Sometimes I figure if I don't laugh, I'll cry. And I get all blotchy when I cry, so that is to be avoided at all costs. With that in mind, here's a little story from last week:
My "I'm a bad daughter" guilt was nearing bone-crushing proportions, so I borrowed a lower-riding chariot to take the Queen Mother for a ride. The QM has always enjoyed getting out to observe the kingdom, but her current lack of "up" motion and limited ability to stand once "up" has made it impossible for her to get into either of our vehicles.
It was a combination errand/lunch/sightseeing trip and the first two went pretty well. I managed to get QM into, out of, and back into the chariot without mishap and, most importantly, the coffee shop would still be open when we finished up. I was feeling a little smug.
We drove into West Branch from the west and had nearly reached the center of town, when she asked me to drive by the bank.
After I drove by the driveway, of course.
I continued on to the corner by the post office so I could go around the block and head back the way we came. She said she wanted to see the new bank, so we retraced our seven-block route out to the western edge of town. After driving out to and around the new bank, she decided that wasn't what she was looking for.
Back into town (seven blocks) and around the "old bank." Nope, this wasn't what she was looking for either. By now we were back at the corner by the post office, which I pointed out again.
We turned south toward West Liberty, and increasingly more important, toward my stress-relieving latte.
"That new building is out this way," QM said. Nope, nothing new out this way, I said. "Yes, the new post office," she said. "It's just out this way a little bit."
I "nope, no new post office"-ed and she "yes, a little bit further"-ed the entire 3.5 miles to Downey, at which point she conceded there was no new post office out that way. To erase any doubts, we retraced our route, returning to West Branch.
Back into town. Back past the Hoover Museum. Back past the post office. Around the block one more time, bringing us full circle to the post office. We turned south to head out of town once again.
I was starting to wonder if I could take my latte to the bar two doors down for a little extra stress relief.
This time we made it 1.5 miles before she asked where the Hoover Museum was.
Back into town, past the museum, past the post office, around the block, back in front of the post office. The only one we have.
Hoping the third time would be a charm, we headed out of town to the east. While she didn't say anything, I had the feeling she thought maybe the elusive new post office was out that way. However, we made it through Springdale and all the way back to West Liberty without another mention of the you-know-what.
As we entered WL from the north, she asked me to turn west. The guilty feeling returned, and I figured a short drive around town was a small penance.
"This road goes to Iowa City, doesn't it?" she asked. Yes, I replied.
"Well, maybe that new post office is out this way."
I decided to skip the latte and head straight for the bar.
When I told the Little Princess about our drive -- with my usual understated delivery -- she was overcome by the giggles.
"Keep laughing," I said. "In about 40 years, I'll be asking you to show me the new post office."
It's good to have something to look forward to.