Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A normal day

Like a bear coming out of hibernation, I have to adjust to the real world after the end of the spring tax season. I worked 367 hours in March and 223 hours the first half of April. After April 15, it actually takes me a few days to taper off work, catch up on some rest and remember how to take it easy.

This morning I got another tax return out the door, then headed out to pick up my friend and go tour the U.S. Mint, located in Fort Worth, about ten minutes from her house. We got to the mint about 9:30. The parking lot was fairly empty, a couple of moms with their young children were hanging around. There were four armed guards just inside the door of the welcome center. We put our purses in the X-ray machine and, after a body scan, entered the building. My friend took a little longer, having to remove all her jewelry and finally her shoes with the steel plates hidden inside. Once inside, we were escorted to a shuttle bus which took us to the main building.

We were welcomed inside like royalty. I think there were about twenty employees in the lobby, a combination of guards and hostesses. I didn't see any other visitors. We asked the lady who seemed to be in charge when the next tour started. She answered in awed tones that we had picked the perfect day, as they would be unveiling the new $100 bill at 11:00, and they were making that the first tour of the day, and we could be a part of it.

My friend and I looked at each other. We're both busy ladies, with things to do and places to be. Hang around for an extra hour and a half? I don't think so. We were quickly back on the shuttle bus, making our escape. I'll probably read in the paper tomorrow about the fabulous party I missed out on.

Instead, we enjoyed a lovely walk through her neighborhood. The morning was still cool and I particularly appreciated seeing the variety of landscapes, as I'm planning a complete face lift of my house's exterior in the next few weeks.

Next I had a business lunch with someone I've known for twenty-five years, and still occasionally work with. After lunch I had just enough time to bag up clothes for the school district's "clothes closet" before meeting with another friend and finishing the current round of volunteer accounting work I do for our high school band, punctuated as usual by my afternoon delivery of Wiley between schools for his afternoon class.

After school, Ricky cleaned the living room (wow!) and then it was supper time. What to eat?

My main motivation in picking meals these days is accommodating Wiley, who most of his life has been a light eater. A year ago he was five inches shorter than me. Some time in the last few weeks, when I wasn't looking, he passed me in height. It's rather glorious, just as it was six years ago when his brother did the same thing.

Lately, Wiley has been much more interested in food. Sunday he had eight or ten or twelve homemade tacos. We lost count, we just know he ate the rest. Tuesday night was an all you can eat pizza night.

Tonight I had the inspiration to go to the cafeteria. My kids grew up eating regularly in the Luby's Cafeteria just down the road from us. Certain nights of the week were "kids eat free," and when you have four of them, that is a pretty sweet deal. We gradually outgrew the free ride, though, and our family attendance tapered off, finally stopping when the Luby's closed a couple of years ago.

Tonight we headed out to Furr's, a one price all-you-can-eat cafeteria. I got a spinach salad, tilapia, pinto beans, turnip greens (with pepper sauce) and a roll. Ricky got chicken fried steak, gravy, corn, new potatos and some fried shrimp. Wiley got a banana (a banana?), hamburger steak, french fries and a roll. I reminded Wiley that he could get whatever he wanted. But that was indeed what he wanted. We ate our meals. Then Wiley went back and got a fish filet and some mashed potatoes. We finished up. Then Wiley went back and got another hamburger steak. Then he had ice cream. Then, not quite satisfied, he went back and got another banana. (Another banana?)

In our family, eating is now officially a spectator sport. We checked and made sure he didn't need to stop and get a snack on the way home.

Back at the house, I've spent the evening in the recliner, reading on a Harry Potter book, watching basketball, not fretting over any deadlines. Now it's time to hit the hay.

A normal day off kind of day.

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