Friday, December 28, 2012

Ain't this life so sweet

Once upon a time, like this spring or summer or fall or whatever, I decided that I was going to clean out the clutter and sell things in the classifieds section of the newspaper because having a garage sale is more than I can personally handle and a bunch of crap was piling up in the garage.

So that's what I did.  And then I waited around a lot.  Or wished that no one had called after all.  But you know what?  At least it wasn't a garage sale.

No one really seemed to want my stuff, but that's okay because my stuff has a high self esteem, so no harm done.  Those who DID balked at my rock bottom prices, so I went like earth's core bottom prices (what's lower than rock?  Science is boring).  Because the point really wasn't about making money, it was about getting crap out of the basement.

But hey, I ended up with $95 somehow, which is kind of a miracle, all things considered.

Eric thought I should use it to buy something I wanted, since the bulk of the cash came from my kitchen items.  And for about a day I thought I really wanted an immersion blender. Which WOULD be pretty awesome, I won't lie, minimalist or not.  But then I looked at my spanking awesome cleaned out kitchen and figured that one more thing was not what I wanted after all.

I decided what I really wanted was a family date.  In December, when our touristy town is all lit up in Christmas lights.  As the money came in, we would discuss where we could afford to go for dinner.  At one point, I was thrilled to have enough in my jar for three slices of pizza.  No joke.  Then suddenly dinner was taken care of, and we started working on bookstore money for the girls*.

And then all that was left to do was pick a date.

We went on our little family date last Saturday, and you know what, Internet?  That was the best idea I've ever had.  Just tonight Johanna was talking about how much fun it was. And this will sound cheesy, but sometimes the words just are: It was my favorite part of that whole Christmas weekend.
I had envisioned going to dinner and then the bookstore, but a couple of things happened: We needed to go to Confession (because group penance services make us sin more, what with the impatience we feel) AND we wanted to go to Mass, too, because Saturday night is the Folk Group and Sunday is the choir and, frankly, we like the Folk Group about seven billion times better.  Plus also, no stores would be open after dinner anyway.  So this is what we did:

1. Go to the bookstore.
2. Go to the coffee shop for a quick snack.
3. Go to Confession.
4. Go to my parents' to chat.
5. Go to Mass.
6. Go to dinner.
7. Walk around town and take pictures like tourists.
8. Drive around town to look at other Christmas lights.
9. Come home happy.

Lucky that is only nine things because as I've said before, ten just messes with the alignment.  You think about these things when you're OCD.

We gave the girls their allotted monies and turned them loose in the bookstore.  Abby made her choice super fast, Johanna took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Who cares, we had time, which is good because the bookstore was crowded.  CROWDED.  But hey, we were going to confession anyway, so pressure off.

(Um, that was a joke.)

Coffee shop (for some hot spiced cider that was NOT spiced, I don't care what the sign said, but it was hot), this could potentially get very long so yadda yadda yadda, our dinner reservation was for 6:30 and we were actually early, which we did not see coming.  We got a great table, we ordered, we drew on the paper table cloth, our food was amazing, the girls were so dang happy, we took a crazy amount of pictures and ended up not having room for dessert.

Johanna and I split the fish and chips and she ended up eating more than me.  I'd have been hungry but Abby decided to hand over her quarter of a swiss chicken burger in order to help Eric with his pad thai.  So it all worked out is what I'm saying.

Even though it was freezing and Johanna decided to only bring a sweatshirt, we ended up walking around town and taking pictures of the lights.  It was one of those cold, silent kind of evenings, and again, cheese, but: So perfect.  It was just perfect.  Until Johanna fell in the crosswalk and was afraid that she'd gotten gasoline on her kneecap (apparently having pants on didn't make her feel better) and we had to talk her down a bit, but it was okay because we were headed to the car anyway.  And she was able to pull herself together, maybe because she wasn't that hurt.

The cool thing about my kids is that they actually made the evening that much more enjoyable.  I mean, I'm all for ditching them, but their enthusiasm (and gratitude--we got thanked about half a million times all evening for the books and dinner) was kind of catching.

It wasn't exactly like I'd imagined it, but being a mother, I'm pretty well versed with Plan B anyway, and now that we've had our family date, I can't imagine it going any other way.  I'm feeling kind of smug that our unused crap could make this kind of memory happen.  And I think maybe a new tradition has been born.

*I don't care how minimalist we get, books don't count as clutter.

David Gray, This Years Love.  Another kind of depressing song perfect for winter.

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