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My husband wanted to leave “early” Friday.  Early is a relative term in our house.  Early for me is 10:00, early for huz is 7:00 but he was willing to cut me some slack and requested that we leave at 8:00.  We left at 9:30.

With two of the kids in the back, me in the navigator’s position and “Carmen the Garmin” placed snugly on the dash, we headed off to Reading, PA in hopes of finding some back-to-school bargains.  In true form, some of the coffee i must have when traveling “early” found itself on my white shirt.  This is no joke...EVERY time we travel and i’m wearing a white shirt (which, admittedly, is the color shirt i wear at least 50% of the time), I have coffee on it within 10 miles of home.  I accept this and have learned to live with coffee-stained shirts while shopping or traveling.

Aside from the coffee situation, the first two hours of the trip was uneventful.  I started my new book (Jennifer Weiner’s newest...Best Friends Forever...LOVE IT so far), Kelly slept, Patrick listened to his iPod and my husband was amused with his newest toy, Carmen the Garmin.  Then it happened...Paul said, “What the hell am i doing on THIS road?”  Carmen thought we needed to go to Reading via the scenic route, i guess...because we were deep in the hills and boroughs of middle Pennsylvania.  While I understand the futility of arguing with electronic devices, this logic sometimes escapes my husband.  Mind you, he’s driving and he’s telling me to push this button or that button on Carmen to find out if she’s lost her mind!  I complied, knowing that if i got out of line i might have found myself driving...and i intensely dislike driving.  We continued as Carmen suggested and, after 4+ hours, found ourselves in Reading.  There was plenty of conversation about our route and my husband is on Mapquest right now...i’m not sure what he’s going to do with any information he may find, but he’s feeling the need to correct Carmen, i guess.

Once we checked into our hotel (which involved tracking down a maid for some air freshener and Febreze, deodorizing and spraying the soft surfaces in the room, opening the window and turning on the a/c) we left for our first Reading Outlet shopping experience.  The Reading Outlets consist of 6 restored warehouses on a large corner lot.  The original hardwood floors remain in some of the buildings and the architecture is very cool.  We stopped at a few places but when we shopped at the Vanity Fair Outlet, we hit the mother lode!  This place is huge...humongous...gi-NOURMOUS.  My son and husband went their way and Kelly and i went ours.  After about 90 minutes, we met at the checkout line and emptied our cart.  We all found some wonderful bargains...especially ME.  This does not happen to me.  Very typically, shopping is something that depresses me if i decide to shop for myself...but this time, i found 3 very nice pairs of pants.  Well-fitting pants are the all-time worse thing for me to find and every year i find myself dreading having to find new pants for the new season.  I am done, now...and Autumn isn’t even here!

We finished up at the Reading Outlets and set off for the baseball game...Reading Phillies vs Binghamton Mets.  We arrived at the gate just as they were letting people in.  We found our seats (thankfully out of the sun because it was a sweltering day) and grabbed a bite to eat.  I enjoyed a Mike’s Mango Slush and some popcorn.  The theme that night was “Tribute to Elvis” and some guy sang a couple Elvis songs (i’d give him a mid-to-high 7).  When i was searching for the popcorn, i ran into the Elvis impersonator and couldn’t help camera-nazi self...i asked someone to take my pic with Elvis!  Doh!

We enjoyed the evening and the ballgame until about the 5th inning and the general consensus was that we were all ready to call it a day.  I’d heard the girl behind me speak abusively to her younger brother for the entire time we were there and fought the urge to say something to her before we left...thankyouverymuch.  My children would have disowned me if i had and that is the ONLY reason i did not tell her that she needed anger management and a personality transplant.

Fast-forward...we‘re back to the hotel after fighting the traffic...not the ballgame traffic, but the typical Friday night Reading traffic.  My husband is spent...he is tired, hot and more than a little irritable.  The hot and irritable go hand in hand...i guess the tired and irritable does too but that’s another story.  Anyway, two beds means the boys sleep together and the girls sleep together.  Paul falls asleep on top of the covers of his bed, making is near impossible for Patrick to get into his side so i had to wake him up.  Those two get situated and then Kelly begins picking at me to turn the light off because she can’t sleep unless it’s dark.  Here is the point where i refrain from asking her what she calls what she does most afternoons on the sofa...in broad day LIGHT.  I simply tell her i’m going to read a little and then i’ll turn off the light.  Heavy sigh...then, click, click, click, click...yep, she’s TEXTING!  HERE is the part where i refrain from telling her that the light being off won’t help her sleep as long as she’s texting.  

After a short time, the light goes off and i go to sleep.



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