Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Story of the Refill

“Mommy, where do blogs come from?”
“From real life, honey.”

            Since Lewisburg Staples exists only in memory,[i] I took the opportunity Friday afternoon following my school’s Bounce Away field trip to visit Staples in the Monroe Marketplace to find a refill for the red leather journal cover my husband Gene gave me two Christmases ago.
            After searching the journal and surrounding aisles, and receiving no help from the employee I attempted to recruit, I concluded the refills exist only in Lewisburg Staples.[ii]
            I decided to walk to Target and see what they had. To walk. Not to move my car across the expansive parking lots. To walk for exercise since this coward did not bounce away at Bounce Away.
            To walk, wearing my thin raincoat, since I had grossly overcalculated the high temperature for the day. To walk without my hat and gloves, left in the car because I was only running into Staples, I thought.
            The wind gusts whipped my mostly unbuttoned coat, so described because the fourth button down is missing, so I never button the fifth and following. I failed to sew the button on after it fell off, and it sat safely in the pocket for several months until it didn’t. By the time I reached the end of the Giant sidewalk, I was shivering and tempted to return to my car.
            I walked on through the wind with hope in my heart, but unlike the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein song, I walked alone.
            Finally, I entered Target, feeling immediately warmer out of the gale. And nearly right inside the door was a seasonal display with a flowery journal whose measurements nearly matched the exact measurements I had written on a square of paper and carried around a few days and not lost.
There are several pretty divider pages.

            Take that, Staples!
            After my small victory, I visited T. J. Maxx, where I found interesting pasta sauce and moringa tea. A few years ago, I edited an article by my friend Bobbi Updegraff, who documented the benefits of moringa tree products for the children in Haiti. What could it hurt?
            No way did I want to carry those glass jars of sauce all the way back to my car, so I commandeered the T.J. Maxx shopping cart and took it three parking lots away from the store.
            Yes, I am one of those people. I didn’t used to be, but now I am, as of Friday.
There are several pages of good advice.
            Late that night, I told my story to my husband and proceeded to demonstrate how the $3.00 journal would slide right into the red leather cover.
            It nearly did. Nearly. Victory was snatched from my hands
            “Why don’t you cut it to fit,” Gene suggested.
            “I can’t cut through all those pages,” I whined.
            “You only have to cut the covers,” he explained. “Give it here. Let me do it.”
            “No!” The last thing I wanted to hear at midnight was common sense from a man who two minutes earlier had been snoring in the living room before I woke him to come to bed.
            “Go to sleep!”
The cover, now trimmed to fit
            He did. Almost instantly, the hurt expression on his face fading as he resumed snoring. I don’t know how he does that.
            On the other hand, I had to read a few more wrenching chapters of the Book Thief before I nodded off. Did I snore? I don’t know. There was no one awake to hear.
            Saturday morning, I painstakingly trimmed ¼” or so from the front and back covers of the Target journal and it easily slid into the cover.
            The journal’s first entry is titled “the Story of the Refill.”

First draft
[i] My son still remembers Ricky, who sold him his first electronic drawing tablet.
[ii] Three items come up in response to a search for journal refill on the Staples website. None is a refill for a writing journal. Twenty-five items come up for writing journal refill. None is a refill for a writing journal.