Thursday, March 31, 2011

the best way we know how

It started when Bean would point to the ceiling in her room and tell me that she was scared. I couldn't figure it out at first, but after a while it became clear that she was talking about the smoke detector. It seemed ominous, I guess: the small unblinking green light, its constant presence in her room, a gimlet's white round face.

I tried to tell her what it was, a smoke detector baby---- it helps us to stay safe. But that didn't appease her, only gave her a name for the menace. After that it was a small cry in the darkened room: Mommy! The smoke detector! It scares me!

Which is when I started The Smoke Detector Chronicles. Small stories of what the smoke detector does when we leave the room. He loves to roll around in Bean's bed and play with her toys. He likes to take naps and read books, especially books about Olivia. He eats dessert first: cupcakes and ice cream and chocolate. He watches movies, too. It's a strange coincidence that his favorite movies are also Bean's: Up and Meet the Robinson's and any episode of Super Why.

After a while, Bean started to tell me things about Smoke Detector all on her own. She tells me he plays hide and seek and likes to tell her stories long after I've turned out the lights. Which is why I hurry to listen to the room monitor at bedtime, doing my best to hold tight to her childhood, listening to her laughter in a darkened room.

- - - - -

These days I am preoccupied with another childhood transition, this one about the Big Girl Bed. She still sleeps in her crib. She's so small for her age. My mom tells me it's not a big deal. So I haven't felt any need to rush it. But lately I've wondered if it's time. I will break the First Rule of Fate Tempting and say this: she's fully potty trained. All the way down to naps and bedtime. I take no credit for those last bits - it's all Alice, the way she wants so much to do what I've asked her to do. For a while I was putting her in trainers at night, a just-in-case thing because everyone said that they might continue to have accidents at night. But it never happened, not even once. If she needs to go in the late night hours, I'll hear a plaintive cry over the room monitor--- sometimes only a whisper: Mommy, I need to pee.

So now it truly is All About the Underpants. We haven't touched a diaper in weeks and weeks. Which has me thinking again about the Big Girl Bed.

I was talking to Bean yesterday afternoon and asked if she'd like a bed, a bed like mommy's and daddy's. She was agreeable, but reserved, "Like mommy's?" I told her yes, like mommy's and we will say goodbye to your crib. Which was the wrong thing to say, because she insisted that we couldn't say goodbye to her crib. We just couldn't. I've been thinking about it ever since, how I don't want to rush something just because everyone else is doing it, just because the books give me a timeline.

So many of the transitions come down to an arbitrary decision made by me as I'm sitting on the couch, or a passing comment by a friend that gets me thinking that maybe it's time. I'm not sure if I ever understood that little strangeness of motherhood until now: how there is no rulebook, no true determiner of what we should do or when. How we make things up as we go along, doing our best to do by right by these small creatures in the best way we know how.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

you spotted this fashion trend here first

See--- it's a fascination, an inspiration, a tiny bit of preoccupation,
with gingham.

And why not, right?

Simple. Geometric. Clean.

I decided to embrace my Motherhood role and fully commit to Fashion Overload.

I'm calling them picnic pants.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


There was a birthday party this weekend.

I'm blaming my lack of blog writing on birthday-related hoopla hangover.

That, and a spring/summer wardrobe sewing binge.

Until I shake myself from the stupor, I offer this gem that my Facebook friends will hopefully forgive, since they've already heard about it.

When I noticed Strawberry Shortcake was missing her shoes Monday night, I asked Alice where the shoes were.

She informed me that she'd put the shoes away.

Yes. Yes she certainly did.

Monday, March 21, 2011

my advancement as a mother

In every child's life, there is a point when the parent presents them with an article of clothing.
An article of clothing that the parent considers to be sassy and adorable. Fetching, really.
An article of clothing the child wears to be photographed.
An article of clothing that comes to be known to the child as evidence of their parent's frightfully questionable fashion sense.
An article of clothing that is pointed to, in later years, as a sure sign of the parent's horrible infliction of dreadful outfits --- 'the last straw, really' the child will say as she vows that from then on she dressed herself.
So far I have avoided what I believe to be some of the more outrageous clothing options I could have inflicted on Bean.
Not anymore.
I have created the pair of pants sure to grant me the desired status of MOTHER-DRESSER DESTROYER OF WORLDS.
And I had to share.

(Those would be black-and-white gingham check pants, people. If I thought I wouldn't be laughed off the street, I'd sew a pair for myself. Because really: BLACK AND WHITE GINGHAM CHECK.)

Friday, March 18, 2011


It turns out, three-year-olds are obsessed with bags.

Putting things in bags.

Carrying things in bags.

Pulling things out of bags.

Toting bags on their shoulders and on their backs.

Little bags and big bags, fancy bags and simple bags.

I thought it was time for a couple bags of her own.

Star bags.
(This one from a Simplicity pattern).

(And this one from here)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

and now for something completely different

Can anyone explain the thinking on last night's Jeopardy? Two of the three contestants flunked out of the game before Final Jeopardy, leaving ONE GUY to compete. Against no one. Even if he lost on the final question, he still would have WON THE GAME. So given that there is NO RISK WHATSOEVER other than money HE DOES NOT HAVE--- how much money does he risk? Does he risk most of his $28,000? Or, like, half of his $28,000? Does he do what any sane person would do and BET IT ALL?

No. No he doesn't. He bets a measly $1200.

I don't know why, but it makes me want to punch that guy in the face.

- - -

Bean spent yesterday with Wandering Nana. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall to watch the two of them. I understand that there was cookie making instead of a nap. Lunch was consumed. Cookie dough was eaten. And general merriment was had. Thank heaven for good friends.

- - -

I have no interest whatsoever to watch a "Gray's Anatomy Music Event". I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings. I just had to say it.

- - -

We're having Bean's much-belated-due-to-illness birthday party on Saturday. Anyone know of any good party games for the 2 to 3-year-old set? I'm thinking of games best played indoors with no clear winners, since the entire concept of winning/losing is sort of moot at this point in Bean's life. What do you think? Any last bits of advice/warning?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the cope


I remember watching hours of CNN during hurricane Katrina and its terrible aftermath. Crying babies and their frightened mothers, covered in filth with no end in sight. News people wearing glaringly bright Gortex jackets, hoods pulled tight around their fresh-scrubbed faces as they reported from scenes too horrible to contemplate.

There was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. CNN again, in loud staccato bursts showing images of mass devastation. Wobbly video recordings portrayed a wall of roiling dark brown water--- matchstick structures riding the waves into swaying palm trees. And the faces streaked with muck, telling stories of heroism and heartbreak, eyes wild, scanning the distant horizon for some sign of relief.

The Haiti earthquake: schools of children sitting in terrified clusters amidst rubble too small to be recognized as the remains of structures. Rocks and sticks, really. Destruction underlined by the horrible panic of widespread violence: fathers digging beneath towering mounds of unmentionable death to seek the bodies of their children, scarecrow-thin arms hoisting rifles over their heads, firing into a bloody sky.

Flooding in Rio de Janeiro, Queensland, the Philippines. Earthquakes in Christchurch and Pakistan.

And of course now, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

Each time I find myself drawn inexplicably to the coverage, the 24-7 inundation of terror: from the first shakey camera shots and the news anchors pulled out of bed to report on an unfolding scene of horror they don't understand --- to the rising collection of local news faces as they flock to the epicenter of disaster, jumping on planes streaking the sky only minutes after the initial shaking of the ground.

I don't know if it's something innately human or more specific to American culture or even a sickness designated independently to me, but in the wake of disaster my first impulse is to turn on the TV. I flip channels from local news to the wider lens of CNN and PBS. I let the television drone in the background of life circulations: stopping mid-stride to stand transfixed as I watch the news of families searching for signs of loved ones, elderly women staggering through the wreckage of their village, their eyes too weary for tears. I watch experts weigh in, their voices even and paced, as they talk about statistics and epicenters from their brown leather chairs in a New York studio. This in stark contrast to the scenes they narrate: human beings reduced to their most humble and base circumstance, standing in a world so dramatically foreign to the one they have lived in.

I linger on images of tennis shoes knocked into telephone wires and a vast sea of white cars piled on one another, as far as the eye can see.

It's the same each time. In a few hours or several, after one day or three, my internal disaster meter glows red. With shaking hands and a heavy heart, I turn the television off. I turn the radio dial to black. I shut myself away from the tragedy. One more image will send me into a spiral of hopelessness and inaction.

I turn it off so that I can remember quiet, so that I can reflect on wholeness, so that I can feel normal.

There is a point in human horror when I know that I can't take one more image of sisters and brothers being pulled from unimaginable wreckage. To push myself beyond that limit is to risk stripping away my carefully grown coping mechanisms. To watch any more reports of devastation is to cause irreparable damage to my soul. In order for me to have hope, I have to cultivate it within myself - and in order to have the right environment for hope to grow, I have to feel peace in my heart. And peace, for me, is best found in the table scraps of every day repetition.

It's something I don't understand about myself well enough to explain it to you, other than to say it is so. And I'm not proud of this pattern of retreat, either--- I am trying to decide if it's a survival skill or a nasty wall of Western Obliviousness.

Be that as it may, these days I am watching a repeating cycle of Super Why and Scooby Doo, memorizing Alice's delightful face as she learns to ride her tricycle. I plead fervent prayers of hope and empathy for everyone affected by recent world events. I do things small and quiet to help in my own way, from this corner of the world.

And I give thanks that I have this peaceful corner to retreat to, when so many do not.

What do you do? How do you handle world disasters? And as your children grow, how do you help them to cope?

Monday, March 14, 2011

after friday


I've written seven different posts, seven different ways.

Each one has been abandoned, just partially written: unacceptable.

Because everything I could talk about is so small: small worries, small bumps, small inconveniences. Small things buried beneath waves of grief in the world.

Today I am thankful for everything small in my life.
A small head to pull close, to kiss her hair.
A small house, safe and whole.
A (not so small) husband with strong arms, ready to hold my small self.
And this, a small way to help.

Friday, March 11, 2011

following david bowie's advice


Work is the fabric of my days. I was raised that way: watching my mother's busy feet carry her from one room to the next, listening to my father's movement in other parts of the house. Evening was a time for different work, hand work - be it organizing a calendar or writing a note or crocheting a baby quilt. I grew up spending twilight hours with a book in my hand, a pile of beads in my lap, and something to be done crawling around in my mind. Work is movement.

I have worked in a professional capacity since I was eighteen. Surrounded by offices and people who used schedule as a verb. Work is life. Work is lifeline.

When Chip and I started to conceive Bean in our minds, the child of dreams and cloud - the wistful imaginings of two people with little concept to the actual being that was to come - we discussed what my work would become. I wanted to be home with this baby. I wanted to mold and craft and teach her in a way that only my hands could. This raising of her would become my work.

But life and work are wild things. They are messy. They scatter our carefully organized dreams to the wind with their firehose spray of inconsistency.

As things shook out in the months leading to Bean's birth, we understood that I would need to be something that it is hardest for me to be - a concept that I am seemingly not - which is this: flexible. I would need to be flexible with my life, with my plans, with the raising of Alice, and most of all with work.

Luckily, my brushes with the most unwieldy side of life and work have yielded some fantastic and amazing associates. People who I have worked with, who believe in me, and who ultimately want me to succeed. One such person is my dear friend John. He came along with a business proposal for some extremely part time work when it was needed in those early days of baby Bean. For three years I've been doing this work quietly in the background of my larger work with Alice.

Then came a fateful lunch, a discussion with John, and many talks with Chip. This was a month ago now--- I've mentioned it in passing, how things have become very unsettled and very strange, how I haven't felt connected enough to explain my feelings about any of it. In the abstract, it comes down to work. Am I brave enough to embrace it, in whatever form it comes? I have always hoped the answer to that question would be yes. Because that's who I believe myself to be - someone who does the work, who lives to blister her fingers in use. John's business is growing and he approached me about expanding my work with him - picking up an additional four days each month to work in his office and in the field. Work: so helpful for bills and our dream for another baby. But work: away from home and away from dear Alice.

After talking with Chip, I said yes.

There were logistical realities to deal with, namely Chip's long stretches of time away from home. We were able to adjust some schedules and plans, enough so that he would be able to watch Alice on three of those four work days. The fourth day we punted for this month, but going forward I'm working out a babysitting swap with Kate, a lifesaver and my very good friend.

Once the physical pieces were put in place in the weeks leading up to this change in our routine, all that was left for me was cerebral, emotional, internal. The things that I do best, depending on how you define best. I am a very practiced worrier, a fantastic internalizer, and on top of it all I am very gifted in the art of The Fret.

I can hear the collective eye-roll: how picking up an additional four days each month isn't that big of a deal, how work is just work and I should be grateful to get it. And you're right. You're absolutely right. But as a child of routine, I crave sameness. I need stability. And making this adjustment in our lives isn't as small as it might seem. There was a time when I only saw the future with Alice as a bright empty field reaching into the far-off horizon with no detours or turning paths branching off. It might sound so boring, but it felt incredibly peaceful. Now that I'm in it, I see all the dips and turns, the hidden valleys that are impossible to see until you're on top of them.

In the weekend leading up to my first day back at work, I did my best fretting: biting my lips and throwing weird tantrums because I hadn't folded all the laundry. Chip found me on the stairwell after I had thrown a stack of towels onto the floor in a fit of irritation. He pulled me in for a hug and then said that I should just follow David Bowie's advice about change. I replied, "You mean to 'turn and face the strain?'" He nodded, yeah, that's it. Face it. Embrace it. Feel it. And then let it go.

My first day back at work, I locked myself out of John's office twice. I spent two hours trying to keep his new puppy quiet during a business meeting. I trained on a couple of software programs that are completely new to me. I took phone calls and tracked expenses and tried my best to organize someone else's work life. I went home to a living room not completely destroyed by my 3-year-old and a husband that was thrilled to see me.

My second day back at work, I used GPS to navigate the outer wildland of a northwest Seattle district known as Magnolia. I ran errands, did marketing work, and spoke to several of John's clients. I went home to a house, again, not completely destroyed by my 3-year-old and a husband that was thrilled to see me.

I spent the next several days recovering the house and myself into the routines of normalcy. And when I thought back about this life of mine, the new normal that we're doing our best to transition to, I felt okay. I felt good. I feel happy.

Work. I am doing my best to embrace it, in whatever form it takes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

two paths diverged in a wood

This is how I see it.

When you first glimpse that little double pink line on the pregnancy test, you feel...a million different ways: excited and scared and overcome and nervous and anxious and happy and exuberant and everything under the sun. You also feel a little bit alone. But before too long, you come to be surrounded by other women who are all pregnant, by happenstance or design, you have this circle of people who are going through the same things. You talk about cravings and having to pee all the time and what it's like to go to birthing classes. You compare notes on cribs and swings and baby carriers. You share your birth plans.

When you have your babies, there are other mothers joining in your throng: babies on hips and babies nursing and babies napping in slings. You talk about sleeping and the lack of it. You talk about sore bodies and scars. You cry together and laugh together. Your babies smile at each other and you think, this is how it is, we're in this together.

But even in those first few months, there is one mother and then another who peels off from the group: the first to go back to working a job away from home, the first to put baby in daycare, the first to think about a part time nanny.

One by one we make choices that direct our path.

Once upon a time I was surrounded by a pack of mothers who were doing and thinking and talking about the same things, but in the three years since Bean was born we've each made decisions that have split us onto sidelines and avenues. The working mothers, the part-time working mothers, the ones sending their children to preschool, the ones keeping there little ones at home. The organic mothers, the traveling mothers, the mothers who go to story time at the library.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to describe this adequately, this feeling of branches splitting into infinite numbers until we're each treading a pathway that is individually our own. I used to be able to talk to my friends about the choices facing me as a mother, but I don't have that luxury anymore as so many of my choices are not theirs--- whether they've moved on or moved over or however you see it, there is movement for each of us and even though we all start out at the same place, with a tiny baby in our hands and their future spread out before us, in thirty-six short months we might be light years away from our counterparts.

This isn't to say that any one of us or them or whoever is making a bad choice, just different choices. Yes different choices is what I'm trying to say. Different. But it still scares me, this unknown future that lies before me with Alice. We're making those decision now, Chip and I, in determining what would be best for her in schooling and everything that is wrapped up in that subject. We've decided to throw out the handbook of doing things just because everyone else has done them, and it's leading us down to this slightly less traveled path, a pathway that is strange and exciting and also a tiny bit terrifying.

But I'm excited. Even if I feel like I'm peeling off from the pack, it feels good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

window opportunities


Sometimes I'm able to pull myself back far enough to be able to see most of the whole picture: me and my life and my family and how we fit together. When I'm that far away, I like what I see. It's a peaceful view, and gives me the opportunity to read these posts as if they were written by someone else.

She seems like a decent person.

Which isn't to say that I am, but I try to be.

Alice fell out of a grocery cart the other day. It was not my finest moment in parenting, hopped up on some cold medicine and feeling blurry and weird. She was standing at the bow of the cart shouting directives to the shopping masses when the cart wheels stumbled on something on the floor, causing a lurch. Then this in slow motion: Alice's face twirling up and out of the cart's confines, her mouth an O of shocked surprise, the black of her Converse All-Stars a smudge on my vision. Luckily, luckily, luckily--- she landed mostly on hands and knees, though she did bang her head and scratched her cheek. I sat on the floor of Joann's holding my crying girl for ten minutes. I rocked and whispered the words mothers do.

Chip calls these things Window Opportunities, when we know full well what we should be doing and we do something else instead. The window opportunity comes when the full-scale apocolyptic cataclysm is somehow sidelined and we are left with only a few cuts and bruises, and a reminder to do the right thing, every time. Like not letting her play by an open window. Or making her sit in the cart seat even though she hates it with a fiery passion.

So it goes.

Have you had any brushes with death that you'd care to share? Let's commiserate for Wednesday, shall we?

Monday, March 7, 2011

word economy

It was called word economy. A term for using only the words necessary to describe an action - a term for editing the extra verbiage, an abbreviated way of telling us to use less words. We used the term in high school debate, when time was short and the volume of ideas was encompassing. Word economy: say what you mean, but only use the most necessary statements to do so.

When I think back on last week, this past weekend, word economy comes to mind. The quiet celebration of Bean's birthday in a blur of cake and presents (A TRICYCLE) and the occasional necessary couch lay-down for Chip, punctuated by the sound of both Chip and Alice's coughing.

Around Saturday morning I started to feel the telltale pressure in my eardrums, the growing weight of sinus pressure in my head. I refused to acknowledge the approaching Storm of Sick, knowing that Chip would be leaving early Monday morning for a week-long business trip. Oh how I dread being sick and incapacitated during stints of solo parenting.

Word economy. I used that on Sunday when the Storm of Sick circled our house in one vast cloud. Best to not talk about it at all, really.

So we approach this week with hope and few words, though I have some saved up for longer posts in the days to come.

And these words, most economic of all:

Just beautiful.

Friday, March 4, 2011

if I wrote a post script to my letter to bean

After a day spent with the newly three-year-old Bean. So awesome, and also terrifying: the death-defying mood swings coupled with her effervescent smile and winsome laugh. One moment she was stamping her foot and telling me that the world was going to END unless I gave her a bowl of Rice Krispies right now, right this minute. And then the next moment she was hugging my leg, arms pulled tight around my knee, telling me "I love you, mommy. I love you so much."

She went to bed last night twirling around her bedroom. She gave me a kiss and softly patted my back. When we sat down to read Goodnight Moon for the 731st time, Alice asked to read something else. So we read Kitten's First Full Moon and I tried not to feel sad that our bedtime routine had changed just like that.

I know that nothing lasts forever. A small growing-up girl intensifies this truth because she changes from one minute to the next.

Because I can't stop time, because I can't cast her in crystal, because I can't make her stay so little, I want to remember:

- Listening to her sing. She sings when she's lying in bed. She sings when she's eating breakfast. She sings in the car. She sings when she's standing in the middle of the living room.

- Alice streaking room to room before her bath.

- Her tiny shoes tossed at the foot of the stairs.

- The way she holds her buddies and pats their backs, whispering, "It's okay. I've got ya. I've got ya."

- To Alice, it's called a burt, not burp. Who burted? ALICE BURTED!

- She knows episodes of Sesame Street by name.

- The game Chip and Alice play with her little pink Piggy, called Where's Piggy. Chip will put Piggy on top of his head and ask Alice if she knows where Piggy is. She thinks it's hilarious.

- Watching her climb up on top of the dining room stools, on top of the table, on top of the counters. She is fearless.

- She and Chip shout LURF-A-DOO when he pulls her into his arms, swinging her high overhead.

...and this is where the list could go on, and it does. It does go on, in everything I write about her. I write it down to capture it, to keep it here, to make sure I have some tiny bit of that little girl pressed between the pages of my memory. For always.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

three is the magic number

Dear Bean,

As I write this, it is nearly 1am on March 3rd, 2011. A few clock strokes away from the dawn of your third birthday. For the last few hours I have been hot gluing and tying tiny bits of yellow ribbon to decorate the dining room. I'm doing my best to give you the birthday of your young dreams. Ribbon and sparkles and love.

This is what I know about an almost three-year-old: she sleeps deep and hopes for wonder when she opens her eyes. She loves to play, to think, to pretend, to dance, to sing, to laugh, to learn.

Because this is what it's like to live with an almost-three-year-old: there is a whirling dervish of play, constant movement and requests for specific toys. Weird toys like a bucket of wooden stars and a basket of fabric scraps. The almost-three-year-old asks questions. Her favorite thing is to pull me down to her side and announce with great sincerity, "Now it's time for you to ask me some questions." And then I do. Questions like What is your favorite rainbow? and What is your favorite color? and What is Piggy's favorite color? and Do you know that Mommy loves you? (answers: the one in the sky and orange and blue and yes yes yes yes yes.) The almost-three-year-old likes to dance. A strange galloping jittery thing with legs tapping up and down while she twirls in a large sweeping arc. There is lots of singing in the almost-three-year-old's house. Songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Ring Around the Rosie and The Frown Song, which up until two weeks ago I thought you were saying The Brown Song, and gosh darn it-- I had no idea what you were talking about, this brown song. But when it finally clicked as you told me that we needed to sing it, I understood. It was like this light in your face: recognition and understanding all rolled into one. YES! THE FROWN SONG! Which led to lots and lots of laughing. Afterward, you would imitate me as you laughed, "OH! THE FROWN SONG!" Which is to say, we do a lot of laughing at mommy.

Baby girl, I have to tell you - the last couple of weeks have been crazy. I considered not writing this birthday letter. Or at the very least, postponing it until next week. Things have been weird. And exhausting. You came down with another cold last week, your eighth cold since August (but who's counting)- and quite frankly, it's been kicking my trash having you sick like this. On top of this, your father came down with your bug last night. Watching him assemble the tricycle we're giving you for your birthday was sort of horrible, and also totally priceless. He shivered beneath a blanket and did his level best to tighten bolts. He is so proud of the little girl you're becoming, the little girl you are.

There is so much to say to you, I could take the little bits left of this darkness and write until the sun was high in the sky and still not say it all. So I'll just say this: you are a gift to us. When we celebrate your birthday, it's only a faint echo of the celebration your daddy and I do every day giving thanks that you are in our lives.

Happy birthday, sweet Bean.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

an open letter to the human resource department at costco


To Whom It May Concern:

While I applaud your ingenuity and creativity, I am curious about your motives for hiring artists as receipt checkers at all of your doors.

It used to be, we would pause for a minute at the exit door while a helpful Costco attendant would look over our receipt, scrawling a quick X on the back to say that we weren't leaving the store with a few extra cases of bottled water. Then slowly the X changed. At first we noticed stars and happy faces, squiggled lines looking mysteriously like fireworks. But before too long there were balloons and Christmas trees - snow scenes with suns setting quietly over rolling hills. Now we stand for minutes at a time while your receipt checkers draw increasingly elaborate depictions of northwest wildlife or portraits of Alice. Recently we were sent home with a detailed image of Old King Cole, complete with beard, crown, and I swear to you - a little swirling cloud of blackbirds flying over his head.

Don't get me wrong, the pictures are sweet - but I don't really need a self portrait on my chips and oatmeal receipt. Furthermore, I'm paying for groceries. Not art. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it didn't take so darn LONG. For that Old King Cole receipt? The Costco employee actually asked us to wait a minute while she finished the swirly twirly touches on the blackbirds - held up her finger for us to hang on a moment so she could complete her doodle.

I'm writing to you because I'm worried. Worried that this little movement for quirky and fun-loving customer service will have us being asked to wait, wait just another few minutes, while future receipt checkers complete little masterpieces with paint and ink and pastels.

It's cute, but I can't handle it.