Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yesterday I went WAY above my wifely duties and took it upon my poor little self to track down the elusive C-N3 vacuum cleaner bag and the equally rare Reef "bottle-opener" (there's a bottle opener implanted in the sole) flip-flop, men's size 7 and 9 (some for me, some for Joedy), and if that sounds self-pitying, it's totally justified: as soon as Malko and I picked Lula up from school the quest morphed into a vacuum cleaner bag/flip-flops/PYJAMAS FOR LULA mission, the last part obviously being the most important part to anyone within 600 miles, if only because of the endless whiny questions and heartbreaking sighs:

"I really wish I could get some new pyjamas."

"I know, Lula--I know."

"Oh, why can't we find some pyjamas for me here?"

"I don't know. Because they don't have any."

"Why don't they have any?"

"Lula. I don't know."

"I just really want some pyjamas badly, Maman. You said I could get some."

"Lula! Stop! We're looking! We need other stuff too! Please! Stop talking like that!"

My aggravation was heightened by the labyrinth of Austin freeways that took us first to Very Much The Wrong Place and then Very, Very Much The Wrong Place, all while post-work traffic grew and slowed our pace to that of an overheated sloth; Malko's tendency to grab merchandise and throw it on the floor and/or shriek like a prehistoric carnivore didn't help my frayed nerves. When the realization sunk in that we weren't going to find any of the three items, I was ready to wring my own neck with the socks Lula conned me into buying her, and when we got home it was a miracle I greeted Joedy without throwing the kids at him and without throwing the stupid vacuum cleaner, with its stupid bag full of cooked dog hair, out the second-story window.

Today the scenario repeated itself, except that I headed north instead of south, used up even more gas, got even more lost, and hit REAL traffic, making yesterday's Errands Hell look like a jaunt to the neighbor's to borrow a toothpick; I literally spent three hours driving, while fielding Lula's plaintive requests for sleepwear, while handing Malko dried cranberries...pieces of scone...pebbles from the floor of the car...anything to fill his mouth and stop that brain-melting SHRIEKING!

Luckily for both Joedy and the vacuum cleaner we succeeded, kind of, locating acceptable flip-flops and--Thank The Great Briny Bile Bag--pyjamas for Lula, although they are of a tackiness and ugliness not usually approved by me. At 5:45, listlessly wandering the overcrowded corridors of Mega Super Wal-Mart, dangerously close to inserting the word "fucking" into otherwise benign sentences like "Where are your boys' pyjamas, please?" and "Excuse me, do you have any C-N3 vacuum bags?" I saw a cache of PYJAMAS! PYJAMAS! PYJAMAS! NOT GIRLS' PYJAMAS! and we sped over to them, only to find that they were



Polyester, cheap, ugly. Army, Spiderman, monster trucks. Definitely not our style. But it was late, it had been two long days of disappointment, and the idea of listening to Lula sigh and moan later, while I was plucking clumps of dirty hair out of the used vacuum bag in a reluctant show of resourcefulness, did not thrill me. So we got the (hideous) army pyjamas.

When we came home she tried them on. First the shirt (it's that horse-poop shade of green, of course, and printed to look like it has a belt and lapels), then the shorts, then the shirt and the shorts together. After looking at herself in the bathroom mirror for a long time, she skipped into the kitchen and asked if she could wear the pyjamas to the restaurant we were going to later with friends.

"Of course not," I said. "What kind of mother do you think I am?" I'll drive 150 miles to look for footwear you can open beers with and use my prized chin hair tweezers to extract clumps of disgusting, filthy gunk from a vacuum cleaner bag, then re-use the bag, but allow my kid to wear ugly-ass pyjamas to a public place?! Please--let's be sane here!

"Ok," she said, and gamboled happily off. Watching her go, smiling at her skinny arms and always-just-so ponytail, I caught a glimpse of the ridiculous faux belt and lapels, and for a second--just a second--the pyjamas looked kind of...cute.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, by far, my fav, Tales from Bedlam post, (aside from The Saga of the Broken Keys). You are my hero and favorite big sister!

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