"we’re doin’ it, man. this is it. we’re right in the thick of the action."

Friday the 13th, indeed.

I had modest plans today. Go to a recommended antique furniture entity – creatively named The Furniture Barn – and look for a shelf for my children’s toys. As I formulated this plan my little heart started racing because as it occurred to me that my children needed a better play area, it also occurred to me it was time to give Sophie her own room. I’d been feeling guilty seeing them sharing dresser space and closet space and having no toys of their own. On the one hand I know it’s healthy to share space and toys. However, we do have three bedrooms and it’s entirely possible to accommodate one of our children per bedroom. My sewing space will have to evolve or die.

After breakfast and cleanup we pile into the car and drive to Aberdeen. The kids and I park in the rain and my children hop out of the van and accompany me into the store, where: it’s happened so many times I recognize it right away. I can sense it immediately like a lion can smell a rotting kill downwind: hatred because I have small children with me. As long as I live I will never forget what this feels like. The clerk in the antique store is not happy I’m bringing in children even though they are well-behaved and I am keeping my eye on them. And bear in mind these aren’t “antiques” along the lines of Fabergé eggs, depression glass, and tiny breakables. This is mostly furniture.

I ignore the shopkeep’s vibe and start looking around. Sophie is not the problem of course; Nels is. Still, he is mostly behaving himself except for his desire to go to areas of the store where I can’t see him – sorry, buddy. After a few minutes of a well-managed shopping stroll the clerk once again looks up from her book and asks in a chilly tone, “Anything I can help you with?” I tell her I am looking for shelves. She noises in the negatory and sort of fake-looks about – pointing out a large 3-part set for $200 a pop. “I’m sorry, we really don’t have much in the way of shelves.” I thank her and keep looking. I find about a half-dozen other items easily classifying under my category, including a nicely sturdy pine set for $45. My children are still relatively good so I look around a little more – there really are some beautiful pieces. For a moment I fantasize about having my beloved Mac resting on a $450 mission-style desk. Finally I am ready to go.

I’ll spare you the further conversation with the clerk – who makes a sharp noise as my son handles the fake fruit in a bowl, then apologetically and nasally drones, “Those are busy years, aren’t they…” Let’s just say by the time the money had changed hands I really wish I hadn’t bought anything from yet another snotty-assed shopkeep in my life. Of course the woman doesn’t help me carry the bookcase to the car, but as it turns out, that’s a blessing – it ends up that this seemingly slender, modest piece of furniture does not easily fit into my large-ish van and I fuck around and adjust and take it out and put it back in and finally do some kicking – breaking a small piece of the just-purchased item! – finally getting the goddamn thing in with only the threat of tears, no actual ones manifested. Throughout this my children have buckled themselves in their seat and are watching me and I behave nicely enough.

Finally, finally the shelves are secured. “See mom, that did go well!” Sophie enthuses (responding to some grumblings I’d made as I struggled), and she and Nels repeat the mantra as we drive on to our next destination. We get to her preschool early and as we wait in the van she comes and puts her arms around me and strokes my hair. Thank you, little girl.

After our Aberdeen errands The Boy and I pick my father up to help me with some furniture moving at home. I pick him up and get to vent about the shopowner (he is sympathetic and asks about my experiences in Port Townsend – I tell him it was worse – we commiserate) and my stupid assy attempts to get the shelves in the van. I make coffee and dad and I chat about family, children, jobs, and mess about moving a large rug into Nels’ room.

This afternoon suddenly I am aware of a horrible smell in my house – very much a burnt paint / rubber smell. We recently had a new gas insert installed (which is a lovely addition, by the way) and the fumes upon installment had disappeared but are back now. This sucks as it surfaced this afternoon and putting a call into the furnace people doesn’t go over well on Friday night. But when I mentioned “headache” to the receptionist she got off the phone pronto, to get me a technician.

So right now I am currently late to a friends’ for dinner, as I sit waiting for a man to come over and tell me what I’ve been breathing today. At least Nels and Ralph are off to dinner – provided they find the place.

Here’s hoping my weekend goes a teensy bit better.

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