The best-laid schemes of Val and Mom always go awry.
The Pony and I were to call Mom as we left school so she could head for our predetermined rendezvous location. We are like bad spies, always meeting at the same place. Unfortunately, I travel through a dead zone before I can use my cell phone. I can't call on the school phone, because an individual uses the only outside line every single day from final bell until 4:00. After regaining service, like Apollo astronauts passing through the Van Allen Radiation Belt, my phone went crazy. A voice mail. That never works, so I had The Pony call Mom.
"I was afraid you had gone without me. It's been a half hour since school was out."
"We just got underway. I have a job, you know. That requires me to work. We didn't forget you. We were just getting ready to call."
"Okay. Bye. I have to get going."
Mom did not wear her gray sweatpants with the hole in them! After I specifically instructed her last night to lay them out. I guess she's saving them for the landfill guy next month. But she was still her helpful self. When I stopped by the bank to withdraw $80 in cash and then deposit it in Genius's account, so he can use it immediately, while depositing a payroll check for $80.51 from Hick's reimbursing employer in our account, any other mother might have questioned the efficiency of my transaction. Not MY mom! It made perfect sense to her. Though she DID question my route from the ATM to the drive-thru.
"Um...I thought you were going to deposit that cash."
"I am. That's where I'm going now."
"Oh. I guess a lot of people use this alley."
"Did you think about cutting through here by the church?"
"That's where I'm going. I do this all the time, Mom. Thanks for your input, but I've got it covered."
"Well, I was just thinking that you could have backed up from the ATM, and pulled into the drive-thru that way."
The Pony roused himself from his pit of indifference. "That didn't work out so well the last time she tried it."
"Yeah. That's when I backed over the compact car driven by the crazy meth-beard man who had a pitbull on a chain, and yelled, 'GET BACK IN THE CAR!' when I went back to exchange insurance information. Then I found out he was talking to the dog. And he didn't want to call the police, because I only bent his license plate with my trailer hitch, and he didn't even stay to do his bank transaction. I had asked The Pony if there was anything behind me, because that guy was so close he was in my blind spot. The Pony told me it was okay, then I found out he hadn't even turned around to look."
"Oh. Are we still going to Arby's?"
"Yes, if you want to. But Hick called and said he wants Chinese, and The Pony wants Chinese more, but they're going to be gone all day tomorrow, so I can get Arby's to save for my lunch. However...you didn't wear your Arby's pants."
"Well, it's too hot for them today."
"Mom. It was hotter than this last time you wore them. I guess now that you sewed up the knee hole, they're stifling."
"These jeans are cooler."
"Yeah. Jeans are so comfortable in 85 degrees. Not like those threadbare gray sweatpants."
We went on to pay the house bill at a different drive-thru in a different town. Mom asked again. "So we're going to Arby's?"
"Yes. Right after this."
"I think I saw on their commercial that they have a little chicken sandwich. I think I'll get a little chicken sandwich. I still have roast beef in my freezer from last week."
"I don't remember that. But you can ask when we go in. I'm going to pay with a $20, so I'll get whatever you want. And we'll get The Pony a soda and a molten lava cake to tide him over until he gets home to his Chinese."
We left The Pony tapping at his laptop, and went into Arby's. It was kind of a ghost town. Can you believe that, on a Friday evening at the end of the month? As if people would rather spend their money on a real restaurant. Or Chinese. We were the only customers, except for a disgruntled one waiting for the manager. Which probably would not bode well for your average Arby'sgoers, but did nothing to deter us. Mom asked about the little chicken. Nope. Arby's doesn't have little chicken. So uncharacteristic of a roast beef establishment. Mom decided she did not want anything! What a bait and switch! Harp about going to Arby's, dress up for the occasion, even, and then decide on nothing.
Oh, well. The Pony, who had declared that he did not want anything, strapped on the old feedbag and ate up his Sierra Mist and molten lava. Mom thoroughly enjoyed my tales out of school during the drive time, though I forgot one particularly juicy tidbit that I will call her with tonight, when the Cardinals game is over.
AND...even though Mom didn't get anything in Arby's, she gave me two dollars when we got back to the car. For anyone keeping track, that puts Val out of the negative column. She's up to a Two-Dollar Daughter at the end of September.
If only I'd remembered the best story, Mom might have made it $3.00.