Category Archives for "Shopping"

If hairy little vermin ever attack us, they are in for a world of hurt. And by world, I mean the really tiny, miniature kind where primordial dwarfs are considered giants.

We did not buy into the whole Zhu Zhu pet insanity known as Christmas 2009, when otherwise perfectly sane and rational adults ran all over town like lunatics while screaming OH MY GOD, IF MY KID DOESN’T GET A STUPID WIND UP TOY THAT LOOKS LIKE A HAMSTER STRUNG OUT ON METH AND IS PROBABLY MADE WITH TOXIC CRAP BY CHILD LABOR CAMPS SOMEWHERE IN CHINA, MY LIFE WILL SUCK FOREVER. By not buying into it, I mean that when all the stores started selling out of them and crazed people started hocking their own plasma to buy them off Ebay, I became proactive and by proactive, I mean that I took precautionary measures by hogtying Nate and throwing him down in the basement where, even if he McGyver’d himself a laptop out of our sump pump and some patio furniture, he still wouldn’t have any Internet access if and when his brain decided that Zhu Zhu pets were a distant relative of the Chia pet and hey, if he once paid $80 online for a Chia pet, he could most certainly do it for its kin.

Our house remained a Zhu Zhu free zone until last week when out of the blue, Helena asked Nate to take her shopping for one because she had $20 to spend and watching it get saved inside her piggy bank for her college education was boring boring OH MY GOSH, CAN WE PAINT SOMETHING AND WATCH IT DRY BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A LOT MORE FUN THAN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE, MOM boring. This would be the same $20 she won from her father a couple of weeks ago when he bet her that she couldn’t eat an entire lemon wedge … rind, pith, pulp, seeds and all. I’m just grateful the bet wasn’t $100 over curried lamb brains or something equally as expensive and repulsive because quite honestly, they haven’t invented a bet yet that can be turned down by either Nate or his shorter, bespectacled, nine year old DNA imprint.

You are probably wondering why she didn’t ask me to take her shopping, right? Because I am the mom, after all, and shopping with my little girl is supposed to be one of the things that makes that wicked scar above my lady garden and the stretch marks on my boobs and ass all worth it, right? But if you were a nine year old and wanted to waste your hard-earned money on an ugly wind-up toy rodent that is not only too young for you, but that will only keep you entertained for all of 3.9 seconds before it winds up as the concubine of horny dust bunnies under the couch, who do you think would be most persuaded to drive you to the store and make it happen? The anal-retentive parent whose tongue swells up with hives at the mere thought of impractical spending and who recently complained about a $20 karate shirt and who refuses to pay $40 for ugly ass karate shorts because her kid can suck it up in ghee pants and an air conditioned dojo? Or the parent who can’t walk by The Sharper Image in the mall without coming home with a deluxe shiatsu massage chair, talking meat thermometer and miniature flying helicopter in his wallet?

The Zhu Zhu pet came home and, as predicted, Helena played with it for all of two minutes before abandoning it in favor of picking a scab off her leg and I slathered Benedryl all over my swollen tongue and stapled my lips together so as not to holler I TOLD YOU SO at the top of my lungs to anyone who will listen, which is no one.

Luckily for us, however, someone in this house has found value in the Zhu Zhu:

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Next time we’ll drive three miles to PetSmart and shell out $20

Two months ago, we packed up our Durango full of gas and offspring and drove to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the purpose of furnishing a good portion of our house via IKEA and endured …

  • 4 hours of driving at warp speed one way, courtesy of Nate’s latent NASCAR tendencies
  • A few wrong turns
  • Cussing
  • A rousing rendition of STOP IT! NO, YOU STOP IT! YOU’RE SUCH A BUTT! YOU’RE A BIGGER BUTT! MOM, SHE SAID BUTT across two states that seemed to grow exponentially bigger with each decibel
  • 5+ hours inside IKEA browsing, measuring, calculating, list making, kid tracking, number crunching, brainstorming and Swedish meatball eating
  • 1+ hour in the IKEA parking lot, measuring the dimensions of the Durango and all possible configurations of potential purchases
  • 1+ hour of roaming charges to research the pros and cons of U-Haul rates vs minivan rentals
  • Cussing
  • A bed so lumpy I thought we were sleeping on my mashed potatoes
  • Cussing
  • A brand new day to drive all over creation in search of an airport to rent a minivan at Hertz
  • A few wrong turns
  • Lots of staring up at the sky and dutifully reporting “No, Nate. There are no planes landing or taking off anywhere. There are no planes, period. Yes, I’m looking at the sky. Where else would I be looking? In the trunk? Wait. Wait! Yes!! I see one! Yay! I see one! Oh! Wait … it’s a …
  • *SPLAT*
  • … bird. Sorry!”
  • Cussing
  • Déjà vu
  • Another 4+ hours inside IKEA buying, measuring, buying some more, rationalizing, measuring some more, convincing, talking me down from the ledge, negotiating, more convincing, talking me down from 23 more ledges and more buying
  • 1+ hours in IKEA parking lot, loading up the Durango and the minivan
  • 4 hours of driving at warp speed the other way
  • A rousing rendition of STOP IT! NO, YOU STOP IT! YOU’RE SUCH A BUTT! YOU’RE A BIGGER BUTT! MOM, SHE SAID BUTT across the same two big ass states
  • Lots of cussing
  • Déjà vu all over the place
  • The incident
  • A very scary attendant a la “squeal piggy, squeal meets ZZ Top” at a very scary gas station in the dead of night
  • Several hours worth of assembly of IKEA furniture
  • More cussing

Little did we know that what we were really doing was buying a bed for Oliver.

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Sunday regurgitation: someone take that itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini out back and shoot it

Helena and I went swimsuit shopping last night and the only reason I did not suffer a complete psychotic break in the middle of Kohls was because we were buying suits for her, not me.

Unlike it is for a forty-ish year old woman, bathing suit shopping for a nine year old girl is actually fun. The suits are bright and colorful, there’s a ton of them to choose from and best of all, I don’t have to rub pork fat all over her body to get the things to slide on. Nobody winds up a sobbing puddle of mess on the floor and no one is reported to customer service for performing emergency liposuction in the dressing room with a Dyson and a garden hose.

I leave you with a post I wrote almost two years ago about this very subject because swimsuit season is looming and I don’t think there’s a woman amongst us who can hear those words without curling up into a fetal position for a minute or so. Unless, of course, you’re a size six or less and on speaking terms with gravity, in which case? Go eat another rice cake and then stand sideways so I can’t see you.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Underwear and swimsuits. All you need to turn an otherwise normal

woman into a raving, homicidal maniac in 24 hours or less

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As I was sorting through 638 loads of laundry today, it occurred to me that I am in desperate need of underwear. Every single pair I own has morphed into period underwear and I have absolutely nothing suitable in the event of a car accident.

I do have the pretty underwear I bought eons ago when Nate and I were dating – I mistook one for a doily the other day and used it under a candle on my window sill. Just for kicks and because I was alone in the house and mostly because I’m a masochist, I thought I’d see if they still fit me. I wrestled them over my thighs where access any higher was immediately blocked by my hips, hips that in no way resemble the hips I had when I first purchased this underwear. They then became uncomfortably bunched up and refused any efforts on my part to un-bunch. I tried some Cirque du Soleil moves I didn’t even know I had in me by contorting myself into positions not meant for the human body and managed to inch the panties over my hips to rest somewhere in the region of my lower waist although it’s been so long since I’ve actually seen my lower waist that I’m not entirely sure I was even in the same zip code as that part of my body.

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and saw what appeared to be my face, flushed with exertion, sitting atop a flesh colored, jumbo sized sleeping bag hogtied with twine. The only thing missing was a label warning CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, MAY EXPLODE. I started to get a little dizzy and realized that if I didn’t extricate myself from the underwear as soon as possible, my circulation would be forever jeopardized and I’d find myself up close and personal with an emergency room doctor half my age who wouldn’t give me morphine no matter how much I’d beg for it.

I bent forward to start the horrific ordeal of wrenching the panties back down from whence they came but the panties became instantly lodged in a place known only as the Final Frontier and I knew I was a goner.

So I have decided to make the trek into retail hell and purchase some new underwear. And while I’m at it, I figure I’ll get a bathing suit at the same time and blow all my money and every shred of dignity I have at the same time, because I am nothing if not efficient.

And I will hold my breath, cross every appendage I have, knock on every piece of wood in this house, fall to my knees and pray that this time will not be like last time, to wit:

  • 9:45 a.m.: Dress in baggy shorts and baggy t-shirt and flip flops for easy-on, easy-off access.
  • 9:50: Stare at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself that I am a brave, strong, confident woman who survived a divorce, two c-sections and the eighties, a woman who deserves new underwear and a decent bathing suit, who has earned new underwear and a decent bathing suit, dammit, and nothing on the face of this planet is going to stop me from getting said underwear and bathing suit.
  • 10:00: Jump in the car, full of enthusiasm and optimism. The world is my oyster!
  • 10:01: Remember I hate oysters. Fiddle with radio stations, become appalled at what is considered an “oldie” and shout along with AC/DC to Shook Me All Night Long.
  • 10:15: Arrive at the mall and find a parking space right in front of the entrance. Consider it a good omen and celebrate by buying a muffin.
  • 10:20: Walk into the department store and head directly to the lingerie department. No time to gawk at the purses and shoes. I’m on a mission. I am resolute. I am determined. I am woman, hear me roar. ROAR.
  • 10:22: Arrive in the lingerie department and feel every inch of my body try to hide from every other inch of my body as I am forced to wade into a sea of waif like teens and women swarming around the rainbow assortment of thongs and bikini underwear. Make a mental note to write a letter of complaint to management detailing my displeasure at having to navigate through the Only in My Dreams section to get the Reality Sucks section.
  • 10:24: Arrive at the Reality Sucks section and stare at my choices of white or beige. Make a mental addendum to my letter of complaint to insist that those of us who weigh more than our IQ deserve colors of fuchsia, cyan and lemongrass too. Decide it’s not worth getting upset about and ruining my mood since I’m saving that for when I get to the bathing suit section. Figure that my ass is large enough without calling undue attention to itself, grab two packages of beige panties, sized NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and make my way to the register.
  • 10:30: Head over to the swimsuit section. Pop a couple of Tylenol as a precaution. Pop another one, just in case.
  • 10:45: Find a handful of suits with some potential and head for the fitting room with visions of that perfect, black, slimming, flattering bathing suit at half price. Chat with the fitting room attendant.
  • 10:49: Wrestle the first suit on and discover it covers less than 30% of the territory it needs to cover in order for me not to be arrested for indecent exposure. Look with trepidation at the other suits waiting patiently on the hooks. Imagine that they are mocking me.
  • 11:10: Exit the dressing room, slightly perspiring and a bit concerned, and hand the rejected suits to the attendant. Dive back into the racks again, choosing twenty possibles. Mumble some nonsense to the attendant and re-enter the dressing room, still optimistic that I’ll find a good suit in a dark color at 20% off.
  • 11:30: Tap, knock and scrape the mirror, convinced there is something wrong with it.
  • 11:33: Look up to see what kind of lighting makes my skin look like playdough that’s been left out in the sun for four years.
  • 11:35: Nearly asphyxiate myself on a suit while trying to wrestle it over my head.
  • 12:05: Emerge from the fitting room, frustrated, a sheen of sweat on my face. Can’t find the attendant, toss the suits onto the discard rack, drag myself back onto the floor area and pick out any suit, any color, any size at whatever price in the hopes that if I throw a million darts, one is bound to hit a target.
  • 12:15: Suck in my stomach and ponder the physiological ramifications when it doesn’t move.
  • 12:20: Lose my balance while trying to fit my leg into the 79th suit, smash my head against the hook on the wall, briefly lose consciousness and awake to find my feet inexplicably entangled in my bra. Consider calling for help.
  • 12:25: Undergo a brief outer body experience. Wow.
  • 12:37: Silently cry within the confines of my dressing room and wax philosophical on the meaning of life for someone who is 5’2″, busty, short waisted, prematurely gray, broad shouldered with small, wide feet. Declare myself a freak of nature and make a mental note to look up the nearest leper colony.
  • 1:20: Emit a blood curdling scream, slam the door to the fitting room open and then rip it off its hinges when it swings back and hits me in the face. Throw the suits at the attendant now cowering in a corner, laugh maniacally and spew vulgarities at anyone within earshot. Stare down anyone in my way and march my battered, weary, sweat soaked self out of there with as much dignity as a 5’2″, busty, gray-haired, short-waisted, broad shouldered, small footed freak of nature can.

But this time? This time it’s going to be different. This time, I’m going to park 300 yards from the entrance and that will make all the difference in the world.

Hope springs eternal.

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Where I compare someone I admire to rubber pants and a flatulent boat

In one of my past lives, I was an indie artist who started up a small, custom digital design business out of my own home because (1) we needed the additional income without sacrificing any of our arms or legs in the name of child care; (2) I needed a creative outlet because I still hadn’t fully adjusted to becoming a stay-at-home mom and changing diapers and navigating the wet and smelly terrain of potty training just wasn’t scratching my creative itch anymore; and (3) I loved to work in Photoshop and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and make people cry. But only in a good way! HAPPY TEARS ONLY. That was my motto. As was PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT ME BECAUSE I CAN’T AFFORD SQUAT FOR ADVERTISING although that turned out to be too long for my business card.

I had my business for almost five years before I closed it because, to put it bluntly, I was burned out. To a blackened, charred, psychologically scorched, stressed out crisp, if you want to get technical about it.

It wasn’t so much the creative part that got to me since, by the end of my run, I was spending so little time creating that often times, I completely forgot why I had started my business in the first place. No, it was all the other stuff that goes into running a small, independently owned business on a budget thinner than Amy Winehouse after a colonic. Stuff like marketing, research, product development, marketing, vendor procurement, marketing, prototype fabrication, invoicing, marketing, accounting, marketing, networking, website design and maintenance, marketing, marketing and finally, marketing. Oh, and marketing.

Getting your name out there is, I think, one of the most important yet hardest aspects of running any kind of business, but most especially for the independently owned business because often, the funds just aren’t there to launch any kind of media campaign, let alone one that has even the slimmest chance of success. You can make the best damn pound cake in the western hemisphere but if no one knows you make the best damn pound cake in the western hemisphere, do you really make the best damn pound cake in the western hemisphere?

This is a big reason why I prefer to focus on the indie artist and/or small business owner when I run giveaways on my blog because hello? Been there, done that too many times to mention and I would have killed for an opportunity to get that kind of exposure for my business back then. It’s also why I admire Liz Nonnemacher, the editor of Wickedlychic.com. I first met Liz on a chat board where she had the gall to refer to me as a bona fide writer right before she featured one of my posts on her site. And the best part of the whole thing? She wasn’t whacked out on drugs at the time. She’s intelligent, funny, savvy, generous and has dedicated her online business to promoting the creative community of independent fashion and design. Three years ago, she would have been the rubber pants I would have gladly donned on before wading into the sea of shit unknown that is Marketing 101 for the naive and clueless.

Wait! She’s too good for rubber pants. Rubber pants make people chafe and sweat and Liz does neither of those things. Not that I want to know about, anyway. No, I’d say Liz is more like a boat, but not one of those old, creaky things that are always belching smoke and leaking gas because Liz does neither of those things. Not that I want to know about, anyway. I’d say Liz is like a shiny, sleek kayak that could have effortlessly carried me across that sea of marketing to the other side known as HOLY HELL, I FINALLY MADE IT! AND I’M NOT EVEN COVERED IN SEWAGE!

Wickedlychic.com is hosting a Spring Fling featuring thirty independently owned fashionable businesses, including Paper Yum (affordable one-of-a-kind jewelry & art prints), Sandra Eileen Jewelry (handcrafted gorgeous jewelry), Randolph Street Market (unique indie craft market in Chicago), Fenderskirts Vintage (authentic vintage imagery and stationery) and essensu (luxurious holistic skincare).

The Spring Fling is bursting at the seams with talent, filled with artisans who live to craft and craft to live and who are waiting to be discovered by you. You have until April 24 to stumble across your new favorite shop! And there will be discounts and giveaways from several of the participating businesses so don’t miss out because honestly? It sucks to sit there after the fact with a nasty case of woulda, shoulda, coulda while all your friends are sitting there with a nasty case of I TOLD YOU SO.

Been there, done that too many times to mention as well.

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Persons A and B set out at the same time, headed for X. If A travels at twice the speed of B, where will B bury A’s scrotum?

Who’s up for a little reading comprehension quiz? Yay! Here we go:

Read the following paragraph and then answer the questions below. You may assume, infer, guess or otherwise speculate to your heart’s content from the information given:

One day, Nate, Andy and their two kids hopped in their Durango and drove 300+ miles from their home in upstate New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they visited IKEA and gave their MasterCard a workout the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the last time Nate hopped online without supervision. After spending approximately OH MY GOD, HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO STAY HERE, MOM hours at IKEA, Nate and Andy discovered that the Durango was ill equipped to haul their loot back home because of the amount of space taken up by the human cargo who were already comfortably ensconced in the back seat and fighting over the arm rest. Discussion ensued and eventually, Nate and Andy decided that it would be the ethical, moral and fiscally responsible thing to do to rent a Dodge Caravan to schlepp their IKEA loot back home. It was decided that Nate would drive the Caravan while Andy and the girls would follow in the Durango. It was agreed that for the sake of everyone’s mental health, Nate would drive the speed limit for once, avoid the passing lane for once and keep Andy in his rear-view mirror at all times because (1)  Andy is high strung;  (2) Andy was on the second day of her period; and (3) Andy is high strung. They left the Friday’s restaurant in Pittsburgh at approximately 8:00 pm at night. They arrived home a little before midnight. Andy did not speak to Nate for two days.

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What happens when Nate hops online without supervision that enables the MasterCard to take on challenges such as IKEA without a defibrillator?

  1. Christmas, 2006, Nate pays $40 for two Chia pets and opts for overnight shipping for another $40, thereby spending $80 for two Chia pets which arrive one week after Christmas. All because it was easier than driving down the street to Walgreens.
  2. Christmas, 2007, Nate pays $highwayrobbery for three Wii systems off of eBay just in case, because it was easier than driving down the road to WalMart.
  3. Christmas, 2009, Nate pays $youdon’tevenwanttoknow for a tiny piece of mistletoe because it was easier than driving down the street to Lowes.
  4. All of the above.

Why was the decision to rent a Dodge Caravan deemed to be the ethical, moral and fiscally responsible thing to do?

  1. Because tying the girls to the top of the Durango to make room for everything else satisfied only one out of three.
  2. Because forcing the girls to run after the Durango on I-79 satisfied only one out of three.
  3. Because Helena couldn’t fit into the Durango’s glove compartment.
  4. All of the above.

Why didn’t Nate and Andy just ship the IKEA stuff home?

  1. Because shipping was going to cost HOLY FREAKING HELL, YOU’VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME.
  2. All of the above.

If there were 300 miles between the Pittsburgh Friday’s restaurant and their upstate New York home and they covered that distance in just under four hours, how fast was Nate driving?

  1. What the goddamn hell? Where the hell is he?
  2. Where’d he go? Is that him? Zoe, can you see him? Is that him?
  3. It’s not? OH MY GOD, WHERE IS HE??
  4. All of the above.

Why didn’t Andy speak to Nate for two days?

  1. GODDAMN IT, I TOLD HIM TO GO SLOW!
  2. What the freaking hell? Where’d he go? DOES HE HAVE TO PASS EVERY GODDAMN CAR ON THE ROAD?
  3. Great. GREAT. I have no idea where I am. NO FREAKING CLUE.
  4. Call him up right now, Zoe. RIGHT NOW.
  5. Nate? NATE?
  6. Where are you?
  7. What do you mean, you’re right in front of me? WHERE?
  8. Zoe, is that him?
  9. THAT’S A TRUCK, NATE. THAT’S NOT YOU. NO, IT IS NOT.
  10. Zoe, tell him that’s not him.
  11. BECAUSE I’M NOT AN IDIOT, THAT’S HOW I KNOW.
  12. I’m not yelling at you, Zoe. I’m yelling at Nate.
  13. I DON’T CARE THAT I’M YELLING.
  14. Zoe, make sure you tell him that I don’t care that I’m yelling.
  15. Did he hear you?
  16. You’re supposed to keep me in sight at all times, Nate. ALL TIMES. Zoe, tell him he’s supposed to keep me in sight at all times.
  17. Where am I now?
  18. NOT IN YOUR SIGHT, THAT’S WHERE.
  19. HELLO? HAVE WE MET? I DON’T LIKE PASSING EIGHTEEN WHEELERS WHEN THERE ARE FIFTY OF THEM.
  20. I will not drive 90 miles an hour, Nate.
  21. What did he say, Zoe?
  22. YOU ARE TOO DRIVING 90.
  23. YES, YOU ARE!
  24. Zoe, what does my speedometer say?
  25. Yep, 90. Ninety. THAT’S A BIG NINE-OH, NATE.
  26. For shit’s sake, where are you?
  27. I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE HELL YOU ARE.
  28. It’s OK, Helena. It’s OK. Mommy’s just excited. We’re fine. Daddy’s fine. No, he’s not lost, pumpkin. He’s just playing a silly game.
  29. Zoe, comfort your sister.
  30. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, NATE? YOUR YOUNGEST DAUGHTER IS HYSTERICAL BECAUSE WE LOST DADDY.
  31. All of the above.
  32. Times ten.

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