Oct 21, 2013

The Elusive Black Pants



Gavin has a choir concert coming up.  He gave me all of two weeks notice to find all the necessary items needed for his 'choral costume'.  The look the high school boys are going with this year is: black dress pants, black long sleeve shirt, black shoes and a white tie.  I like nothing better than a clothing challenge.  I excitedly go in search of these items like a detective on a case.

I know I could go straight to Macy's, go to the Young Men's department and find all the items on my list.  But that would be way too easy and so not me.  I NEVER pay full price for anything.  EVER.  I love to hunt for a bargain.  I need to hunt.  I get some sort of shopping high off the whole adventure. Fiscal awareness is what I'm all about.  Others refer to it as 'frugality' or 'being cheap' but I call it 'making the most of my (Chuck's) money'.  I refuse to take the easy road.

Thankfully, Gavin already has a long sleeve black shirt.  I start the hunt by checking all the typical places, T.J Maxx, Marshalls, KOHLS,  Target and resale shops with only minimal luck.  I found the white tie, but only at 40% off.  But I was limited there.  Not a lot of places sell white ties.  I conceded, even though it was higher than I originally wanted to pay.

However, I found a massive bargain on his black shoes.  $75 shoes for only $22.  Cha-ching!! Now THAT's what I call a bargain.  When I showed them to Gavin he was like, "Cool, Mom.  And look, no one has ever worn them before."  And I'm like, "Yes, I know.  That's cuz they're new.  That's what new shoes look like Buddy."  And then I think to myself, how horrible that that would be my son's first response.  He's so used to his mom's resale shopping habits that he is actually shocked when I buy something brand spankin new.  I am pathetic.  Unfortunately, he wasn't with me when I bought the shoes, so I was unsure of what size his foot was.  Minor problem.  The pair I liked was a size 11 1/2, so that's what I went with.   When he tried them on, they were a little loose, but he wanted to keep them cuz they were such a good deal.  That's my boy.  He even said, "Don't worry Mom, I'll grow into them."

The last and hopelessly hardest thing to find were black dress pants.  He was VERY particular about these.  Resale options were out.  Only new would do.  But the problem is, he's a bean-pole.  They don't make pants in his size.  Okay, maybe they make jeans, but dress pants - nope.  I checked.  He needs a 30/34.  The longest dress pants they make for a size 30 waist only have an inseam of 32.  Not cool. I am not buying brand new pants for my bean-pole to wear only once because he looks like he's wearing capris.  Not cool.  What's a mom to do?  I found lots of pants for him in the $35-$50 range. Unfortunately, my mental budget for these pants was only $25.  I wasn't about to back down.  I knew I could find them, but I was going to have to dig down deep into my reserves and think long hard about exactly where to find them.  I might just have to break down and go to the mall.

As luck would have it, the day I decide to go to the mall, the entire state of Minnesota and all their long lost cousins also thought it would be a good day to go to the mall.  That would be because it is the Mall of America - what else would you expect.  Plus, all the kids were out of school.  Bonus.  That means I have 'extra help' during my search.  Honestly, I work best under perfect conditions.  The cards are already stacked against me for this trip to the mall.  I am keenly aware that nothing good can come from this.

I kid you not, the torture started before we even got in the mall.  It was so crowded I drove through the parking garage for 20 minutes people!!  I'm a tad bit claustrophobic and I have this huge fear that I'm going to hit a pedestrian cuz they just seem to jump out of nowhere when I'm in tight spaces.  The tension begins to make itself at home in my neck.  I went down two aisles that were dead ends.  Great, now I have to do a 7 point turn in an already claustrophobic space with 5 cars behind me also wanting to do the same thing.  After the second dead-end aisle in the parking garage I said, "Kids, I am so frustrated right now I could use swear words."  They didn't respond.

Mercifully, we found a spot.  The kids kept telling me to just 'go up'.  Gavin logically deduced that the higher up we go, the more free parking spots there would be.  He just so happened to be right.  He also didn't realize that we would be much, much, much farther from the entrance.  But hey, we avoided hitting any pedestrians, any actual swear words spoken aloud or hitting any other vehicles - I'd call that a success even if we were a mile away from the mall doors.

Upon entering the main doors I realize this is going to be a nightmare.  It's 1 o'clock on a Friday afternoon.  Bad timing on my part.  Mission control totally spaced out on that one.  It was too late to turn around.  We had to just go in, get what we came for and leave.  Fast.  When you're in a hurry isn't it funny how you notice how slow everyone in front of you walks?  So I would kick it into high gear to bypass the slowpokes who were obviously there for a leisurely walk around the mall, unlike us who were there on a mission.  Unfortunately, that sometimes meant I would leave the kids in my dust and they would have to run to catch up to me.  My people prefer to walk 4 or 5 abreast.  We take up whole aisles.  This is an inborn defect in them that I have been trying to change since toddlerhood to no avail. They will never know how to walk in a straight line one behind the other.  I've accepted that.  But my patience level is a tad bit thin at the moment and I am demanding with my eyes that they 'fall in line' - or else!

Like there wasn't enough external stimuli and confusion, Bennett decides to try to talk to me in a quiet voice as we're speed-walking through the mall.  Bad timing.  I ask him if he can hold all thoughts and questions until we have safely reached the quietness of the car.  End of discussion.

The reason we have forged our way through the maze of people in, of all places, the Mall of America, is because I had a feeling one store would have what we were in search of and that one store was only at the this mall.  H&M.  All I have to say is that its better that I went with Gavin rather than Chuck. H&M is the epicenter of Hipster clothing.  Chuck about has a conniption fit over the whole Hipster get-up.  To say he hates it would be an understatement.  So, yes, I am taking Gavin to the one store that churns up feelings of angst and disgust in my husband, but so be it.  The kid needs black pants and I know H&M sells black pants for tall, skinny people - just look at their ads!  This is what love does.

Upon entering H&M, I just enter the 'confusion zone'.  This is a store that likes to 'pump up the music'. Now, if they were pumping up Bach, I probably wouldn't get so confused, but it wasn't Bach.  I don't even know if it was music.  All I know is it was loud, probably belonged in a club somewhere and I didn't even remember my own name after being there 2 minutes.  Have I ever mentioned how confused I get when surrounded by loud music?  I could be a case study for some psycho-analysis research group.  My heart beat increases, I get dizzy, I lose my people, I can't think, my head starts to hurt.  And I'm supposed to be the mom.  It takes EVERYTHING I have to push through, focus and find black pants.

Miracle of miracles - they have black pants and they are on sale for $19.99.  Yes.  All the confusion, all the crowds, all the chaos is worth it for that little price tag.  We can do this.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Especially after I see they have bean-pole sizes.  But then he feels the need to try them on.  This is like the story of the tortoise and the hare.  Gavin is the tortoise in this story.  We are accosted by the music for another 15 minutes as he meticulously tries on 3 different sizes.  For the love!

We decide on a the perfect pair and get in line.  I knew it was too good to be true when we walked right up to a cash register without waiting like all those other suckers in that long line that was winding out the door.  The person behind the register looked at me and said, "You need to go wait in one of those other lines."  That's it.  No explanation.  No smile.  No nothing.

I forgot I was a Christian and started using my huffy breath and practice my eye-rolling techniques. She didn't understand that being in this store was like slowly suffocating me.  Thankfully, I kept all comments to myself and proceeded to place myself and my entourage last in line.  I think we got to stand right under the speakers for the next 20 minutes while we waited because I heard and felt every beat to every song the entire time.  And I am not exaggerating at all.  I was looking cross-eyed by time we left.

I don't remember the walk back to the car.  I don't remember anything at all until I got home and laid on the couch and stared at the ceiling as my breathing returned to normal and the ringing in my ears went away.

But we procured the elusive black pants.  Sometimes you've got to go into the trenches for your kids to show them how much you love them.  Putting this homebody, claustrophobic, introvert in the middle of the crowdedest place in the city, with the loudest music possible with kids who like to form a barricade as they walk in any public thoroughfare is nothing short of love.  Plus, they were only $19.99!


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