Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Stressed? You've got nothing on the laundry hag!
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“Neil!” How could he have let this happen? He knew how important today was for Thanksgiving preparations! He’d probably thought he was doing me a kindness, letting me sleep off my fatigue. Neil doesn’t buy my ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead’ speech.
I was too afraid to glance at the clock so I flew to the closet and yanked on the first pair of clean jeans I found. I pulled on one of Neil’s T-shirts, figuring if I ruined it in my frantic haste he’d brought it on himself. I scrunched my hair into a messy pony tail while dashing to the kitchen, but tripped on a wrinkle in the carpet and ended up spread eagled on the floor.
Damn it all to the black depths of Hades! I’d never been able to master two things at once.
I pushed myself up from the carpet and continued my mad dash for the kitchen. There was a note on the counter from Marty, informing me he’d taken the boys to the park and that my mother-in-law had called. I faced the inventible and looked at the clock on the microwave. 3:46 p.m., the day before Thanksgiving, and I still hadn’t done my shopping.
No time to lose. I grabbed my purse and my keys, jotted a quick note on the back of Marty’s, and was out the door. A brisk wind slapped me in the face and tossed my unruly hair in my eyes, but I didn’t slow. I climbed behind the wheel of the White Cloud of Death and shoved the key into the ignition. I turned and waited for the engine to catch.
Okay, Self, don’t panic. I turned it again, and still nothing. A third try came up nada. No revving of an ancient engine to indicate the beast was even trying. “She’s dead, Jim,” I muttered in my best Bones McCoy imitation. Murphy and his confounded law had struck again.
I bashed the dashboard with all my anger at the vehicle’s impotence. My mother used to say we should thank God for small favors and be happy something worse didn’t happen, but I was too behind, and my coma from the night before hadn’t replenished my reserves. A little creative cussing was in order as I gave up on the van and didn’t attempt to pop the hood, because what I knew about cars would fit in Greg the Gym Rat’s jock strap and was just as useless.
Mrs. Kline didn’t think it was useless. That rotten inner voice was always up for an argument.
“Shut-up, Self,” I muttered as I looked around for another option. I could walk to the store, but my grocery list was the size of a Chinese restaurant’s menu, and I didn’t think I’d be able to carry everything back. None of my neighbors seemed to be home, and I doubted I would’ve asked for a ride even if they were. I wasn’t ready to cement my reputation as the neighborhood nut case yet.
Kenny and Josh had abandoned their bikes by the porch, and I eyed them for a moment before dismissing them, due to the carrying problem. I could call Neil and ask him to come and pick me up, but I knew he had an uphill battle with his weenie manager and he may not be able to get the time off. I could call my mother-in-law and cancel the whole shebang.
I shuddered. No, that wasn’t an option. Okay, what would the pilgrims and Native Americans have done?
I spied the wheelbarrow propped against the side of the house. “Yes!” I cried as my inner voice shrieked No! You can’t push the wheelbarrow all the way into town. What if someone sees you? You’ll look completely unhinged.
I was starting to think I was completely unhinged as I plopped my purse in the barrow and started off. According to Map Quest, the nearest supermarket was 2.7 miles from my address, but pushing a wheelbarrow that far was no easy task. I saw more than one motorist along the road, eyes like beach balls, nose pressed to the glass. The wheelbarrow was a fight every step of the way—one wheel didn’t for good navigation make—and I had a struggle to keep it on the road. I made sure to stay with traffic, since I didn’t want to get a ticket. No more time in the slammer for Maggie Phillips.
I huffed along, sure I experienced some of that adrenaline-charged superhuman strength that Neil referred to on occasion. I remembered a story he’d told me about a grandmother lifting the back end of a Cadillac to rescue a trapped child. I wonder what she would have done if her first Thanksgiving with the in-laws was at stake.