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Riding in cars with boys

June 16, 2012

Yesterday was one of my summer Fridays, so after spending an hour answering work emails (at which point my coworker chastised me by email, “Shouldn’t you be in a hammock somewhere?”), I dropped Mr. Spy at the car rental place (he’d taken his car to our favorite mechanics earlier this morning because it’s been making some strange sounds) and AJ and I headed out for some adventures.

First stop: The gas station. “Wow, it’s only $3.77 a gallon,” says AJ. And yet my wallet is still $60 lighter when I leave. On the road again, AJ asks me about my least favorite job. First I answer “trash collector,” and then I realize that aside from the smell, which you’d probably get used to, that might not be so bad. You could be in your own head and listen to music. The worst job would be where you’d have to pay attention but the job would be really boring. “What about the best job?” “The one I have right now. I can’t imagine liking anything more.” “That’s lucky,” says AJ. He doesn’t know the half of it. AJ tells me he wants to be a baseball player, but that probably won’t work out, so he also wants to be an architect or a designer.

Second stop: The DMV! This is the only place I’ve ever lived where the DMV is not a totally miserable experience. The downside to living in a rural county is that it’s a bit of a haul to get to the DMV. The upside is that said haul is through miles of cornfields and you won’t find much of a line when you arrive. When I lived in Chicago, you needed to plan at least 3 hours for any DMV trip. Yesterday we were in and out in 15 minutes with a new license to replace the on the 13-hour plane trip a couple of weeks ago.

Third stop: Mini Golf. One of my favorite courses is only a half mile from the DMV. It’s a favorite because a) it is shaded, b) all of the miniature buildings decorating the course look handmade, painstakingly built like a child’s dollhouse

and c) instead of a refreshments stand, it’s attached to a sushi restaurant.

I whipped AJ in the front nine, but he more than made up for it in the back.

Fourth stop: Afterwards we headed back to the go-cart track where I had trouble keeping up with him. I enjoyed following him around and watching him look back at me at every curve, grinning like a maniac. AJ was an excellent driver, but he turned out to be too short to push the brake pedal all the way to the floor and, when pulling in after our laps were over, he bumped into the line of parked cars. The older man who was monitoring the track ribbed him a bit, but it was clear AJ was totally embarrassed. I tell him how I had trouble stopping too and then we discuss the US Open, about which I know nothing. AJ, who is taking golf lessons, explains it all.

Fifth stop: The sushi restaurant, to cool off and eat sushi one of the rare foods that both AJ and I like. Afterwards we start heading towards home. AJ mentions how he thinks it would be funny if a kid acted in an R-rated movie and wasn’t old enough to see their own movie. “It happens.” I tell him about Jodie Foster, which reminds me that I’ve been wanting to show him Candleshoe. I tell him about it. He says, “I think you would really like the movie Ben Franklin Boy, The Boy Across the Street and I are making.” He describes a very complicated plot full of mayhem that appears to have been inspired, at least in part, by The Three Stooges. “I’m sure I would. I can’t wait to see it.” “Well,” he says, “We’re not finished yet.”

Sixth stop: The Freeze, a local drive-up ice cream that’s been around for decades. It’s one of those places that is only open in the summer, which makes it more of an event. We’ve driven by many times, but neither of us had ever been there before. By the time we got there, we were hot again — it was 92 out and my 22-year-old car has no air conditioning. Cold soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones (with sprinkles for AJ, butterscotch dip for me) melting in the parking lot — a perfect summer day. Then back to the car. “What should we do for Dad for Father’s Day?” I ask him. “We should go to [REDACTED]. What do you think he would like there?” “Let’s see what they have,” I say.

Seventh stop: A secret Father’s Day errand! Shhhh! In the car again, headed home, AJ says, “Can I get a haircut?”

Eighth stop: Haircut for AJ — number 2 buzz, to survive a weekend of baseball in extreme heat. We notice on the way that a new music school has opened nearby, a chain. We drive by to take a look and remember we need a few things. AJ wants to go in, but I tell him I’m loyal to School of Rock. “Can we go? I want to look at the distortion pedals.”

Ninth stop: School of Rock for new guitar picks and to pay our lesson bills. We ogle the distortion pedals (the one AJ likes is $187). AJ tries out a slide guitar in the shop window. AJ examines each of his new picks in the car on the way back.

Tenth stop: The bank for my pre-travel withdrawal, at which point I realize my annual bonus has arrived (or half of it, anyway — the other half goes straight to the government). Sadly, it is already spent. Time to pay the property taxes.

Eleventh stop: Home, finally, for a brief period of collapse and mad cleaning frenzy ahead of a house showing.

Twelfth stop: The neighborhood pool, where AJ swims and my neighbors ply me with margaritas while AJ and I flee from real estate agents and Mr. Spy goes off to interview Dee Dee Bridgewater.

And now it is time to head out to AJ’s double header. Wish him luck. He’s playing the top two teams in the county today. More on that later.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. IWOM permalink
    June 16, 2012 4:00 pm

    Yikes. All I did was make (then remake) a dress today.

    We must get Himself and AJ together for a round someday.

    IWOM

  2. June 16, 2012 4:08 pm

    What a delightful-sounding day! I love it when one of my kids recounts a complicated-sounding plot.

  3. June 16, 2012 5:00 pm

    I bet AJ would love that!

  4. June 17, 2012 7:20 am

    Loved the recap of your day. Even though the showings are at awkward times, I’m glad you are getting some action. Plus how can you lose if you can go to a pool and drink margaritas while they occur?

  5. June 17, 2012 10:03 am

    wow. sounds like a great day!

  6. June 18, 2012 12:51 pm

    and also a busy one —

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