Sean and I went out Christmas shopping the other night. We had a small window, as we knew it was prudent to get home before bedtime. It doesn’t matter how great a sitter is, or how thorough your notes are, toddlers are maniacal. Throw an infant into the mix and it’s over. So 6 to 8pm it was. We agreed to follow a list and a predetermined store route. Understand that this is difficult for me because I instinctively and involuntarily fight anything that resembles a planner, a priority list or an authentic schedule. Try as I might to be on time or 100% prepared, I fail. Luckily I pull off enough MacGyver type fixes in moments of urgent need that I escape being branded a complete imbecile.

First stop:Toy-R-Us. I hate that store. I hate it like I hate spiders. I’m not kidding. I might just subject myself to a Fear Factor type challenge to avoid it. Granted I don’t have the buoyant rack capable of saving an entire jumbo liner of passengers from a watery death required to be on that show, nor would I normally be willing to get oiled up and set in a glass case of creepy crawly whatever-the-fucks to serve as some sort of post dinner fantasy for those sickos tuning in at home. But I just might do it to avoid the Toys-r-Us floor to ceiling neon displays with lemming tendencies and checkers who make no effort to conceal their contempt that you are preventing them from lighting up a joint in the stockroom. Sean also feels ill at ease in this hateful store, whispering to me at one point, “Is it me, or does it look like all the guys in here are deviants who belong nowhere near children?” His face pales and he says, “God, do I look like a creepy guy for being in here?” Something just seeps into you when you’re in the store, like the bad slime stuff that bubbled up in the court room in Ghostbusters, transforming everyone from happy-go-lucky to ugly and mean…some of the people come in ugly and mean to begin with, so you can imagine what they’re like after 20 minutes…
I realize this is another one of those sweeping generalizations that serves to further fluff the cushions in the little corner of hell already reserved for me. Screw it guys, just make me stay in the doll section of Toys-r-Us.
30 minutes. Gone. Never to be returned. They better love the…jesus, I can’t even remember what we bought.

Fun stop 2: Target, for a kitchen, a princess nightgown and play thingie that has a rotating seat for Avery and space for Briar to play as well. After typing that why do I suddenly feel we have another variation on baby sister tether ball in our future? We managed not to bitchslap anyone at Target, which I personally think has landed me on the short list for sainthood. What exactly is it with these women who think that they should have immediate access to anything that catches their slow witted fancy?
I need to get at those Boggle games. Can’t waste time asking her to move. Let me just, ok, here we go, if I move a little closer I think I can radiate enough body heat off my ample bosom to let her know I am back here. Maybe I can get my pleated Mom jeans front-bulge to brush her hip.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Am I in your way?” I ask.
She looks at me as if I have broken wind, grabs the Boggle, hosses it into her cart alongside a mountain of Bugles and Fiddle Faddle and nearly body checks me to speed sloth over to a Bratz Doll display. Keep moving, Amanda. Keep your eye on the ball. Just 55 minutes left. Must find the Princess nightgown. No problem, it’s Disney, the Princesses are everywhere.
WRONG! Not a single princess sleep thing in the joint. Not a Cinderella, not a Sleeping Beauty, not even a Belle or Barbie knock off. What. The. Hell. We darted over to the girl section in search of a t-shirt we could modify. Nothing. I began to feel like my face was taking on the crazed look of the japanese women I saw on tv when I was 8 pummeling each other to get one of those creepy, oddly coiffed, butt faced Cabbage Patch Dolls.
I never had a Cabbage Patch Doll. All I can say is : No! Crimped? Permed? Promise me none of you out there are buying this crap!”

Looking at the time and gauging the how vital it was to eat before returning home we grabbed a kitchen (cute, non-plastic, comes with pots and pans but will still be at the end of our driveway three years from now with a “free” sign on it) and beat feet out of Target.

Because I am resolute in my refusal to ingest anything purchased at a drive thru, we ended up in a sports bar. It made the folks at Target and Toys-r-Us look like society’s elite. I am not kidding when I say that it felt a little like Scottie beamed me to a planet that was just about to see its last generation of life as they had ceased to evolve after the stage of picking and eating mites from one another’s hair. I hate to leave on a foul note, but you really don’t want to hear about my meal or the light beer I used to sterilize my silverware.