My next stop was Starbucks. I ordered myself an apple chai. One of our youth, Josh, suggested I try one, and it was quite heavenly. I always drank vanilla chai when I was a Borders barista (RIP lovely bookstore), and I love apple cider, so the drink was pretty much meant for me. I ordered my drink and also purchased a $5 gift card. When I first walked in, no one was in line behind me, and I wondered who I would give the card to. However, an older man got in line behind me before my transaction was complete, and he seemed positively tickled when I handed him the card.
Haydn helped me load the car full of trash bags we have filled over the last month. The boys selected toys to donate, including a box of K'nex that went to Haydn's therapy office. I cleaned out my closet and the craft room. I was ruthless with myself. We also filled the car with baskets of baked goods, a box full of children's books (to be shipped to the Chocktaw Mission), a stack of books inscribed "in memory of Natalie Rose York," and other random materials to make the day a success.
We made it to the post office next. We always go to the downtown branch, because it is next door to the church and one block from the library. That just makes it insanely convenient. The same man and woman are always behind the counter, and I look forward to chatting with them each time we visit. I ship things often. I love getting snail mail, so I try to send snail mail as much as possible. I also do some Amazon trade-ins and resells, not to mention swapping through Bookmooch. With family and friends spread all over the world, the post office is my friend. So we stopped there to ship the aforementioned box of books, and Haydn gave boxes of cookies to each of the postal workers. He loved getting to do that. I loved seeing the grin on his face as he gave gifts to others.
Next stop: the library, where we delivered a basket of treats and donated a bag of books for the Friends of the Library bookstore. Also, we donated a game called Booktastic. The library here does a monthly board game night. I have had Booktastic since I found it at Borders when I worked there, years ago. Corey and I played it one time (and he beat me, go figure), so I decided the library would be a better home for it. We also put a dollar in the fund for those who need to print but are short on change. I planned to put inspirational bookmarks in random books, but I forgot the bookmarks. Also, after we drove away, I realized I had forgotten to put my coupons in the library coupon baskets.
On our way to Walmart, we stopped to donate the bags of stuff from the trunk and backseat. Then, inside Walmart, I left quarters on the claw machines and in the gumball machines by the exit doors. We dropped off a few more coupons near their items and also left a Nattie book in the bathroom and another Nattie book on top of one of the candy machines.
Our last stop of the day was the Dollar Tree. I picked up a few things (including a couple of audio books, because how can you pass up audio books for a dollar) and we hid dollar bills in the toy aisle. I hope some kid found them and had his day made. It was hard not to hide out and watch to see who found them and how they reacted. Haydn bought himself a pack of magic playing cards (magic is a current obsession) and decided to do his own act of kindness by buying a pack for his brother as well. I am very proud of him. He had a rough day yesterday, due to his brand new airplane (purchased with his own money) getting blown into the road and then run over by a car. If it tells you anything, my little aspie boy let me hold him while he cried. Letting someone cuddle him is always reserved for the worst pains.
Corey met us at the house and handed me a birthday card that uses Star Wars music to call me old. Classic. Also, he gave me an Olive Garden gift card and sent me to lunch by myself. It has been so long since I went out to eat with my book for a date. It is one of my most favorite things. I left the final Nattie book in the bathroom before being seated and ordering my usual (cheese ravioli with meat sauce). I disappeared into The Passion of Mary-Margaret (Lisa Samson is one of the exceptions to my typical aversion to Christian fiction, but that is for another post) and then ordered dessert to go and tipped the rest of the gift card to my server before driving back home.
Ashley. She and I have known each other since I was 6 and she was 3. We lost touch for a while in middle/high school but then she managed to track me down again, and I am so glad she did. It is amazing how some friendships just are. No matter time or distance, they just are. Ash sent me 30 happies for my 30th birthday. Yes, I am spoiled. But, I am a very GRATEFUL spoiled.
I just finished a long phone call with my mama, whom I adore, and now I am going to order some Papa John's (my favorite pizza) and play a game of In a Pickle with my boys. Here are some other pictures to chronicle my 30th.
Now, go do something nice for someone else. You will be so glad you did!