It's a snowy disaster outside, so I call my father, who is at church with my mother, to tell him I'll be running to the store and back. "Adam and I are officially the worst children ever. It's 10 p.m. and we haven't bought anything for mom's birthday yet. We're running out to Wal*mart right now."
He leaves an awkward pause before responding. "Well, there will be snow on the roads."
"Yes. We gathered as much from looking outside the window. Thanks, though."
My brother and I wade through the slush and snow in the driveway. After a short tug-of-war with the broken door handle on the passenger's side of the car, I hop in and embrace the relative warmth. Adam dutifully spends the next several minutes trying to brush the mountains of snow from the windows. I curse.
Fifteen minutes later, we slide into the parking lot of Wal*mart to discover that it is closed. "What? It's supposed to be open 24 hours a day." I curse again. We turn around.
Five minutes from home, we pass the town grocery store and decide to stop by. "It's open! Hurray!" Adam almost loses complete control of the car as we make a turn into the parking lot at 1 mph, and I put my hands up in the air and squeal like we're on a roller coaster. I then realize that people die in car accidents and put my hands back down in silence. I curse some more.
Once inside the grocery store, we realize that we're going to have to be very creative to find appropriate birthday gifts for our mother here. Thankfully, there is a rack of gift cards right as we walk in. $50 to the Cheesecake Factory? Sure. Behind that is the candy aisle. Hershey's milk chocolate nuggets with almonds? Of course. I curse in glee.
With the best of intentions, we walk toward the fresh flowers to pick out a bouquet for our dearest mother. Looming nearby, however, are the greeting card aisles, the Sirens of the retail seas. They call to us. Come. Have a closer look. See the witty sayings that are hidden inside.
So we do just that. Adam and I spend the next thirty minutes picking out cards. Mine is something along the lines of, "Ahoy! Wishing a happy birthday to a special boy!" Adam's is addressed to a grandson. We pick up some dinosaur stickers and plan to use them to further decorate our completely inappropriate cards.
We finally select a bouquet of flowers and walk toward the check-out line. The man in front of us is buying body wash and flowers. He leaves without his body wash. The cashier rings this up with our purchase, but nobody notices. I push the "food stamp" button instead of the "credit" button five times in a row while trying to pay. My face is bright red, and I curse under my breath.*
Adam and I finally escape to the car and drive home. Our parents are still at church. They have been there for three days installing the new server. We decide to make brownies for our mother. We watch the second season of 24 while we wait for them to bake, and I mentally write this entry and telepathically post it to my blog.
*Note: It has been a very long time since I have been 1) not at home and 2) not at church and 3) not accompanied by parents. Apparently, I feel the need to celebrate my freedom by cursing. It's like being 16 years old all over again.