This is how it usually works in my family. Let's say my teens need something to wear as guests at a wedding, so we set out to go shopping. First we have the traditional "SHOTGUN!" fight, which helps everyone to get in the requisite foul mood. Then we have the traditional "Are you going to buy us lunch?" whine, which allows me to practice my 20-minute Do You Think We're Made Of Money lecture. Then the kids have the traditional Application Of The iPod for the remainder of the drive, which makes me feel noticeably cheerier.
We finally get to the store, and I hand each child about $25 and tell them, "Go find something suitable to wear to a wedding. I'm going to pick up some socks and underwear for the boys, and then I'll be in the coffee aisle with my head in the bean grinder."
While I'm still looking at the Bale O' Socks and wondering if it will fit in the cart, the boys show up with bags in hand, announcing that they're done shopping and they're heading back to the sporting goods section, which is where they play Dodgeball Death in the basketball aisle. Of course, they don't tell me that last part, so I let them go.
Thirty minutes later, there is no sign of the girls, so I go searching, only to find them looking at artificial hair attachments. I tell them that unless they plan to go to the wedding dressed like Lady Godiva, they'd better get their butts over to the clothing department, and not only that, but they're going to need hair attachments because I'm gonna be dragging them out of the store by their scalps if they don't step it up. The odor from nearby boxes of Lady Clairol must affect their brains' ability to understand me, because they meander off, thinking that I don't see them drifting toward the towering purple display of "Huzzy Glitter Eye Shadows: Put a Fling in Your Spring!"
An hour later, I am looking at those Rubbermaid boxes that are roughly the size of Rhode Island and pondering whether I could slip into one for a nap. The boys are still in sporting goods, probably playing street hockey with a golf club, and tent pole, and a skateboard wheel, and wearing foam yoga mats as protective gear. I wonder if I should go over to the automotive department and buy a flare to send up so I can find the girls.
Many, many hours later, after we have returned home and I have indulged in some primal scream therapy, I finally get to see the kids' purchases.
The boys have each bought
- A t-shirt that says something about flying monkeys on the front
- A ball cap featuring a fake bloody eyeball peering out of the back
- A package of temporary tattoos
They cannot understand why none of these items are appropriate for formal wear. I tell them they might as well save the stuff for their own weddings, because they're never going to be able to shop for clothes again. It seems every store in the neighboring eight states has banned them from the premises. Apparently, those sporting goods department employees have quite an information-sharing network.
The girls have each bought
- $16 dollars worth of nail polish and lip gloss
- Fuzzy slippers in lime green
- A notebook with the slogan, "Yes, it IS all about me!" on the cover
- Some bling for the dog
When asked what they are going to wear to the wedding, they look at me innocently and say, "Oh, we forgot to tell you that we're going to be babysitting that night, so we can't go to the wedding. But isn't this doggie ankle bracelet just so cute?"
Next time, I'm not only going to stick my head in the coffee bean grinder, I'm going to turn it ON.