Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Warm Pants Expedition

I woke up this morning thinking of my sister, Kathy.  Not woe-is-me thoughts.  I was thinking about the Warm Pants Expedition that Mom and I embarked upon last week.  Or the week before.  My memory...ugh.

Mom had called me about a week before the Expedition to announce that she needed to go shopping for "warm pants."  It was a balmy 98 degrees here in the Hub City with no cool breezes in sight.  Oh, wait...I remember!  She wanted to go on a Warm Pants Expedition on Labor Day Weekend when she expected all of the warm pants to be on sale.  I was kind of thinking that all of the cool shorts would be on sale.  She specifically remembered that one year she was able to find great deals on warm pants at a huge Labor Day sale.  She has an uncanny memory for where and when she purchased each item in her wardrobe - dresses, tops, pants, shoes, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, panty hose - as well as how much they would have cost if she hadn't gotten them on sale for ________ (names the exact price).

We go.  On Labor Day.  Upon entering Talbots, she informed a sales associate (a 20-something GUY) that she needed warm pants.  I must explain this sudden, dire need.  My mother has a closet FULL of clothes.  Her size 6 collection was left behind when we moved her from Waco because "unless I get real sick I won't ever be that small again."  The size 8's made the trip because she might get a little sick and need them.  She had slowly gathered some 10's as she faced the reality that her "good health" was causing her waistline to expand.  After a year of good livin' at Raider Ranch with its "free" hor dourves during the Friday night cocktail hour and most excellent Sock-it-to-Me cake, she was in need of size 12 warm pants.

"What kind of warm pants are you looking for?  Casual?  Dressy?  Wool?  Corduroy?" Sales Dude enthusiastically asked.  I smiled like the Cheshire cat.  He had no idea about the bottle of worms that just walked into his sales path.

"Can you show me what you have in a size 10?" Mom asked smiling.

Off he went to gather up pants with me trailing behind telling him to make that size 12's.  After trying on approximately 10 pairs of warm pants in size 12 and a couple in size 14, Mom stood in a pile of discards in her dressing room asking about the color choices in the size 12 corduroy jeans that had won the elimination challenge.  She settled on 2 pairs:  black and chocolate.  

"What about cute tops on sale?" she asked.

"What do you mean 'cute tops'?" I questioned her question.

"Oh, something that would look cute with these warm pants..." she sighed.

Exchanging half-hearted smiles, Sales Dude and I went foraging for warm tops to match the warm pants.  At one point, I passed him in the dressing room area as he was wagging an eggplant long-sleeved "wrinkle resistant" blouse to Mom's room.  "She saw this blouse hanging on another lady's dressing room door and thought she'd like to try it on," he explained.  It seemed that the Meems had fully reeled Sales Dude in.

-passage of time-

We leave the store with 2 pairs of warm pants, 2 cute summer weight sweaters, and a beige shell.  Sure enough, everything in the store was 25% off for Labor Day.  Feeling like I had just fed the 5000, I helped Mom up into the Suburban.

Wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...

"Do we have time to go to Chico's?"

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The phone rang about 15 minutes after we walked in the door from our trip to New Orleans.

"Did you have a good time?" asked a sweet, familiar voice.

I told her about some of the great food we ate and about how the amazing smell of the raw brown sugar floated from the sugar mill we passed on our river boat excursion.

After she had asked the appropriate amount of questions to show interest in our trip she asked, "When can we go to the alterations place to get my warm pants hemmed?!"

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This morning I woke up thinking of Kathy. 

I raised my eyes to the ceiling and said, "OK, Geekus.  Your turn!"  

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