With a great deal of equanimity, J accepted that we were going on an outing, and he trusted me when I said it was for fun. What I mean by “for fun” is “no doctors.” We ran errands. We walked a lot. We rode the bus and discovered that it isn’t just the potholes that cause problems; poor suspension in any vehicle will make for a bumpy ride even if the road is (more or less) in good repair. By the time we reached High Street, J and I were more than ready to get off the bus; I’m sure the other passengers were ready for us to leave, too, because J said GOING TO TOWN a minimum of 200 times during the half-hour ride.
Our first stop was the courthouse. Because the world we live in has become increasingly threatening and violent, we had to go through metal detectors and empty our pockets before going in to complete the errands we had for the morning. J had been to this building before, and he was a little taken aback by the new contraptions standing between him and getting in and out of there quickly. A brief moment of confusion, a relinquishing of his beloved Slinky and kind patience from the security team at the door, but we made it through without problems.
Of course, I had a minor glitch with the paperwork, and we had to do two of the things we had on our list, but leave and return for the third. J was patient about this, too. There were a lot of people waiting their turn, and he navigated this fairly well. I say fairly well because J takes up a lot of space when he sits down, and I had to ask him to “gather his feet” so as not to create an unnecessary obstacle course for the other patrons.
I had promised J we’d go to his favorite store in town when we were done with our errands, but I had to dash to the library to try printing a piece of paper I needed for that pesky third errand. When I realized the printers weren’t working, I let J walk the Children’s section and I texted back and forth with Dada trying to find a solution. The proceedings reached a stalemate and, to recover from the stress of the moment, I told J we were going to the toy store. THIS was the moment he’d been waiting for, and he was so happy that it was well worth having sat down and taken that deep breath.
We walked around the store, looking at dolls, games, plush toys, books, Playmobil sets. I asked J if there was anything he wanted before we left. Another turn around the store helped him make his choice: the biggest set he could possibly choose from among the Playmobils, and the little motor to power it! I explained that, yes, he could buy it, but HE had to carry it around town. As we were paying, the store owner (we have known her since we moved into town four years ago) helped me figure out how to complete my final errand. Immense Playmobil set in hand, we went back to the courthouse (and through security, of course) and finalized our official business.
I asked J where he wanted to have lunch, and he stood looking around at the different store fronts. In the end, he opted to go to a diner that he’s been to when he’s walked into town from school. I had never been so he guided me to it, and when we were led to our table, he plopped down like a regular customer. Since it was after eleven a.m. I ordered French Toast and J ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and some chicken strips. He ordered his food with his Proloquo.
I can understand why J likes the place. The booths are spacious, and the music was perfectly in tune with J’s tastes. As we sat there waiting for our meal, J was happily moving around in his seat, following the songs they were playing. He was so happy, in fact, that he didn’t hesitate to remove his brace to cut up the chicken strips, and didn’t complain when I reminded him that he has full use of his thumb and I expect him to move, curl, wriggle, and command it.
We counted the money to pay our bill, and made a pit stop before heading home. Dada kindly drove into town and brought us home. All in all, we were out and about since 9 in the morning, and didn’t walk into our townhouse until shortly after 1 P.M. It was a very full and active morning, and J was stretching and yawning when we got back.
We spent the better part of the afternoon putting his toy together. The nice thing about Playmobils is that they’re easy (for me) to figure out. I’ve grown too old for Legos. And before you argue that “you can never be too old for Legos” I will explain that I fully agree with the spirit of that, but my eyes aren’t what they used to be, and some of those tiny pieces are hard to handle with my arthritic fingers. J was especially thrilled when he realized that one of the figures in his new Playmobil Ferris Wheel set looks a lot like him, down to the newsboy cap it’s wearing.
As you can tell, our trip to town was mostly successful. The one glitch was the red-tape, but we figured out what to do to properly and promptly complete our errands. I didn’t flat-out lie to J; I meant for him to have fun, but I also meant to get things done, and we managed both. The rest of the weekend went well because we set the proper tone for errands and fun.
Today is the first day of the two school-less weeks in August. We are doing a little work, and we are trying to do some fun activities. The mood is light, and we are determined to sail through the next couple of weeks without too much drama. And the brace? It comes off for chores and meals, and I keep reminding J that his thumb works just fine.