sat down with one student at a time. That student read the chapter to me. Then the student went back to the classroom and tagged the next one. So I got to hear that chapter three times. When we were done I went back and told the teacher I could do more. She then gave me a group of two girls and a book. The girls alternated reading a page each in the book. This pair was funny. When one would have trouble with a word the other would roll her eyes or say the word. Partway through I asked them some questions (as I had with the other students) about what they were reading and how they thought it might turn out. We had some laughs about the story.
When we were done I took my leave and headed back to Mary's place.
When I am with Mary there is one thing we are sure to do: shop. Mary had some shoes and a purse she wanted to exchange so she asked if I wanted to go to the mall with her. I said sure. We drove on over to the outlet mall, where she was able to find what she wanted and make the exchange. Of course we couldn't leave it at that. Mary talked me into using a wheelchair, which we borrowed from the info booth. I went for it less for myself than for Mary: I knew she would be okay shopping with me if I were comfortable. The hardest thing for me is standing around. We first found where the Crocs were and bought two pairs: one for Joey and one for me. I have been wanting some and we found a pair that fit and was a good color. Then we did some cruising around other stores, Mary gleefully noting that she had me under her control so she was going to take advantage. She didn't buy much, fortunately.
We decided to do lunch there as well. Went to a mediterranean place in the food court. Reminder: only get pretzels in malls. Do NOT try for real food. The hummus was good. The pitas were okay. The falafels tasted like they'd been frozen and reheated. The tabouli was watery. Overall just a big NO. We talked of regret. I went into my "regret" mode: use it only enough to learn from; then just let it go. We learned not to be tempted by things like "vegetarian healthy food" when the sign is in a mall.
We came back to the house, where Mary cleaned out her car, I wrote journal entries, Mary washed clothes and generally cleaned up, and eventually Mary went off to pick up Joey. I made split pea soup, figured out Joey's mp3 player, worked with Mary's desktop computer, which is dead slow, and read. Joey did his homework (no urging), hung around to watch me upload and download music, plugged into his mp3 player and bebopped around. While the soup was still cooking the three of us headed for the pool. The madness had dissapated - there had been a lot of people in the pool not long before, but now it was just us. Just we. I swam a little, used the hot tub, swam a little more, tubbed it again, chatting with Mary, swam a little more, then we all went back for soup.
Mary felt good, having culled a lot from her closet, having cleaned out her car, having given herself a sense of accomplishment. I am so past that! I felt I did well just to get up and dressed early.