Ellipses on a day off

Days off are sacred. You don’t want to work on them. You don’t want to waste them. You don’t want to wallow in the week that was during them. You don’t want to accomplish anything, if you can’t help it, either. Sunday turned into a trip day – a trip to Home Depot; a trip to Safeway; a trip to the couch to watch Bill Murray win the Crosby clambake (aka AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am). Of course, the 5-year-old was around for everything. It was a three-dot day.

• • •

Home Depot is a big warehouse of horrors for those who have no talent for home improvement, gardening, painting, yard work, manual labor and home upkeep. I have no talent for that. I didn’t fiddle around the house like my father, fixing little things or working on projects on said weekends. My house is a mess of things that can be fixed in minutes that I’ve failed to do in hours. It is a horrible trait, since I wanted to buy my house, but that’s my burden to bear. My two younger brothers developed their chops with my father. I helped develop his ulcers and his stress and a fear of fixing. Home Depot is a haven to the home-fixers and, if done right, can be a refuge for those of us who don’t know what we’re doing and don’t want to be asked for help by busy-bodies who double as employees. Sunday’s trip to this den of tinkering was a short one. We needed batteries for the smoke detectors. A fine melody of “low battery” beeps from all five detectors drove my wife crazy.

The 5-year-old remembers Home Depot well. That’s the place where “I can drive the (No. 24 bright orange) car” that doubles as a shopping cart. We weren’t going to be there that long, so a promise to drive the “Safeway” car satisfied her. We walked through the automatic double doors and “Ooooooh!” came from her lips. Followed shortly by, “Wow!” What brought her amazement? “This place is soooooooo big.” Yes, now lets go get lost looking for batteries. No such luck, we’re greeted with a huge display of Energizer batteries. No rabbit, but tons of shiny silver bullets that feed remote controls, her toys and smoke detectors with ever-lasting power. “Are you sure those will work,” she asked. “Yes.” “Should you call Mommy to double check?” “No.” (But the idea did cross my mind, just to share in this father-daughter debate, just in case you needed to know.) We get the batteries and, as we walked by, we picked up some color cards for the royal purple color she wants me to paint in her room this summer. I’ll set up a camera to catch the hilarity that will ensue trying to paint a room.

Ten color cards later, all of them damn near identical, but all have different names later, we’re walking for the checkout. “Daddy, where are the heaters that warm up my forehead?” Wonderful question, because I had no clue as to what she was talking about. Once we approached the self-checkout stands (an invention that deserves a Nobel Prize), she stops me. “Those!” pointing up to an industrial-sized heater that blasts lava-hot air down upon you. “My forehead is warm now…” I asked the clerk whether they can sell me one and install it to follow my chronically “I’m cold, where’s the heat” wife throughout the house. No such luck.

Beep, beep, swipe, done. Right? Nope. The 5-year-old discovered the measuring pole that goes 14 feet. She asked if she’ll get that tall. “Only if you are an Amazon on the Moon…” Obviously she didn’t get the reference, but the clerk gave me a glare. She also got a monkey keychain Of course, she ripped off the plastic cover to smell it. “Daddy, this monkey smells like poop!” she bellowed through the area. Clerks were laughing. I chuckled. She continued… “Daddy, smell this monkey poop.” “No, I’m not going to smell that monkey…” I said it sweetly, but I might as well told her Santa was dead. I got death glares from the clerks. Wow, tough crowd.

Maybe we’ll have better luck in Safeway.

• • •

Safeway on a Sunday can be a zoo. Not like visiting Wal-Mart on a Sunday type of zoo, but busy. We just needed barbecue sauce, but Mommy needed tissues, water and a husband who can fix things around the house. On this Valentine’s Day eve, she got two out of three. Not bad, really. We parked a bit of a ways in order to get some more walking done. And, we were in search for a Safeway “cart car” and you need all of the sight time in the parking lot to secure one. No luck, but they were in the cart corner. No exclamations of wonder when we get into the store, just “where’s the car?” Once found, she gets into the “cart car” front. She’s just small enough to enjoy it and just big enough to look like she won’t fit in there much longer. And it begins…

Down one aisle for BBQ sauce, patrons are smiling and waving down at the car. We get the sauce, add some red hot to the mix and turn down the main back aisle. More smiles, more waves. Finally, the 5-year-old magnet can’t handle it anymore. “Daddy, what am I supposed to do if people smile and wave at me?” she again bellowed. People laugh. “Smile and wave?” “OK, but how about this…” For the remainder of the trip in the store, if someone smiled and waved, she honked the “cart car’s” horn. She wore that little horn out… When we left, that push-button horn sounded exhausted. We get the bottled water and the tissues when she asked about dessert. We make a U-turn and hit one of the aisle walls containing bathroom tissue. “Daddy, you can’t drive…” Well, you and your mother have something else to agree on.

Ice cream secured, we head to the self-checkout stations. No lines. Beep, beep, beep, swipe, done. Out the door, she’s still in the front and we have a small walk to the car. It turned into a bumpy, slightly scary trip to the car as she wants me to steer clear of the water puddles. “We might drown…” OK. But she did salvage it by laughing maniacally with each bump in the road and quick move to the left or right to avoid the water puddles. Wow, I wish I could experience joy like that again. It was so innocent and fun, she had no concept of the dangers in a parking lot, just that it was bumpy, swervy and a lot of fun.

We made it home. We listened to the Beatles’ Abby Road on the stereo. She told me I still can’t drive. Ah well.

• • •

Enjoy your week, everyone. Mine starts Tuesday, capped by a state wrestling tournament (Mat Classic XXIII) in Tacoma. I’ll be completely exhausted next Sunday. No more trips, please…

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