Hmpf! Set out to do something nice, and the universe bites you in the butt.
I had to get out early this morning, to take The Pony to his first Smartypants Team event. I called my mom and told her I'd bring the week-old tabloids to her house. We have not been able to make a connection this week. Mom said she was going to town today, so she could meet me halfway. Perhaps at the venue where I was dropping off The Pony. Never let it be said that Val allows her priceless mother to get out at 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday when the temperature hovers around freezing, with a windchill that could penetrate even Val's own thick layer of personal insulation. I told Mom to stay home, that I would come by to drop off the papers. I asked if there was anything I could bring her on my way. Nope. Mom is the woman who has everything, including a pair of gray sweatpants formerly known to the people of Arby's as the gray sweatpants with a hole in the knee.
Once my Pony mission was accomplished, I called Mom to tell her I was on the way. I planned to go by McDonald's drive-thru and get a cup of hot chocolate. Did she want something from there? I virtually twisted her arm over the phone. "I'm going anyway. For hot chocolate. I'll be glad to pick something up for you, too. It won't be an extra stop. I'm getting myself hot chocolate." Mom decided that, if it wasn't too much trouble, I could bring her a large Diet Coke. Ptooey! How she can drink that stuff from there I'll never know. It always tasted watered-down to me. Which is still better than the Diet Coke at Dairy Queen, which tastes like a Pine-Sol-like floor-mopping agent has been used to clean the spigots.
I pulled up to the McDonald's drive-thru speaker and ordered. One large Diet Coke. One sausage biscuit (because I know Mom likes them, even though I can't stand them because the biscuit is like a giant cotton ball cut in half, wicking moisture from my epithelial cells like there's no tomorrow, giving me cotton mouth with no Diet Coke to re-saturate). And a medium hot chocolate.
"I'm sorry. Actually, our hot chocolate machine is down today. Can I get you anything else?"
No. Nothing else. In fact, if I hadn't already ordered, and if it hadn't been for my mom, I would have said to forget the soda and sausage biscuit as well. What kind of fast-food establishment can't have their hot chocolate machine up and running on a freezing Saturday morning?
I pulled to the first window to pay. Then I pulled to the second window to receive a large Diet Coke in a thin plastic cup (no styrofoam, according to a fellow faculty member who was stiffed with flimsy plastic yesterday morning, which sweated through two napkin mop-ups at the lunch table). The lid looked like an elephant had stepped on it, all smooshed in and cracked on one edge. "Could you please pull to the yellow line? We're waiting on the sausage." What kind of fast-food establishment doesn't have sausage ready at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday?
Finally, dragging my stiff neck, chemical burn, extra knuckle, and semi-dislocated shoulder, possessing all the treats for Mom, and no hot chocolate for me, I proceeded on my good-deed tour. The spanking by the universe was well worth the joy I brought to Mom. Week-old tabloids, smooshed watery Diet Coke, and a cotton-mouth biscuit. She's not that hard to please. She even offered to pay me for my trouble.
No thank you. I do not need to be the Two Dollar and Eleven Cents Daughter to know my mother loves me.