Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swimsuit Shopping with Mimi

Eighty-five-year-old Mimi has been after me for about a month to take her swimsuit shopping for the following reasons.
  1. She has "outgrown" her swimsuits because "the food is so good at Raider Ranch."
  2. Her other bathing suits predate the new millenium.
  3. She, my niece (Kelly), and I are going to Maui in a few weeks.  (Seeing "Huh-Y-Yuh" is on Mom's bucket list.)
  4. She fully intends to go to water aerobics at "The Ranch" once she gets a cute swimsuit and swim cap.
This afternoon we ventured to Dillard's in search of flattering bathing suits.  I'm sure that Mom wouldn't mind my sharing that she now weighs around 120 pounds soaking wet, and that the new 10 pounds has settled around her midsection.  She's been sharing her weight and the fact that she's outgrown all of her clothes with her dinner table companions at Raider Ranch for months.  All these years that I've been blaming Grandma Kinzbach for my poochy belly, Mom has been holding out on me.  Apparently, she holds some of the blame for my ever present 6-months-pregnant belly.

There were approximately 1000 swimsuits at Dillards.  From itsy bitsy bikinis to big girl swim dresses, the place was a swirl of animal prints, polka dots, and wild orchids.  With years of experience in outfitting my own poochy belly in swimsuits, I tried to advise Mom on what she might want to try.  "Steer clear of the pucker-y one piece suits that make empty promises!" I advised as off she went, thumbing through racks and eyeing swimsuit fabrics an inch from her nose with one eye squeezed shut due to her macular degeneration. 

We both lit up when we saw a rack of Miraclesuit swimsuits - "lose 10 pound in 10 seconds!" I pulled out a loose-fitting top that had colors that Mom liked and held it out for her to inspect.  

"That's cute!  How much is it?!" she cooed.  

"Let me see..." I dug around in the suit looking for the tag.  "It's $84."

"EIGHTY FOUR DOLLARS!  For a bathing suit?!" she blurted in astonishment.

"Uhhh, Mom.  The price of swimsuits has gone up a bit since the '90s," I tried to calm her.

"Hmm!" she muttered in disbelief.

A few minutes later as I was looking for the right size matching bottom for the dreaded $84 top, I was shocked to see that they were priced separately.  And, the bottoms were also 80-ish bucks.  There was no miracle on the planet the suit could do in 10 minutes, let alone 10 seconds, that could justify spending that much on a swimsuit.  I quietly returned the cute top and coordinating bottom to the rack without bothering to relay the info to Mom who had moved on to "cheaper" suits.

I held up swimsuit after swimsuit trying to steer her towards flattering, age-appropriate models.  They were "too flowery," "too black," "too old-looking," and "meh."  ("Meh" is my son, Reed's, word for blah.)  After about 30 minutes of holding up suggestions, I steered her towards the dressing room where we both began trying on suits.  

"This makes my stomach look big!" she proclaimed standing sideways looking in the mirror.

"Yep.  That's why I never go for those pucker-y one piece suits.  There isn't enough spandex on the planet to make my stomach look flat in them either," I commiserated.  

She tried on swimsuit after swimsuit throwing the "definite no's" on the floor of the dressing room like wadded trash.  Then, she eyed a suit that I tried on and said, "I want to try on that one, too!  It's really cute!"  I kind of chuckled thinking that she was joking.  "Can you get the salesgirl to get me that suit in my size?" she asked.

Now, I love my little mother.  I will take her to Dillards and tediously shop with her for swimsuits.  But, with God as my witness, I will not be seen on side by side lounge chairs on the beach in Maui in matching "big girl" bathing suits!  There is ab-so-lute-ta-men-tay no way that is ever going to happen in my lifetime.

"Uh, Mom.  I think that we're a bit old to be wearing matching swimsuits.  Besides, this suit isn't exactly 'age-appropriate' for you," I explained.  Heck, it was barely age appropriate for me.  But, it was flattering and somewhat youthful looking, so I fully prepared to pay retail for it.  When it comes to flattering and somewhat youthful looking swimsuits, past experience has convinced me that money is no object.  Except for those darned Miraclesuits.  No bathing suit bottom is worth 80-plus dollars.  I'd rather sew up the mysterious hole in the crouch of a pair of Spanx and wear them for swimsuit bottoms.  

At last, after trying it on three times - the initial try on, the "rule out" try on, and the verification try on - Mom settled on a billowing black and white suit that was flattering, age-appropriate, and did not match the suit I selected.  So, while she slowly changed back into her clothes, I slid out of the dressing room and found the salesgirl.

"Come quick!" I hissed over the racks.  "I want to go ahead and get her suit paid for before she thinks to ask me how much it cost!" I explained to the salesgirl who smiled in collusion.

By the time Mom came strolling out of the dressing room, both suits had been purchased and bagged.  "How much was that suit...about $80?" she asked.  "'Bout like that," I replied. It was $89.  Plus tax.  Which made it soar into the $90 range.  Heaven help us all.

"Let's head home," I said taking Mom's elbow.

"What about a swimsuit cover up?" Mom chirped.

Chanting "serenity now," I led her to a rack with cover ups.

We found one that would look cute, but Mom turned up her nose at the $50 price tag.  "I'm going to get out my old cover up and see if it looks good with my new suit," she sniffed.

Again I took her elbow and said, "Let's head home!"  Slowly she began to head out of the swimsuit department.  Then, she broke away and began to browse through another rack of suits.  "What the heck!?" I yelped.  

"I know.  I know," she said quietly, "but...a lady in the dressing room next to mine had a really cute suit hanging on her door that might look good on me..."

I gave her The Look, firmly took her elbow, and  quickly headed towards freedom.

Huh-Y-Yuh here we come!

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