After my wonderful long weekend, I was greeted with yet another surprise upon my return to work. Samantha, with the help of her friend Cori, and (by all accounts) the hindrance of Cori's two toddlers, had decorated my office from floor to ceiling! Flags, banners, balloons and dangling celestial objects were scattered among the streamers. Beautiful as it was, I could not move without the feeling that something was watching me! The celebrations continued with the traditional surprise giving of cake and card, and I was duly overwhelmed and thankful.
The jubilation may have subsided slightly during the week, but as the following weekend approached, I was informed that we were going to have even more fun. The eleventh day of July shares its numerical value with a convenience store, and between the hours of 11am and 7pm, '7-Eleven' were going to be giving away a small 'slurpee'. The definition of such an item, which I believe to be a trade name, is a frozen beverage with artificial flavouring, that folds from the machine into the cup, and is then slurped through a straw. It is usually something I avoid, but on the eleventh day of the month of July, I throw caution to the wind, and although I cannot say with all honesty that I enjoy the iced delicacy, I do partake with only a modicum of resistance.
I am not sure whether it was fortunate, or not, that 'Chick-fil-A' were also promoting their 'Cow Appreciation Day' on the eleventh day of the month of July. As you may remember from last year, dressing up like a bovine creature entitles you to a free meal at one of their many restaurants. Apparently, I was supposed to be elated that I would be able to kill two birds with one stone, and collect all items in one lunch hour! My smile, when informed of the impending time of merriment, was more of a grimace.
Samantha's costume was taken from the back of her closet, and worn with pride. I chose a black and white dress with the hope that someone would see the irony! The stuffed toy that was pinned to my lapel looked ridiculous rather than enhancing! However, during my lunchtime dip, my creative daughter decided that in order to take full advantage of the situation, I would also need something to place upon my head, and set about sewing pieces of white tissue to a black hat, that just happened to have a pair of pink ears! Looking like a reject from a fancy dress competition, I followed her meekly into the first restaurant, and gave my order. The dress was not considered a decent attempt at the initial stop, and I was not offered fries and a drink with that! Samantha, on the other hand, tail in hand, was given the choice of the rather vast menu. She handed me her rather smart phone to take a picture outside the eatery, so that she could then post it online, for all to see. We could not possibly wait until we returned to the office to do such a thing!
It was very hot. Despite the saying, 'animals sweat, men perspire and women merely glow', I was definitely connecting with my male side, as I could feel the perspiration dripping from my forehead. Samantha, it appears, was becoming an animal!
The staff at '7-Eleven' were more than a little confused when Daisy entered the store, and even more so when her mother, complete with woolly hat in 100 degree temperatures, trotted in with high heels and a cuddly toy taped to her dress. I chose not to explain as it may have spoiled the illusion! Slurpees were taken, and we exited amid the catatonic chaos that was caused by our entrance!
With four regulars in the office, we had promised a meal for all, and circled around the freeway to the second chicken factory. I considered calling the office to ask for food preferences, but the smart daughter, could use the smart phone to text much quicker, and with less effort! The young lady behind the counter was far more impressed with my effort than her counterpart at the previous place, and considered the dress to be highly creative! Samantha's outfit was a mere costume, where as the designer apparel that was enhanced by a beanie baby lookalike was deserving of anything my little heart desired. Unfortunately, I had no idea as to the message the smart phone had received, and what the poor starving members of staff, that had elected not to be part of the 'circus act', had requested, and stumbled when asked, 'what shall it be'. I was not particularly assertive and answered as if questioning, 'a number one?' It appeared that walking around in a cow suit, complete with hood, boots and tail was not as embarrassing as your mother not knowing what she wants to eat! Samantha's loud whisper, 'I don't know what you want', was said with a sense of urgency. I took the bull by the horns (not literally, or course, although the opportunity was there!) and positively stated, 'I will have a number one, please!' This satisfied both daughter and cashier.
The herd returned to the office with a variety of fowl and iced goodies, and the afternoon led to the evening, and the start of the weekend.
Having recovered from the onslaught that was '7/11', the convenience store continued the theme of 'customer appreciation' into the following week. All one had to do, to take advantage of the daily delight, was to 'download the app'. Much as I have taken to the modern mobile devise that allows me to access the internet, play games, book theatre tickets, and even make telephone calls, it is not quite as smart as the one Samantha has, and 'downloading the app' was not a function offered. However, due to the fact that my daughter never 'trades' in a less advanced device when upgrading, she was able to access the coveted 'app' on one of her cast offs and I was brought into the world of updated gadgetry for the sake of a couple of cookies and an ice-cream.
'Snickers' or 'Twix' were my options on Tuesday. The choice was not enormous, but my decision was made far easier when the convenience store only had the one item left in the freezer. Proudly, I showed the screen to the cashier, who did not offer me a 'well done', or any other kind of encouragement! I took my ice-cream to the car, looked at my not so ancient, but older communication device and considered an upgrade. The consideration did not last for too long, as the consipiracy theorist within me took over and the choice to continue to print out my bording passes, pay with cash and run my own bath, prevailed!
Thursday, disaster struck. Something happened that even the smartest of phones could not have handled! Much as I was not particularly partial to the cereal bar that was being given in appreciation for spending double what you would in any Walmart, it was another opportunity for me to disguise myself as one of those people who really did use technology to the extreme! I took Samantha's fizzy orange drink to the counter, together with my cereal bar, and attempted to retrieve the borrowed phone from my bag, with one hand, whilst at the same time, dipped the other hand into the side pocket to take out my 'reward' card. As I passed the phone to the cashier, and flashed the card to the screen that sat on the coutertop, I inadverently knocked over the large cup that contained the not only fizzy, but when spilled, incredibly sticky, orange beverage! As if to add insult to injury, the counter upon which I had placed the cup was the one that had a slight gap where the hinges joined it to the liftable section that allowed access to the scratch cards! We all stood for a couple of seconds, frozen, as we watched the sticky liquid seep through and coat the lottery tickets in orange goo! 'Imagine what it does to your insides', was all I could say before apologising profusely. My efforts to soak up the mess, tearing paper towels from the giant roll that was slammed onto the adjoining counter, were met with wild stares of animosity from the staff behind the counter. The young lady who appeared with the mop and bucket was not only not amused, but ready to ban me from every '7-Eleven' in the country, or at least that is what I perceived by the look upon her face. The crowd that had formed into a rather long queue, as there was now only one working cash desk, were also less than happy. All this for a cereal bar that was probably going to go into a draw and be forgotten about, for a very long time! It was probably also the wrong time to assert my knoweldge and experience of modern day technology, and attempt to lighen the situation with my comment, 'I bet you don't have an app for this!'
The 'lynch mob' did not follow me out of the shop, although their eyes betrayed their calm exterior. When I entered the following day, I stood quietly by the front door and waited for Samantha to get her cookies! I had, mistakenly, yet probably fortuoutesly left my phone on the desk!
Despite the smartness that my current mobile devise lacks, it does have the ability to make calls. In fact, the screen is so sensitive, that whilst I am on one call, the touch of my ear can access another screen, and another touch will call someone else whilst I am mid conversation! I cannot recall the amount of times I have been on the phone to Samantha, and my ear has called Edward, Dana, or even her! 'Hold on, I have a call coming through....oh it's you!' (Perhaps I should look into changing it!) However, providing I have my phone, in my hand, or somewhere about my person, it still remains an excellent form of communication. For example, if we are late leaving the office, and the front door automatically locks at 6pm, if i have my phone with me, I can call Dana and let him know that I am locked out. If I have my phone with me.... With only three cars parked outside our building, and all the blinds down in our office, I was unable to attract anyone's attention. The horn on the car only works when the key is in the ignition, but the spare key was in my bag, which was in the office, with my phone. Suddenly, the old fashioned landline, an animal destined for extinction, became my only option, and I trecked across the parking lot to the 'ticket sales' company that has its office in the building opposite to ours, hoping against hope that there would still be a warm body at a desk. As I reached the doors, I noticed that a young woman was coming out of our building, from a side entrance. As fast as my stiletoes would carry me, I skipped across the barrier of thorns and thistles (the attractive folliage that does not need watering in times of drought) and bravely asked if she had a cell phone, so that I could call my husband, who was in the building, from which she was exiting, the door to which she was letting close! Who needs a phone when you have a key! Who needs a key when you have an open door! My husband's powers of observation never fail to amaze me, and as I walked back into the office, pouring with glow, from every pore, gasping for water as I had been outside for nearly 15 minutes, and made the high speed dash across the car park, he lifted his eyes from his computer and asked if I had finished for the day, and was I ready to go! 'Did you notice I was missing?' was answered with, 'missing from where?'
Chickens, phones, cereal bars and fizzy drinks may come in and out of my life in one form or another, in the next week, month or year. However, I shall try my best to keep them all apart, as together they appear to create havoc! With Samantha and Edward taking a weekend off from their animal, I am now going to leave Dana with Frank, and enjoy some quality time with a book (the paperback kind, not a kindle) and ponder ......... another story.