My husband is tearing through the paper. He's already gotten his news from the internet but leafs through quickly. "Did you know that Amazon's stock's up 25%? That's a lot," he says admirably.
"Mmm hmmm," I nod as I read some human interest story. I pile the paper up and take it out to the recycle bin. Walking back I notice the pool is clogged with leaves; I'd been avoiding looking at it.
I look up at the huge oaks overlooking the back line of our lawn - thousands and thousands of them, plunging to their watery grave from the long branches, separating us from the street. In the spring and summer they form a barrier between us and the squealing cars that go too fast and the too-often-heard fire trucks from down the street. In the winter they are mere black scratches against the sky that barely block the blur of silvers, safe blues, dusty golds and occasional reds that zip by on their way to somewhere else.
I'm knee deep in expunging leaves from the drain when my husband comes outside. I know that look. He watches me in amusement with my arm stuck inside the cold water and does not offer to help this time. He's on a mission.
"I'm going to the store."
I glance up at him. He hates shopping, except for electronics and computer stuff, more than anything in the world.
"What are you buying?" I fling the wet leaves to the pavement, checking out of the corner of my eye whether the water droplets splash his feet. They did. I passively aggressively smile. He has invited me to go shopping before, but we silently agreed years ago - never again. Too painful.
"I don't know. Macy's is too far. I'll just try Ross's."
"Can you stop at the grocery and pick up something to cook for dinner? Get something and we'll throw it on the grill." He nods and leaves.
I finish up with the pool and grab a book to enjoy the cooling afternoon breeze. It's still 80 in California even though October is rushing towards Halloween.
A short time later the dogs perk their heads and run towards the front door. I listen for the rustle of bags and turn to see he has only a small bag in his hands.
"So," I say to the dogs, who are jumping up and down as though he's returned from a long journey. I check the clock, it's been 40 minutes. "What did your Daddy find?"
He pulls out a pair of gym shorts and jumbles the bag, opening the garbage lid but then remembering to put it in the recycle bin. "Just a pair of shorts. Those places suck. Seriously. They didn't have anything."
"TJ Maxx's was there, too; did you go there?"
"Yeah, I went there too. I found a pair of pants I liked, my size, and wanted to try them on but I asked the guy there and he said that they didn't have one; it was under renovation. Seriously. I just left. Those places suck. I will NEVER go there again."
I try not to, but I cannot help but laugh. He's serious. I don't even bother asking him if he stopped at the grocery store.
"Seriously! I'm doing all my shopping at Amazon.com from now on." He grabs a soda and heads outside to check on my leaf-cleaning job.