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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Birthday Saga part V ~ The Second Bridge and The Adagio

If you want to start from the beginning of this story click:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

I had been having so much fun all day.  Every minute had been full of surprises.  I had breakfast with my sweet friend Kiana, I got to purchase my favorite coffee mug and do a little window shopping sans children, I had my nails done with my friend Beth, and I had lunch with my daughter.  What more could I possibly ask for?  My day had been perfect.  I was ready to take Ellen back to school and thank my husband for such an amazing birthday.

But, Clay was still throwing fun my way.  I was so shocked with the fifth envelope because it was just so utterly sweet and I knew then that my day would end getting to spend time with him.

I loved that he told me to go buy a dress and he knew I would want to know just how formal it would need to be, “sweet, but not formal”, I had trained him well.  However, I don’t think Clay knows just how difficult it is for me to find a dress that fits properly.  Shopping with Clay is a very rare thing, so he doesn’t get to experience how much effort goes into finding the perfect outfit for me.   I hoped I would be able to find something.


Ellen and I went out to feed the meter so I could avoid getting another parking ticket and then we headed down Mass Street to do some shopping.

I hadn’t been concerned about the amount of money Clay was throwing at me for the day.  So far, the day had been relatively reasonable and he had over estimated all my expenses so I had a nice bit of cash in my wallet.  However, shopping for clothes downtown is not a cheap.

“Ellen, can we go across town to shop?  Does your dad know how much I might spend if I buy a new outfit downtown?  Does he know I never shop down here?”  My daughter stared at me, “Mom, I’m sure that didn’t concern him.  And we have to stay downtown. Stop your fretting and let’s go.”  That was easier said than done, but I decided to give it a try.  Who was I to turn down a shopping spree?

Have you ever had a man that’s six inches shorter than you assist you with your shopping?  I can now say that I have and he really knew his dresses.

The first store we went into had some very cute dresses.  For tiny women.  This is my problem with dresses and skirts, the styles are shorter now, that means everything looks like a micro-mini skirt on me.  I know a dress will work for me if there are a lot of them on the rack because they don’t fit anyone else.  That was not the case in the first store.

I had to get out of there fast.  We tried a couple other stores, but I wasn’t finding anything that I really liked.  As I was in the dressing room struggling with another outfit I heard Ellen say, “Mom, you have five minutes.  Don’t worry you’ll have some time to find something a little later.”


I had to go? I didn’t understand why I didn’t have more time, but maybe I needed to get Ellen back to school.  So, Ellen and I walked out of the store and she pulled another envelope out of her bag.

Really?  Another one?  Ellen started laughing.  She was getting such a kick out being a part of this grand plan.

“Open it up Mom, time’s a waistin’.” Ellen said as she handed over the sixth envelope.

I couldn’t imagine what else he could have planned for me and how was I going to have enough time to find something to wear?  Was I needing to pick Levi up somewhere?  It didn’t really matter to me, I was so blissfully happy with everything that Clay had done for me.

Okay, now this was AWESOME!!  Clay had become a regular patient at Chiropractic Experience ever since he wrenched his neck and started walking around like Quasimodo.  He would beg to have his back rubbed every second I walk into the room.  I finally got tired of him complaining and said, “You need to go to the Chiropractor…yesterday.”  Before I knew it, he was going in to get adjusted and then he signed up for a few massages.  He was a bit addicted, but he also stopped complaining about being in pain.  To see him get better was a relief.  So, apparently he wanted to introduce me to a few of his new friends to get a massage.  AWESOME!!!

I headed to the van. I  figured I had just enough time to get Ellen back to school and get to the appointment on time.  I turned to tell her how excited I was to get a massage and she wasn’t by me, she was still standing by the store.  “Aren’t you coming with me?” I asked her.

“Nope.  I’ll see ya Mom.  Happy Birthday.” She replied with a smile on her face.

“But, you can’t just stay here.”

“I’ll be fine.  Just go, I’ll see ya later.”

She obviously was not coming with me, but she also didn’t have a car.  I wasn’t used to going off and leaving her by herself downtown.  What was she going to do?  I got in the van and kept staring at her.

I rolled the passenger window down and in a stern voice said, “Is your father coming to get you!”  She laughed, sighed, rolled her eyes and in an exasperated voice said, “Yes!”  I laughed back at her and said, “Okay, that makes me feel better.  I love you!”

I was cracking up.  I was so out of the loop.  I’m usually the one planning where the kids go and when they get picked up and I know who they are going to be with at all times.  So, just walking away from Ellen and not knowing the plan was really strange to me.  There she stood waiving goodbye to me, my daughter, my little-tiny-baby girl who looked an awful lot like a young woman. When did she grow up?

My next stop was again across town.  As I drove down the street I had a quiet moment to reflect upon the day’s events.  And then it happened.  I started to cry.  Uncontrollably.  It was all too much.  Just too much.  I couldn’t believe all these people had gone to so much trouble for me and Clay, oh my, Clay had worked so hard to put all this together.  I had 15 minutes to get a grip on my emotions before I arrived at the massage place.  I cranked up the radio and did my best car dance to keep from thinking about it all.

When I arrived at Chiropractic Experience I checked my face in the mirror to make sure I wasn’t all blotchy and wiped the mascara from under my eyes.  I got myself together, walked in and told the receptionists who I was.

“Oh, hi April!  Clay told us not to call and remind you of your appointment.  Is this a surprise?”  one of them asked.

Was this a surprise?  That was an understatement.  I told them that Clay had been surprising me all day and then I asked them if they had another envelope, to which they replied, “No, but that is so sweet.”  I ran back out to my car to get my other envelopes to show them.  They were very impressed and could not believe that he had done so much for me.  He was going down in history as MOST AWESOME HUSBAND EVER!

One of the girls showed me to the massage room.

Oh, lovely, relaxing, wonderfulness.  If you have never had a massage, you need to find a way to remedy that.  I have to admit the first time I had a massage, I was 31 years old and a bit nervous.  I got over the nervousness very quickly.  Getting a massage makes all your troubles disappear like vapor.  It turns all those rocks in your back to butter.  Buttah!  You will feel  like a walking bowl of warm buttah, dahling and who doesn’t like warm buttah?

This massage was different from the other massages I’ve had.  The lady knew who I was.  I’m not used to the massage therapist knowing anything about me.  She had worked on Clay and talked with him and then she had read this blog!  So, we had a lot to talk about.  We talked about our kids and how we named them and she asked me about our animals, we even talked about the very hot button topic… how we vaccinate our kids.  I have never carried on a conversation through a massage, it was fun and when I was done I didn’t feel like I needed to crawl into bed and take a nap like I usually do.  I felt relaxed and ready to take on the rest of my day.

My skin was nicely oiled and I smelled fabulous.  I love the oils they use in a massage, they are light and clean.

I got dressed and headed back out to the receptionist area to make sure I didn’t need to pay for anything.  Guess what was waiting for me?

….to be continued.  Will it ever end?

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