Girls in the Pool!

Today was fantastic! Pat came over during Liev’s nap, and we dished while gobbling multigrain Tostitos and swilling Aquafina. When squirmer woke up, we fed him lunch and took off for a stroll at the mall. Gratefully, we found a shady spot under a tree within walking distance to the mall entrance. As we rolled the stroller up to the main walkway, we approached a teen fashion show blaring nameless music. Nostalgically, I recalled my own days strutting on the mini catwalk. Heh. The music was different then. Goodness, how time passes quickly.

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 Verizon cell phone booth. With fewer people, I got 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 behind pocked and crumbling concrete. Cracked cement seemed to be the new look since they left it bare and unrepaired for the next nine months. Then one night, the folks from El Paso International Airport snuck in and glued the ugliest squares of cheap industrial-grade carpeting willy-nilly. Occasional squares were peach, olive, mustard, and cadet blue. The remainders looked like giant tacky swaths of fabric snipped out of Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s least favorite sweaters. Hideous. And not hideous in a curious way. Hideous in a half-assed, ill-conceived, running-out-of-money-and-supplies-way. The furniture was marginally more tasteful. Perhaps some sensible person arrived at the last moment and decided that the perfect Naugahyde benches would fix everything.

Sorry. I’ve meant to complain about that for a while. Anyway, we detoured through Dillard’s, where out of wickedness, they displayed gorgeous clothing (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 real destination: Barnes and Nobel. We took less than fifteen minutes to load up on books. Pat treated me to a book on interior design I could not live without (cheaper than the flirty blouse!), reminding me she had missed my birthday. She is so sweet; this is the third time she had bought me books because she “forgot” my birthday. What a pal!

We drove over to her house, where spices obscured her kitchen table as she re-invents kitchen storage for the decade. 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. Egor despises change. We will have the same furniture and the same paintings in the same places until we are octogenarians.

Shaking off my self-pity, we drank sodas and gabbed, spooning ample Gerber Baby Bits into Liev before returning to Creek Trail.

Egor whizzed out of the house the instant we returned. He left to visit with his buddy Alex since Pat and I together sound like a tornado. Liev took alone time after even more food, and I pumped milk while Pat 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 Liev fell asleep (instantaneously!), Pat went to the store and I fixed up the back porch with an umbrella, table, chairs, fans, a sprinkler and rope lights.

Baby monitor in hand, we gabbed two hours straight before hitting the pool. The New Mexico sun heated the water so much it was like swimming in blood. Nevertheless, a chill descended over the desert around 9:00, cooling it to the perfect temperature. We bobbed and circled each other until about ten when I wobbled out of the pool and into the house to check on Liev, who still slept sound. I heard a car pull up and stop in the driveway and assumed Egor had returned home. Twenty minutes later, when we both returned to the house, I panicked since Egor was not there, and the AC pump switch had been flipped “off.” Ah! AC invaders from space!

E.T.A.: We discovered that our AC periodically switches the pump off, filling the house with a pungent fishy-algae smell. Swamp coolers suck. A phone call revealed that Egor was still with Alex, and the car/AC thing event was a weird coincidence.

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