Here's how the day was supposed to work: I'd spend the morning at the zoo with a friend and her foster daughter. Then I'd eat a leisurely lunch, stop by the bookstore, and spend the afternoon watching a movie with another friend. Then I'd have just enough time to get back home before 7:00. Sounds good, right?
What actually happened was I got up and realized that on my shopping trip for diapers and wipes yesterday I picked up lots of groceries, none of which happened to be diapers or wipes. This meant that we were down to five diapers and three wipes. Not good. So I ran to the grocery store as soon as Joanna got here and picked those up. Then I called my zoo buddy, who as it turns out was also out running errands, and we determined that by the time we got to the zoo I would be out of time for lunch and movie. We canceled our zoo trip.
This meant that I had several hours to kill before it was movie time. I made a beeline for the bookstore. I wanted to pick up a copy of Slaughterhouse Five for my personal collection, because it's a fantastic book and I'm tired of checking it out at the library. Unfortunately they were out of stock. "So it goes," I told the lady behind the counter, and chuckled.
She didn't get it. That's what I get for throwing around literary humor.
Anyway, I settled for a copy of The Jungle, a lonely planet guide to Afghanistan, and Charles De'Lint's newest novel. By this point it was lunch time, so I stopped by a little tea shop to get some lunch. There was no dress code posted, and I didn't realize when I stepped inside that this was the type of tea place where you're supposed to wear a dress, a little pillbox hat, and possibly a pair of white gloves. At least that's what the two elderly ladies sipping their tea in there were wearing. I was hungry though, not within walking distance of any other restaurant, and there were about twelve empty tables, so I decided to eat there anyway. The waitress lingered over the only occupied table in the room, pointedly ignoring me. "Can I help you?" she finally asked after I failed to go away, looking in disgust at my jeans. Her expression suggested that she hoped not and that I would take my non-pillbox-hat-wearing disreputable person somewhere else, but I disappointed her by requesting a table. "All by yourself, are you?" she said, and tut-tutted when I replied affirmatively. So not only was I a slob, but I was a social pariah too. She made the mistake of letting me choose my own table and I picked the one most visible from the window in revenge and seriously considered tucking my napkin into my shirt and chewing with my mouth open.
I ordered a Princess Tea, which while described in dulcet tones on the menu proved to consist of a pot of tea, a small scone, two apple slices, a slice of orange, two paper thin slices of strawberry, two blueberries, and a tiny little sandwich with the crusts cut off. This cost me fourteen dollars after tax. No doubt these were blueberries harvested at midnight under the full moon at the peak of ripeness by pixies, because that's about the only way I could think of to justify paying $1.40 per blueberry, which is what it works out to if you split that fourteen bucks up evenly.
Pixie harvested blueberries taste just like regular blueberries by the way, and they don't seem to bestow any magical powers or wishes or anything. Disappointing. Guess I won't be back.
After my ridiculously priced meal, I dropped by the house to grab my journal, and then headed off to the park to do some writing. I found a nice spot down by the lake and wrote for a while, and then munched my way down a few trails. The dewberries and salmonberries I found were just as tasty as those blueberries, I might point out-- even if they were picked by ordinary me.
By this point I was expecting to hear from my movie-going friend; we hadn't picked a theater yet, and the movie times were fast approaching. Unfortunately due to a medical emergency she had to cancel, leaving me with another four hours left to kill. The mosquitoes were biting me through my clothes and the park was rapidly losing its appeal. I needed air conditioning. The library was closed and I didn't feel like walking around a store, so I ended up at a Starbucks curled up in a chair with one of my new books, nursing another cup of tea and a cookie.
After two hours or so I couldn't really pretend I was still drinking my tea, so I went down to the craft store and picked up a new canvas. I like to dabble in painting and we had a blank stretch of wall in our house calling me, so I thought I'd whip something together until I could find a painting by a real artist to hang there. You see the results-- it'll make a good place marker until I find something better. After that, I was completely out of ideas. I considered walking around Fred Meyer for the remaining two hours, but that seemed a little pathetic. I ended up going home (slowly) changing clothes (slowly) and walking (slowly) down to the gym, where I killed the last hour on the elliptical machine.
Though I enjoyed the day, I think I'll break up the rest of the respite care this month into smaller amounts of time. I've apparently lost the ability to entertain myself.