The rest of the mall was elbow-to-elbow people. Hordes of Las Crucens packed the main thoroughfare. The crowd thinned out after we passed the mini-mariachi band near the Verison cell phone booth. With less people, I was able to get a better look at the mall’s new floor.
Two years ago, the mall began a massive remodeling project. They scraped off the original terracotta tiles leaving pocked and crumbling concrete behind. The bare concrete seemed to be the new look since they bare and unrepaired for the next nine months. Then one night, the folks from El Paso International Airport snuck in and randomly glued the ugliest squares of cheap industrial grade carpeting everywhere. Some of the squares were peach, mustard, cadet blue, and olive. The remainders looked like giant tacky swaths of fabric snipped out of Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s least favorite sweaters. Absolutely hideous. And not hideous in an interesting way. Hideous in a half-assed, ill conceived, running-out-of-money-and-supplies-way. The furniture was marginally more tasteful, as if some sensible person arrived at the last moment and decided that the perfect naugahyde benchs would fix everything.
Sorry. I’ve been meaning to complain about that for a while. Anyway, we detoured through Dillards, where out of sheer perversity, they were displaying their most awesome clothes, ever (I have no money for clothes and I am weeks away from altering my maternity wear to look stylish). After regretfully departing from the cutest blue and brown flirty top, we trucked over to our true destination: Barnes and Nobel. It took us less than fifteen minutes to load up on books. Ewbliette treated me to a book on interior design that I could not live without (cheaper that the flirty blouse), reminding me that she had missed my birthday. She is so sweet, this is the third time that she had bought me books because she forgot my birthday. What a pal!
We drove over to her place, where spices obscured her kitchen table as she re-invents kitchen storage. Once every three months, she likes to mix things up–moving furniture, reorganizing cabinets and shelves, and re-hanging wall art. I admire her energy and envy her tolerant husband. Once something finds a place in my house, it never moves. Tennisfiend despises change. We drank sodas and gabbed, feeding Tyoma dinner before returning to my place.
Tennisfiend whizzed out of the house the instant we returned. He left to visit with his buddy A, leaving us to our own devices. Tyoma took some alone time after even more food and I pumped milk while Ewbliette cracked open the design book I so adored at B & N. We chose patterns for our dream homes and spend thousands of dollars in twenty hopeful minutes. After he went to sleep (instantaneously!) Ewbliette went to the store and I fixed up the back porch with an umbrella, table, chairs, fans, a sprinkler and rope lights.
We talked for two hours straight before hitting the pool. The water was so warm; it was like swimming in blood. Nevertheless, a chill descended over the desert around 9:00, making the water the perfect temperature. We bobbed and circled each other until about ten, when I wobbled out of the pool and into the house. I heard a car pull up and stop in the driveway, and assumed Tennisfiend had returned home. Twenty minutes later, when we both returned to the house, I freaked since Tennisfiend was not there and the AC pump switch had been flipped “off”
E.T.A.: We discovered that out AC periodically switches the pump off), filling the house with a pungent fishy-algae smell. Swamp coolers suck. A phone call revealed that TF was still with A, and the car/AC thing event was a weird coincidence.