Today I took Kateri to the mall. It was my fault. She had been displaying some rather undesirable habits around school work so I devised a plan. For her and Cyprian. If they could go one week without whining, school time and beyond, they would each get to pick a store and I would take them. Looking back I see I could have been much more reasonable. Like, don't whine and I'll make you dinner, or wash your clothes. But then Kateri could realistically decide she could do those herself so it had to be something she could not do. Like drive.
They did it, I am happy to report. Cyprian had chosen the military surplus store, but as he had donated all his money to a friend's medical bills, we decided to put it off until he saved up again. (More on that later. Kids can be so heart warming.) Just writing that I can see a post on donations would be much better than a post on shopping but shopping is what is I am recovering from right now so this is what you get.
Kateri was up and ready to go at 8:00 this morning. I was not. She finally got me to commit to taking her before lunch. But nothing more specific as I knew she'd be reminding and pushing me into the car when I wasn't ready. So before lunch I fed Malachi, she packed the stroller, and we were off. At first I thought 'Its early. We could probably get a parking place close in and maybe just leave the stroller.' Then I remembered he is 18 lbs now and she night not make swift decisions so it might be worth the hassle of getting it out. On the way I asked her how much she had saved up.
"$42" she proudly answered jingling her bag of money.
"How much of it is in dollar bills?" I asked, cringing.
"$10. I have two $5 bills. The rest is in quarters."
"Oh" I said feeling more thankful for the stroller.
Once we got out of the parking lot, Kateri insisted on pushing the stroller and the elevator buttons as we made out way to the doll store. Malachi mostly was entertained, though he didn't like to stop too long inspecting the outfits. And once he saw an outfit he did not feel the need to go around and look at them all again. And again. But Kateri did so we went round and round. All the while I was feeling irritated with the ridiculous prices and wanting to convince Kateri to go somewhere else and didn't they realize how hard she had worked for her coins and her trip to the mall and didn't they feel ashamed for taking her money? And no amount of smiling and doling out stickers is going to distract me from the fact that this doll dress is more expensive than the dinner I am making tonight for our whole family.
Then I remembered a particularly memorable shopping trip when I was younger, when Macy's was The Bon and Frangos were made by Frederick & Nelson. So it was awhile ago. It was December and my sister, a friend, and I were downtown, Christmas shopping for the day. We hit the large stores first, and probably picked up some of said Frangos, then went through the smaller boutiques where I remember buying some specialty wrapping paper and calculating the exact cost with tax so I could have the money ready. Which maybe meant I was bored and getting tired of shopping.
We continued on and ended up in Eddie Bauer, which at first I thought was cool, mostly because my older brother worked answering phones for their catalogue and older brothers are cool. Cooler than a fez. But this was the store, and also not as cool. And then we went down some stairs to what felt like a basement, but was just the lower level. It felt darker and colder and a little stifling with all the racks and stacks of clothes. I suddenly felt sick. Not in body, but in my soul. Like I was surrounded by evil and sinister people. Like in a movie where someone has been drugged and everyone around them is playing along like everything is normal but really it is some big sinister plot and then suddenly the protagonist- that would be me-stands up to them, climbs up on a table and wakes everyone out of their drug induced stupor by shouting that I know what they are doing and they are all a bunch of fakes but I know what is going on and I won't let them get away with it!
I didn't. And they weren't. Turns out I was just really hungry and needed lunch. But I felt more strongly this time I was right. $32 for an outfit that would fit a cat? Or a doll the size of a cat. I reminded her that some other stores had outfits for less and offered to take her there if she wanted to see them. But she was sure she wanted to spend her quarters there. So she did and the lady at the register graciously mentioned that they were in need of quarters as she counted out $23 worth.
On the way out we stopped at the candle store. Shane has been expressing a desire to have some relaxing scents in our bedroom/bathroom. Maybe something reminiscent of a spa. So I thought I'd see what I could find. When the lady asked what I was looking for I said,
"Something like a spa. Maybe some eucalyptus with some spice but not fruity."
She directed me to three scents. Two of which had elements of what I was looking for and maybe together might do the trick. The third was patchouli, which Shane has forbidden me to ever bring home. Ever. A good deal of his childhood was spent In Eugene, OR. So I unwrapped the other two and set them on the bathroom sink and will test them out as air fresheners before I actually light them. And hopefully Shane won't detect some hidden patchouli in the aromas and barf when he walks into it.
After we finally left the mall I remembered I needed to drop off a package and get milk on the way home. Fortunately there was a mailbox not too far from home. I toyed with the idea of going to the regular store for milk. But that would mean hauling everyone across the parking lot and there was snow in the rain and the baby was already falling asleep in his car seat. The corner store, I knew, was at least twice as expensive and probably would not have more than a gallon of whole milk, as I had bought several already yesterday. And they only sell half&half in quarts. I don't know what anyone does with such a small amount but I can at least get a couple lattes out of it and then hopefully get enough energy to get myself to Costco for life-sized cartons. In then end I chose the more expensive convenient option. In the space it took me to grab the two cartons of milk they had left and one carton of my staple beverage. the weather went from rain, to hail, to snow, to nothing. Along with really,really cold. I was glad I had chosen the close option. And Kateri was glad she had chosen the store and outfit she did and ran to get her friend for a doll party when we got home. I had lunch and then a latte and I just smelled my bathroom and think the candles might be the right mix. Maybe we'll get some more cold weather tonight and I can recover from our shopping trip with a hot shower in my spa-scented bathroom.