Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Okeedoke—here she comes

For some reason, Friday evening was proclaimed to be a time for family bonding, manifested by going back to the new Kohl’s to see if they had a nice pantsuit for a certain wife of mine. A certain wife who has a closet bulging with what appear to my X-Y chromosomed peepers to be pantsuits. She wanted something nice to wear to church on Sunday that she could also wear to the soccer park since we weren’t going to be able to change, being that we only stayed one night and had to check out early. Got it? Me neither.

Anyway, I know all too well it would be like hitting a tiger with a microphone to say, “Why don’t you just take one of those pantsuits you already have?” I also knew my skull would be in danger of being crushed were I to point out that we still needed to finish packing and doing the laundry, so I didn’t say anything about that, either, preferring instead to herd the brood into the van and go on before it got too late.

Got there and ran screaming from the lady trying to get us to sign up for a charge card and went on around to the clothes. You know, I really don’t mind shopping. I could stand and shop with Reba all day. I do mind trying to keep up with four yard apes while trying to shop. You want them al-Quaeda guys in Guantanamo to talk? Give’em the choice of singing or two hours shopping with little kids, and they’ll tell you everything.

So we stopped at the first of about a billion racks of identically trendy black pants, and the kids immediately went into their feral-children-found-in-the-jungle routine, so I figured I would nip this in the bud and go force them to try on shoes. Both Cat and Rebecca have managed to unstitch their pairs of school sneakers (they wear out shoes faster than a coal miner), and trying on shoes is just as much punishment for them as it is for me. Serves us right, all of us!

Grabbed their wiggly arms and marched them over to the fabulous selection of shoes that look to have been designed for people with flippers or hooks for feet. Whatever happened to just plain ol’ white tennis shoes?

Found a likely pair for Cat which had the ubiquitous glittery pink unicorn on a purple background—children enjoy being shod with footwear bearing fanciful images of mythical woodland creatures, you know—and tried them on her. “Oooo, these feel good, Daddy. They’s lots of room to grow in ‘em!” I pressed on the toe of the shoe and made it up to the laces before feeling any sort of little girl parts in them. “Sugar, these are too big. What size do you wear?” Well, it sounded like a good question. Every six year old knows stuff like that. Shoulder shrug.

The shoes she had on were 2 1/2s. “These are two and a halfs, Cat.”

“I need to be measured!” ::sigh:: Oh, boy. The metal torture/foot measuring device.

I wandered around—there was one that was for ladies shoes, but surely there was one for kids and gents. Surely. There was one highly disinterested guy with a carpet sweeper making the rounds through the department, “Do you have a measuring thing for shoes?” (These are actually called a Brannock device, but I figured there would be no need in further complicating things.)

“A what?” So this is what the sole trade has come to.

“You know, one of those flat metal plates you stick your foot on to figure out your shoe size. There’s just one, and it’s for ladies shoes, and we need one for kids.”

“Uhhh. Hmm. Ahh. Just a sec.” He looked around. (Much like I had done already—you know, using my eyes and all.) “Uhm. Hold on.” Okay, Sparky.

He looked some more, and we followed him as he looked. Look. Look. See Sparky look. Oh, look. Look, look, look. “Uhhh, I don’t know. We should have one somewhere, but I don’t see it anywhere.” “Well, thank you, you have been very helpful.” “Yes, sir! You’re welcome!”

That was sarcasm, sonny boy. He walked on off to go sweep some more.

Rebecca piped up, “He didn’t help any, Dad. Why did you say he was helpful?”

“Oh, you know…just trying to be nice. I’m the nicest man in the whole world, you know.” She grinned widely, “Yes, I KNOW!”

Don’t be too hard on me—in a couple of years she’ll hate my guts, so I have to get what I can while I can.

Well, back to the hunt for smaller shoes. We looked at every single little kid’s sneaker that looked remotely wearable (i.e., not having a four inch platform sole) and couldn’t find a single one in half-sizes. Or anything in a too-short-2, either, for that matter. “Cat, we’re going to have to look somewhere else—they don’t have anything in your size.”

Sad eyes, whine, lip pooched out, arms akimbo, whine, blinking hard to see if any tears could be worked to the surface, foot stomp, mumbling under breath. She was angry in the way only six years olds can get angry, but mercifully, she was quiet about it, so I put a lid on her an let her stew, because now it was time to see if we could find anything for Rebecca.

She wears a ladies 8 now, so I thought surely she would find something that struck her fancy. In fact, she did. None of which fit. Again, through every shoe that looked vaguely shoelike, but not a thing—the heel’s too high, the toe’s too narrow, the sides’re too hard, the tongue feels gross. ::sigh::

“Come on, kids, let’s go find Mama and Ashley.”

Walked back around to the kute klothes, they weren’t there. Kept on walking around and I spied the restroom. My plan was to find a bench somewhere and park on it, or go back out to the van, which meant that I really DID NOT WANT TO HAVE TO COME BACK TO THE RESTROOM, so we stopped in.

“I don’t have to go, Daddy!”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t.”

“You may not, but you will anyway.”

“I can’t!”

We all piled into the unisex restroom—some places call these a “family restroom”—which makes taking your whole family in with you seem less weird. Somewhat. Cat got first dibs because the more she protests that she can’t, it usually means she has to go even more. Which she did, as the other two turned around and faced the corner.


“I needed to go!” Broad grin.

“I told you so.” The others took their turns, and Boy and I had to give them an impromptu lesson in Not Touching Things in the Restroom.

For some reason, their mom and/or their notoriously germophobic mom’s mom had apparently not showed them these mystical rites. For those of us who, by virtue of being a pointer rather than a setter, have had to go into a men’s room in innumerable backroad gas stations, these things help you sleep better at night. Or at least allow you to eat without making yourself queasy.

Cat and Bec had both snatched the flush lever without a second thought, so Boy showed them the Foot Flush Method, and I showed them the Back of Arm Gambit. I prefer the foot, mainly because if the handle’s wet, it doesn’t get anything on you, although occasionally there are the ones mounted way up high on the wall that demand either great limberness and martial arts training, or using your wrist.

“Girls, whatever you do, DON’T put your hands on stuff in here. There are tee-tee germs EVERYWHERE!!” Giggles and EEEwwwwws all around.

I then showed them to first roll out some paper towels, THEN wash hands, THEN grab the towel, then use it to open the door. Man magic! They seemed to be impressed.

Off again then to complete our circuit see if we could find Mom and Oldest anywhere. Nope.

So, to the bench in the lobby. I wasn’t even particularly wanting to people-watch, if that tells you how tired I was. We sat there for a while and I finally decided to go be comfortable in the van rather than sit all crammed like sardines on the bench.

The two prodigals finally came to the vehicle bearing loads of merchandise. Although not the Holy Pantsuit Grail. “I guess I’ll just wear something out of the closet.” Thank goodness it was 9:30, or she would have wanted to go somewhere else.

Although, it being late, and me being tired, why not go on to Wal-Mart!? We needed a bulb for the refrigerator, and something to feed the fish over the weekend, but thankfully, I was allowed to go in and get this without having to move the entire brigade.

Then it was to home at nearly ten, and time to pack and do laundry! Wheeeeee!!

Next Episode: A Journey!

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