We had a list of stops to make. First came Ace Hardware for a clothes line and a no-pest-strip. Elizabeth had rediscovered her Barbie electric guitar earlier that day and brought it with her on this trip. She wanted to bring it into the store, she said, “so everyone can hear my music.” I said OK. Sure enough, as soon as we walked in, an older woman on her way out took the bait, saying, “That is so cool! Can you play me a song?” It was as if Elizabeth had paid her to do this. Elizabeth pressed a few buttons and the pre-recorded music came out. “Can you dance?” the woman asked. Elizabeth suddenly got shy, so the woman asked me. I said, “Yes, she loves to dance.” And the woman left, smiling. No one else in the store wanted a performance, for some reason. Anyway, I'm always trying to encourage Elizabeth any time she shows interest in music. As to the shopping, the store had the clothes line, but no fly traps like we wanted, just the type Tara had tried and didn't like because it stank too much. They did have a $25 blown-glass fly trap, but I said, “No, I'm looking for something closer to $5.”

Next stop was Subway sandwich shop. Tara had given me a coupon. We pulled into a spot that I immediately realized someone else had been waiting for. I'm thinking, “Oops, I hope a fight doesn't break out.” I did watch to see where that other car parked. Elizabeth and I quickly got out. Half way to the store I realized I'd forgotten that coupon, so we had to go back to the car. And there he was, the man whose spot I had taken. But he either didn't realize who I was or didn't care. Most people fall into the latter category. He was just some guy out with his two boys, ages 9 and 14, I'd guess. They ignored us on their way to the GameStop video game store next to Subway.

In line at Subway we were going to be next up when Elizabeth said, “Oh, I need to go potty.” So we went to the restroom where I explained for the hundredth time that I had to take her to the men's room, although mom had to take her to the women's room. By the time we got out of there, half a baseball team and their parents had gotten in line in front of us. Even Elizabeth said at one point, “I don't want to wait this long.” I said I didn't either, but we had no choice. At least they were good sandwiches. They have a “honey oat” bread that I like. Elizabeth couldn't wait to get home. She started eating hers in the car. Then she wanted something to drink, which we hadn't bought because we had drinks at home where I thought we'd be eating it. In true Elizabeth fashion, from that point on until satisfied, she repeated incessantly that she wanted something to drink. You'd think she was dying, crawling across the desert.

After that came the post office where I had to drop off some FedEx packages. Yes, you read that right. Then half a mile down to Kroger to drop off our recycling as well as get gas and something for Elizabeth to drink. We did the recycling first, after which I let Elizabeth ride in the back section of the Pathfinder, out of her car seat, because we never left the parking lot between the recycling bins and the store. In Kroger, we found “vitamin water” and an unfamiliar sports drink for me. From there to the gas station I again left Elizabeth in the rear end of the truck as requested because we were still in the parking lot, going 5mph. That's when Elizabeth spilled most of her drink, I guess when I made a turn. She said, “Hey, you made me spill my drink!” I didn't really care until she showed me that 90% of it was gone. I got upset and snapped at her because I had just paid $1.50 for that drink, just for her, and it was not much more than tap water. That was stupid of me, I know. I'm working on it.

She started crying. I felt bad and said I was sorry for yelling at her. It was all my fault, not hers, I said. She agreed, and “explained” the same to me several times while I circled the gas station looking for an open bay. I let her scold me – which she loves to do, by the way – and get it out of her system. It was only fair. Anyway, a gas pump never freed up, so I put her back in her car seat and bought gas elsewhere. At that other gas station, I ran in and put $3 on a lottery ticket in the hopes of winning enough to retire and hire a nanny to take care of Elizabeth! Then again, I'd probably miss these aggravating episodes with her because she's only aggravating half the time.

A few hours later I'd gotten over it and, while Tara did her “never-ending laundry,” I voluntarily brought Elizabeth with me to HomeDepot for the last of the fence posts for my backyard fence project for Tara. I've started favoring HomeDepot for my occasional lumber needs because: for one, they're cheaper; but also because they have made and kept promises – unusual for a large corporation – to not buy lumber from anyone selling “old growth” lumber. It's for the sake of the forests and the air that we breathe. Yes, I'm a tree-hugger.

Elizabeth likes HomeDepot because I let her ride on those metal lumber carts. She picked out a pink one this time. On the drive home, with the Pathfinder full of fence posts, we joked about not being able to see each other, saying “Where are you?” I can't see a nanny doing that.

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