When The Mice Are Away The Cats Will Play/Dude, Where’s My Wallet?


*When The Mice Are Away, The Cats Like To Play… And Sleep*

This week my mother-in-law Toni took Zoe and Parker, along with Toni’s niece and nephew, camping on the Oregon Coast. Last week she took Zoe, Parker and Nathan to Victoria for 3 days. I’ve been looking forward to this week ever since she told me of the summer trips she had booked this past spring.

Sunday she arrived around 10AM with a U-Haul trailer towing behind her minivan. Parker chose that moment to start looking for the plastic suction cup arrows that go with his slingshot. (Not an item I had purchased.) I asked him what he thought he was going to shoot with the arrows, but never got a straight answer. I told him to give up the hunt, and he got in the car, but still brought the slingshot.

“What are you going to slingshot without the arrows?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer.

Zoe piped up from the far back seat, “You could use rocks.”

“No. Listen to me. You may not sling shot rocks. Pinecones MAYBE. No rocks.”

The look on his face told me it had never occurred to him before that very minute that he could use anything other than the arrows that came with the slingshot.

I’m sure for many parents, this would be the moment that they tearfully said goodbyes to their children, running alongside the car waving as they drove off.

I am not that parent.

I turned and waved over my shoulder without looking and said, “See ya! Have fun!” I think that’s the difference between the average parent and me, who has kids coming out of my ears, and  who has been parenting for 20 years.

I walked in the door and said out loud to no one in particular, “Oops, I forgot to send her with  a consent note in case of emergency. Oh well. I’m sure it will be fine.”

I wandered the kitchen and living room, processing that unfamiliar feeling of sudden freedom without any idea what to do with it.

Jeff came in and said, “You wanna go to the auto parts store with me?”

I weighed my options. I was about to say no, when he informed me that he was unable to locate his wallet (story to follow) so I had to go with him to pay.

Just what every mom who has found herself with kid-free time wants to do: Hang out in an auto parts store.

Being the smart man he is, he suggested we go out to lunch afterwards.

We decided to try the new Chinese restaurant that just opened in the town center near our house. It used to be a Calico Corners fabric store. I have a feeling it will be more successful as a Chinese restaurant.

The restaurant has a very chic, urban vibe- no calico in sight as far as I could see. After getting seated at a table outside, Jeff looked around and said, “they have a good hiring plan.”

That’s code for “the waitresses are attractive.” He had said that at dinner the night before as well.

“But not a single person in here is Asian,” I said. “You don’t find that odd?”

“What about the kid who brought us our water?”

“He’s not Asian. He’s Hispanic.”

I’m not saying you have to be Chinese to own and operate a Chinese restaurant. I mean, I can cook spaghetti even though I’m not Italian, but I wouldn’t open an Olive Garden, that’s all. Well, maybe Olive Garden is a poor example.

Monday I took full advantage of my open schedule to make a coffee date with my friend Lisa. We like to go to a place called “The Spotted Cow” which is like the “Central Perk” for people who go to our church. Really, it’s more like the “Cheers” of our church, because pretty much everybody knows your name, but with lattes and gelato instead of beer.

(I think Lisa is Rachel, so I suppose that would mean I’m  Monica Gellar or Cliff Claven. I’d probably have to go with Cliff, because I too have a brain filled with all sorts of useless facts that no one really wants to hear.)

We went to the counter to place our order and the young man working the register looked at Lisa and said, “Looks like trouble just showed up.”

Have I mentioned how much I adore my friend Lisa?

I ordered my coffee in a to-go cup, which means I missed out on the latte art, but probably saved myself the grief of spilling on myself. I ordered the oatmeal, and Lisa said, “Make it two.”

He said, “Do you want everything on that? Fruit? Brown Sugar? Almonds?”

“Yes please.”


“Eww. No. Who wants raisins with fresh fruit?” I scowled.

Lisa nodded in agreement. “Nobody wants raisins. Nobody.”

He said, “Nobody wants raisins- except those who do.”

Two hours of laughter and great conversation, mixed with occasional breaks to greet other church members who had sauntered in, we headed out.

I drove to my parents’ house to pick up my mom and go see the new Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton movie, “And so it goes.”

I enjoyed the movie. It was poignant and funny. I didn’t particularly enjoy the woman a few rows back to our left who cackled uproariously at nearly every line of the movie, as if it were the funniest thing she had ever heard. EVER. Sometimes she’d laugh at something that wasn’t really even funny, but more sardonic.

I kept reminding myself not to resent someone finding unmitigated delight in this film, even if it was a little annoying. There aren’t a lot of people these days who have given themselves permission to so completely enjoy life.

After the movie I dropped my mom at home and went down the street to meet some old high school friends for dinner. What I had anticipated being only an hour or so turned into 4. What a gift to be able to reconnect and laugh with these amazing women. We can go months or years without seeing each other, and it’s always as if no time has passed at all. We can be real with each other because we’ve got history.


Why no, that’s not a Bartles and James wine cooler in my 18 year old hand. I think it must be some sort of fancy ginger ale. Or something.

This morning I slept in. I had no place to be and nothing to do. My husband came in around 830 and said, “The sun’s coming up, but I don’t see cakes on the griddle.”

I pretended not to hear him and went back to sleep for another 30 minutes.

My mice come back tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll be happy to see them, but I have had a great time playing without them.


As mentioned earlier, my husband lost his wallet. As of this moment, it has yet to be located.

While it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that he has lost his wallet… again… we are now in day 5 of the hunt with no end in sight. This is unusual, even for him.

Last Saturday night, as a thank you for volunteering at the Richard Sherman celebrity softball charity game pre- and post game events, we were invited to go bowling at Lucky Strike.

Because my mom had also volunteered, she brought along my dad, who showed up with his 60 year old antique bowling ball in a paper grocery sack. The funny thing is, I think I have not ever seen my parents bowl in my lifetime.


My parents bowling-Like spotting a unicorn

I don’t wanna brag, but… okay maybe I do. I WON THE GAME! (The first one, anyways) My husband thinks the fact that I took multiple pics of the scoreboard and posted them to Facebook and instagram makes me a poor sport. I would have to agree- if I ever won at ANYTHING! When you’re a perennial loser, you’ve gotta celebrate the wins when you can get them.

The second game didn’t go quite as well. I guess I’m a one hit wonder. Someone told me that just means I gave my all the first time. I like her take on it better.


The bowling crew. I don’t think any of us are going on the tour any time soon.

After we left at about 1030, Jeff said that he was craving a Dairy Queen blizzard. I told him I knew where there were DQ’s near our house, but when I looked up their hours, they were already closed. We found one about 15 minutes away from where we were that was open until 11. We screamed into the drive-thru at about 1045. He got a blizzard, I got a peanut buster parfait. We ate them on the way home in case our kids were still awake when we got there.

That was the last time anyone saw his wallet.

We’ve looked in all the regular places. We’ve looked in all the places that don’t make sense, but have previously been the location of his missing wallet.

We sent a text to Grandma Toni asking if Parker knew where it might be. Her response was that he gave an indignant denial.

As a result of him having no credit cards, ID or cash, I have become his sugar momma. Of course, all the money I’m spending he earned, but every time the check comes, he shoves it towards me and says, “She’s buying.” He appears to get great pleasure out of doing this.

Last night I said, “I’ve gone over all the regular stupid places that make no sense for your wallet to be that you’ve put it in the past. No luck. I don’t even know where else to look.”

He said, “A while back I hid it and lost it for a day. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone.”

“You forgot where you hid it?”

“No. I forgot THAT I hid it. I kept trying to figure out where it could be, and then I remembered that I purposely hid it. When you have a bad memory every day is an adventure.”

“You shouldn’t do stuff like that.”

“When you have a bad memory, you can’t remember that you shouldn’t do stuff like that.”

The ironic thing is that his memory issues don’t extend to numbers. He can still tell you his own childhood phone number, many of his childhood friends’ numbers, and even the amount he spent on airfare for our honeymoon to Cabo. In 1997.

This morning he said, “I know you’ve hidden it. You can tell me where it is now.”

I responded, “Right. Because I wanted to spend my kid-free week ferrying you around and running errands for you instead of sitting in the sun reading a book.”

The truth is we are too old and senile to be clever when it comes to putting things away. We need to be obvious, or we will spend 3/4 of our days hunting down necessities like car keys and wallets.


Apparently the entire 8% deficiency is  his propensity for losing his wallet.







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