The original plan for tax-free weekend was dependent upon whether I had secured all items necessary to take my place as the mother of the groom. I finally received my dress, in duplicate, having purchased one from a store, and then finding it for half the price from the designer. The first dress had arrived the previous week, and Samantha took it home to show to her friend, who had been kind enough to offer to make the alterations. All I had to do was let her know when dress number two arrived, and she would come to the office and make a start. Of course, the best laid plans, etc, etc., once again failed to materialise. My check list started to grow, as with each box ticked, another was added.
My week started rather quietly, although I had enough on my desk to keep me busy from the previous Friday. Dress number two arrived nice and early Monday morning, and Pam was due to come in for my first fitting in the afternoon, but she had some unforeseen difficulties which prevented this, and we made the arrangements for Wednesday. This was not a problem, despite the fact that I had an appointment at the hairdressers at half past midday. Tuesday was similar to Monday, and I was able to clear my desk by the afternoon, which gave me time to go home, swim, and take Dana to the mall to look at headpieces. Dana, ever willing to be dragged along to whatever location necessary to deplete my angst, (bless him,) took me to the Domain, where a hat designer was auditioning her wares. Tuesday night is not normally known for being a hubbub of activity, but I should have guessed there was a reason for holding such an event on such a humdrum day. It was a 'going back to school' extravaganza. A stage had been set up in the middle of the thoroughfare, where a band was playing 80's music. Tables and chairs in the surrounding area were being attended to by wait staff, who appeared to be giving away food. We watched as one after another waltzed around with trays of delicacies, being dive-bombed by starving passers-by. People were dancing and singing, eating and drinking, but not shopping and the store assistants did not seem to be particularly impressed, as no one was entering their establishments. It did seem rather strange that this would be taking place during the week before 'tax-free' weekend, as most people would be waiting for Saturday morning to purchase any items of clothing. This was definitely in its own category of 'Keeping Austin Weird'. Dana is not a socialite, and was quite happy to be whisked along, past the revellers, despite the enticing smell of cooking. Fortunately, the hat shop had its own variety of sustenance, and was not particularly crowded. We were greeted most enthusiastically, by a very wide smile. I assume there was a full face under the enormous brim of the sun hat, but couldn't be sure. The smile explained that they were having a special event, and inquired as to whether I was shopping for a particular purpose. I answered in the affirmative, and said that I had received an email from a local designer to say she was having a 'trunk show'. The smile disappeared and an outstretched arm pointed towards the back of the shop, before turning around and bumping into another hat which was housing its own set of teeth! The designer was floating in a way that only designers know how, willowy, yet beautifully, and I felt myself drifting towards her. I introduced myself and she led me to the table which housed her latest creations. The choice was not great, but the perfect headpiece sitting right in front of me, just waiting for a head to adorn. I tried on two, just for comparison, and before Dana could make it to the snack table, I had bought my next item on the check list.
The next day, brought me back to reality. I had my hair cut, and returned for my first 'fitting'. Pam took one look at the dress, pins in hand, and told me that she would prefer not to do it. Shock and anxiety hit people in many different ways. I laugh. In fact, I do not just laugh, I giggle uncontrollably. I was once in a store where someone told the proprietors of a recent tragic death. Whilst everyone was stunned, I looked like I was at a comedy festival! Howling hysterically at the top of my voice, everyone stopped what they were doing, and were curious as to the punchline. 'She can't do the alterations', I chuckled, whilst standing in a gown that was made for someone at least three inches taller. No one dared ask why I was chortling, although no one could see why it was so funny. Attempting to apologise to Pam was not successful, and after she had given me a name and telephone number of a fellow seamstress, she left, leaving me to hobble back to the bathroom, in my not high enough heels, still laughing like a hyena.
The seamstress was very accommodating. As I felt I could not make another unscheduled exit from the office, she made an appointment for the next morning. I gave her a description of the dress, the material and style, and she acknowledged, in rather a heavy central (I think) European accent, that she could make the alterations. I described, again, the dress, the material and style, and she further acknowledged that she would make alterations to a long dress, and once again that she was equipped to alter any style. By the third time, she was beginning to regret answering the telephone but was very gracious and told me she would be waiting for me at 11am. Having no experience with this new game, once again, I was in panic mode. Before leaving on Thursday, although I knew the approximate whereabouts, I looked online for a map to the tailor. The reviews that popped up were all very positive, apart from one, who said, 'she was very cold'. I assumed this was her personality rather than her body temperature, and left the office for another nervous breakdown. I think the 'coldness' of the lady was more due to her not having confidence in the language, than her manner, as she was delightful. She was, after all, offering a service, and not a friendship. She smiled politely, and I described what needed to be done. She, in not so many words, told me that I had no idea what needed to be altered, but showed me how she could take care of it. She was a pinning magician! Of course, my time restraint was a problem, and she could not promise to have it done before Labor Day. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I sighed, heavily, and asked when she thought it might be available. Taking great pity upon me, and sensing that anxiety levels were truly off the scale, she promised I could have it the Wednesday before the holiday weekend. Perhaps the curtsy was a slight overkill, but I could not express my gratitude enough. She promised it would look beautiful!
With shoes, hat and dress (well almost the latter) all taken care of, I thought I was well prepared and ready to go. How wrong could I be. With a modicum of excitement in my voice, I told my mother I was (almost) ready to go! However, when she asked what colour I had chosen for my accessories, all I could think of was the words uttered by Lady Bracknell, in 'The Importance of Being Ernest'; 'A handbag!?' I shrieked! I had not contemplated a source for carrying objects that had, up until now, seemed superfluous. I would, of course, want to have a camera, a phone, and no doubt a tissue. It would not be proper to have one stuffed into my bra strap, or up my sleeve, as is my usual practice, (I am now referring to tissues, and not the former items!) Was there anything else that I could have possibly forgotten!
Saturday finally arrived, and I completed my usual chores in record time, being ready to leave the house by ten. Tax free weekend could be enjoyed without having to look for special occasion wear, although I must say that my shopping gene had gone sought refuge in a non-commercial zone. The trip itself was rather a lot of fun, and my inexcusable intolerance for the lack of common sense was, as always, present. However, with the thought of having to recheck my check list, I think it advisable that I revisit the subject in ...... another story,