Today was a record for us – my husband and me and our little sidekick, our 7-year old granddaughter. We got in the car at noon, came home at seven and in between, made ten stops. We counted them over and over just to make sure we had it right.
Stop #1 was at the dry cleaner’s where we dropped off the husband’s shirts. After groceries and the liquor store, the dry cleaners is our biggest expense. Queensway in Shorewood has made millions out of my husband’s affection for perfectly pressed dress shirts. On weekends, he wears spaghetti-stained Badgers shirts and shorts he bought at K-Mart fifteen years ago but during the week? He’s quite right.
Stop #2 was the gas station, a new one since their lower price was spotted on an earlier trip. The price of gas is a constant topic around here; it’s not incongruous to drive 5 miles out of the way to get cheaper gas. It’s thrifty.
Stop #3 was the Post Office to mail the applications for our passport renewals. To me, this means we have a chance of traveling the world; to my husband, it means we can go to Canada the next time we’re in the Upper Peninsula. This would be like going to the U.P. squared, more pine trees and French fries with gravy. I’m thinking exotic, daring, other side of the world, he’s thinking another two lane dirt road he can drive on. We are not on the same page.
Stop #4 was the Mitchell Park Domes to see the new dinosaurs tucked away in the jungle garden dome. This was lovely. Orchids and giant plants, Koi and shady ferns, and, boom, perfectly positioned dinosaurs. Lovely. And cheap. Because if you’re a member of Friends of Mitchell Park Domes, you get in free. You can duck in and out of the spectacular domes at no cost. It’s lovely.
Stop #5 was the playground at Hart Field in Wauwatosa where we puzzled over the design, wondering why kids would think it was interesting that everything looked like a fake tree and also mystified that no one has figured out how to keep a slide from heating up to skin searing temperature in the noonday sun. We thought the metal slides were bad; these were ferocious. Step #6 was across the street at a bank’s open house. Just as we pulled up, they let the air out of the bouncy things and sealed up the free hot dogs. We scored free sodas and chips. Handed a bottle of water, our granddaughter looked at us as kids do when they think the grown-ups have failed to schedule things properly. I’ve seen this look many times over the years. I ignore it. Then a very nice lady chases after us and hands my granddaughter a box with a piggy bank in it. My granddaughter names the bank Bluey and it becomes her most prized possession.
Step #7 is Bunzel’s Meat Market where they sell hamburgers and Hungarian sausages out front and inside have insane deals on meat like the monthly Bunzel’s Meat Special for $20.13 which is a BOX OF MEAT, my friends, hand cut by people who learned how to be butchers and aren’t just dressing the part. We bought our lunch for $2.00 each and sat at a picnic table on the sidewalk.
After Bunzel’s, we went to Stop #8, the Villard Square Library where we go every Saturday so our granddaughter can get two new puppets and five books. My husband can also admire the work his organization, the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, did to get the new library built. It’s a beautiful place and we’ve made it part of our regular Saturday circuit. Our granddaughter’s picture’s even on the wall when we come in. It’s lovely.
Stop #9 is the amazing, cool, laid-back JCC Family Center where we sit, we swim, we eat, we nap, we stand around and watch little kids flying down water slides, we get splashed by toddlers’ glee, we see people we know who look so old now that it’s scary, we contemplate the next few months, and agree to take a trip to Vietnam.
Stop #10 is Pick and Save where we go up and down the aisles tossing things we need to each other and into the cart while our granddaughter hangs on the back and I wait for the store authorities to tell us to be more mindful of the risk of her windsurfing around corners. We let her pick out the ice cream treats and are amazed and grateful that she has picked exactly what we wanted. We are open to her decision-making, but try to be good role models.
Stop #11 doesn’t count because it’s home where dinner gets made, this blog post gets written, and this drawing is drawn.
What’s with her eye, I ask.
She’s winking is the answer.