Monday, November 14, 2011

Birthday Gifts, Running Shoes and Zimmer Frames

The last few weeks have been pretty busy.  I’ve been out and about quite a bit and its been ever so slightly hectic.  I have realised something about myself which I guess I always knew deep inside but it has now come to the surface.  James thinks its a bit funny and slightly annoying and I just find it kind of enlightening.  You see I have realised that for every minute or hour of activity and busyness that I engage in which involves interacting with other human beings I need an equal amount of minutes or hours to unwind, by myself, doing pretty much nothing.

I actually found myself, the other day, sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing but my head was spinning and I felt like my brain was desperately trying to catch up with what my body had just done.   The problem with this is that there just are not enough hours in the day to sit doing nothing in response to having just had interactions with other people.  And I enjoy the interactions with others but sometimes I wonder if I would be better off being a hermit.

Anyway, I am not a hermit so out into the world I have gone in the last little while and wherever I have gone inevitably hilarity has ensued.  

A while ago we were doing a spot of shopping, we were in a particular shop with the whole family and I was determined to find James’ mother a birthday present.  I had hit upon just the thing and was trying to select just the right one.  It was a scent diffuser.  The sort that have a cute little glass jar which you put the scented oil into and then you pop several reeds into it.  Not only does it look aesthetically pleasing, it wafts a pleasing scent around the room.

I found one that had a jar that looked lovely and a scent that made me think of my Mother In Law’s kitchen (which usually smells very very yummy).  I picked up the box and I thought it didn’t seem quite heavy enough.  I wondered if someone had removed one of the little bottles of scented oil.  I turned the box over and slid the outer sleeve up so that I could see if there were one or two bottles in there.  I saw that there was, in fact, only one bottle instead of the advertised two at precisely the same time I heard the loud smash that indicated I had raised the outer sleeve and released the cute little glass jar from its safe embrace.  The whole shop went deathly quiet, James popped his head around the end of the aisle to see what I had done and a shop assistant arrived on the scene.  She spoke into her walkie talkie and asked for a cleanup person.  I just stood there and keep saying over and over “that was the last one and it was perfect for her”.  James quietly shepherded me away.  I eventually did find another one out by the checkout and we bought it without incident and gave it to James’ mum for her birthday.

On my own birthday I decided I needed a balloon.  I was in the supermarket with just Abigail that day and we spotted these cute little animal balloons that would walk around on the floor behind you if you held onto their strings.  Abigail tried it out and it looked so cute I just had to have one.  I chose a penguin and after strapping Abigail into the trolley I handed it to her to hold for me.  She immediately took to her special task and held on for dear life.  We completed our shopping and had one last thing to get which was a birthday card for a friend.  We went to the card aisle and were the only shoppers in that whole big long aisle.  By this time Abigail was getting a little bit over affectionate with Mr Penguin and I feared for his life so I removed him from her vice grip and placed him in the relative safety of the trolley basket.  I turned around to select a card and once I had done this I turned back to find Abigail sitting there right where I had left her but no Mr Penguin in sight.

I looked up and down the aisle, still no one shopping with us and no Mr Penguin trying to make a break for it.  I looked back into the trolley and there sat a little set of penguin feet, I picked them up and looked at them from all angles. I noticed a little piece of tape attached to them and it was at that point that I realised the feet were the weight that held down the helium filled penguin.  I looked up and sure enough there was Mr Penguin high up in the rafters of the supermarket with his little string dangling down.  Poor Mr Penguin.  We went back to the little cage they had all the animal balloons in and selected a second Mr Penguin and immediately made our way to the checkout.

When the young man started checking us out I held up the penguin feet and said in a very somber voice “I’m sorry to say, there was a penguin massacre in aisle 8”.  He looked back at me blankly.  I had to explain what had happened and he still didn’t really get it.  He just took the penguin feet and put them under the cash register.  We took Mr Penguin home and managed to convince the whole family that we had actually purchased a real live pet and that it was waiting in the living room for when everyone got home.  I’m pretty sure we had at least James and Emily convinced we had got a puppy.  Mr Penguin actually still lives, he is slightly deflated at this point and stands quietly at James’ side of the bed staring at him as he sleeps.  He has managed to keep his feet attached but has given up his youthful frolics through the house, the kids no longer pay him any attention.  Poor Mr Penguin.

I have recently decided to join up at the gym with a friend and try to get fit and somewhat healthy.  In preparation for this grand adventure there were a few things I needed to acquire.  Like gym clothes, gym socks and gym shoes.  I decided that the cheaper these things were the better since I might not enjoy myself (actually there’s not much chance I’ll be enjoying myself but it must be done) and I would hate to have spent a lot of money on things I’ll never use.  So off to Walmart I went in search of these fitness items.  I managed to get the gym pants pretty quickly and the socks were no problem although it took me quite a while to figure out if I wanted ankle socks, low profile socks or barely there socks.  I chose the low profile ones and managed to get a bag of 6 pairs with 2 bonus pairs.  I figured 8 pairs would give me plenty of time to do laundry between visits to the gym.

Then it was onto the shoes.  It has been so many years since I bought gym shoes that I can’t even remember when it was.  I selected a few pairs that looked sufficiently gym like and tried them on.  I found one pair that fitted better than the others and happily added them to my cart.  Then I found a cute pair of slippers for Abigail and some new underpants for James and off I went to the checkout.  

I got home and tried on the gym pants, they looked as good as can be expected when you haven’t darkened the door of a gym for 5 years.  I turned to the packet of socks and noticed a gaping hole in the packaging that I had completely missed when I selected them.  I took the socks out and counted them, only 7 pairs.  I was pretty annoyed.  I would have to return them now.  I moved on to the shoes.  I took them out of their box and immediately noticed something slightly odd.  They were two completely different shoes.  I looked closer, they were completely different sizes.  I couldn’t believe it.  My mistake was that I had only tried one of them on and hadn’t even looked at the other one.  

A few days later I made the pilgrimage back to Walmart to exchange my items.  I found a new packet of socks but the shoes I liked were not there.  I went to the exchange place and was in the process of exchanging the socks when I found that the new packet I had selected also had a hole in it.  The lady behind the counter just shrugged and asked if I wanted to count them.  Yes I did as a matter of fact!!  They were all there and it was easier to just take them than try to find another unadulterated packet with three (by this time) grumpy children in tow.  I got a refund on the shoes and a piece of tape to fix the hole in the sock packet.

A week or so later my friend who is going to the gym with me told me off for even thinking about buying cheap gym shoes and sent me off on a mission to get some more appropriate footwear.  She recommended New Balance shoes which she had worn for years and since she used to work in a shoe shop that specialised in athletic shoes I decided to take her advice.  Shortly thereafter I purchased some New Balance running shoes (not that I’ll be doing any running but they look cool).  I decided to try wearing them in before we hit the gym.  Now I haven’t owned a pair of sneakers for many many years and I have a great love of shoes and try to wear stylish ones at all times (although I am slightly stymied by my silly ankles who insist that I don’t wear heels).  

It has been 5 days now and I haven’t been able to remove the shoes.  They are so darned comfortable and my knees and hips and ankles don’t hurt at the end of the day like normal.  I can get out of bed in the morning and walk to the bathroom without feeling like I need a zimmer frame.  They are amazing.  I have to admit I even went into my closet the other day and picked out an outfit to wear then put it back because it was going to be too dressy to wear with my sneakers.  

Actually speaking of zimmer frames I met a lady with one the other day.  Well I didn’t quite meet her but she almost met the sharp edge of my tongue.  The girls and I were shopping for snow gear and we had found some new snow boots which they were happily trying out by clomping around the shop.  I decided to stop off in the women’s shoe section to see if there was anything I might like.  I had the stroller and the two girls clomping along in front of me.  We kind of took up nearly the whole aisle (which was very short).  

I stopped to look at some shoes and the kids clompy danced out of the aisle into the pathway at the end and back, they went back and forth a few times and then I heard this very nasty voice say “get away, go away annoying little girls.  You shouldn’t be here, get away from me”. My ears pricked up and so did my mother hackles.  I couldn’t see who was saying this but then a zimmer frame came into view at the end of the aisle followed by a tiny bent over woman who looked to be about 183 and in my opinion would have got more value from buying her shoes at Walmart than at LL Bean even with the lifetime guarantee.  Now I know that is a very uncharitable thing to think but this woman had just been very nasty to my little girls who at that time were not even being as obnoxious as they have the ability to be.

The girls kind of pranced away and then went back to the end of the aisle as I moved along a bit.  Basically they now had no choice but to stand there at the entrance to the aisle because I was blocking the way behind them.  The lady once again started up “get away, you shouldn’t be here, get out of my way, horrible little girls”.  The girls stepped back, banging into me and the lady finally spotted me there giving her “the eye”.  She quickly changed her tone and said “thank you girls” before practically running away as fast as her zimmer frame would allow her to.  

I have never had to bite my tongue as hard as I had to that day.

The girls had a slight redemption last night though.  We had had Kaitlyn’s birthday party in the afternoon and decided that it was a good time to use some vouchers we had to go and eat at a restaurant.  The girls were still dressed in their tutus and princess fairy dresses they had worn to the ballet birthday but we didn’t care.  We got quite a few looks and comments of “oh, how cute” as we made our way to our table and then proceeded to have our dinner.  

It wasn’t until near the end of our meal that two older ladies approached me and said “we just had to stop and say how beautifully your children have behaved tonight.  We are so impressed, you’re obviously doing a wonderful job raising them.  Such beautiful children and so well mannered.  Such a joy to see these days.”  My heart swelled with pride because they are so well behaved when we go out to eat and we hardly ever even notice it anymore because it’s just normal.  Then the ladies said “you seem to be doing a good job training your husband too”.  I laughed and agreed that he was nearly trained.  He had just taken Emily to the bathroom and then come back and taken Kaitlyn too so that I could finish my meal uninterrupted.

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