Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Office Depot three, that's right 3, times. The first time was totally legit. I needed printer ink to generate the stacks of cutouts and worksheets that accompany teaching Claire's preschool. Then I went to Hobby Lobby (could it have any lamer of a name?) for ribbon and I was intending to purchase white cardstock there (again, for the mounds of preschool arts and craps, I mean crafts). But after seeing the price, I conceded to buy the overkill 250 sheet pack at Office Depot since it was almost 1/2 the price per sheet. So back to Office Depot I went since it was only a couple shops down the strip mall. As it was, this second trip may have seemed excessive to some people, but this was also legit if you know me and my ability to turn frugality from virtue to vice. Then I headed home, but I stopped at an ATM to deposit the check I had from my friend Liz. She had written it to pay me back for her portion of our Costco excursion, so, as anyone who has ever been to Costco knows, it was no $5 check. It was gone. Not in my purse, not in the car, nowhere to be found. Aw crap! But I wasn't absolutely sure I hadn't left it on the counter at home by accident and the kids were starving, so we headed home. (Besides, I think Claire might actually have run away from home if I made her miss Berenstain Bears at it's new mid-day time for the third time in a row. I hate fall TV schedule changes.) The check wasn't at home. I had dropped it at one of the stores, I just knew it. Or maybe I hadn't dropped it. Maybe Scott had pulled it out of my purse in a desperate attempt at retribution for the fact that I wouldn't let him get out of the cart to run amok. This option seems likely to me because not only does it make me feel better about myself, but Scott and I and Costco checks have a lot of emotional baggage. But I'm getting ahead of myself. For more on this, wait for the next paragraph. Anyway, I couldn't find the check from Liz so I called her and left a disjointed message on her cell, as if this would do any good. Then I came to my senses and called the stores I had been to. The checkout clerk at Office Depot had found the check. (Figures, this was the location where the worst of the battle of the cart happened with Scott...) So after the Berenstain Bears and a quick lunch, we all piled back into the minivan to visit Office Depot for a third time. I called Liz to tell her I had found the check and to ignore my previous message and in reality probably succeeded only in a) confusing her even more, b) causing her to question my sanity, and c) further scaring her off of ever having children. On the way home, we took the time to deposit the check before Scott tried to incinerate it or anything.
Okay, no really though, this story has some scary parallels to another bad Costco check experience. I took my friend Meleah with me to Costco once when Scott was a baby. I don't remember how old he was, but he had definitely been sitting up for awhile. He was old enough to reach out and grab things from his cart perch. So somewhere between checking out at Costco and getting my receipt and a check from Meleah, stopping for a quick bite of pizza, and the door, disaster struck and it's name was Scott. I got to the special people whose job it is to snoop over the things you have purchased ("You buy your condoms at Costco, huh?") and then drag a highlighter across your receipt (I know their job has a point, I just can't remember what it is), I lost my receipt. Finally I found two soggy halves in Scott's hands. I held them out pitifully to the Costco employee and they quickly touched their highlighter to them, barely concealing their disgust at the dripping mess. Meleah laughed with me and we went home. You would think I would have learned. Scott had already shown a real penchant for putting paperwork into his mouth even prior to this outing. But when we got home, I left my purse somewhere on the floor. Later that day I found a soggy wad in Scott's mouth (I could always tell when he had something in his mouth because it was the only time it wasn't hanging open spouting copious streams of drool). After fishing the soggy wad out, I began to unfurl the mess to see what it was this time. Then I recognized a corner of Meleah's check. The check had been for over $100. I freaked out and searched everywhere for the rest of it. In the end I found about 2/3 of the check but was forced to the realization that Scott had genuinely ingested the rest of it. I don't know if I remember feeling any stupider than when I made that phone call to Meleah. "So, Meleah, um... Scott ate the check you gave me. Is there any way you could write me another check? I'll give you the soggy remains of your previous one to prove I won't try to deposit the partially devoured one!" Fortunately Meleah is one of the nicest people ever and all she did was laugh and write me another check.
I can't decide if what I should learn from all this is a) I shouldn't take people to Costco with me and let them write me checks as my only repayment for their Kirkland Signature indulgences, b) I should keep checks in a safer place than tucked haphazardly into my purse, or c) I should sell Scott to the gypsies.