Seems the weather has gotten a little chilly in these parts and it’s making me a little uneasy. The last thing I need is to be stuck in this house with the kid for days on end.
His newest favorite activity involves hurling everything down the stairs. I can not adeptly describe how annoying I find this. For my mental well-being, we need to be able to get outside as much as possible.
In order to do so in cold weather, we needed some gear. We got Mac a really nice, warm winter jacket, snow pants, and boots, plus a lot of thermal shirts, fleece, etc for cold weather layering.
I also needed wanted some boots for myself. I have great hiking shoes and sneakers and I have 2 pair of dressy boots and a pair of rubber rain boots but I figured with all the walking about we do, I could definitely justify a pair of warm, waterproof snow boots.
After about zero shopping around, I decided I had my heart set on a pair of Sorel boots I saw in an REI catalogue. They aren’t exactly hideous so I figured in a very cold and snowy snap I could also wear them to walk to church and for casual running around.
They weren’t exactly cheap – well, cheap by my standards these days, before the Kid I would have purchased a pair in every color. I very carefully explained my position to Chris (one evening after a glass of wine for some courage) and he agreed the $150 expenditure was a valid one. SCORE!
But Chris wouldn’t allow me to just order them online. He said I had to go to a store and actually try them on to make sure they were comfortable. Now, this would seem like a no brainer to most folks but not to someone like me who suffers from an instant gratification mentality, I WANT IT NOW!! GAH.
Plus, we all know how I feel about “the public” in general and frankly dealing with the REI sales folks Do you want to become a member? Do you? Do you?, kinda’ sucked a lot of joy out of the way I envisioned this purchase going down.
Yet, I REALLY wanted those boots. They were rated to -25 degrees F. . .And I wanted them BEFORE the temperature actually got anywhere close to that and I was forced inside picking the Kid’s Legos off the basement stairs for 8 hours a day.
We did a lot of birding this weekend. Lots of good birds displaced by the hurricane and we didn’t want to miss anything if we could help it.
Saturday we took a nice hike and decided we would head towards one of the REI stores in our area while Mac napped in the car. One was conveniently located near a shopping center that was hosting a rare Black Headed Gull in its parking lot for the second winter. (You can read about our first encounter with this bird here. This time we fed him Cheerios).
Mac fell asleep and Chris dropped me off at REI to buy the boots, after a strong admonishment not to “go crazy.” I’m not sure if this referred to my mental state or a shopping spree.
As I entered the shoe department, it looked as if it was going to be the former. There were people everywhere. Shoes strewn about. I guess every damned person and their mother decided they needed winter shoes at that very moment.
I eyed up the boots and they looked as sturdy and warm as described in the catalogue. I knew I wanted them. I decided to go with the all black version since they seemed most versatile color-wise and perhaps the least conspicuous if I was wearing them to church.
And I waited.
I’m sure I only waited about 10 minutes but I was getting hot in all my hiking gear and not one associate had even so much as glanced at me.
So I left. Hoping Chris would just allow me to order them online.
But that wasn’t in the cards. . .He can be stubborn like that. . .
Sunday we went out birding again. And this time while Mac napped, Chris drove me to the other local REI telling me to “get the boots already.”
Things were a bit more calm in this joint. I was immediately greeted by a sales associate. And then I had to sheepishly explain to him that I wanted to try on some shoes. . .but hadn’t planned to try on shoes and as such had been wearing hiking shoes for the past 4 hours without socks.
A sad state of affairs to be sure, but hey, I’m a mom, so it’s not as if I really have any dignity left anyway.
He very kindly brought me a pair of socks and the appropriately sized boots. And he didn’t even give me a hard sell on the membership. I snatched my huge boot box, grabbed a pair of wind-proof glove liners and got out the door feeling very fortunate.
But when I got back in the car, I learned I had to do something for Chris: I had to go into the Marshall’s and shop for pants for him.
Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t mind Marshall’s in theory. I’m sure they have good deals. It’s just that the places are so disorganized and such a cluster, I can’t stand to shop there.
Chris gave me explicit instructions about what I was supposed to be buying: 1 pair of sweatpants in gray, black, or blue – must be cheap. And several pair of no-wrinkle khaki pants sized 32 x 30. I carefully made a note of it in my phone so I didn’t jack it up. He’s VERY picky.
The place, as anticipated, was literally a hot mess. I cursed under my breath, sweating profusely while I was attempting to navigate the chaos. Why in the eff do you have men’s sweat pants located on at least 3 different racks in 3 different locations in the store? Jesus. That defies all logic.
The sweatpants were a bust. So I hurriedly started rifling through the 12 racks of trousers. That’s when I happened upon two pair of wrinkle free Docker’s. There were a little long, but I knew I could hem them or he could have them altered. There was nothing wrong with them – I inspected them very carefully. And they were each $15.00.
I felt very proud of myself. Cheap-ass shopping VICTORY!
When I got to the check out, my heart sank. The line snaked outside of the actual designated checkout area, back over itself the whole way into the men’s undershirt section. Ugh.
I waited my turn patiently, taking the opportunity to once again inspect the trousers for the slightest defect.
That’s when I realized the man behind me was belching LOUDLY approximately every 45 seconds. I tried to move away from him so he couldn’t breathe on me. . .but every time I inched forward, so did he.
I tried to distract myself by looking at all the shit they keep in the check out area – which is presumably why it’s there because I can’t imagine anyone actually buying that half-damaged merchandise. I could feel the burps hitting the side of my face at close range!
Dude? What did you EAT?!
I turned my back completely towards him and despite the fact that I was sweating buckets adjusted the hood on my jacket to act as a burp shield for the back of my neck.
No pair of pants is worth this burping battery I’m enduring. . .Or maybe it’s intentional? Burping ASSAULT! Hmm. . .that’s probably a stretch. Tell that to the side of your face.
Just ignore it. Read the nutritional information for this shitty kettle corn. Jalapeno kettle corn? Hmm. . .maybe that’s what he ate? And I’m guessing he washed it down with battery acid?
Well, that last one surely would have registered on the Richter Scale. I’m going to vomit if this doesn’t end soon. . .Oh no. What if he vomits? ON ME?! He’s so close, there’s no way I could avoid it! I’m pinned in.
I’m going to get puked on in a Marshall’s. I’ll certainly pass out and hit my head on this display of slightly irregular boxer shorts. I’ll probably go into a vegetative state. I always knew it would end like this! Poor Mac, he’s going to be Motherless all because of some rude guy who apparently has an aversion to Rolaids and doesn’t have any concept of personal space.
And just as my arm went numb in the start of a panic attack, I hear some sales associate announcing that I could proceed to her register. It was one way, way far at the end of the counter, putting a decent amount of distance between me and the Belcher. It was also near the door so I could feel some cool air. My rising panic subsided, I might just make it out of here unharmed!
I get out of the store and plop down in the front seat of the car, excitedly whispering to Chris the details of my near-death experience and I victoriously pull out the two perfect pair of pants I scored for him for $30.
He glances at them and he says, “They’re so light. I didn’t really need khaki’s in such a light shade. I should have probably mentioned that to you, huh?”