My aversion to shopping is well known to members of my family, particularly my daughter and son-in-law. Although I leave the house with all good intentions, after the first port of call, I start to get a little irritable and by the time we reach the third store, I am downright unbearable! They have been kind enough to drag me with them on days like 'Black Friday', and their patience is a credit to them. Suffice it to say, when I am in need of items, or when I get carried away by a whim, (which fortunately for them is not very often,) I try not to inflict pain upon friends or family, and shop by myself.
The straps on my handbag were starting to wear. Dana had noticed as had Samantha, but the thought of going shopping to replace this article, which is in everyday use, was not particularly appealing. However, by the time the strap was in two pieces, rather than one, I conceded. We had spent a couple of weekends prior to the 'bag issue', looking for the perfect bicycle, as this was going to be the preferred form of transport when attending functions 'downtown', where the parking was at a premium. This was not a pleasant experience, and I did not purchase a two wheeled piece of machinery as the choice was more overwhelming than I had first imagined.
As I did not find a suitable replacement bag in Walmart or Target,(despite their vast selection,) I decided that I should visit the 'dress for less' store. On a previous visit, I had been drawn 'off course', and somehow landed in the footwear department, which bled over into the accessory aisle. I had made a mental note that only if and when the need to replace my accessories arose, this store may have exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately for me, the strap on my weekend bag had also decided to depart from the mainland and my need became a necessity.
My preference when shopping does not defer to 'designer', but to efficiency. I tend to veer away from the 'big names', and they generally have a price tag which means 'big bucks', and despite their claim to be superior, the accessory receives the same abuse which in my case is hurled to the floor when I arrive at the office, and thrown to the side of my bed, when I arrive home. It is not that I do not have regard for my possessions, it is more a case of habit. Before I can hang away my jacket, and fold my trousers, I have to remove the accessory from my shoulder! However, the 'dress for less' store advertises a variety of 'designer' accessories at reasonable prices, so my final choice would probably bear a name that is known in all the elite circles.
We walked the aisles of the particular department, and I selected several items, all of which were cast around the neck of my dutiful daughter, until I had decided there were enough from which I could choose. We found ourselves an uninhabited corner, and I proceeded to 'try on' the accessories, one by one. The choice was finally made. The first bag was for everyday; a larger variety with several inside pockets. The second bag was for weekends, which dictated a compact holdall that needed to be big enough for a purse, phone and possibly camera, with a little extra room for emergency items. The latter was packed with the contents of my current weekend carrier transferred to check for appropriate size, and it was determined to be suitable. Although it bore the name of a well known 'designer', when 'name dropping, it did not appear to be as widely known as the one that came in second place. (Perhaps I just mentioned it to the wrong people!) Due to possible lack of exposure, (or perhaps out of courtesy to their customers) the first choice, albeit better made and of leather, had a much lower 'starting price' than the runner up! When asked when buying my previous 'weekend bag', "Is that designer?", I replied, "Yes. Someone must have designed it!"
It was then time for the 'First in show' to be decided upon. I 'tried on' three or four, and finally picked the winner. It was perfect. It was also very reasonably priced, and looked sturdy enough to receive the everyday mishandling that I inflict upon my handbag! It was also very pretty! Samantha looked at me and smiled. "You know it's a 'Betsy Johnson', don't you?", she queried. I was suitably unimpressed and asked "Is that good?" I was aware of the name, as I had seen a store or two bearing that name, but it meant little else. I was given a quick lesson in the 'Johnson' style, and although I did not become more drawn to the bag, I was rather amused. I had purposely chosen a bag which bore the name of a famous designer, rather than chosen the designer and hoped that they made a suitable bag! I paid the heavily discounted price, and left the store the proud new owner of an accessory, which would, from that day, be referred to quite simply as "Betsy".
Monday morning was upon us and Betsy and I jumped into Samantha's car, and headed towards the office. It was a beautiful day, but we were going to be a man down as Jason was (hopefully) enjoying a long weekend with family and friends. A trip had to be made downtown, to drop off a document, and as the parking was non-existent at the particular office, Samantha drove me together with Betsy to the building. I jumped out of the car, leaving Betsy with the sitter, and went inside. The office on the ninth floor was locked, and I was going to have to call the number on the door. However, by the time I had accessed the keypad on my phone, to punch the numbers, a young (very young) man approached, unlocked the door, and asked the purpose of my visit. I explained that I was dropping off a document, and he asked to whom. "To the person to whom it is addressed", I said, rather tutorially, as he proceeded to open the envelope. He was unaware as to why the person to whom the envelope was addressed had requested the 'hand delivery', and I suggested that perhaps she could furnish him with the details as to why, when he gave it to the person to whom the envelope was addressed. Realising that perhaps he had overstepped his authority, he thanked me for the delivery, and retreated, rather red faced, back into the office, locking the door behind him.
Samantha and Betsy rounded the corner just as I exited the building, and I jumped (literally) into the car, quickly, so as not to hold up the traffic any longer than necessary. I reiterated my experience to my daughter, who shook her head and said, "Does he know you have a Betsy Johnson handbag? If you had taken her with you, he would not have dared open the letter!" We share a sense of humour, which sometimes is rather unique to us two!
Back at the office, I relayed the sequence of events to Dana, whose only comment was "When you say young, how young do you mean?". When I told him "About twelve", he showed a slight shift towards panic, but common sense prevailed and he realised that a large firm such as the one to whom I delivered the papers, would probably have very specific rules should they allow the child in 'Bring your child to work day', to man the reception area. I suggested that perhaps twelve was a slight exaggeration, and the more accurate term would have been, office junior. As I was discussing the differentials, Samantha signed for a package, delivered by a young (very young) man, and brought it into the back office. She made a comment about not opening something that was not addressed to her, and asked if I had noticed the deliverer, suggesting that it was another child that was enjoying the 'Bring your child to work day' experience, and said that she hoped his dad was driving the truck, as he was to young to hold a license. "When you say young, how young do you mean?", was Dana's comment. When she told him "About twelve", his eyes rolled, and we both told my daughter that she was showing signs of age!
Betsy and I continued to go to work during the week and on Wednesday, I took her to meet Joe. An introduction would have been inappropriate, and a little futile to say the least, but during the week, where I go, Betsy goes! Lunchtime saw a slight lull in the work place and I offered to drive my daughter to Costco, so that she could retrieve some photos she had ordered. She jumped into the passenger seat, and I handed her Betsy before I took my place behind the wheel. As she went to put the bag on the floor of the car, I stared at her in both shock and horror. "I don't think so!" I said quite sternly. "Betsy does not sit on the floor. You can sit on the floor and give Betsy the seat! Would you put your grandmother on the floor?" As the look of complete confusion left her face, we both started to giggle. We share the same sense of humour, which is sometimes unique to us two!
The weekend rolled around, and Betsy was retired for two days. Kenneth was released upon the world, held by a strap across my shoulder! Our mission was simple. We were to make a quick trip into Costco to return some jeans, then to Walmart, and back to Academy to look at bicycles, before returning to sit by the pool. Having completed our shopping in record time, we strolled to the back of the supermarket and looked at the two wheeled modes of transport. There were several that caught my eye, and Samantha attempted to lift them from their stands. A very obliging fellow customer, whose wife was also intending to purchase a bike, helped her pull the two wheeler to the ground. The only way that I could be sure of my impending purchase, was to 'try it on'. Unlike when purchasing Betsy and Ken, I could not go into a corner and slip it over my shoulder! Taking the bull by the horns, or in this case, the bike by the handlebars, I swung my leg over the centre bar, and rode along the aisle. Samantha stood at the end of the aisle, like a traffic cop, to stop oncoming consumers, so that I could have a clear run into the haberdashery section! Taking my cue, the lady whose husband had been so helpful in pulling down the bike, decided to ride her selection along the same path! We were not setting a very good example to the child who was with his father, looking for knee pad and helmets, as he was insistent that he needed to make sure they were suitable, and the only way this could be accomplished was by riding a bike, "like them".
Unfortunately, despite several test runs, the selections I made were not as well fitting as Betsy, nor Ken, and we left the store with only the groceries that filled our cart. I was now heading from the irritable to the unbearable stage and could not focus on any purchase, be it a bike, or a potato! The whim was dying and my attention span was following very quickly! However, with the encouragement of my daughter, who insisted that the quicker I pulled myself together, the sooner I would be able to relax, (because my whim had turned into her need, being that she had purchased a bike several months ago, in the hope that we would drive towards downtown, and ride the remainder of the way downtown to attend SXSW,) we drove northbound to Academy, and repeated the exercise! The aisles were not as long, but were slightly wider, which helped when making a turn! I rode several, and I opted for a very 'old fashioned' style, which allowed me to sit up straight, but also had gears, should I wish to climb hills! The saddle was also much wider than the norm, and very comfortable! It was perfect. Although slightly more expensive than I had anticipated, it was within my budget, and the colour was acceptable. A pale green frame would be complimented by a pink helmet, I thought, and this was also purchased at the sports store. We exited, wheeling the bike to the car. Samantha was delighted at being able to use her 'two bike' contraption that fits on to the back of her car, and we managed to hoist the unnamed article upon the rack, without the assistance of the gentleman whose wife was possibly still racing along the aisles of Walmart, without the protection of Samantha, the traffic cop!
We arrived back at the condo, and managed to hoist the new purchase off the rack, and I rode it along the back of my house, to the delight of my daughter, who was, of course, filming the entire event for posterity!
The rest of my weekend was far more simple. I enjoyed a meal with my husband on Saturday evening, and breakfast on Sunday morning. I am currently watching the clouds as they gather overhead, but am sure that the rain will stay away for another couple of days. Betsy is awaiting her next outing tomorrow morning, as Ken is put out to pasture for the week. The unnamed bike may get an outing or two, dependent upon whether swimming is a viable form of exercise next week. The Texas legislature have finally scheduled an agreeable bill for a hearing next week, so Dana will be out of the office for a while. After a suitable amount of time swimming, and generally doing very little, I shall be spending the rest of my weekend being 'political' and emailing various representatives with my opinion on the agreeable bill, humble as it may be! I shall be taking part in 'Bring your child to work week', although it will more than likely be 'My child brings me to work'! With thunderstorms on the horizon both literally and metaphorically, (due to the impending hearing) I shall look forward to a tempestuous week, all of which may make it to ......... another story!