Originally posted June 4, 2013.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am frugal. Some might say cheap. I prefer to call it Price Reduction Attraction Disorder. I am a 75% off shopper. And a Goodwill regular. And a garage sale digger. I love to get a good deal.
So imagine my euphoria, my heavenly-angels-singing moment last week when I found out that I had won a $100 gift certificate at a local gift store and boutique. I’m talking, 100% free, can’t-be-spent-on-groceries-or-diapers-or-bubblegum-flavored-toothpaste spending money in my pocket. I was on the verge of frugal girl heart failure. I was swooning. I couldn’t believe that I was a winner.
Today was the day that the three children and I descended on the shop.
Now, since I have had baby number three, certain things about my appearance just don’t get as much attention as they used to. And by certain things, I mean all things. I entered the beautiful store wearing un-ironed clothing, of course, but the real crème de la crème of my ensemble was the perfectly aligned assortment of baby food stains and snot that circled both knees of my jeans. You see, Emerald is walking now, and one of her favorite pastimes is to walk up to my legs and hug them. Cute, right? Except that her generally messy face presses into my jeans and leaves proof that she is just about knee-high to me at this point in her life. I don’t need growth charts for baby number three. I just glance down at my stained jeans and think, My, Emerald is growing tall! I sat outside the store and tried to scrape the crustiness off of my pants to no avail. And, another thing about having three kids is that you often think, about most things in life: Oh well. Which is exactly what I thought at that moment in time.
Before we could enter the store, naturally I had to change a poopy diaper in the car. Here we were, outside this very respectable establishment, and the kids were hooting and hollering about the odor spilling forth from our van. I changed the diaper and we all tumbled out of there as quickly as possible. With no place to dispose of the offending nappy, I just left it sitting in the car.
I put the baby in her stroller, making sure I was armed with at least seven different kinds of food to try and pacify her while I had my gloriously pampering shopping session. By the time we finally entered the front door, I was sweating profusely from changing the diaper in 90 degree heat. I felt like the hillbillies had come to town. I was tempted to holler, “Haaaay! Ahm heeer ta git my freeeee shawpin’ own!” But, I managed instead to announce in a civilized way that I had won the gift certificate. The girl at the desk went to the back room to retrieve my prize.
This store was totally gorgeous. There were so many beautiful items of clothing, none of which I understood in the least. (I am confused by the current fashions.) But, the kids and I chose a bunch of stuff to try on, and we headed for the dressing room. The tiny, tiny dressing room.
We had to do some Tetris-type strategizing to get all four of us, plus the stroller into this little dressing room. Once we were all inside, the profuse sweating began again. I’m not sure if it was the screaming baby (by this time we were on food number six) or if it was the fact that I kept dropping different items of clothing on the kids’ heads because I couldn’t reach them over the piles of children in the room, or if it was the fact that there was no air conditioning vent in our little cell. It could have even been the fact that I was trying to determine if the clothes looked good while standing exactly 6.3 centimeters away from the mirror, thanks to a gargantuan stroller filled with puffs and crackers and sippy cups and that same cute little screaming baby. Plus, every time I dropped an item on the kids, Sawyer would loudly exclaim, “Here’s your FANCY hanger, Mommy!”
We don’t get out much.
When all was screamed and done, I spent my free money and got some really cool (I think?), somewhat confusing yet oddly mesmerizing articles of clothing. I felt fulfilled.
Right before we left, Emerald convinced me that the only thing that would end the screaming was to get her out of the stroller so she could try to push it. I was checking out at the counter, my flip flopped toes desperately clinging to one wheel of the thing while she tried her best to ram it into a beautiful display. I paused for a half a second to notice the lovely smell in this gorgeous little shop filled with pretty, pretty things that kids should never be close to. I felt genuinely blessed to be there, with my three kids, in my stained jeans, sweating profusely. It was a very, very good day.
We walked outside with my little bag of goodies, and I noticed that the pleasant smell of the store was still with me. It was clinging to the cool clothes inside my bag. Then I opened my van door, and the odor of the poopy diaper that had been cooking in the 90 degree heat for the past hour hit us all. We hooted and hollered again about the stench. There may have been some dry heaving.
Later, while we were eating dinner, Sawyer told us that he is a king and that in his kingdom he grows toot flowers. Just in case you were wondering, the pink ones smell the worst. And that, my friends, did not come up while we were shopping in the fancy little store. Another reason to be grateful today.
In the end, we made it out of the store without spilling a single baby food item, without breaking anything, and most importantly without stinking the place up. Add all of that good news to the fact that I shopped for free, and I would say that this was a pretty successful excursion into civilized society.