Friday, May 9, 2014

The Cake from Eileen

Today, both the girls have the sniffles.  Nothing serious, just a Spring cold, I think.  Annoying, but not catastrophic.  I would have had them stay home, as it is an early release day, so school lets out just after noon.  I couldn't though, because while they're at school, I'm going to nip over to the dentist's office and have a tooth pulled.  It's a broken, cavity-ridden tooth that's been giving me trouble since the end of last year, but I have been babying it, because doing something about it costs money.  Last week, when my jaw started to ache as if someone had punched me, I figured I couldn't wait any more, and sure enough, I was put on some antibiotics for the raging gum infection below the bad tooth, and told to come back this week for the extraction.  It should be a fun way to spend an hour before I need to pick the girls up, and then I plan to spend the afternoon sitting on the couch and letting all of us watch something I don't usually allow, like a binge-watch of Wizards of Waverly Place or the umpteenth showing of Frozen since Easter, when the girls were gifted with the DVD.

That's today: cranky, sickish kids, tooth pain, and the possibility of several spontaneous interpretive dances to "Let it Go."  I know, you wish you were me.

 Yesterday, however, someone gave me a cake.
If you want to make yourself a chocolate bundt,
this recipe  looks like a great one. 

I was working at the tiny post office inside the strip mall bike shop, and Eileen, one of my regular customers stopped in to buy some stamps.  I had some time to chat because traffic in the post office has recently declined pretty sharply owing to a combination of factors.   For one thing, the Easter and Mother's Day rushes are over, and then, of course, a half of the regulars are what we real Arizonans call "snowbirds" or "winter visitors" (what the state lawmakers call "tourism dollars") who have now gone back to wherever they live when they are not escaping a hundred feet of snow in their own backyard. They've already created their own little postal rush here, sending boxes back home, trying to calculate when to send them so they get there before the boxes, but don't have to wait too long to get them.  The grand kids do not want to wait around for that Cactus candy they were promised...

Also,  tax season has ended, so we don't have people waiting in line to mail their tax returns certified, with return receipt, so there's no chance that the bastar-- er, government-- will lose the the filing this year.  Honestly, I have heard enough horror stories about people's tax returns to think that there must be monkeys working in the mail rooms at all of the IRS facilities in the country.  Not the cute circus-trained monkeys with the little fez-style hats either, but crazy monkeys who treat precious envelopes like they were so many banana peels to be flung about for sport before they are hidden or discarded.  (I apologize now to everyone who thinks I am unfairly stereotyping monkeys, or, for that matter government employees.) But I digress... 
Picture from here

The customers still coming in are stalwart Arizonans who hang here during the months when the temperatures rival those on the surface of Mercury. (I know, I'm exaggerating, but really, we are closing in on the beginning of the 100 days over 100 degrees and I am not looking forward to that...) They are chatty elders who remember when a first class stamp was ten cents, guys who work in the hardware store and pharmacy here in the shopping center, and parents of kids who go to school with the girls. These are people from the neighborhood, who like to chat while I get them stamps or put postage on their packages.  One of these is this lady Eileen, who often mails birthday and anniversary cards to nieces and nephews across the country. She is always up for a joke, and sometimes tells stories about her thirty years as a stewardess-- because she started when they were proudly called stewardesses, when that was the way for an adventurous single girl like herself to travel the world.  She flew international flights out of New York for years, but she grew up here in Scottsdale, back when it was a little pueblo surrounded by the undeveloped, cactus-filled desert.  Her eyes still have that twinkle that must have charmed plenty of pilots and world travelers back in the day... not that I've heard many of those kinds of stories.  Eileen is a fun gal, but she is definitely a lady

She lives in our neighborhood, so I sometimes run into her at the library, or the pharmacy or, most recently, the grocery store.  The girls and I were trying to decide which of the on-sale Popsicles were the perfect compliment for a pizza dinner, when Eileen came around the corner with her cart, heading for the Lean Cuisine.  "Are these your beautiful daughters?  They are?  Oh my gosh, could you just die? So cute.  One sweet blondie and one stunning brunette. Aren't they just wonderful?"  

"Thank you," I said, mumbling something about how they "have their moments," and we talked for a minute about the weather and a movie she just saw and then we decided on Popsicles and moved on.  

The next day was my birthday, and the day after that I was working when she came in to buy some stamps.  She likes the ones that say CELEBRATE!  for birthdays and graduations, and we got to talking about Mother's day, and she mentioned my beautiful children, and she talked about her mom, who passed ten years ago, and she misted up a little, then said it was her birthday the next day, and I said that must be why we get along so well, our birthdays are so close.  By then, I had a couple of other customers, so she waved bye and we wished each other happy birthdays again.  

Twenty minutes later, she was back with a chocolate bundt cake from the grocery store, and she had festooned the plastic dome the cake came in with pink and purple ribbons.  She sang Happy Birthday and told the customers that I was helping that I was wonderful and had wonderful children.  And she misted up a little, again, and so did I,  I mean, she brought me a cake, and she barely knows me.  "Share it with those beautiful daughters," she said, "and tell them it's from the lady they met buying Popsicles."  

And I did.  And we had cake for breakfast today too, because when you have the sniffles and you still have to go to school, even for a half-day, or you are getting your infected tooth pulled, and having to pay to have that pain inflicted, you should eat cake for breakfast.  I'm going to tell Eileen next time I see her.  I think she will approve.
If we keep this up, I may have to get this,
from here, to hang up as our motto.
Note:  I actually started this post the day I had the tooth pulled, but couldn't get back to it until today.  Good news is the girls are better, and my jaw doesn't ache anymore, but sadly, I have the sniffles now and we are out of cake....

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least you're teeth and jaw are fine now, since a pain there is stubborn and persists. Such is in the nature of teeth, as they tend to spread their effects around with the nerve endings and all that. Stuff like this should definitely be dealt with as quickly as possible. Good thing you had that tooth extracted right away.

    Jason Dew @ Metro Dental Associates