Just another wild weekend

By Mir
March 4, 2013

It seems like—particularly after the first full week of reintegrating ourselves as a family of four and everyone managing work and school and stuff—the weekend should be a time to relax and unwind and simply have fun. We should… sleep! Watch television! Meet up with friends and simply hang around with no set goals in mind!

Well, I’m sure that’s what SHOULD have happened. You know, if I wasn’t such a giant meaniehead. But you know… I am Mom, hear me suck the fun out of everything. HOORAY!

It actually started with poor, long-suffering Otto. I’m sure Otto would’ve LOVED to loll around this weekend and watch cars go around in circles on the television. Instead, he got up at o’dark thirty on Saturday and started driving north. My covert flute escapades have nothing on what customers at some random Dairy Queen in Virginia must’ve seen on Saturday afternoon when Otto met up with my ex and transferred the rest of Chickie’s belongings to his car. So, really, Otto drove for about 17 hours straight, which means that everything else that happened here was leisurely in comparison. Right? Right.

Monkey woke up on Saturday wanting to see his pal Lemur. Ever since they stopped going to the same school, we’ve tried really hard to get them together every week or so, and poor Monkey was jonesing for a fix—they hadn’t seen each other for several weeks. I had promised I would see what I could do. But when I called Lemur’s mom, it turned out that earlier that week, she and one of Lemur’s brothers had had a stomach thing. [And we all know how I feel about stomach ailments.]

“We’re all fine now,” she said, “we’ve been better for a few days.”

“But… only the two of you got sick?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound unsympathetic. Because I am REALLY GOOD AT MATH, y’all, and there are five people in their family. Puke bugs spare NO ONE. This virus hadn’t even worked through HALF of their family yet. I want my kid to see his friend but not if it’s going to bring plague upon us, y’know?

In the end, a compromise: I suggested that we skip a Saturday meeting and talk again on Sunday morning. If everyone was still healthy, maybe we could get the boys together then. Maybe that was dumb; would a single day make a difference? I didn’t know, but I was wary, and it seemed the best defense.

Monkey was disappointed, but seemed to understand. I offered that he could come shopping with his sister and me, but he opted to stay home and play Minecraft. I was shocked that that sounded more fun than our plans.

Us girls, however, had a MISSION. This was both exciting and terrifying, because for a bargain hunter such as myself to steel for paying full retail is really quite difficult. It seemed the thing to do, though. See, Chickadee joined Track. This is Very Good because sports! Exercise! Staying busy and being healthy and all of that, yay! But… the coach mailed me to say that she needed running shoes AND spikes. And rather than just bargain hunting for a deal, we needed these things kind of quickly, plus it seemed like maybe instead of cheaping out I should actually Do It Right so that she doesn’t end up injured or anything.

So we went to a local running store. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but there is! My GPS happily announced that we’d arrived when we were still a block away. (Dear Garmin, THANKS, JERKS! Love, Mir.) Somehow we figured it out and walked on in, though, and I explained our predicament to the nice salesgirl. She nodded and went and got someone else to help us, and we were then treated to a long philosophical lecture about the necessity (or lack thereof) of spikes for high school track unless you’re a short-distance sprinter. He then asked if we saw Chickadee as potentially being “very, very fast.”

I was trying really hard not to laugh, but the bemused look on my daughter’s face was even funnier than the notion that I might have somehow produced an award-winning athlete. (“How can I put this?” I started. “Oh! I know: She’s in the marching band.” I made meaningful eyebrows, meant to convey “this is my awesome kid whom I love like crazy but who is probably only going to run really fast if she’s being chased by a hungry bear.”) I explained that mostly I just wanted to make sure she didn’t hurt herself; that she has mild scoliosis and a history of problems with her hip and I just wanted to make sure that she was adequately supported while shuffling her way around the track at whatever speed she’s able to attain.

The salesguy chuckled and suggested we go with a good pair of running sneakers and return to order some spikes if it turned out that she really needed them. We agreed that that was a good idea.

Next came the fun part: Running stores have all kinds of cool equipment. First Chickadee stood on a thing that caused a pressure-coded picture of her feet to pop up on an associated computer screen, and this was when we learned that she has “very high arches.” (Funny, doesn’t “arch” kind of IMPLY “high,” or am I missing something…?) Next she got taken into a back room where she had to run on a treadmill and her feet were videotaped. Then we got to watch the videotape in slow motion, which I thought was merely so that we could confirm that she runs like a girl, but apparently was so that the salesguy could assess her pronation.

After all of that, he brought her out four different pairs of sneakers to try on. Each pair, he would say, “How do those feel?” And Chickadee would kind of stand there in them and say, “I don’t know. Like sneakers?” SHE IS HELPFUL. But eventually she put on a pair and said, “Oh, I think I like these.” That was exciting because that pair wasn’t even PRETTY, so I was certain she was basing that on how they felt.

The salesguy immediately launched into a speech about how most shoes raise the bottom up to meet the arch, and that’s fine, but it makes for a heavier shoe, but these ones, THESE REVOLUTIONARY ONE-OF-A-KIND SHOES, they have a band across the top that brings the foot down rather than bringing the bottom up, and that makes for a lighter shoe and lots of people find them really comfortable and isn’t that great.

“Fantastic,” I said, as he finished his lecture. “I think he just said this is the most expensive pair, honey. Good job.” We laughed as he assured me that all of the shoes were about the same price.

Chickadee went and ran on the treadmill again to make sure the fit was good, and then as she stepped down she whispered to me, “Do you think they come in any other colors?” Apparently the blue pair she was wearing weren’t quite jazzy enough. I had a hunch, though, and it was because I was pretty sure the original salesgirl had been wearing the same ones in purple. We inquired, and yes, they came in purple, too. Chickadee grinned.

I went up to the register and payed A MILLION DOLLARS for her shoes. Only, not really. It just felt that way. No joke, this was the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes. I kept trying to tell myself that I had to view it as an equipment purchase. Also, the saleguy gave us a 10% discount, possibly because he was afraid I was going to have an aneurysm in his store.

To compensate for this purchase, we did the entire rest of her outfitting for about $30, and that included new socks. (Socks at TJ Maxx, everything else from Goodwill, and let me just say that if you wear a teeny tiny size you will have to dig at Goodwill, but the stuff you find will apparently almost always be in pristine condition. Maybe everyone else outgrows that size too fast to wear their clothes out.)

After, we went for groceries, and somehow Chickadee convinced me that because Otto was driving ALL THAT WAY to get her stuff, we should totally buy him a CAKE to thank him. I may have said, “Huh, it almost sounds like YOU want cake but you are trying to make it sound like you’re being thoughtful and therefore play on my predictable weakness for kindness to others,” and she was all “Cool story, bro” and then somehow we ended up buying a cake. Weird.

Monkey had requested pizza for dinner, so I made them pizza and made me a bunch of roasted vegetables (so virtuous! also still recovering from the sticker shock with the sneakers!) and we sat around watching Big Bang Theory for hours. (Chickie had arrived home with a bunch of DVDs, claiming this was her new favorite show, and HOOBOY now Monkey cannot get enough of it.)

Eventually I shooed the kids off to bed, and sometime in the middle of the night Otto and a carload of Chickie’s stuff arrived.

On Sunday, Lemur’s mom called me bright and early to let me know that Lemur’s OTHER brother had been up all night puking. VINDICATION. I mean, uh, I was very sorry to hear that. I was also sorry to have to tell Monkey that his friend was still germy and contagious, but as Chickadee and I got her metric ton of stuff sorted and put away, he happily bounced in and out of her room to chat with us.

Later there was some cleaning and laundry and I gave Otto the haircut I’d promised him about a month ago (hey, it’s been a busy month), and then last night we had breakfast for dinner because I am lazy awesome. And after that, there was cake (for the gluten-eaters).

Do we know how to par-tay, or what?


  1. Korinthia Klein

    You were so smart to protect yourself from the germy people. I team-taught a violin lesson on Friday and both the student and the other teacher arrived saying they were sick and I thought REALLY?! Why do you want me in that club?! And today, despite washing my hands 800 times I am home sick.

  2. Arnebya

    I wouldn’t even know what to do amid all that nonstoppartyoverhere y’all have going on. And I am so very happy that you have it all to do, even if it costs millions of dollars in footwear.

  3. PopC

    I really don’t have much to say, I just wanted to be first with a comment.

    Awesomness X 3.

  4. Lisa

    Big Bang Theory is the most awesome show ever! Love, love, love it!

  5. Brigitte

    VINDICATION made me laugh.

    Was Chickadee’s stuff really, really heavy? Seems like it might have been cheaper and less labor-intensive to throw it in a few giant boxes and ship it UPS. then Otto could have watched cars drive in circles!

  6. Sherry

    Would you mind sharing what shoes Chicky bought? My 13 year old son is starting track this year and he is going to be a distance runner. Thanks so much!

  7. Heather

    I just love this. From the strategy to keep yourselves from being exposed to the pukes to the running store story (we experienced pretty much the same thing with my girl this fall when she did cross country) – also, arches do not always mean high as mine fall rather flat – to the cake-getting. I just love how mundane yet happy it is! <3

  8. Amy

    I’m so glad that shoe store worked out! And yes, all the shoes do basically cost the same as I have come to find out the hard way and the ones that help for over pronation, which I have, cost the most. Hooray.

    Also, The Big Bang Theory is my favorite show too and we watch it all the time. Apparently Sheldon and I have a lot in common as per my husband :-).

    Oh, and last but not least, I too have a rule about stomach bugs. I told all my employees (all 4 of them) if they ever came to work with a stomach bug that it was grounds for being fired. We all basically work in one room and one sick person would equal five sick people. Also, the last time I had a stomach bug I wound up with a broken thumb, so yeah, we don’t play around here.

  9. deva at deva by definition

    running shoes are super pricey but worth it. If she ends up loving the pair she got, make note of the brand, name, and style number and keep an eye out for when they discontinue them to get a steal. I live in Asics Gel Kayanos, and whenever they discontinue a style (right now they are Kayano 18s) the discontinued style gets deeply discounted.

  10. kapgaf

    I love that your Happy Families includes buying running shoes, stomach bug avoidance, long distance driving and cake. There should always be cake.

  11. Melody

    I LOVE Big Bang Theory too! And new shoes! And cake!!! But not driving 17 hours for used stuff :-) If I drive 17 hours, there better be a vacation on the other end of that, not a return trip…then sometimes 17 hours alone does sound kind of nice…

    Our house does not get stomach bugs…knock on wood Baby.

  12. CuriousCat

    i watch big bang theory AT LEAST 3 nights a week. it never gets old, it’s always funny.

  13. Michelle

    Are the shoes Nike Flyknit Lunar1+? Cuz that’s the ad below your story ya know. In blue and fushia.

    High five for a normal family weekend. Normal rocks!!

  14. Jan

    Those small-sized clothes at Goodwill are the ones the rest of us bought when we started our diet, thinking we’d fit into them by summer. And then two years later, donated, because we were tired of their CONSTANT MOCKING.

  15. karen

    Otto is totally freak’n amazing.

    I wish our two track running children were of the same gender and size, (they aren’t) because after spending a gazillion dollars on the sneakers and the OTHER sneakers with spikes, three pairs of the RIGHT kind of shorts because we have always been a soccer/basketball family and the track suit for wet weather jogging and muscle warming…… he quit after the very first indoor season. I would have sold you the lot for $50. *sigh*

  16. Katherine

    Somehow the small clothing size bit doesn’t work for my boys at Goodwill. They both wear the smallest sizes in men’s clothing (or for the 14 yo, the largest sizes in boys), but mostly what I find at goodwill is XXX large. Nothing in the long, skinny sizes :(

  17. Kathy

    Just ordered spikes for my little (?) last week … Just 2 days BEFORE the Nike coupon appeared on Want Not (Don’t it just FIGURE?!). Luckily, we were able to go to the local sports store and try them on at full price before we ordered them at a substantially reduced price from Nike! That was win-win!!

    Good luck in track, Chickadee! We’re all rooting for YOU!

  18. Mert

    My son is a very good sprinter (has made it to states in both college and high school) so he has some pretty high tech (read expensive) spikes. Last year he got stepped on during an indoor event and TORE his brand new spikes and they were unusable. He also injured his foot, but hey- skin grows back.

  19. Aimee

    Hey, successfully predicting that the rest of Lemur’s family wasn’t out of the woods is cakeworthy, I think. That’s solid thinking! I managed to avoid a nasty stomach bug recently despite living in the same house with two people who got it, but I now have a horrible nagging coughing bug that I can’t get rid of. I am all about trying to avoid the germs.

  20. Amelia

    LOVE IT! also? running shoes for an *actual runner* (not just someone who wears them for errands, like i do)? those are not only equipement; they are MEDICAL equipment, as far as i am concerned. much cheaper and better than doctor’s visits and such. good job, mama.

  21. crazyjane

    We love some Big Bang here, too. I once mentioned that I thought Sheldon was behaving ‘a little bit Aspergery’. It brought on a long conversation which my son thought about that for a couple of days and then realized that he, too, is kind of ‘Aspergery’. Which he totally is but we had not figured out if/how/when to tell him. So he figured it out on his own and is fine with it because he LOVES Sheldon Cooper.

  22. Navhelowife

    We are HUGE Big Bang Theory fans here. Dr. Who as well.
    Good call on the Stomach Flu.

  23. Jeanie

    Who knew about the running stores? Sounds way too high-tech — and expensive — for me. I’m glad Chickie got some costly purple running shoes that she likes, though. And I hope Monkey gets to visit with Lemur soon.

  24. divrchk

    I’m feeling a bit let down that there’s no shoe picture. Esp. since we didn’t get a start of school shoe picture for Chickadee this year. Where’s the love? :-)

    Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!

  25. Laura

    I run in purple Brooks Pure Flow. Runners want to know what kind of shoes she got! And also to tell you that arches come in all different heights. It sounds like you went to a really awesome running store. What kind of shoes are they?!!

  26. Lindsey

    Oh, despite what people try to tell you, running is NOT cheap. There are the shoes, and then the CLOTHES! And the special SOCKS! And more clothes and gloves for when it gets cold out! I learned this the year I trained for and ran a marathon in about 6 months. (Pro Tip: spend more than 6 months training for a marathon if you’ve never run in your life except to escape a hungry bear.)

    Having said all that – getting the right shoes, even at a million dollars, will save all kinds of trouble w/ shin splints, IT Band syndrome and all kinds of other injuries. Unless, of course, you try to train for a marathon in six months , in which case there is nothing that can save you from those injuries except being a freaky runner-person, which I am not.

    And all of that is a rambly way of saying, glad you got her some good shoes! They are important.

    Also, LOVE Big Bang Theory. I watched almost all of the first 2 seasons over one weekend and walked around singing the theme song for weeks. Totally worth it. Hilarious show. :)

  27. Amanda

    Cake! Cake makes it all better.

  28. Brigitte

    Hmmmm . . already commented . . but could that smarty-pants Chickadee have insisted on coming home now, because in Georgia the school year ends a month earlier? Hmmmm? HMMMM!?

  29. 12tequilas

    Okay, could someone please tell me that Mir, while very, very pretty, is WRONG and that it is possible for a stomach thing to not attack the whole family? My older son is working on day 8 of a virus, but the rest of us are fine so far, and I would really, really like to keep it that way…???

  30. Tracy B

    The Big Bang is the best show on TV. Penny Penny ……And what a call on the stomach buggie thing. My granddaughter spent 2 days in the hospital with it. Good Call, Mom! I don’t know what to say about the tennis shoes. I love shoes! :)

  31. Djurdjica

    Minecraft AND Big Bang Theory? You have the best kids, Mir. ;)

  32. Meg

    I thought I was the only one that was neurotic about stomach bugs and would not go near unless everyone was well for a couple of days. I was at a dinner recently where the woman that sat down next to me stated that she didn’t fell well and so I tried very very hard not to breathe in her direction. She ended up puking in the bathroom and leaving. The good news is she was not there long enough to pass on her puke bug. I felt very bad for her, but she should have stayed home.

    And Otto is amazing…

  33. bryan

    i am so happy to read this kind of post.

  34. Theresa

    There is an episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon proclaims that he is Batman. I wonder is this is where Monkey picked up that saying.

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