Monday, August 17, 2009

Next Time, I'll Just ---No, I'm Not Sure There Will Be A Next Time...

I am not a big fan of clothes shopping. It is not in me to spend hours at the mall or time in a store browsing racks and racks of clothing. When I shop, I am single minded. I have an idea in my head of what I want. I want to get it and get out.

There is an exception, however, to my antipathy to shopping. Namely, shoe shopping. I hate to say that I am a cliche, but when it comes to shoes, I guess I am. I have sound reasoning behind my shoe adoration, though. Unlike trying to buy pants for my expanding booty, buying shoes is never confusing. When I buy pants--or shirts for that matter--it's a guessing game as to what will fit and how well. Even if I grab a fistful of clothing in the same size, chances are pretty good that I will find myself in the dressing room muttering, "What the hell? This is a size __? This can't be a size ___! The last size ___ I tried on I was swimming in and this thing is cutting off my circulation!" With a shoe, if you need a size 8, well, then it's pretty standard across the board. Plus, there's the added benefit of not needing a dressing room with the horrible lighting and the vision of myself in the mirror in my underwear. *shudder*

Shoes have never failed me. When I am bloated, my shoes still fit. When I am feeling skinny, my shoes still fit. A cute shoe makes me happy. Alas, I am shallow, but it is true.

So when my offspring whined and whined politely offered that their shoes were needing replacing, I was all over the idea of shoe shopping. I was on it like white on rice, folks. My four children and I piled into the van and headed to our nearest department store to find the perfect shoes. You may be asking where my husband was. He was home, working in the blast furnace that is our backyard. He deemed this infinitely preferable to shoe shopping, which he would call his seventh circle of hell. Whatever. He just doesn't know the joy of finding the perfect footwear, poor sap.

We entered the store and the older two headed off to find shoes to fit their flippers feet, and I took Mary and Sean to find suitable shoes. I had two rules as far as what constituted acceptable shoes: they could not be Sketchers, as every pair of those I have ever bought has fallen apart within a month, and they could not have a character on them. This last rule only really applies to Mary these days. I don't buy shoes (or anything else, really) with characters on them because a. I hate them with the passion of a thousand white hot suns (I cannot help this snobbery. Character clothing just gives me hives.) and b. It is no fun to argue with a child who has outgrown their love for a character before they outgrow the clothing. Also, I am mean and might just be Scrooge's niece.

Mary found a pair of acceptable shoes right away. We found her size, tried them on, and were met with success. Yes!! She wanted to hold her shoebox, so I let her. Then we were off to the next section to find shoes for Sean.

Sean is fighting a cold or allergies right now and is feeling pretty miserable. Nearly everything he said during this trip was said in a whine. Good times. After looking over every. single. shoe. five times, he declared that he didn't like any of them. Meanwhile, Mary had decided that since she had her shoes, the shopping should be over and we should exit the store IMMEDIATELY.

I made myself take a deep breath and offered Sean three shoe choices. He was not impressed and said he'd just wear his old shoes. You know, the shoes that an hour ago were too small and falling apart. Meanwhile, Maggie and James were coming to me with their choices and I was either okaying or vetoing them while also trying to convince James that he does indeed wear a 4 and that trying to smush his feet into a 3, even though he loved them, would not be a good thing.

Maggie took a break from her own search to help Sean find a pair he wouldn't gag over and I toted Mary, who by now was a clinging, whining growth on my arm, over to the men's section to help James navigate the maze of shoe choices. As Mary whined that it was TIME TO GO ALREADY, James found a pair he liked in his size and proceeded to try them on. Then Maggie came with Sean and his new found shoes. And guess what? They were a pair that I had shown him at least twice and he had said they were stupid. Whatever. I had accomplished 50% of my mission and I wouldn't be deterred.

James finished trying on his shoes and declared them well and truly good and I nearly whooped with joy. Maggie had found a pair of gym shoes and needed some "everyday" tennis shoes. Because apparently, when you are in 7th grade, they can't be the same thing. And duh! How could I not know this? So I followed her to the women's shoe section. I was trailed by a whining Mary, a tired and whining Sean, and James.

As Maggie and I perused the shoes I would alternately point out a shoe that might work for her and try to quell the growing rebellion. Finally, we found a pair that she thought would be okay and headed to the registers. We waited in line for a few minutes during which Mary whined that people were moving too slowly to suit her and Sean broke down in tears because he felt like crap. Then I paid my bill and hustled the children out to the van, all the while declaring that next time, I was taking them in shifts. It's not practical or environmentally friendly, but I figure it's worth a little impractical pollution to save my sanity.

The bonus? I found a couple of pairs of shoes for myself. I totally need them too. I'll wear them to work! I'll wear them to church! I'll put them in my closet and gaze at them lovingly while I stroke them and call them pretty.

Oh who am I kidding!? They were a reward for my perseverance.

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