I’d promised to give my wife some time to go shopping for clothes, so this morning I drove her down to Southcenter, a place near Tukwila which is a meta-mall; there’s multiple malls there, next to each other, and precious little else. Then we turned round and headed back to Seattle for the girls’ skating lesson.
There was a delay waiting for the drawbridge to lower, but we arrived just in time for their lesson, and they did two new fun things – jumping, and cross stepping. La Serpiente, being bigger and more muscular than Destroyer, mastered jumping quickly, but although Destroyer kept falling down, she was the definition of dauntless, getting up again and again to keep working on this.
Cross stepping took me a while to recognise, but it was something I did a lot of while practicing shorinji kempo (just barefoot in white pyjamas, not with inline skates on.) The girls picked this up as well, the teacher saying a lot of adults struggle with this, so that was another thing to be pleased with.
I put the girls back in the car afterward, and drove to pick up a few things for the homeless outreach. Well, I say a few things, but that was fifteen gallons of water and two plastic coolers, one full of ice packs, and driving a car with that much weight in it was … exciting. We failed to crash, I dropped it all off, then gave my wife a call, assuming three hours was enough time to shop for clothes.
At this point, she’d managed to get a pair of shoes for La Serpiente and nothing else, which, given the goal of the exercise, was not as planned. I figured another half hour would be enough, so I drove back to Southcenter, now ravenous (I’d had a cookie for breakfast at 7:30, too hungover for anything else, and nothing since) and hangry as a result.
The girls had eaten their lunch in the car (or so they told me … More of this later) but I’d had nothing so I found the food court, inhaled a burrito and then bumped into my wife, about to rejoin the fray. The kids were demanding entertainment so I took them bowling.
The bowling place was a combined bowling alley and deafening electronic game venue, with La Serpiente desperate to go on the claw or another of those terrible games where you lose everything. Instead, they got to go bowling.
Now I love bowling, and sometimes I’m a fiend, but today I rolled 63 in my first game. Half the time the ball was in the gutters, and the kids were doing worse, which can’t have been fun for them. Strangely, I’d expected La Serpiente to be the better player, but Destroyer’s methodical focus and powers of concentration had her ahead.
Realising it would be no fun to never knock any pins down, I set up the second game so they had the rails up to prevent the ball going in the gutters. This doubled both their scores, Destroyer narrowly beating La Serpiente this second time (Destroyer got s strike, which I was made up about). I got two strikes and four or five half strikes, which suggests the magic was back – one day I’ll get that bowling ball I’ve dreamed of). Then, after two hours of bowling, I figured my wife would be done.
Almost. We left Southcenter at about five, seven hours after we started, and at last there were new clothes purchased. We drove back, Destroyer getting grumpier and grumpier and demanding treats, until we discovered she’d left half her lunch in her bento box, naturally getting ratty later on from hunger (just like her father…). I was also stressed out and exhausted, and when we got home went to bed, sulk-snoozing for an hour. Camping is getting closer and closer…