the manicure, but I admit to being quite excited about the ladies' night out. A bevy of moms gathering for an evening of cocktails, canapes, and tarot card readings*. Yes!
The morning of the party, I drove my daughter to school and took the dog to the park. After the requisite snuffling, romping and depositing**, I dialed into a board meeting for a company perilously low on cash. Two hours and a long Powerpoint*** discussion later, it looked like the company would pull through****. Relieved, I returned a call from my mom.
Me: Hi Mom! What's up?
Her: Was everything OK at the post office?
I draw a blank for a moment, and then suddenly remember that I was supposed to have mailed off her package to my brother-in-law for his birthday. She had provided a lovely tin, a handwritten birthday card, and a pre-addressed box complete with just the right amount of bubble-wrap cushioning for the tin to nestle snugly into said box. She barely masked her disappointment when I showed up to take her to the grocery store the day before without the missing ingredient: a pound of his favorite mixed nuts from the LA Farmer's Market. Only by offering to fill the tin myself and personally escort the completed gift to the post office had she been consoled. Oh, that post office!
Me: Yep. It's all taken care of.
Her: Oh, that's such good news. I've been so worried.
Me: No need to worry, Mom.
Her: OK. Bye!
I get in the car and head over the hill. Traffic is terrible. I pull into a space and call my husband.
Me: Can you pick up from school today?
Him: Where are you?
Me: At the market by The Grove. I had to get some nuts.
Him: You had to get some nuts.
Me: Mixed nuts. I told Mom I'd get them for Clarence but I forgot, so now I'm getting them.
Him: And you had to go all the way there to get nuts? I'm pretty sure they have nuts in the Valley.
Me: Not these nuts. He loves these nuts*****. Mom wants him to have these nuts.
Him: Why don't you ever say no to your mother?
Me: You try saying no to my mother.
Him: I'll do pick-up.
I get the nuts. I get back in the car and head for home. I've already decided to fork over the cost of UPS second day air for the package so I can put off the actual mailing part until tomorrow. It is T minus 90 minutes until I escape to the party, and I am anticipating a long soothing bath as I walk in the door. I arrive to find my daughter unpacking a giant plastic bag of what looks suspiciously like art supplies onto the kitchen table.
Her: Hi Mom! I have to have a satyr costume for school tomorrow. Dad took me to Michael's and said I should wait for you to put it together.
Me: He said that, huh?
Her: Where's the glue gun?
Him: The silver poster board is for the armor, and she said something about horns. I'll be in my office.
Her: I'm going to make the beard out of felt and these mini pom-pom balls, and I'm pretty sure I have enough here for my hooves. What do you think?
I plug in the glue gun, put the nuts on the counter and reach for the pipe cleaners. A few tantrums later******, I'm able to leave her with a stapler, some elastic, and a sharpie and make my way, at last, to the party.
Loaded up on artichoke dip and a pomegranate and Proseco cocktail, my turn with the tarot reader finally arrives. I tap a deck. She deals the cards one by one.
Her: The Queen of Wands. That's you.
(A glue gun is like a wand, yes?)
Her: The King of Wands. That's your husband. I see that you are very close to him. The bond is strong.
(Check. Also may be another reference to glue gun.)
Her: This card shows a battle. You have survived something very tiring.
Her: Some people worry about getting the Death card. You shouldn't. It means transformation. A new beginning.
Her: I don't see that.
(I knew this was a crock.)
Her: Now this one. It's a very interesting card, and I see this very strongly for you. You need to be more selfish. There are many forces pulling at you, and you need to take charge and do more for yourself.
(Now that's more like it!)
We talk and drink more and eat decadent bites of chocolate covered red velvet cake for dessert. This being selfish thing is totally working for me.
I walk in the door and find my husband flaked out on the couch.
Him: How was your night?
Me: Wonderful. Thanks so much for watching everyone. How was your night?
Him: Pretty good. Except that we came back from dinner and the dog had pushed the back door open. He made a mess out of some kind of a paper bag in the driveway.
Me: Oh god.
The next day, after an unpleasant morning with my plastic bag at the park, and waiting an hour to see my daughter the satyr cavort in her armor and horns for two minutes, I get in the car and drive back over the hill.
* In a brilliant fundraising move by my daughter's school, you could get a tax deduction for leaving your kids at home while you hang out and drink with your girlfriends. The party was sold out in seconds.
** Him, not me.
Credit to this blog for the hilarious image referencing Edward Tufte, eminent critic of all things Powerpoint.
**** I'm pretty sure that was the outcome. There seemed to be a lot of mumbling and people asking if I was still on the phone. I was.
***** It's true that for some reason he really loves these particular nuts. When I was in miracle aunt mode during my niece's recent visit, we spent an afternoon at the American Girl store. She had called her dad to gush about her new treasures as soon as we got home, and after the appropriate "oohing" and "aahing" he asked my sister quietly, "Did you happen to get any nuts?"
****** One for her and one for me.