Twas Saturday, the 21st and all through our un-decorated house - only Coach and I were stirring - he was going in early to see a few patients, being as quiet as a mouse.
OK, the rest of this tale will be told sans rhyme, cause that's all I got!
I asked Coach that morning in a rare moment alone before he left for work, 'Hey, what are you doing about the ping pong table? Did you pick one out? What's the story?'
Well, he said he was waiting to hear if I found someone to fix the air hockey table so he hadn't completed his research. Oh. Crap.
Air hockey hasn't worked in a year. Coach was researching putting a ping pong table on top of the air hockey table (not sure how to phrase that - just the top, resting on top of the current broken air hockey table). I thought it was silly to do that unless we knew the air hockey table could be fixed. Why keep a piece of junk? Coach felt like it made sense - cheaper to just get a top vs a whole table. I reached out on that Nextdoor website and asked if anyone 'knew a guy' who could fix an air hockey table. One neighbor thought his son could do it, but then he didn't get back to us.
I figured Amazon would save the day, but they could not ship me a table top or a table in time for Christmas. Just when you think Amazon is capable of anything. I tried to find one at a store that I could physically drive to . . . oh, the horror of driving to a store. Nope. Then I checked into Letgo and Craigslist. One family was giving one away not far from us. This grabbed Coach’s attention, but the table looked wobbly in the photos and one corner was broken off. I want this table to be a draw to our clan’s friends, not an embarrassment. ‘OK, someone hold the table in place while we play.’
Also on Craigslist, a brand-new, in the box, professional grade table that folded up nicely in the photo. It was being sold by a warehouse/business type thing – so price haggling was not an option. Fear not, I tried. It was almost ½ price of the retail price, so we said, ‘Let’s do it!’
The warehouse was a hike – out in the boonies. They weren’t open on Sunday, so I told Coach that I would drive out there after Reg’s eye doc appointment and pick it up on Monday afternoon. The plan: dump it in my folks’garage until Christmas Eve.
|I swear this guy's arm was |
the size of my torso.
On my way to this place in St. Charles, I sent an email at a stop light. I had read a Christmas letter from a family friend named Kathy the day before. She ended her letter with 'If you ever find yourself out in St. Charles, give me a call!' Well, heck.
Long story, but Kathy was my Uncle Pat's girlfriend. Pat was my favorite uncle who passed away the year I was studying in Ireland as a junior in college. I was devastated. He was in his mid 40's at the time. If it had not been for his poor health (he had 6 strokes when I was a senior in high school, was a diabetic, had been a smoker, etc), I think he and Kathy would have been married. I only had Kathy's mailing address, but I reached out to my aunt and got her email address.
Anywho - I emailed Kathy from a stop light and said, 'Hey I am a few minutes from St. Charles. I thought I was going to make it to Mini's b-ball game, but my errands have run amuck and that will never happen. Kind of a long shot, but this is my cell #.'
As the dudes were loading the table into my car, my phone rang and it was Kathy! I said, 'yeah, I am kinda freaking out about the size of this table, can I call you back?' She laughed: 'Yes!'
As I drove away, I called Kathy back. She asked me where I was and when I told her the intersection she burst out laughing. I was a few blocks away from her house. Nooo wayyyy!
So, I pretended that I had NOTHING to do (like reconfigure a basement to fit this monstrosity in my van never mind find a moving crew to haul it down there while my kids were . . . where exactly?) Less than a minute later, I was pulling into Kathy's driveway - she was on the phone with me telling me where to turn, etc. It was faster than plugging her address into GPS.
Friends, I needed this little pit-stop from my life as one of Santa's elves on speed. I love Kathy. Wish she lived closer. She never married. She recently retired and took a fabulous 3 week trip to South America. I gave her my little 'Well, you probably remember that I was always the black sheep of the family, and over the years that has only been exaggerated. My family (that raised me) makes me a tad nutty at times. . . I've been doing a lot of writing, joined two writing groups and have gotten lots of great feedback on my stuff that I hope to turn into a memoir.'
(my family does not know this and Mini, who thoroughly enjoys reading my stories, keeps giggling and asking me: 'What do you think they will say when they read this?' To which I say: 'That would be a good problem to have, because it will mean I am getting my book published.' hee hee
Kathy just laughed and nodded. 'Yeah, I think that's why you were always Pat's favorite. You just did your own thing. He got such a kick out of you.'
|If I do head back to St. Charles, I MUST |
delegate who cleans up the kitchen.
Seriously?! Somewhere in the photo
below is my kitchen island.
This was not new information, but it was a reminder that warmed my heart and was the exact Christmas gift delivered just when I needed it. It was like a hug direct from Uncle Pat, sent through Kathy. At the end of our hour and a half long visit (when I swear I stepping into a wrinkle in time), I told her that when the not-so-easy parts of life spiral out of control for me, I find myself saying: 'Do you believe this horse shit, Pat?'
Ping pong table: check
Awesome visit with
an old friend: check
And, Kathy is interested in reading my chapters. I look forward to her input and to continuing to stay in closer contact. Maybe I need to disappear to the boonies of St. Charles every once in awhile to recharge.
Did anyone else get an unexpected treat this Christmas?