When Destructor Robots Nearly Derailed Valentine’s

Yes, I'm recycling an image I've already used because I love these: Valentines my great aunt sent me from the 1930s.

Yes, I’m recycling an image I’ve already used because I love these: Valentines my great aunt sent me from the 1930s.

Miles run today: 4.5

Valentines waiting to be addressed on our kitchen table: 30

Days until Valentine’s Day: 1

February 13, 2007, 8 p.m.

“Put on your shoes!” I yell, grabbing my keys and purse. I am on my way to the grocery store with my two children, ages 4 and 6.

My husband is out of town, it’s raining, and the kids are already in their pajamas.

“Don’t worry; no one will see you. Put on a coat, and we’ll pretend you’re wearing pants,” I tell my son, who is in kindergarten.

“But there are spaceships on them!” he yells.

“Sometimes people like to wear pants with spaceships on them,” I say, as we dash to the minivan, getting pelted with raindrops.

My daughter is sobbing, her tiny hands clenched into fists.

Five minutes earlier7:55 p.m.

“Hey, are you almost finished with those cards? It’s time for bed.” I walk into the dining room, where my daughter is addressing Valentine’s Day cards for her preschool friends. There is a list of 22 friends, and my daughter is using preternaturally gorgeous penmanship to write each child’s name on the Disney Princess-themed cards.

She reaches for another card, but her hand comes up with nothing.

She leans over the box and scrambles around inside.

Nothing. No more cards.

I tilt the box sideways. “So you must be finished, right? You had 30 cards, and you only have 22 classmates and two teachers.”

“Nooooo,” she says, pushing them all into a neat pile and pointing at her list with checkmarks next to most names. “I have five left to do.”

“Five? How is that possible?” I check the inside of the box again.

Her eyes focus on her lap. Silence.

“What happened?” I say, touching her shoulder.

“Well… I made some Valentines for my… my… my animals.” She looks up at me, and her face turns blotchy red, a sure sign of tears brewing.

“How many did you make for your stuffed animals?” I ask, sinking into a chair and cradling my head.

She starts to whimper. “Well, one for Bear Bear, one for Pinkie, and Bunny-Bunny-Love, and a few others, and I might have messed up on one or two…”

8:05 p.m.

A herd or flock or swarm of Valentine’s-loving locusts has ravaged the pink-and-red card display.

I am standing with two kids in pajamas and tennis shoes, one crying, one asking for chocolate, and the 20-something business-casual types who drop into the grocery store at 8 p.m. to grab sushi are eyeing our ragtag group with suspicion.

There are no more Disney Princess cards. No more mermaids or cute bunnies. What is left: destructor megatronic robots and manga-style girls with huge alien eyes and miniskirts with thigh-high socks.

“Mo-oooo-ooommmmy! There are no more caaaaaaards!”

We are causing A Scene.

I rummage through every single shelf until at the very back, I find some mangled Bob the Builder cards and emerge victorious.

“Yes! Can We Find It? Yes! We! Can!” I sing.

“Bob the Builder is for boys!” my daughter cries, but her sobs have switched back to quiet whimpers.

“But you have boys in your class who will love these!”

My son rolls his eyes. “Can we go home now?”

By 8:45 p.m., my daughter finishes addressing her cards. And the next day, some crazy mom brings in Ferrero Rocher candies for the kids. It will be the last decent candy any of them see for at least 10 years.

February 13, 20138 a.m.

My husband has helped my daughter craft her own Valentines out of a rabbit picture she drew. He printed them off for her and only needed to cut them… but the nice cutting thingie is at work.

“Um. No. They need to get cut this morning,” I say, hands on hips.

He looks at me as he turns away from some serious work thing. “I’m working.”

I give him The Look and try to transfer some of my Valentine’s Day horror flashbacks onto his consciousness. This has never worked, and I don’t know why I expect it to today.

But he cuts them. “Are you sure you need 30? Are there really 30 people in the class?”

“She needs 30. Trust me on this.” Tears, buddy. Tears. Mayhem. Destructor Robots.

I have been remiss in accepting a couple of blog awards. I wanted to say thank you so much for thinking of me and point out some great blogs you may or may not be visiting.

versatileblogger111

Thank you, Mike Lince, who blogs at Applecore. He and his wife have set a course to move to a different country every six months. They just finished in Panama, now they’re in Mexico, they plan to move to Scotland in July, and after that, Spain. He writes some wonderfully informative posts with great photographs.

I’d like to pass this award on to a few bloggers (please feel free to use or ignore as necessary):

Vanessa-Jane Chapman’s new(ish) blog, Sugarness, will make you want to lick  your screen. (If it’s dusty, like mine, fight the urge.) Yummy chocolate recipes will start piling up on your to-bake list. Thanks, Vanessa, I think.

OK. Don’t be mad, because this one is a bit self-centered… I wrote a post about being 10, and someone else I follow got inspired to write about being 10, and hers was… wow! So much more (as Subtle Kate would say) muchier. Check out this post by Desertrose. So good.

Also, many of you already follow her, but JM McDowell’s serial mystery about archaeologist Meghan Bode, Buried Deeds, is one you won’t want to miss each Tuesday. Don’t worry; she’s on the 11th installment, but she has the rest archived if you’ve missed them.

Thank you to Kate at 4am Writer for the Blog of the Year Award for 2012. She is humble, kind, a generous blogger and friend to writers everywhere. I can’t wait to read her novel(s) when she’s ready to share them with the world.

I guess it’s a little late to be passing this one on… but I’ll share a few blogs that I’ve enjoyed over the past year so you can start enjoying them, too.

If you haven’t read one of Gabriela Blandy’s posts at A Sense of a Journey, you’ve been missing out. Fan.Tas.Tic. What a great writer! And if you want a title for your posts that draws people in, call up Gabriela. The woman can do no wrong.

You dig? I can’t stop looking at the photos of Florida at SmallHouseBigGarden. Gorgeous photos, she knows all the Latin names and growth habits of every blooming thing south of the Mason-Dixon line. Especially if you’re sitting inside on a drizzly rainy day like today, those photos will transport you somewhere warm. Divine.

I can relate to this fellow mom on the other side of the Atlantic. She turned 40 last year like I did, writes about shoes and lipstick and music and pyromaniacs and politicians and Cadbury’s. Yum. Check out TurningTwiceTwenty to read her latest musings.

And thanks for the awards!

Advertisements