Days 14 and 15, 2014

I am combining the weekend because it would be cruel to make you read two blogs about….


Each year at the end of August, I pay significant sums of money in order to get my children excited about going back to school. It is not a bribe, per se, because all of the items are necessary.

Yes, that is my rationale. Judge away.

What is exciting for me is the thrill of the chase. Finding just the right thing and checking it off the list. I just happen to procrastinate the entire process. I love the challenge but it drives my kids insane.

The morning of our annual trek to the outlets dawned cloudy and humid. Perfect day for shopping. Except, that is, if you were taking a ferry to get there and the stores were outside.

Check and check. Both applied to me.

I drive to the ferry probably twice a year and each time I am absolutely sure that I have missed it and gone too far. The entire route there is a winding two-lane road lined with farms, corn fields and a whole bunch of folksy scenery.

One mile looks just like the mile before it. And so on and so on.

Along the way, we passed a bright yellow, sign with the black squiggle and arrow. Beneath the graphic was written 10mph. Mac asked “Is that the speed limit?”

Because I was secretly thinking I was lost and berating myself for not stopping at Starbucks on the four-lane divided road back in civilization, I distractedly answered “Yup.”

Mac then turned to me slightly and announced. “Mom that is the suggested speed limit. Not the real speed limit.”

Did he really just puff his chest out when he said that? Was he smirking? My little blue-eyed baby boy was gone and had been replaced by a man. I know this because I went from being brilliant and correct all the time to him getting endless joy out of proving me wrong.

In the blink of an eye.

For example, Mac has been using the literal interpretation of the Drivers Handbook against me for weeks now. He constantly catches me off guard and quizzes me. He is very sneaky and I am sort of stupid I think.

We were the first car in line for the ferry which caused me more anxiety than possibly not knowing the rules of the road any more.

There is not one person on the planet who can be the first car on the ferry and not—even momentarily—get the vision of driving right through the barrier and off the boat. It is a reflex.

We didn’t and managed to make it to the outlets without incident. Nike was the first stop because, well, it is Nike.

Reed and Drew are required to wear either all black or all white, low-rise tennis shoes for PE. Unfortunately, there is usually no middle ground between orthopedic, bulky looking shoes and the $300 Air Jordan version both in all black.

But this year, the first box we picked up ON THE CLEARANCE RACK were all black, low tops. AND they were Reed’s size AND marked down an extra 20%. I held my breath and braced myself for two left shoes, but NO there was one of each shoe and they were matching sizes. HA!

This was the Holy Grail of outlet shopping. The trifecta. It made you worry that the rest of the trip would be cursed, it was that good.

We added three shirts on sale, some socks and hit the register. When the clerk announced the total, I just handed over my card because of my math challenges and all. But Mac looked at me funny and shook his head.

He grabbed the receipt and noticed immediately that they had not taken the extra 20% of Reed’s shoes which equaled about $15.

See, this is why you marry someone who is good at math. Because the gene pool is kind and your children are smarter than you and you are totally ok with it.

Heady from this experience we headed to the uniform store for teenage boys…Vineyard Vines. By far, the smallest and most expensive of the outlet stores, we must stop and pay homage whenever we come.

I secretly LOVE Vineyard Vines, I want my children to dress this way forever.

However, I have to pretend that I am miserable there among the patterned pastels. Otherwise, I spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on clothes they are going to outgrow in six months. To add insult to injury, at least 75% of the store’s prices match the website. No discount whatsoever.

But Saturday, the outlet gods were in my corner because Mac found three pairs of shorts and pants on the CLEARANCE rack AND another 20% off AND they fit him perfectly.

I realized right then I needed to head north to the Charlestown Races because I was on fire, baby.

But flush with our victory, and unsure if I could gamble with the kids, we headed back to the ferry and rode home in the pouring rain.

Still riding high from Saturday, I was a little cocky when I pulled into the Staples parking lot on Sunday. With less than 24hrs before school began, I had a few gaps to fill in for school supplies.

Since Staples actually carries school supplies year-round I figured they had more to offer. All of the other stores would clear that stuff out by the end of the week and have Halloween costumes up by Labor Day.

Total back-to-school posers.

Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the scene that awaited me the minute the automatic door whooshed and ushered me inside.

It was a mosh pit. People were yelling, Children were crying. Carts were abandoned for lack of space to maneuver. Employees were not even putting items on display, they just cut open the top of a box with an Exacto knife and ran.

Bodies filled every aisle in the kind of close proximity that made Baptist ministers preach to their daughters. The line snaked down and around an aisle. It was mayhem.

And it didn’t bother me one bit.

See, the reason why we true procrastinators never change is because 1) there is no punishment and 2) we can actually thrive in this environment. I found every item I needed and all were still on sale. I was in line within 10 minutes checking Facebook while I waited.

The amateurs were crisscrossing the store, sweating and waving around supply lists in sheer panic. I was so nonplussed, the clerk was distrustful and eyed me up and down.

As the boys finished out the weekend filling their new backpacks with our purchases, they were finally getting excited about the new school year.

I wanted to get excited too. But with the shopping done, I was left to acknowledge the end of another summer and the march of time.

Unfortunately, there is no way you can procrastinate your way out of that one no matter how good you are.


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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