Sunday, September 18, 2011
Watch Out for Falling Notebooks
By Kiki Lowenstein, “star” of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
“Kiki? I’m still waiting on those notes from the class we took on rubberstamping with alcohol inks. Where are they?”
A perfectly reasonable request from my boss, Dodie Goldfader. We’d attended a great seminar together, and I’d been the designated notetaker. (Dodie’s handwriting is illegible.) The teacher shared all sorts of specific tips, hints and specifics gathered from years of experimentation. I’d dutifully copied everything down.
“Um, I’ll find them. They’re at home. Got to run. Carpool duty.” I grabbed Gracie, my Great Dane, and scooted out the door.
Dodie is no fool. She waddled to the backdoor and yelled after me, “That’s not for another hour! Get back here!”
But I only waved, hoisted Gracie’s rear end into the passenger seat, and hopped in to the driver’s side. As I pulled out of the parking lot of Time in a Bottle, the scrapbook store where I work, Dodie hung out of the doorway and yelled, “You better come back with that notebook! I mean it!”
I could tell she was ticked. The expression on her face was grim, and as she shook her fist at me, her double chin waggled back and forth.
Dodie is a big woman, and a hairy one. A customer once compared her to the wooly mastodon that they found in nearby Kimmswick, Missouri. She’s definitely an eager eater. I’m a tad overweight myself. I can’t understand people who forget to eat. I wake up every morning and shout, “Oh, boy! Three meals!” Unfortunately, when you’re staying at a swanky hotel that’s off the beaten path, my dietary habits tend to be expensive. The seminar we’d attended cost a pretty penny, money I didn’t have. Dodie paid for our transportation, our hotel rooms and all our expenses. We hoped to recoup the expenditure by putting together a whiz-bang, terrific set of classes featuring alcohol inks.
Without our notes, creating the class would be difficult. Recouping the information would take hours, and might be inaccurate, because the teacher had worked with the inks for years—and I hadn’t.
For the next hour I tore my house apart, emptying my purses, going through various carry bags, and both my backpacks, which were hand-me-downs from my twelve-year-old daughter, Anya. Next I pulled all the books off of my bookshelves, opened every drawer, looked inside all my scrapbook albums. I went through Anya’s room, trying to be respectful of her privacy, but opening drawers and moving things around on her desktop.
A glance at the clock sent a jolt through me.
“Crud! Running late again!” I put Gracie in her crate, hopped in my car and joined the tail end of the line of cars snaking its way into the broad circular driveway of CALA, the Charles and Anne Lindbergh Academy, the swankiest private school in the entire St. Louis area. My beaten up, broken down, scratched up, decade old red BMW convertible was a visual eyesore compared to the sleek Mercedes Benz SUVs, the Range Rovers, and the Escalades. In the time I’d been home, the sky had turned gray and heavy clouds wallowed along the horizon. Now a few drops of rain dotted my windshield. I would have liked to push a button and raise the roof, but my car’s so old that the top isn’t motorized.
The few drops grew fatter and started splashing with real gusto.
“Come on, girls, let’s put the top up,” I said to my beautiful daughter, Anya, and her equally adorable friend Nikki Moore as they skipped toward my car.
“Arrggh,” my daughter grumbled, tossing her backpack on the floor. “Moo-oom. This is sooo embarrassing.”
“Come on, Anya,” Nikki called to my pouting daughter. “It’s so much easier with two people.”
Anya climbed onto the backseat beside Nikki. I put the car in park, got out, and lifted the lid to the storage compartment. Working in tandem, the girls reached in and grabbed the ragtop, pulling it out and up and over their heads.
And out from the folds bounced my notebook.