Phil and I were in Walmart a couple of weeks ago, looking for a pillow. Oddly, he and I have both been suffering from stiff necks lately.
I attribute it to the fact that my body has finally begun to relax after a hectic school year, and the stiff neck is just the last element to let go and embrace summer. He attributes the stiffness to a flat pillow.
We had traveled to the coastal town of Shallotte, just a few miles down the road from our rental house in Holden Beach. We were wearing T-shirts and gym shorts, my typical Walmart attire. (Someday I will give up entirely and go in pajamas.) So I had no compunction about lying on the floor to test the firmness of the Mainstays Firm, the Serta Super Firm and the Beautyrest Extra Firm.
Sure, people were staring at us funny, but isn’t that half the fun of a trip to Walmart?
Then the fun ended. Phil had just made up his mind when, in the continuing spirit of embracing summer, we headed for the beer aisle. On the way, we passed through the merchandise no-man’s land between housewares and groceries, and I suddenly realized I was surrounded.
To the left: Mead notebooks and binders. To the right: pencils, pencil cases and lunchboxes. In a Pavlovian reaction, my neck stiffened at the sight of dry-erase markers. There’s no way it’s back-to-school time already.
I mean, come on. The ocean water isn’t even warm until mid-July, and there we were contemplating school supplies. I haven’t even learned the difference between pale ale and India pale ale; I’m not ready to help with fractions and decimals.
It’s time to let brain cells, not to mention bodies, relax. Wither. Die, if necessary (the brain cells, that is).
But I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Not only do I have the luxury of a beach vacation, I also enjoy a long summer break with my family. My husband is a teacher, so we are able to travel and relax during the summer months. Our kids are able to loaf about the house without being shuffled to endless camps and day care, Bible school and babysitters. Although, I have to admit, we’ve been tempted to use Bible school as a kind of babysitter, especially after being cooped up in the house all together for weeks.
Yes, there is that cabin-fever feeling that also hits around mid-July. It’s when all three of the kids stomp into the house, muddy from head to toe (that’s good ol’ Catawba County red mud, mind you) from playing in the sprinkler and turning the regular slide into a waterslide-mud pit.
It’s when they ask if they can watch TV for the 90th time that morning, and I seriously consider chucking the set, Wii and all, into the backyard mud pit.
It’s when they all three insist on doing the exact same thing at the exact same time – even when it comes to two boys and a girl fighting over a crochet needle – even though they could be doing any of at least 900 other things instead.
Now I’m positive that stiff neck of mine isn’t about a pillow.
I may not want to browse the school-supply aisles at Walmart just yet, but I do feel a bit like lying down.
And I might be almost grateful that school is starting back up again, except that we home-school. So the school year is just like summer, but with textbooks. And a home-school mom is just like a regular teacher, except that every now and then you may find her lying on the floor in pajamas, with a pillow.
Possibly at Walmart.