Man, D and I are both beat. This feels like the longest day of the year so far. He “slept in” until almost 7:30, for which I am grateful, and from there we were off. He was immediately “starving” so I set about making a big breakfast (mostly for him): steel cut oats with craisins, raisins, brown sugar and walnuts, the rest of the breakfast sausage that had been cooked and needed to get eaten, orange juice and chocolate toast, which is something my sister used to make me in the winter after we came in from sledding – it’s just buttered toast with powdered cocoa smeared on it – but the combo of the warm butter and light layer of cocoa is awesome. Me? I had a slug of probiotic drink and a tiny bit of oatmeal. After breakfast, he was still hungry and ate a banana while I tried to hurriedly clean up and simultaneously harangue him into getting dressed to see Santa.

We got to the mall right at 10, which is when Santa “wakes up” on Saturdays, and there were already about 75 people in line, but that’s actually a short line for Santa. D’s Dad met us there and we tried to keep D from running into people, knocking little kids over or disassembling or knocking over the fence on both sides of the entryway for 45 minutes. He finally got over his nervousness as soon as he got on Santa’s lap. This mall santa is always a good one and they got the picture right away, which D actually smiled for, and then they had a good long conversation about who knows what. I heard “bumblebee,” which is a Transformer he wants, but the rest of it was between he and Santa. After that, as it had been a full hour since he quit eating, he wanted a pretzel and lemonade. He only finished about half of each, but that’s fine. His Dad also had a pretzel, and I escaped briefly to a nearby store that I saw advertising clip earrings. Which were amazingly NOT HORRIBLY UGLY and not 40 bucks for a pair, so I got a thingy of them and DAMN are they cute, and they didn’t bother my ears until I had worn them for like 8 hours, which is some kind of record. I developed a skin allergy to any and all metals, including gold, years ago, and my earholes were infected so many times over they finally grew shut. I’ve worn cliips here and there when I could find some that weren’t too pinchy, too ugly and too expensive but it’s rare. So yay for cheap jewelry designed for pre-teens!

D burned all his snack calories off at the mall playground directly after that, then we went to Kohl’s, where we go each year to buy a new ornament for the tree. I got a cute, small wreath in colors complementary to the ornaments already on the tree. D got a big, plastic, red Spider Man. Win some, lose some. And we stood in another really long line to buy those.

With the late snack, I knew lunch would probably be late and we had to go out to the W side as I had to return some shoes, so I gave D a choice of where we could have lunch and he picked the Moosehead Saloon in Westlake, because “I love their macaroni and cheese with applesauce” and “I won’t be sad there like if we go to the Mexican place, where we used to go with Dad and that makes me miss him.” After I removed the dagger from my heart, we drove to Westlake and had a late lunch, with TVs blaring sports all around. “Why do they have football on that TV and basketball on the other TV, Mom?” “It doesn’t matter what they have on the TV,” I told him. “When I go to a restaurant, I want to concentrate on the person I came with, and look at them. That’s what I enjoy.” “I WANT TO CONCENTRATE ON THE FOOD! I LOVE THAT!” Yes, he’s an enthusiastic epicure at five years old.

Then we stopped at a Turkish store I’ve been meaning to check out, as I was in search of, I don’t know the proper name, but I learned it as “sukolo,” which I think is Macedonian (though it could be ξυλίκι or xikili, which is Greek. And if any readers know where I can find one in Cleveland, please let me know. Looks like this.), so that I can make my own phyllo again, as making it with a rolling pin is horrible. I approached a worker and started talking to him, explaining what I wanted, and he just got this really big grin and shook his head and I was like DUH he doesn’t speak any English. The guy at the front yelled at me to ask what I wanted so I yelled back, because we Mediterranean people are yellers. The head-covered ladies in the store who gave me stink eye when I came in with my loud clown and tight leggings now stopped and listened and smiled as me and the owner and his son bantered back and forth, me gesturing and explaining in short words what I wanted, and them arguing between each other and pointing, the younger one thinking I wanted to BUY phyllo but the older guy knew what I wanted and he was like, down this aisle, at the end, and he came out and showed me and tried to convince me a smaller but regular type of rolling pin would work fine, when that’s not at all what I want or what will work. He good naturedly shrugged and I did too, and thanked him and we left. Then on to the shoe store to return a pair of running shoes that were horrible and cheap and shitty as soon as I put them on. Then we had to go BACK to Kohl’s as I forgot I desperately needed some sheets, as I only have two sets and one recently got ruined beyond repair. Then to the library, where we debated EVERY SINGLE children’s movie and he finally settled on some stupid Scooby Do movie or Rango, which I suggested and would have actually watched. Scooby won. And I was picking out some movies for me, and my budding reader spied a one-word title on the shelf and pointed at it. “Mom! Mom! Mom! You want to get that movie! Let me see it!”

It was Sylvia, with Gwyneth Paltrow (gag) and Daniel Craig (yum, so it could balance out). Sylvia, of course, being the name of D’s “girlfriend” in his class. “You cannot watch this movie,” I told him, “This is not a children’s movie.” “I KNOW, BUT I REALLY WANT IT, I WANT TO SEE JUST PART OF IT, THIS IS THE ONE I WANT.” “I am NOT getting you a movie about Sylvia Plath!” I told him sternly, and several people stared. “Why not!” he said. “It’s MAUDLIN,” I said, “MOM, WHAT’S ‘MAUDLIN’ MEAN!” “It means it’s depressing and sad and it’s about a poet lady who died, and we’re NOT GETTING IT.” People were really staring now. I sniffed snottily and we marched to the checkout. Fuck those people.

And we never got to the butcher shop or the farm for meat. I have no groceries except what’s in the fridge. Which is fine, because D’s Dad is coming to get him in the morning and I don’t have to worry about packing breakfasts and lunches for him for another week.

We danced with our hands and bopped our heads to Christmas music the whole way home, and put our new ornaments on the tree. Time for some bourbon and laundry. Getting this kid to bed on time tonight.


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