Because McKinley has worn through the left knee of every pair of pants he has, save two, and because it’s raining and any laundry I do (as in the two pairs of pants) would have to be dried by being hung up in the house (no dryer), but it’s not really cold, so there’s no fire, so it would take forever for the clothes to dry, but mostly because I’m just tired of trying to scrounge clothes for the boy to wear to school, we go to Asheville. We go to Target.
Yes, yes, there are other things we need. Little Renee needs a pair of sneakers. For weeks she’s been wearing only her pink cowgirl boots, and yeah, she looks so damn cute in them, especially when she runs, but she needs something she can REALLY run in so she can catch up with her brother and beat the smithereens out of him when he’s teasing her. Which she does. It’s the flailing circle of fists.
And we need alcohol, homebrew’s almost gone, and we need fresh veggies, the kind that look happy, like they want to be eaten, not the depressed greens from the local grocer, all wilted and moaning, and we need cream for our coffee, and those olives that I got for Thanksgiving that were so scrumptious that we ate them all within five minutes, and some more Annie’s pasta boxes for school lunches, and we need a purple alpalca scarf from Peru. Really.
So we go to Asheville, Renee, McKinley, and I. And they are, of course, children, and a bit wild, because at one point in my early parenting I thought that Spirit as in playfulness and laughter and silliness was a grand thing, but now I am bearing the brunt of that philosophy, because they are hamming it up and turning into monkeys in the middle of Target as in swinging on the bars that the clothes are hanging on and running off and running up and running down and all around and while no one is giving me evil looks–yet–my inner mother has pulled out all her hair and is yelling loud enough to fill the whole twenty acres of Target with the great big, “YOU SIT HERE OR I’LL TAN YOUR BUTT!” Thankfully, though, she comes out more like a harsh whisper with, “You Will Get No Cookie if you Don’t Sit your butt down and Practice OBEDIENCE!”
But here is what I must remember, at such times as these, something they are not cognitively aware of, but that tips the scales in their favor, or, should I say, NOT in my favor: there are more of them than there are of me. And I need to remember this because I SHOULD NEVER TAKE THE TWO OF THEM SHOPPING AT THE SAME TIME EVER EVER EVER again. I mean, really, how stupid can I get? Because one on one, it’s a piece of cake, good cake, with raspberries and chocolate and pistachios. But together they become evil rascals with beautifully devious ways, they become Partners in Crimes Against my Sanity.
So we leave Target, having accomplished four pairs of boy jeans on sale for five bucks a pop, and a pair of shoes for the girl that don’t “hurt everywhere” and that light up, like she wanted, and a pair of jeans for myself. And we head towards the grocery store. McKinley is now having fits, and telling me that he’s starving and shaking, which, devious though he may be, is probably the truth, so I figure we’ll eat in the cafe at the grocery store, a natural foods grocery store with a salad bar and a daily selection of hot meals. I figure we’ll save time, get home sooner by combining our shopping trip with our need to eat. We get our plates and then I realize that I must make three plates, which means these rats, I mean, rascals, will have to hold their plates while also trying to see what it is they’re getting on their plates, and of course, telling me what they want on their plates and picking each other up, because they can, and running around the salad bar because of course after you locate the grapes, you will want to see the potato salad on the other side and then run back to make sure the grapes are still there. I mean, of course.
Miracle. A miracle occured today. Because they did not tip or spill their plates. And once the plates were filled to specifications, we marched, ever so carefully, in a row, holding our plates precariously amongst the river of people, to the register. And Renee only ate one grape, well, actually two, off her plate while standing in line, picking it up with her teeth, since she was holding her plate so carefully. And we ate and cleaned up after ourselves and shopped some more, where they repeated similar, though a little more sedate, behaviors as previously described, and we each got a cookie, and I got a coffee, and –another miracle–the nice man smiled at me–even with two devils in tow–and helped push the kiddie cart–you know, the one with the green car attatched to the front of the buggy–out to the car, and he put our groceries in the trunk, and the children ever so sweetly got in their seats and buckled their butts up and after an hour of driving (and teasing, and hitting, and turning around to see the cops that chased us the whole way from the grocery store) we were home.
Whereupon I put them to bed, went to my own sweet bedroom, and Locked the Door.