I am still here! Yes! Cranky and slow-moving, to be sure, but trucking right along.
There is a whole story I could tell today about how I very much hate HMOs, dislike the system of medical care in America in general, am really starting to despise my doctor’s practice in specific, and how I am confused and annoyed and tired of being jerked around, but… nevermind. God. I’m tired of complaining. (Take a look around. Consider for a moment the level my negativity has to reach before I tire of it. This is really saying something.)
So! Instead of telling you about how I had to go have my blood taken AGAIN for some more potentially useless tests, I will tell you about what I did on the way home, once I was fortified with a very large latte and a handful of Advil!
Once upon a time, there was a Goodwill store not far from here that got all of its donations from rich towns and the dry cleaners in those towns. My friends and I went there at least once a week, and during what I fondly refer to as “the Goodwill years” my children’s closets overflowed with nearly-new brand name clothing. Furthermore, I made several additions to my own wardrobe during that time. My good friends Ann Taylor and Donna Karan and Liz Claiborne and the like were coming home with me for around $4 an item; less if I managed to catch something on a half-price day.
[Digression: I know people who are either squicked out by the idea of wearing used clothing or who are simply “too good” to buy things which are used. That’s fine. More for me, I say! Hey, there are things I won’t buy used: underwear, swimsuits, and shoes come immediately to mind. But a shirt or a pair of pants I can throw in the washer? Why not. Plus, now I will tell you a great secret about thrift stores in upscale areas: Lots of times you can find items that are still brand-new with the tags on. Apparently rich people often buy lots of stuff and then give it away later before they even have a chance to wear it.]
Anyway, it was a sad, sad day when that Goodwill went out of business. There was gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. It was downright tragic. Truly, I knew my life would never be the same. That Goodwill is the reason I own a stunning Jones New York evening gown which I will probably never wear, but feel prettier just for having in the back of my closet. We had a special relationship, is what I’m trying to tell you.
Today I was on my way home from having the remainder of my blood extracted at the hospital in the next town, and I almost passed a new Salvation Army thrift store. I decided to stop in. Not that I expected to, you know, replace my former love, or anything, but I figured it was worth looking around. Plus, I was hoping to distract myself for a while. Maybe I would find something amazing!
Or maybe I’d find some jeans for Monkey. Which was pretty much what I went in there to look for.
The first thing I noticed about this store was that it… smelled. Maybe thrift stores often smell like old people, and my beloved Goodwill was an anomaly. I don’t know. But this store smelled of a mixture of moth balls and hair tonic. (I am surmising; I have no idea what hair tonic smells like, except that I remain convinced that it has something to do with the odor that permeated this store.) I decided to brave the stench because perhaps there were bargains to be had.
Back in the children’s section, I pawed through racks and racks of clothing while eavesdropping on my fellow shoppers. Most of the dialogue went like this:
“Do you like this one?”
“No! I want that bear!”
“We’re not buying toys. How about this one?”
“I hate that. I want THAT BEAR!”
“Get over here and look at this shirt.”
“NOT UNTIL YOU BUY ME THAT BEEEEEEAR!!!”
Gosh, it made me miss the kids. What fun is it picking out clothes without the merry chirping of little ones making your eardrums bleed?
I found some jeans for Monkey, then came across some jeans just like a pair Chickadee had loved until she outgrew them. I picked those up as well because I am a wonderful mother, or maybe because they were a dollar.
As I moved on to shirts, I got to listen to couples bicker over housewares. I started getting the feeling that this store really wasn’t much like the other one. But I soldiered on! I came across a shirt in Monkey’s size that said “Just be glad I’m not a twin.” I was toying with being horrified when I overheard the following exchange from the plus-size section:
“I just don’t like shorts.”
“I don’t wear pants, either.”
“Nope. I like skirts. I just think they’re more flattering.”
I couldn’t resist. I made a brief circuit so that I could check out the skirt woman. She was wearing a perfectly normal top and a brightly-patterned skirt which made her already ample derriere look like a buffet table with a beach blanket thrown over it. If that was more flattering, I was very glad she wasn’t wearing pants.
Against my better judgement, I moved on to women’s clothing. I didn’t find anything; there was a lot of polyester and larger sizes. Alas. However, I did get to watch a very cute college boy carry a table out to his car. I do not recall any of THOSE at the other store.
So. Nothing shiny for me today. A few things for the kids. A roundabout reminder that I still need to find an occasion to wear my evening gown. An hour of distraction.
That was about as much excitement as I could handle for today.