Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun and excitement

This is the beginning of yet another week at work where half of my department is out of the office for training; the training concerns some of the department’s primary responsibilities and I am (at best) in the secondary tier, so it’s not as if it’s their turn now and will be my turn later. It’s just a fairly quiet stretch of days for a while. At least I was left with one self-contained project to keep myself busy in the interim, but that doesn’t make for terribly compelling content here.

So I suppose I might as well catch everyone up on the weekend, which wasn’t particularly monumental or noteworthy in any flashy, obvious way but that in and of itself kind of makes it fairly noteworthy and maybe even arguably monumental. My wife and I had not made any plans heading into the weekend, and for a moment on Friday night it looked as if my wife might be setting up plans for herself and a friend on Sunday, but those ended up needing a reschedule. So our time was our own, with no one coming to see us and nowhere in particular we needed to be at any set time. That is such a vanishingly rare set of circumstances that I feel compelled to at least acknowledge it. Like so.

If anything approached being red-letter worthy, it might be the fact that I pinpointed with reasonable accuracy the official end of my youth and irrefutable status as a lame old grownup on Saturday morning. I was determined to mow the lawn before it got too unbearably hot, but the gas can in the tool shed was a bit dry, and my car was low on fuel as well, so I headed halfway across town with can in hand (i.e. in trunk of car), because that’s where the nearest Shell station is, and Shell is the gas station that has the cross-promotion with Giant supermarkets, which is where we do most of our non-bulk weekly shopping. So we get discounts on Shell gas if we run our Bonus Card through the reader, and I was bound and determined to make use of that arrangement and fairly proud of myself for lining up getting gas for the lawnmower and gas for the car all in one pump benefitting from the same discount. I didn’t know exactly how much the discount would be (it varies based on how much we’ve spent at Giant lately and how long it’s been since we cashed in the points) but I was reasonably sure it was worth the excursion. In fact, the discount turned out the be 40 cents per gallon, and since the pre-bonus price was $3.35 per gallon, the pump rolled it back to $2.95 once it processed my ID number. And upon seeing that I was about to get a tank AND a can of gas for under $3 a gallon, I threw the horns.

You're too old to rock, no more rockin' for you.

I was completely by myself and I did not make this gesture in any way ironically or to amuse someone, even myself. Some people pump their fist when they cross a certain threshold of personal satisfaction, and some people give their booty a little affirmative shake; I tend to throw the horns. But after the fact, realizing that I had done this reflexively in response to a 12% discount at the gas station, I felt a slight pang of melancholy, knowing there’s really no way of regressing back from that point.

But the lawn got mowed shortly thereafter without me having a heat stroke or anything, and for what it’s worth I ended up at Giant that night, too, after the kids went to bed. But by then I was well beyond caring about whether the things that make me happy are objectively cool or lame and just happy that we had all had the kind of day where things got done at their own pace and other things (like the weekly food run) could be put off until later than usual because it was all very free form. Sunday was much the same, and we managed to coordinate the entire family going to the home improvement store to pick up some pots and plants for a container garden, with time to spare to actually get said garden all set up on the back deck before dinner. So at some point this summer I should be quite contentedly enjoying homegrown tomatoes and peppers and herbs in various combinations, and that goes quite a long way toward making me feel pretty good about where things are at in my life.

And even grown-ups have mini-adventures sometimes, as my wife and I did last night when around 10 p.m. a transformer blew up somewhere in town and blacked out our entire neighborhood. We were watching tv downstairs at the time, but headed upstairs by flashlight to be that much closer to the kids’ rooms, pondering all the while how people managed to function before electronic baby monitors existed. I was somewhat convinced that, robbed of nightlights and room fans, one or both of the children would wake up and be inconsolably freaked out, but they both slept right through. My wife and I killed some time playing with our phones (my wife was texting other people she knows in town to see how extensive the outage was; I was checking the utilities website to see if there was any up-to-the-minute info on restoration time estimates) in hopes that the power would come back and we could reset our alarm clocks and such before going to sleep, but we gave up after half an hour or so, set our phone alarms, and hoped for the best. The power did come back about forty-five minutes after that, necessitating a quick run around the house to shut off all the lights and whatnot that were still on, and this morning ended up normal enough. I guess a matter of minutes in the pitch black except for candlelight is really more of a micro-adventure, but I take my cheap thrills where I can get them.

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