So we went our separate ways. I pulled up at preschool, spent some time with Ceeya and friends, and then we (just Ceeya and I) motored on to the market, just five minutes away. Shortly after we arrived, Ceeya saw a big red strawberry balloon with a face on it and insisted she must have it. It was the most incredible thing in the world to her, and it was eight dollars. FOR A BALLOON. I admit I was feeling a little guilty that Viva was having her fun time without her sister, so I grabbed the balloon for Ceeya and clipped it to her jacket. It floated along with us hither and yon throughout the store.
Speaking of which, the market is a massive Ralphs which stretches from here to Chicago and back. About halfway through our very leisurely journey through the store—remember, I was trying to give Sweet Dub and Viva some time together—Ceeya said she had to go pee. Naturally, the bathroom was somewhere east of the Mississippi, but somehow we managed to make it in time, and Ceeya beamed as I told her how proud I was that she did not have an accident. We washed up, reclaimed our cart and merrily trudged back to the other side of the
As I was putting the groceries in the back of the car, Ceeya decided she didn’t want the balloon clipped to her jacket anymore and she pulled it off.
Up, up, up into the sky it went.
This is when Ceeya completely lost her mind. Louder than any child has ever screamed since the dawn of time, she let it all out, veins sticking out in her neck, her whole face turning purple, her entire being outraged and her overall attitude one of, “WHAT THE---?? DID YOU SEE WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO ME???”
And that is when a very nice older gentleman approached and asked what had happened, and then offered to give me a dollar to buy Ceeya another balloon. And because I am an idiot, I blurted out that it was not just a dollar, it was eight dollars, and then he offered to give me half. And then I politely refused. And then we went back and forth like one does, and he insisted he must give me money. “Look at her, she’s hysterical,” he said. So finally I said yes, okay, it was very sweet of him, and then he pulled out a twenty and asked me if I had change. Which miraculously I did.
And then he asked her name, and then he instructed her very seriously that when she got the balloon, “Don’t let it go. Hold it tight in your hand, like this, baby! Will you do that? Do you promise?” and by this time, Ceeya was very quiet and very serious and she nodded and I thanked him again and we went back inside and had to find someone to get us another balloon exactly like it and then we stood in line again and paid for the dang balloon and then we got back in the car and I shoved the balloon into the back seat with my purse on top of it so it wouldn’t float into my line of vision as I was driving the five minutes back home. And then my phone rang from the back seat where I couldn’t reach it because it was inside my purse and I knew it was Sweet Dub wondering where in hell we were.
And that, my friends, is the story of how just stopping by the store for a few things to kill some time turned into an hour and a half odyssey that cost me 12 squillion dollars in balloons and made us late for dinner (which I had to cook).
Viva, on the other hand, had a great time.