Friday, September 10, 2010

Why Living in the South Rocks

Every season I go to a children's consignment sale to get my youngest daughter's clothes. I also buy her things in store or online (usually on sale), but I try to get a good number of things used. She doesn't get out a lot (no daycare or school), so she needs things that are comfy for just wearing around the house and that can be changed easily and efficiently. That said, I am a bit of a clothes snob for her--I don't do yard sales or anything like that, and there are only a few brands that I buy because I know they are good quality and won't fall apart in the washer (cheap kids clothes are the WORST for that). So this sale works for me--I can usually find lots of Gap and Gymboree togs for not a lot of scratch. For instance, today my goal was to buy 10 items for $40.

However, I was a bit nervous about going this time around. I had just read about Allie's experience at a similar sale at Me & Emerson Elaine, plus I had seen fliers for this season's sale that said how it was bigger this time, with more consignors. Plus, it had been hyped quite a bit through Facebook and signage around the area. I had a feeling it was going to be much more crowded and probably not as fun. Also, in the past, I've had a friend who was working it and gave me her extra pass for the "preview" night on Thursday. This time, we have a mutual friend who is expecting and also has a three year old boy. I told my friend to give it to her, that I could just go on Friday with everyone else.

So today I took off to take Al to the dr., and to go to the sale. I wanted to get there at 9:00 when it opened, but my husband made me late. He is bad for that. The boy has not sense of timing. At all. Drives me batty. Anyway, I ended up getting there closer to 10:00.

The parking lot was full, and I was about to just turn around and leave. But the scent of a good deal kept me going. Because I am a selfish, awful person, I had just splurged on a top that I wanted from Loft, paying full price for it (when it will surely go down in price later) just because I wanted to make sure I got my size. I also want to get some other stuff with the savings cards I have. This means I need to make up for it in other ways. So, I got out, put Alice in the stroller, and went to it. It was definitely bigger this year--in the past, everything had been in one large gym type room of the church, with a few larger things in the hall outside of that room. However, this year, toys and gear was in its own large room, with clothes, shoes and baby blankets and stuff concentrated in the gym. Alice and I beelined to the 18-24 mo. rack, and I made a clean sweep, quickly sorting through what was cute and what was utter garbage. I was pretty happy with what I got, shoved it in my Ikea bag and moved on. I was super stoked about a Gymboree cardigan and pant set I got with strawberries on it. Cute!

About this time, Alice decided to start making this awful sound she makes. It is a growl/screech/moan, and can be approximated to the sound a very horrible mythical creature would make as it slowly dies. Very hard to explain, and absolutely HORRIFYING to hear. I'm pretty sure that Sam has something to do with her doing it--he thinks it is hilarious when she does it. She seems to do it for no particular reason and at odd times. I quickly started telling her to hush, knowing that people were probably staring at us. Alice is sitting there with this goofy grin on her face, and I want to hold her up over my head and exclaim, "LOOK! She's happy! I'm not beating her! You can stop trying to contact social services now!" Out of nowhere, this lady who volunteers at the sale walks up to her, and I'm pretty sure she's about to tell me to take her out, preferably to the next county over.

"She's a pretty baby," she says. I want to say, "Yeah, but have you heard that decidedly not pretty sound coming from her?" I don't. I just thank her. She smiles at Alice, who is now transfixed, and goes, "Would you like me to take her in the toy room while you shop?"

Now normally, my go-to answer would be "No thanks." Alice is very attached to me, and has been known to scream bloody murder if she gets 5 feet from me, even if she is with Matt or another family member. But she's just staring at this lady, and I think, "What can it hurt?" The woman looks like Aunt Bea, ya'll. And I know that it is always the one that you don't expect who turns out to have a murdered hooker under his/her mattress, but I'm pretty sure this woman smells like sugar cookie dough, Yankee candles and love and has never even thought of the words "murdered hooker" in the same sentence. And besides, Alice would be very close to me. If I hear her go nuts, I can get to her easily. So I say ok. I finish shopping a bit as Alice is wheeled away, even finding some things for Sam, and then make my way to the toy room.

Alice is sitting in the floor when I arrive, happily playing with two other kids this woman has acquired. Aunt Bea is also sitting in the floor, making beaded necklaces for the two girls with a vat of beads and yarn that must belong to the church. She puts Alice's on her right as I walk in. Alice smiles really big. I am able to walk around the room a few times, and then I check out my stuff and come back and get Allie, who is all sunshine and flowers. No more evil Hell calls, no more whininess. I briefly wonder if she has been slipped Ecstasy. At any rate, I get out of there with eight clothing items for $37, a Dora See and Say that sees and says in Spanish ($3), a shirt and pair of jeans for Sam ($7), a pair of New Balance tennis shoes for Al ($10) and a pair of Stride Rite Mary Janes ($4).

Then, this afternoon, I took Gabby to get her hair cut. The day that we all thought would go down in infamy. My normal hair stylist (who I played t-ball with as a kid) is out on maternity leave, so I had made an appointment with this other lady whom I had never met. We go in, and Gabby is already getting twitchy. When I see the lady who will be cutting our hair, Gabby and I both immediately start talking. I want this, she wants that. The hairstylist just sits there and smiles. Then, really slowly, she goes, "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to cut it to where she wants it (motioning to the spot where Gabby said she would "accept" a trim to) and then I'm going to cut long layers in the rest of it so that it will lay better. You'll both like it." Just really matter of fact. I should note that she has an accent like molasses. I take Alice and sit down and she gets to work.

Moments later, Gabby is done and she's got this big smile on her face. And it really is better than I even dreamed. Gabby's hair looks healthy, and there sure was a lot of it pooling around her feet, meaning that I will not have to deal with that hair come Monday morning, so I'm happy. And it is still long, so Gabby's happy. I go over for her to cut my bangs (since I had to bring Alice along, I decided just to get a quick and dirty cut), and she shapes every thing up and we talk. As we are talking about our daughters and their quests for long hair, she starts asking me where we live. I tell her, and she says, "Did you see that car wreck a few days ago near the produce market?" I answer that I had, that I had driven down the other side of the four lane as they were cleaning it up. She goes, "Do you know who that was?" I answer that I did not. And I'm thinking, "This is a crazy place that she would assume that just because I live in a certain town that I would have both seen the wreck and know who was involved." And once in my life, if someone had asked me such a question, I would have rolled my eyes and found them to be so quaint. But today, I just smiled. And I liked it. There is this assumption that we are all in it together and all sort of watching out for each other. It is nice. She only charged me $15 to cut both our hair, but I gave her a $5 tip for working us in and being so nice.

I don't want to spend the rest of my life here, Lord knows. Matt and I consider Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run to be our "song" because neither one of us really wants to ever settle down. He figure we might stay somewhere (maybe wherever we move next) for a little while and get the kids grown, and then move around more--we have a long list of places we want to live and do. That's just our personalities--what we like. We're both a bit itchy, and the thought of staying in any place for the rest of my life scares the absolute shit out of me. I complain about living here in the sticks--finding decent food is trying at times, and one can be encountered by a bit of closemindedness. But...the people are genuinely caring. And nice. And I know there are nice people everywhere. But there is just something about Southerners. Their pace, their attitude, everything is just so damn comforting to me. Probably because I am a Southerner myself. But still. I love it.

The next time I complain, I will try to remember this post, and the fact that someone, somewhere got Alice to quit making that godawful noise so I could shop. God bless her.

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