Tuesday night it just a few minutes before ten and Jasmine, Ralph and I are running into Barnes & Noble to buy Phoenie a Bone prequel. “We need to do this every night!” I shout, and by that I mean fuck around town, everyone else asleep already (yes… Olympia, “the city” compared to Hoquiam, but, not really so much), share a clove cigarette, drink strong coffee, snuffle about for good food (we strike out at Quality Burrito, at least the “good” part) and of course talk talk talk.
Winter is so dark and wet, what’s the point of observing “normal” hours? And how much do I love my life is such I can sew my son up an impromptu hat in a half hour then climb into the bench seat of my mother’s borrowed giant pickup truck, slide up next to him, both of us mittened and scarfed? Three AM Wednesday and I’ve hit upon the perfect time management – grocery shopping. I mean I’d rather do it now as my energy wanes; earlier in the day it’s time for sewing and writing and – as in today – taking an adventure with my daughter (biking in the snow, oops!).
Now Nels is with me and he’s so excited. First he buys himself a Hershey’s bar while I gas up the truck (late-night clerks love seeing tiny kiddos out at weird hours). As we enter Safeway he’s making a list of what we should buy. Turns out the thing he wants more than anything are sliced tomatoes – with salt. How grandma prepares them. As if I’ve never done this at home, but apparently grandma gets credit! You’re a trend-follower, Nels. OK, so what kind of tomatoes should we purchase? I ask (there are oddly many choices). He puts a hand up to the hothouse variety, then: “Too branchy,” he says judiciously.
He pushes the cart and we converse in the most satisfying manner. I just have a few items to get for dinner; Nels rounds out our selection. He selects Odwalla orange juice, pistachios, frozen green beans. The kid’s got taste. He asks if I’m hungry and I say No. He advises, “Well, you should have some juice. It will help you” (meaning the remnants of my sore throat). Yes. Thank you.
Home and the oven’s on to toast some bread and then: tomatoes (with salt!) and then: hot bath, and bed.
The odd hours bit is fun. Friends are still amazed when they call me at 1am and Kylie is still running around. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain our routine (or lack of one), they can’t seem to get their minds around it. The response we get from clerks is similar to yours. They are first surprised and then delighted to see a kid out so late.
Our schedule ebbs and flows because we have different needs for sleep and different drives and desires every day. Some days Nels is up until dawn and gets to see Ralph off to work. NELS LOVES THIS TIMES ONE MILLION. He runs around getting his father his laptop bag and/or breakfast and his favorite thing ever is seeing Ralph off. Then he comes back into bed with me. I’m typically asleep by the time Ralph is leaving – not always – but sometime I’ll have to document Nels and Ralph.