I woke early this morning, for a Saturday, and met Robert (shown with Emily) in Geneva at American Science & Surplus. I was late meeting him, because Genevans are being put through Swedish Days, one of those Midwestern kerfuffles that screw up traffic patterns, parking, eating out, and life in general during the summer.
AS&S was great fun! Before we went in, I gave Robert the gift that I'd gotten for him ages ago when The Cat & I went shopping in Oakbrook--a telescoping fork. After that was safely packed away in his car, we entered the store. The look on Robert's face was classic: kid in a candy store. We spent lots of time saying, "Oooh! Look at this!" The descriptions of the stuff are often as good as (or, honestly, better than) the things themselves. One that stands out was the bin of trophy tops--metallic human figures with baseball bat in hand, etc. The description was something about "tiny humans, unable to fight back as they were encased in metal...forever! BWA-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!"
Robert got one item (ONE!), which was a small friend for Emily. I, on the other hand... went a little nuts. Clockwise from the top:
* one dozen tiny plastic pigs
* one fish-shaped drawer pull, for which I was over-charged (I paid the "set of 6" price, rather than the "by the each" price. However, the difference in those prices was less than a buck, so I'm not really complaining. Much.)
* one orange plastic bottle, which will, if I've any luck at all, work for the purpose for which I bought it. Which is to be filled with book glue. At work.
* one Facial Hair Kit
* 20 small square boxes and 50 smaller round boxes, for organizing my insane bead collection.
* one nun doll, for my friend JB who wanted to be a nun as a child. Yes, I encourage this bizarre, blasphemous behavior. She's received nun-related gifts from me in the past. Nunzilla, and The Fighting Nun. (And a battery-operated punching bag that makes crowd noises when hit!)
After about an hour in the store, we determined that we were (a) a little tired, (b) hungry, and (c) ready to leave. So we took both cars and headed into Geneva proper. He knew of a place that sounded just right. We walked through the Swedish Days crowds, reveling in a beautiful (sunny, hot, and a little breezy) afternoon. We ate in the Geneva Family Restaurant. He had a spinach & feta omelet, while I ordered the fresh strawberry crepes. Overly sweet but really, really good. Just the thing. Honestly, the only drawback to the restaurant was the woman seated near us whose cell phone went off at tugboat horn volume, only to be followed by one of those ungodly inane conversations. "I CAN'T TALK NOW--WE'RE AT THE RESTAURANT! LIKE YEAH, IN DOWNTOWN GENEVA. YEAH. SO I CAN'T TALK NOW. I'LL CALL YA LATER. OK? OK. YEAH. BYE." Only it went on like that for about a millennium. Robert and I, both cell phone users, were disgusted. (Mine was on vibrate all day, and although he received 2 calls while we were together, it barely registered that his phone had rung. There's a big gap between good cell phone behavior and that sort of thing.) Robert and I talked about what's transpired in our lives since the last time we ate together (at Johnny's Charhouse. It was an odd place to take a vegetarian, but we both left happy!). It was good to reconnect in person, when we usually only correspond by email and blog commentary.
After lunch, he walked with me to the Paper Merchant. It's a specialty store with the most amazing (and horrifically expensive) array of stationery. They also have a lovely (and horrifically expensive) jewelry section. And some truly weird things, too, like ironic (and sometimes hilarious) magnets, the "Dead Duck" rubber duckie. I picked up some things that had been on my list, and also managed to get something for Robert while he was standing right next to me, tee hee!
He was gracious enough to accompany me to The Beadhive. I'd never been there before, and it was...what I had expected. Tiny, quaint, and overpriced. I'm still on the hunt for just the right matte midnight blue seed beads (11/0), but I got some, er, what's the name, Robert? They're sort of a deep navy, but they're not matte. And a little vial of orchid blue square-edge seeds.
We then took the meandering route back to the cars, avoiding the pedestrians and engaged in a truly odd conversation (of my instigation). Never let it be said that Robert is not a gentleman, and extremely supportive. We wandered along, dripping with perspiration, and (independently) thinking about how nice it was to be out in such weather. He was sensibly dressed in a t-shirt (Pearls Before Swine) and khaki shorts with sandals, while I had chosen a more dressy approach: short-sleeved blouse, camisole, shorts, and my original lace-up sandals from Victoria's Secret.
We stood in the shade of a small tree near the parking lot and finished our conversation, for the moment. I think we'll manage to keep up a more frequent schedule of events now. He went East, and I went West.
I stopped near the outskirts of St. Charles at the Walgreen's, intending to get a bottle of water (I was deceived into thinking that stuff was carbonated water, flavored naturally, like my beloved La Croix water. Nope. It's like commercially-produced Kool-Aid, sweetened with Splenda. Yuck! But it was wet, so I shouldn't complain.) The interior temperature of my car was roughly 1000° at that point!) and some other necessities. When I was pulling together what I needed to get into the store, I noticed a chunk of...something on the floor near the pedals. It looked strange, like something I'd never seen before. But it was vaguely wafflesque, so I assumed that I'd stepped in something (eeew) near the Swedish Days hoohah and then walked it into my car. It didn't make much sense, as we'd walked so long away from all that, but--you never know. I walked into the store and my left foot felt very odd. I made my selections and checked out, then walked back outside. There was a smaller piece of that material outside the car. Once seated again, I swung the bottom of my foot up. My shoe had disintegrated! The sole of the left one was in pieces, and the right one was broken in several places and otherwise blackened. I theorized that the heat of the pavement upon which we'd walked, combined with the age and condition of the shoes to begin with, combined to destroy my favorite sandals! Very, very sad. I wore them home, obviously, and took these pictures, and then, sadly, put them in the trash. It's ironic that a day out with Robert succeeded in eliminating a pair of shoes from my wardrobe!
And now, I'm home. The air conditioning has run almost nonstop since I arrived (according to The Weather Channel, current conditions where I am are Cloudy, 87°F, Feels Like 94°F). The first thing I did when I arrived was to deal with the shoes, and after that trauma, I stripped down to the bare minimum and had a quick sponge bath. My body temperature has returned to only 15° above normal! I've been drinking tea, and have eaten dinner. I even stashed all my new goodies. And once this is posted, I'm going to kick back with a book and a glass of something cold, and enjoy my evening.
Hope y'all had a good day, too.