Thursday, August 07, 2008
Not a fun shopping trip
Shopping with husbands and kids is never fun. Nor is it ever easy. Anybody who has had to get their DH a pair of dress pants or school clothes for the kids knows that only an insane person believes it will go smoothly and without complaint. If he had his way, DH would walk in, grab the first pair of grey dress pants he sees, buy them, and squeeze them or pin them onto his body any way he can. Who cares if they are too tight across the arse, or hang well below the decency line. And why always GREY? Just once I want him to surprise me by buying a nice black suit, and having it altered to fit in the sleeves and the legs. And extra points of none of those pieces are leather. He always looks for a blue double breasted jacket, and I always hide them. I mean, that look went out in the eighties. It is time for him to get past that and join us in the here and NOW. School clothes shopping with a girl child should be fun. But they never want the practical clothes (that happen to be on sale). They want the shirt made out of the itchy fabric they will refuse to wear but looks cool, and costs a car payment. If you make them try the items on, they will do anything to convince you that it fits, even when it clearly does not. Having to hold up a shirt to keep it from dropping around your ankles is a dead give away. So is fabric stretched so much that you can read the care tag THROUGH it and it ain't supposed to be sheer. They want the clothes from the summer clearance rack when you know full well winter is coming, or the black velour track suit that will be all but unbearable to wear because we are expecting steaming temps. Shoes that rub feet raw or freeze toes, little purses that are constantly forgotten places and finally lost, and what is with the hairbands? We buy them by the dozens for "Back to school" and then they are never seen again. At least not on a head, sometimes we find them twisted into collars for stuffed animals or used to anchor blankets on the side of a fort made out of couch cushions. But do you want to know what pales all of that in comparison? Shopping for life vests. That is right, life vests. One wouldn't think there would be enough choice to have to "shop", but these things come in several styles and sizes and yes, indeed, must be tried on. The fact that you have to figure out how to unclip everything, put the thing on, adjust each and every strap, and do it all back up again means this is not going to be quick. Now figure that three very different sized and shaped people need to find a vest. My eye twitches even thinking about it. Of course, that is because I have experienced it and know the hell it is in reality. Picking one out for yourself is sanity testing enough (I mean, what am I looking for? It's not like one LOOKS better than another. And how are they SUPPOSED to fit, exactly?). But having to go through the process for two other people is maddening. Two people standing there like dead flounder - if dead flounder could stand that is - staring lifelessly as you wrestle them into a vest, adjust each strap, and clip them in. Wordlessly they stand there. You have to watch for clues now as to fit adjustments. Turning blue? Too tight. Choking noises? To high. If it goes down too far they won't be able to bend to sit - something that would be terrible to discover as you are getting into a canoe. Is the fabric slick enough that it won't chafe, but tactile enough that it won't constantly ride up? Can they move their arms freely? Turn their heads? As you undo each clip and start the process over again with a new vest, they get hotter and bored-er and start asking "Are we done yet?". You mumble under your breath that I-am-not-doing-this-for-the-fun-of-it and are-your-arms-painted-on. This is your signal that the trip has started to tumble into the abyss. We reached this point. I looked up to find myself half burried in a pile of personal floatation devices, and I had long ago lost track of which ones fit and which didn't and which ones were contenders and those that were complete write offs. I finally picked ones for the best reasons. One because it was blue, and the other because it had a whistle. Those are winning atributes if I ever saw any. Especially when faced with so many choices and unwilling models. As they were being rung in, the cashier mentioned something about MOST of the life vests being on sale, but not the ones WE picked. DH has a greedy little man inside himself that would kick a grandmother to save a dime. I could see that greedy glint inside his eyes and sensed he was tempted to go back and look them over again, and find one that is on sale. I told him if we didn't pay for these right now and leave, he was a dead man. I must have looked serious, what with the flushed face and disheveled hair and sweat stains from struggling with their dead weight. He paid, and we left. Smart man.