Getting Malled - June 24, 2012

I ran a half marathon yesterday.  Not really.   We went to the mall with our three-year-old on a weekend.


My body hurts the same, though.  I kind of wish I could bathe in Bengay, right now.  My head is pounding like there’s a little monkey sitting inside slamming the cymbals.  And, the soles of my shoes are so worn, they no longer have arch support, so my feet hurt something fierce.


You know when you drive to a big event, there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic and you just magically bump into the only, available parking space, two seconds into looking?  It sets the pace for a day where everything goes your way?  Well, think of the opposite of that.  Then you’ll get how our day went down.


We provided no positive vibes or proper planning to help this visit along.  In fact, we stacked our own cards, backwards, forwards, and upside down and right side up.  One, big, fat muddled mess that started with back-to-back chores and not watching the clock.


By the time we stepped out of our robotic, gathering, cleaning and washing haze, it was two o’clock and our stomachs were empty.  By the time we filled them up and got everyone put together and out of pajamas, it was four o’clock.  Most smart parents would call it quits and just go the next day, but you’ve entered Dummydom now.  There is no magic here, just a series of unfortunate mistakes.


Babyface naps at five o’clock, but we had to make it to Stride Rite to get her new shoes.  They were on sale and a sale at Stride Rite means the normal sizes disappear at lightening speed.  It’s worse than an Apple store on the release day of a new iPhone.  And, it’s a toddler maze, so you better watch your step or you’ll awaken the glares of another grumpy parent, who doesn’t want to be there either.


We rushed out the door, all looking like we were trying to bring back grunge.  Well, maybe more like zombie, panhandlers from the Haight district.  Babyface had dreadlocks with random strays of frizz and a yogurt-stache.  I had ketchup on my shirt and my eyes were bloodshot, a perfect extra for the The Walking Dead.  My husband hadn’t shaved in three days, which makes him look like the early stages of the Teen Wolf transformation, patchy facial hair of all lengths that don’t meet at any one point and a college ball cap that needs to be retired.


We, of course, hit every stoplight on the way to the freeway.  Every damn sensor was programmed to make us sit and wait.  Then, on the way there, I suffered about six panic attacks.  My husband can’t stay in one lane.  He always has to weave in and out of cars, but we still see those cars exiting the freeway at the same time.  It’s like going the long way, just so you don’t have to sit still in traffic.  You never get there any faster.  You just think you do.


By the time we got there, it was 5 o’clock.  Don’t ask me where the past hour went, last minute hustle into the car, forgetting things, whining (my husband), pretending we drive a bat mobile on the freeway, whining again (me).  5 0’clock on a Saturday, but the mall was as busy as Black Friday.  We drove around and around in the parking garage, fuming as people kept taking OUR parking spaces, all while our daughter sang “wee, wee, wee” in the backseat.  She saw the simple.  We were ready to slam into someone and hit the slammer.


By the time we snagged a spot, Babyface’s eyes were half-shut, so we sat her in the stroller and half-strapped her in.  She’s a tall, three-year-old, so she’s too big for most strollers.  I’ve bought the last and biggest stroller out there, but her knees are still almost into her chest when she sits in it and her arms are bunched at her sides.  Pretty soon, I’ll have to invest in a wheelchair or, better yet a scooter, so I can ride along.


This particular mall is like a mouse maze that even a member of Mensa wouldn’t be able to navigate.  It’s in a series of triangles and all of the directories are at a corner, so you have to check out the store names and match them to their corresponding letter-number combination to figure out the right direction.  Confused?  Well, we were too.  It added at least 15 minutes to our visit.  You can tell how often we frequent the mall.  To add insult to injury, every time we would find the directory, a line would form in front of it at that very second, with more dregs from Dummydom and we would have to wait, sighing out loud every few seconds to let them know our dismay.


We finally bought Babyface her shoes and I could feel the emptiness of my pocket book.  Her shoes are always more expensive than my own.  After the purchase there was a showdown as to whether she could wear them straight out of the box.  I caved to prevent a meltdown.


The glass elevators at this shopping center are slower than my mother taking the stairs.  And, this particular mall and time of day brought out all of the baby strollers in bunches.  Often, we would have to wait for the elevator to return to make it up or down.  Or, some parent would sneak in front of us and we would silently curse them.


I went to a few other stores for myself for a change, while the other-two-of-our-three walked around in circles trying to avoid letting the smoke out of their ears.  I, of course, found absolutely nothing, three stores and a half-an-hour later.  Well, that’s not true.  I found a lot of things I liked, just nothing I could afford.


In our rush out of the house, I forgot to pack a snack for Babyface, which is pretty much a crime.  It’s like going into the desert without water or walking into the woods without a map looking for a witch.  Little people can become possessed without a cereal bar or a straw sippy to tide them over.  So, with the tired, screaming child in the stroller, we practically ran to find some frozen yogurt, which is what we kind of wanted to eat too.  Of course, it was the place where they measure it by weight and if you’re really hungry, you walk out spending $10 for one cup.  We spotted a Cold Stone Creamery earlier, so we headed all the way back to where we started.


$15 and all of the wrong, flavor choices later, we were unsatisfied and had awakened our lactose intolerance.  Babyface was happy, so at least one of us was smiling.  When we got back to the car, we were so relieved to be headed home.  Babyface said, “Mommy, where’s my earring?  I think it fell out.” Ugh.  Back into the mall we went.


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