Carnal Pleasures

By Mir
May 25, 2004

No, not the first definition. The second one: “relating to the world; earthly.” When you’re living a no-first-definition-fulfillment kind of life, you learn to maximize the things that do make you tingle.

I have two loves in my life that border on addiction: shopping and food. (Yeah, I am aware that I am the only woman in the history of humankind like this. This is my blog. MY BLOG. And I feel like writing about this today. Stop snickering and keep reading, or go away.)

For the first, only bargains will do. I’m frugal-minded and–oh yeah, these days–broke, so it’s not like I’m one of those crazed Imeldas spending $4,000/pair on shoes every weekend. I like the thrill of the hunt, and knowing that other women would really want to hurt me if only they knew what I’d paid for that. And sometimes, I can’t contain myself, and I tell them. I don’t mean to… it’s just that sometimes it kind of bubbles over. It’s part of the high.

Other Woman: Wow, I love those shoes!
Me: Really? Thanks.
Other Woman: Yeah, they’re adorable.
Me: They’re Jones New York.
Other Woman *with an appreciative nod*: Oh well that explains it, then. Very nice.
Me: I GOT THEM AT GOODWILL FOR FOUR DOLLARS!!!!! Brand new! Tags on! FOUR DOLLARS, I tell you!
Other Woman *jolted by my screaming, and perhaps frightened by my little victory dance*: You’re joking, right?
Me: No!!

(And then I run away, cackling, before she slaps me.)

For my other obsession, there are a variety of ways to proceed. Chocolate comes first, naturally. But then there’s PMS-time (salty foods) and someone-else-cooked-time (nearly anything will do, here, infrequent pleasure that it is) and damn-all-you-with-unadventurous-palates-time (sushi) and someone-else-is-paying-for-a-meal-at-a-restaurant-without-a-play-structure-time (thanks, Dad). Okay, I pretty much just like to eat.

Today, I descended into the depths of compound carnal sinning, and I did it with my kids in tow. Corrupt ’em young, that’s my motto.

Often on Tuesdays we have a doctor’s appointment or two in the afternoon, and then some time to kill before I drop the kids with the ex for their dinner night. Today our appointment was early, leaving us a lot more time that usual. I considered heading home. The doctor’s office is about halfway to the ex’s house, and as I’d just paid $12.79/gallon to fill my car with gas, I decided we were staying out.

First stop: Priceless Kids. Let the record show that I do my most giddy bargain shopping for the children. While I’m thrilled to find stuff for myself, part of the maternal instinct is this urge to make sure your offspring have more clothes at any given time than you have ever owned in your entire life. That way, you can lie to yourself that you won’t have to do laundry as often. And when they have a growth spurt, you can… start all over again. Yeah. Anyway, I’d gotten a tip at a fabulous bargain site I visit that there were Lands’ End nightgowns at Priceless Kids. At 3 for $10. (My pulse quickens just typing it.) Priceless Kids is kind enough to have a little “movie area” at the rear (bonus!) where the kids can hang out and watch Aladdin while I paw through the racks, searching for my prey. I found the nightshirts in question… all nice hefty cotton knit (did I mention that for the ultimate bargain high, it has to be something of really nice quality?)… and was in heaven. I made my selections and scoped out the rest of the store.

I just love that stores like Priceless Kids remove brand tags from things that any red-blooded American mother can identify at ten paces. Totally cracks me up. I mean… if you were not the clothing whore that I am, I suppose maybe you wouldn’t recognize the font they use on the Lands’ End tags. (*cough*amateurs*cough*) But–I swear I am not making this up!–there was an entire rack of girls’ shirts sporting various gigantic, shiny “Limited Too” logos on them… Oooooh, sneaky!

After a while, I paid for my purchases and peeled the kids away from the movie, and we headed on to stop two: Trader Joe’s. I was already light-headed from the first store. But I wanted more! Trader Joe’s rocks on several levels. First off, when I shop there (not very often, because they’re not too close by) I can pretend that I still live in California. Between the organic/novel/weird goods they deal and all the hippies who either work or shop there, it’s a great illusion to enjoy for an hour or so. Next, they have committed themselves to clear and concise labelling for the seven major food allergens, which means I can buy food for my son there without having to worry that maybe they forgot to mention something that might, you know, kill him. And to top all of this off, they carry delicious, fresh, unusual (well, for around here) foods at fabulous prices. I can’t say enough about them. In fact now I’m wondering why the hell I don’t get my lazy butt down to that store more often.

At first, the kids queried every item I put in the cart.
“Why are you buying green mayonnaise?”
“Ewwwww, mushrooms. Are they like maybe radioactive? Cuz I don’t think it’s normal for them to be that big.”
“That stuff looks like grass. Do people eat grass?”
“That came from a real live fish? I’m not eating that!”

After a while, I’d fallen into a deep and blissful trance… it’s possible they stopped quizzing me. It’s equally possible that they continued and I tuned them out. I do vaguely remember some excitement when they saw the purple potato chips. For the most part I was off in another place, where everything is so yummy you could just cry from the happiness of it all. (As one friend put it: I’m in touch with my inner trough.) And the cherry on top? Balloons at the check-out. The kids want to go back again. Tomorrow. Pleasepleaseplease Mama.

My tranquil state lasted for approximately two minutes after leaving the store. My cell phone rang; “traffic is terrible, I’m stuck on the highway, I don’t know what time I can be there” (there may have been more, but it’s hard to process when you’re both driving and counting to ten). Let’s just say the rest of the day was not without its hiccups.

But now… now, all is right with the world. The kids are in bed. I have a bowl of “Avocado’s Number” guacamole (suitable for avocado-loving geeks who think the spoof of Avagadro is giggle-worthy) and a bag of chips. I would happily exchange the bag of chips for a big spoon, but I’m trying to exercise some restraint.

Or maybe I’m gonna go grab the spoon as soon as I finish writing this.

Some things are private, ya perv.


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