Friends, food and fun

The last two days— when not paying bills, shoveling snow, fighting pain and surviving work at the Bizzy Hizzy— has been a blend of chores and silliness.

I took Teenager #1 for a drive yesterday to navigate city streets made narrow by snow and drive in whatever slop we could find so she could experience driving on snow and ice in a controlled manner.

She asked for something from McDonalds so I got her an iced coffee, and I wanted to go to Dunkin across the street for my iced coffee.

I ordered the coffee on the McDonalds app and no lie— it took 45 minutes to make it through the drive through. At Dunkin, I got a cold brew with cream, the coconut flavor shot and one pump of the pink velvet syrup.

Yes, they have the pink velvet syrup in things other than the pricey pink velvet macchiato.

At work in the Stitch Fix warehouse, I tried to get a picture of the inflatable Valentine’s dinosaur…

And I got assigned to QC. I assembled 89 fixes and was very grateful when my Tylenol and ibuprofen managed to numb the pain in my spine. I listed to two IT innovation podcasts featuring data science, algorithms and Stitch Fix.

After taking Minerva of the Roman Pride to FURR’s cat adoption event at Petsmart, teenager #1 and I went to Wegmans across the street. Now, we are expecting snow again tomorrow AND it’s the Super Bowl so of course, it was crazy.

But it sure made this generic bologna sandwich taste amazing.

A social worker friend and I discussed budget tactics, loan amortization and the influence of white privilege in the disability sphere.

Then our neighbor and our favorite little dog stopped by. We finalized dinner plans to go to our favorite local diner— and wow was it lively tonight.

Not only did we have the brand new waiter (whom they hired instead of teenager #1), but there was one guy who looked like his mask came out of a BDSM scene and a sweet little old lady wearing fingerless gloves who sent back her omelette so many times they ran out of egg whites.

The poor new waiter dropped food on the floor and broke at least one plate, didn’t have any grasp of the menu, was slow as molasses, and could not keep track of the condiments. But don’t worry, we were patient.

Apparently my request for a tuna melt on rye confused him, because he had to return to the table to confirm that I didn’t want a tuna melt and an order of rye toast.

And during one of our trips today, we fished the Yuengling out of the yard that teenager #1 tried to throw to the neighbor as he was snow-blowing.

After all that, and much trademark cackling, we finally did the soda taste test video we’ve had planned: Weird Sodas (Ramuné in melon and strawberry, Major Melon Mountain Dew and A-Treat Pumpkin.

That’s some real pandemic excitement.

Growing up

I always wanted a family and I imagined myself surrounded by children, but my life circumstances led to me (and my now separated from husband) bringing one child into the world.

There are several key points in my life that caused a dramatic shift in who I am— she was the first.

In the first few months of her life, I started to see every good and every negative part of my personality. Akin to the experience of most parents, she changed me because suddenly I knew I had more at stake on this earth than my own existence.

She depended on us as her parents, not only for survival, but as role models. And wow— was that reality sobering.

Yesterday her father took her for her learners permit. Covid-19 has delayed some of her plans to start driving.

But now it’s official.

The teenager is now a teen driver. On YouTube: The teen picking me up

Now, her father drives a 2016 Nissan Juke which is like driving a dune buggy. By comparison, my 2015 Jetta turbo is a race car. My daughter smartly recognizes the difference and adjusts her learning plan to best suit each car.

For example, she wants to learn to merge onto the highway in my car before her father’s as she knows if she misjudges, mine will increase speed faster.

Speaking of the highway, she drove me to my mammogram and ultrasound this morning, which involved first experiences not only on Rte. 33, but also Rte. 22 and 378.

She asked me to photograph the experience.

I am so proud of her. And am so glad to share these key moments in her life.

Road Trip Preparations

My good friend Gayle and I love to have adventures, usually day trips or hikes or going to a trampoline park on my 40th birthday.

Gayle loves a good road trip.

Gayle is a lifelong Girl Scout.

Gayle’s great-niece, Frances, and my daughter, Eva, are in the same Girl Scout troop. Both girls have a birthday next week. Frances will be 16 (ack!) and my girl will be 14 (double ack!). Their girl scouting days are coming to a close and Gayle wanted to take them to see the birthplace of Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia.

We leave on Sunday.

A Lesson from EZ Pass

I spend too much of my life stressing over details in my life that really don’t require that much thought. Thanks to EZ Pass and my American Express this might be changing. 
I started grad school as a whim. Not something normal people do, but I’ve never done anything in the ordinary fashion. The tuition went on my American Express (no interest until August 2016), along with my prepay heating oil bill for the winter.

When I first started driving to West Chester every week, I gathered a stack of singles and fives to keep in my console in the car. Toll money. There are two fairly equally ways to travel the turnpike to West Chester. One involves Route 22 and straight down, the other uses Route 78 and the back roads to hook up with the turnpike in Quakertown.

The back road method eliminates a dollar or so in tolls.

And I’m cheap.

I ordered an EZ Pass and I noticed something when it came. I didn’t care so much about that extra buck. I usually drive to West Chester on the cheaper way, but on the way home I never feel like weaving around in the dark. So I don’t.

And I refuse to stress over saving or spending a dollar. 

I’ve noticed on my EZ Pass bill that it really doesn’t force my account to recharge any sooner than if I stick to my stingy back way.

Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age.

I freaked out the first time I used the EZ Pass. What if it didn’t work? I made my husband use the ticket and EZ Pass lane just to be sure.

And that stack of $30 in small bills in my car? It’s down to $5. Most of it reallocated to the child’s lunch money. 

But it took a month before I was willing to touch it.