Sweaters…and World Peace

Welcome to the new year!  So far it has been wonderfully joyful.  Snow or no snow (the shovelling saga continues), my sister and I had booked last Saturday for a trek to the mall and a day of shopping.  For those of you who do not enjoy this kind of expedition let me explain why women love going to a mall and can spend hours (oh yes, literally hours), wandering from store to store and carrying a smorgasbord of bags with treasures home.

First, I do sympathize with those of you who find clothes shopping a mundane task.  This chore is even more cumbersome during the winter months when you need to slough off boots (perhaps even long underwear) while you try on pants or dresses.  Even when taking shirts on and off over your head, there is that wondrous crackle of electricity from static in the air.  Ah…the trials and tribulations of winter shopping.  Besides having to deal with those health hazards, there is also the desire to own new things while keeping your bank account from weeping with loss.  And finally, with all the winter sales in full force there is the challenge of finding clothes in your size and/or finding the desired colour.  Stores themselves become a grandiose mess and it’s almost impossible to find what you like.  If you do, there are the lineups for the fitting rooms and then the subsequent queues at the checkout.  All this wasted time!  For what?  Ah…this is where those of you who dislike to shop misunderstand the seek and hunt of this magnanimous adventure.

Shopping is comparable to a hunting expedition.  You hunt for a convenient parking spot.  You hunt for the great end of season deals.  You hunt for that unique item that others will envy you for.  Sure you might have to peek through racks of unkempt clothing, but it’s like being a hungry cat in the jungle, peering through foliage in order to seek out your prey.  Once you pounce on that coveted piece, your insatiable appetite will wane exponentially.  Even better, you will hear cherubs singing songs of praise as you not only discover that one-of-a-kind item, but happily realize it’s your size.  Now add to that eureka moment the final trifecta:  that article of clothing is now 70% off the regular retail price!  Oh yes, shopping CAN make you this deliriously happy!

Back to Saturday.  Whilst perusing in one boutique (a place I dare not venture into unless it is the January-end-of-winter sale or the September-end-of-summer sale), I nonchalantly bumped into a rack that hollered (figuratively speaking) “up to 70% off“.  Wha-what?  I had just spent 15 minutes scouring through an impossibly tight rack of slacks with not a pair of pants to my liking or my fitting.  Here it was, this rack of glory, like a beacon in the night, and it held upon it’s metal arms shirts and sweaters of MY unique colour preference; orange.  Then I spied it.  A fluffy orange sweater.  Not only was there only ONE left, but it was my size!  Not only did it FIT perfectly upon my being, but it would meld nicely with its relatives in my closet.  Not only did I have all that going for me, but it  was 70% off!  HUZZAH!  I bagged one!  At least I almost had.

The lineup at the checkout was quite long and appeared steadfastly immovable.  My sister, intrigued with my unique shopping whims, waited patiently with me.  We didn’t move for a couple of minutes.  I remarked that if we did not move at least halfway closer toward the front within 15 minutes then my purchase was not meant to be.  Golden Rules of Shopping; rule #5.  We stood.  We waited.  Time ran out.  I put my “winning” sweater on a nearby rack and we walked away.  It was not meant to be.  My sister was shocked.  She had been willing to wait, but I explained to her my policy and would not be swayed.  Onward and upward.  To the second floor!

As we finished our sale-shopping spree, our stomachs began speaking (grumbling really) and we turned around and headed back from whence we came.  We passed the boutique…almost.  I nonchalantly glanced inside.  The queue was much shorter now.  A cashier had been added into the foray.  I wondered aloud if my prized sweater was where I had abandoned it.  GASP!  It was!  A sign from the shopping gods!  I snatched MY fuzzy, bright, orange sweater and we proceeded to the back of the line.  After several minutes I proceeded triumphantly to the cashier and purchased MY new sweater.  I paid…wait for it…$7.00 (+ taxes) for a sweater!  BOOYAH!

My shopping expeditions are contagious!  Even my sister, one who does not usually enjoy such treks, had a wonderful time!  The hunt leading to the actual purchasing of items can make us so happy and make us feel good.  It’s what good shopping trips are all about.  It is a trip!  Some people use drugs and alcohol!  I have retail therapy!

Men can brag about bagging a deer.   I can counter that with bagging a sweater (wrapped neatly in tissue paper and placed in a chic paper bag.  A lovely,  bright, orange, fuzzy sweater.  A sweater that is functionally warm and yet coquettishly comfortable, not to mention its exuberantly cheerful colour.  Those around me will naturally brighten and lead happier lives.  Children will flock to me due to my fuzzy teddy-bearness.  Yes, my latest $7.00 purchase might even lead to world peace!

….and the angels could be heard, not far off in the distance, singing their praises…

Us

Us seems to be a very short title, but I believe that sometimes less words are more integral in describing a thought than a run on sentence  full of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs…and nothingness. This two letter word is so full of meaning and definition. It is a concept and way of life that I am finally beginning to fully understand.

We begin our lives as wonderful, dependent, little bundles of cuteness. Some babies are born into loving families. Others are born into dysfunctional families. In the end, there is a beginning. We emerge and grow and learn. Some lessons are taught to us and others we discover on our own. Life lessons. The world is our educator. In most cases we are taught to find our perfect soul mate so that we can live happily ever after.

Poor girls, we try so hard to find Prince Charming everywhere we look.  We can overlook the flaws in order to have someone to hold us and take care of us. Right? Heck no. Nowadays we want the handsome Prince, but he had better know how to wash dishes and do laundry and make  dinner. We are very busy women folk. Not to mention adding child  bearing and raising that child. Who’s going to do all that?

Fast forward in life…career woman,  make dinner, make lunches, attend meetings, get stuck in traffic, driving children to and from school and after school?  Dance or karate or baseball or soccer.  Grocery shopping, clothes shopping.  Hang out with significant other. Who? Oh yeah,  I remember you.

I remember when we used to jump into the two door sedan and just go driving. (Can’t do that now because gas prices are so crazy and we  have a mini van not a cool sporty vehicle). Remember when we would go out for dinner and just talk about nothing. (Dinner out now means going out when we get a coupon in the mail and then talking about bill payments or house renovations). Remember when it was just the two of us? Us.

I remember the early dating days. Money? We were lucky if we had 40.00 between the two of us. We would talk for hours. We would write little notes and letters to each other. There was no texting or e-mails.  It was pen to paper and it was beautiful and thoughtful.  Little things were monumental. A cup of coffee, ready-made, and nice and hot when I woke up. Sitting around on the balcony of our rented apartment and just enjoying the view.  Beautiful.  Calm. Quiet. Some music playing softly in the background.  Bliss.  Us.

Us then became extended us. Children and elder family. Family obligations. Us went from having no furniture to an apartment overflowing with stuff. Suddenly Us took a back seat. Everyone and everything else was more important. Keeping children happy was number one. There were bills to pay and items to purchase. There were future houses and mortgages. New / used cars to be purchased as old ones fell apart.  Schooling and weddings and grandchildren. Work became the most  important thing because money is needed to pay for everything. We were ships in the night….literally…since we ended up working different times of the day. What happened to Us? We talked about date night and once a year, for our anniversary, we could count on that, but otherwise, Us became a non-existent thing…until tonight.

Tonight was special. Tonight you created magic. You decided to cook up a beautiful meal. I came home and did not have to prep anything.  We sat around and talked. Not about bills. Not about renovations.  Not about anything that adults would deem important. We talked about the sky and the perfect weather. We talked about your shopping spree at the grocery store and how meticulous you were in picking what you thought I would enjoy most for dinner. I was your primary concern and nothing else mattered. I want you to know how much I appreciated that and love you for it. My meal was excellent. The flavours were invigorating and the company was my favourite part. We sat outside. Just Us. The two of Us.  I realized more than ever tonight that in the end, we are in the “Us” part of our lives. The children are grown and living their own lives.  Taking care of elders is no longer part of our responsibility. All we are left with is Us.  You and me, as was before, but newly modified.  Husband and wife, grandparents, friends and lovers.  Another new exciting stage of our lives.

I love you, my other half of “Us”. Thank you for making tonight a special time and a special memory for me. I enjoy being able to date you again. The serenity and peacefulness. The non-drudgery of everyday life.  The laughter (including piggy snorts…my specialty).  You refocused my perspective and helped me don my rose-coloured glasses that I had misplaced.  Living in the pink is a pretty nice place to be.