Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thames Day Out

Recently, Richie began collecting coins. It's been uplifting to see him have a hobby; to see him take an interest in something that's fun for him, and is just for him. For so long, he invested his life into giving Trey opportunities, and gave no thought to his own wants. I've really tried to encourage this hobby, because he certainly has been supportive of all my obsessions. He found this particular book that he wants, so he called Barnes & Noble, and they reserved it for him. We decided not to tell Cathryn, because we didn't want to have to tell her if our plans happened to fall through.

This morning, we set out for Barnes & Noble (I drank white tea, not coffee!) and listened to the spring musical. It's so fun to hear Cathryn sing the songs, and repeat the lines. Another perk to being the choir director--you know your kid is going to know their lines. It was nice just to drive someplace together, and have conversations about the things that mattered to us. At the moment, it's Trey beginning his spring semester at Coker, coin collecting, the spring musical, and whether or not American Idol should allow professionals to audition. (More on that later.)

Y'all, I love Barnes & Noble. It's not to say that I don't love Books-A-Million. OK, I don't. I like Books-A-Million, but I love Barnes & Noble. To me, Books-A-Million is the Wal-Mart of bookstore chains. I know that Barnes & Noble is a bookstore chain, too, but there's just something so much more dignified about it. Barnes & Noble takes itself and it's business very seriously, and Books-A-Million really doesn't. You can feel it when you walk in, seriously.

Richie went to customer service to pay for his reserved book, and Cathryn and I headed straight for the children's section. Is it any surprise that I love the children's section? It's so full of whimsy and wonder, and the clerks don't mind if you sit in the floor and read to your kid. Which is exactly what Cathryn and I did, with nary an eyebrow raised at us. We read "Knuffle Bunny" by Mo Willems and "Knuffle Bunny, too", it's sequel. Have you read any Mo Willems books to your children? Run, do not walk, to your local Barnes & Noble and read Mo Willems. He also writes for "The Kids Next Door", the best cartoon on Cartoon Network beside "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends". (Bloo might be my favorite character EVER.)

Once Cathryn had successfully chosen a book to purchase (Junie B. Jones, a plucky first grader a lot like our plucky first grader), Richie took Cathryn to Starbucks so I could browse. I browsed the Art Section (I found an excellent beginners sewing book I'd like to try one day), Travel (hello, pretty picture books of New York, Ireland, And France..), Reference (where I got bogged down looking at Elmore Leonard's "10 Rules For Writing", "The Writers Reference 2007", and several other books perfect for word-nerds like me.) and Poetry when Cathryn and Richie came bouncing back up to me. Naturally, the Poetry section begins where the Romance section ends, and I got a nice little smirk from Richie. I rolled my eyes and defended myself, pointing to the poetry books and pulling down a thick ee cummings volume, because I would never buy a romance novel from Barnes & Noble. I would buy it from Wal-Mart or the grocery store the way God intended.

After leaving the hallowed bookstore (where, upon checking out, I practically tripped over my own feet staring at the deluxe Scrabble and Monopoly sets), we stopped at this restaurant called "The Filling Station" and had a nice meal together of pizza an spaghetti. The big, big bonus? Dessert pizzas. Oh, yes. Hot, gooey chocolate chip dessert. Yeah, I know I fell off the wagon. But the beauty in falling off the wagon is that you can always get back on again.

For once, Coastal Grand was not busy. It was nice to walk the mall without the fear of being crushed. I don't ever worry about being run over, because I'm usually the one doing the running. We took Cathryn to Claire's to spend her gift card that she had gotten for Christmas. Correction--I took Cathryn into Claire's while Richie sat in the Food Court. He understands that there are some places a man just cannot go, and Claire's is one of them. It's a young girl's paradise. She bought a real crown (naturally), two trinket boxes, two bottles of nail polish (which kills me because you can get nail polish SO CHEAP elsewhere, and he's she's paying $2.50 a bottle), a feathered mask, and a gold bangle bracelet. Little girl heaven, I tell you.

On our way to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (because I had a gift card to burn), several prom dresses caught Cathryn's eye. "I like the black one, Mama," she told me. "I like the red one," I replied. "Don't worry, Cathryn. We'll get you a pretty prom dress. I'll make sure you go to the prom," Richie told Cathryn as he squeezed my hand. I wanted to cry--I didn't go to either of my proms. My parents wouldn't let me. It was so sweet to hear that Richie shared my dream of wanting to do for Cathryn all the things my parents wouldn't do for me.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a fascinating store. Not as great as Barnes & Noble, mind you, but there's something intriguing about a store where the towels go all the way to the ceiling. I was a little overwhelmed, because I'm not a very domestic person. I didn't even pick out the furniture in our house--I left that task to Richie, whose eye I trust much, much more than mine. So I went in there with a specific task in mind--find something to hang on the wall, so I don't have to shove my flat iron and hairdryer underneath my sink. I ended up finding this great chrome tiered shelf, and also a a chrome wall-mounted door hook, so that I can hang both my robe and Cathryn's robe and I can quit fiddling with clothes hangers. They're so frustrating.

It was just such a nice, peaceful day for all of us. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.


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