I sit with a steaming mug of coffee and the laptop, idly surfing the net. The furnace guy has just left and I have mopped the floor to erase his bootprints. He has erased my kitchen island budget but he’s given me the gift of hot water and so I am determined not to complain (much). Henry is happily watching the Cars movie for the nine millionth time. I contemplate a shower.

Forty-five minutes and many clicks later, I make lunch. Such a treat to have a morning at home. Three loads of laundry done; all the dishes washed and put away. Lots of time left to get ready for Nora’s teacher’s surprise baby shower. I go through my To-Do list mentally: Shower gifts wrapped? Check. Extra presents for kids who may not have a gift to give? Check. Reminder email sent to other parents? Check. Tablecloth and utensils packed? Check. Serving utensils for the cake? Check. The cake? F*#%!

I had remembered to order the cake but I hadn’t remembered to pick it up.

“Henry, put on your boots! Go to the bathroom! We’re leaving!”

I got dressed this morning in deference to the furnace guy. I had not, however, bothered to comb my hair or put on make-up. We have no time now for such niceties. Henry moseys over to his coat, windmills his arms like he’s off-balance and collapses to the floor, laughing.

“Boots! Coat! Now!”

Slamming the van in gear, I peer out the smallish hole I scraped in the windshield. I pray the defroster works quickly. I spray washer fluid to speed up the melting process. I curse our useless garage and my idiocy for forgetting my own plans. How is it possible to forget the task one assigned to oneself? Damn! Damn! Damn!

“What did you say, Mommy?”

“Nothing! Don’t listen to me!”

I estimate the amount of time needed to drive to Costco, park, purchase the cake and drive back. I calculate how much time I have. Not enough. What to do? My mind races. Brendan! He works half-way between home and Costco. I speed dial his cell. He doesn’t pick up. I call it again. Ditto. I call the phone on his desk. He answers on the first ring. He’s eating lunch. I skip the issue of his not answering his cell phone and get to the point. Can he pick up the cake? He’d like to, but no, he can’t. He doesn’t have his membership card with him at the office.

The van slides into a parking spot at the grocery store. I plead with Henry to hurry. We run to the bakery, nearly bumping into a friend of mine. I shout over my shoulder, “I’ll call you later about that playdate tomorrow!” She raises her eyebrows at me and nods. I know I must look like I’ve lost my mind. I pick out two cakes that cost more than twice the price of the now superfluous Costco cake. I ask a young baker to write out Nora’s teacher’s name. She messes it up. Twice. I dart to the check-out trailed by Henry who has helped himself to a double dutch chocolate muffin and has dark brown crumbs ringing his mouth.

We make it to school with five minutes to spare. The receptionist, either noticing that I am balancing two cakes and a bag with a large knife or catching the crazed look in my eye (or both), courteously signs me in. We ignore the “No Running” rule and fly down the hall, gathering class parents along the way.

We’re just in time. The rest of the plan goes off without a hitch. Nora’s teacher is surprised and pleased; the kids are thrilled. I exhale. It’s all good.

Happy holidays everyone. If you’re in the area, please stop by. I’ll be serving Costco cake between now and the end of January.

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