So, in the spirit of vain self-preservation, I offer you, not a throwback picture, but a throwback memory:
I took three months maternity leave from work after The Buddy was born. Most of my memories of the time are pretty hazy; hospital rooms, doctor's offices, lactation consultants, 2 am feedings, Target. You know, the usual. One thing I did strictly for my own enjoyment was check out books from the library in my neighborhood. The man-cub and I took a weekly stroll there to get some exercise, to enjoy the summer days and to break the new-mom monotony. It was a great time. I love to read, so when I wasn't otherwise occupied, you could often find me with my nose in a book.
A few weeks after I went back to work, I started getting nastygrams from the library, telling me I had four overdue books to return. Each time I got a letter or email, I'd look for the books to return them, not find them, get distracted by something else and forget (again) that I hadn't returned them. This happened every two weeks for two months.
I said, do NOT judge me! I tried to find them, but they were gone! Sheesh!
Anyway, the last letter I got very politely gave me five business days to return the books, or I would be charged a $30 restocking fee plus the maximum late charge ($2) for each book. That's $128, folks. For four books I couldn't find.
And since nothing motivates me like a late fee, I hunkered down, determined to find those books before I could forget again. This was no easy feat since I was still staggering around sleep-deprived, with post partum/working mama brain. I looked high and low for the better part of an hour in all the places that it made sense to me that they could be--the bedroom, on book shelves, under beds, in closets, in drawers--nothing. I gave up, resigning myself to the mother of all late fees and determined never to check out another book from the library. I didn't deserve the privilege and obviously couldn't be trusted.
A week or so later (I know: I learned absolutely nothing), I dug a bunch of The Bud's newborn clothes out of the basement storage to loan to a friend who was about to have a son. I pulled out the first box of 0-3 month sleepers and what did I see? Four library books! Somehow, I'd packed up my library books when I put away the sleepers. It made absolutely no sense and I had no recollection of doing it, but there they were!
The next day, I stopped after work to drop them off and throw myself on the mercy of the (book) court. I approached a rather unfriendly-looking librarian at the desk, ready to tell my tale. She looked up at me, I took a deep breath and started talking, fast.
"Hi, I have books that are two months overdue to return that I just found in a box of baby clothes in the basement. I know, it makes no sense and I have no idea why I put them there. The only thing I can plead is that I was two months post partum at the time. Is it possible that, since I found the books and I only missed the last call date by a few days, the restocking fee can be waived and I can just pay the late fees?"
I stopped for breath and waited to hear what she would say. Her next move floored me.
She put both of her palms flat on the desktop, leaned in and smiled, saying, deadpan, "sweetie, two-months post partum is the only excuse that makes sense. Because of my kids, I don't remember the 70's!" Then she waived the restocking fee, took my $8, demanded I show her pictures of The Buddy on my phone, and sent me on my way.
I just checked out four, new books there last weekend. I love the library. :)
Happy Thursday! #tbt