It's Friday, after a very long week of work, rain and stress. I was sitting at lunch with a friend, looking out at the sunshine (Yay!) and eating a very unsatisfying blah lunch when we realized we both had gift cards for Cold Stone Creamery. It took us all of 5 seconds to decide to cut out lunch short, and dash out to get ice cream, after all, we had gift cards, that means it's FREE!
Of course, neither of us knew where the nearest CSC was. but we figured it was close enough to dash out in our 1/2 hour left of lunch and get back. No one would even notice, right? We dashed back up to our desks, and I looked up CRC locations on the web. There was one only 3.8 miles away, and I knew exactly where it was. Since I knew the location, I drove, which meant we took my hulking truck with no air conditioning. Not really a problem, just a quick dash down the road, up two exits on the beltway and we were there.
We head out, chatting happily, when traffic slows to a crawl. Road work right at the entrance to the beltway. Well, ok, that only added an extra 5-6 minute to the trip, right? Meanwhile we had an enjoyable time commenting on the houses, cars and clubhouse we passed. Once on the beltway, we zipped along, took our exit, and found the shopping center with the CSC.
As we are creeping along trying to find a parking space, and dodging little expensive cars 1/3 the size of my truck, we realize from the store fronts we are in a lot more expensive rent district than we thought. There was a sidewalk sale going on, and from how the drivers and people walking were acting they were giving away gold somewhere on that sidewalk.
We parked and browsed the sales on our way to ice cream. Everything was 50% off, great bargains, but 50% off of a $187 sweater is still too much for a sweater to wear to the barn or work. We finally arrive at Cold Stone Creamery, Mecca for those who truly love freshly made ice cream with decadent toppings blended in..mmmmmmm. The world was a happy place.
We walk in and the place smells like freshly made waffle cones and happiness. I give my order (since I had decided what I wanted before even leaving work) and pull out my gift card. But at that moment we got unequivocal evidence the universe hates us, the person behind the counter tells me the credit card machine is broken, and they can only accept cash. But we have gift cards we say, waving our burgundy plastic in the air as evidence. They use the same machine as credit cards. We were devastated.. we didn't bring any cash, all we had was drivers license, keys and the gift cards. (no sense advertising to the whole office we were going somewhere by bringing purses) But, we protested, we drove all the way from work to here just for ice cream! The youngling behind the counter just looked at us.
We walked back to our now hot from being in the sun truck. How would we now make it through the rest of the day? We felt like a 5 year old who had been shown a back yard full of swimming pools and popsicles who was then sent back to a desk to do math homework. Then we had to fight traffic to get back to the beltway.
As we were driving along, bemoaning our lack of ice cream (and the total lack of joy in the world right then) my friend asked did I know where a neighboring road is. Yes, I said, then she said there was another CSC on that road. We looked at each other, and decided we were already out, and half way to that road, why not. Plus, it was for FREE ice cream!
Well, traffic wasn't as smooth in this area of town, and when we get to the road, we decide we need to go right, to find the ice cream. We creep along, stop light to stop light, roasting in the sun and my no air conditioner truck, peering in each shopping center to see if that was the one. Of course neither of us was really sure where it was. after several miles and about 580 stoplights, we realize we were going the wrong way. I finally get some common sense, and call 411 on my cell phone, and contact the store for directions.
Yep, we had gone the wrong way. Some kind person finally let us make a left U-turn and we went back though all the stoplights, creeping along with about 9 million other people in cars (why aren't these people at work instead of getting between us and FREE ice cream??) Until finally, we see on our right the glorious sign of ice cream nirvana. Not being in quite the same sort of neighborhood as the last one, not only was parking easy, but fellow ice cream seekers were polite, even friendly as we went in.
Out first question was 'Is the Credit card machine working?' Yes, they assured us it was. We then proceeded to explain our journey, with all it's trials and set backs. We also explained we were determined to have our ice cream, come hell or high water. Not a problem, not only did they prepare wondrous creamy goodness, but the owner came out, and when we explained our odyssey to ice cream nirvana, he gave us coupons for free goodies for the next trip.
Joy. I had a waffle cone with coffee ice cream, chocolate swirls, Heath bar and nuts. As I was getting back in the truck, I realized I had on a white shirt. Not good, but I was determined not to waste a drop anyway. I actually got half way back to the office before I dripped on the shirt. *sigh* But one drip isn't bad, and I do have my Clorox pen.
We get back to the office just as we finish. I decide to get a last drip out of the cone, and throw away the bottom (I was going through sugar/coffee overload by now anyway). I tilt the cone up, with it's little paper sleeve still on it, and about a gallon of melted coffee and chocolate poured down my face, neck and shirt. So much for my little white top with the embroidered daisys. Now I get to spend the rest of my (short) workday sticky, with my jacket buttoned up, and on a caffeine and sugar high.
It was so worth it.