Tuesday, June 10, 2008


There was one day last week when we were in a post-surgery Honeymoon Period, when we thought it was all downhill from here. Home from the hospital with our daughter, both parents off of work, our patient spending the day painting, humming tunes, rather peacefully recovering. And going to the bathroom regularly, normally.

Ignorance is such bliss.

We didn't foresee the next nights of quarter-hourly trips to the bathroom, days of repeated accidents, and our daughter's frustrations at not being "better" yet and not being able to "hold it," while her little two-year-old sister returned from preschool triumphant at peeing on the potty. We're tired; she's ready to go back to school; her bladder is holding us--if nothing else--up.

But let's go back to that Honeymoon, shall we? Because last Thursday afternoon while all was calm at the ranch, I made a decadent sneak to Nordstrom, where the Clinique Bonus and all manner of other possible material things to stumble upon serendipitously awaited me.

I rarely make it to The Mall anymore. Whereas I make it to Target often. Because I can get diapers AND picture frames AND nephew's birthday present AND cleaning supplies AND maybe an inexpensive dress I don't have time to try on, but heck throw it in the cart AND even WINE. It's pretty seductive one-stop shopping for a time-challenged working mom.

The Mall, on the other hand, is intimidating and usually pointless, as I rarely have a mission and I am not the Aimless Mall Stroller I once was. Time and money are too precious. And clothes too hard to fit in these days.

I had a strategic mission on Thursday, though, and that was the Clinique Bonus. Not that I need another free lipstick the color of which I don't get to choose. But the opportunity to buy my annual foundation refill AND get some Free Stuff while I was at it was too hard to pass up when opportunity knocked.

But opportunity was actually flawed, because I escaped to Nordstrom during workday hours and left my little invalid at home. Which meant I was not only plagued by guilt, but paranoid that the mother of one of our students would spot me in the Individualist section of the store during the equivalent of 5th period at school and So Bust Me for not being at work. And I would be defenseless, with hangers over my arm and a lipstick in hand, agape, lamely explaining that my daughter just had surgery and I was taking days off to be home with her...well, except for this one wee outing...

I considered wearing my sunglasses, just in case.

Instead, I furtively slinked between displays, fingering dresses and tops while en route to the cosmetics section.

And oh! They were having a shoe sale, tempting racks of footwear filling my line of vision as the escalator descended. I didn't need any shoes. But if there happened to be a red pair...I am always on the lookout for that elusive, perfect pair of red shoes--with a heel--to wear with slacks or dresses (from Target, of course).

My current favorite pair of shoes I bought at a vintage clothing store. They're the first used shoes I've purchased for myself, since the notion of walking in previously-worn footwear generally gives me the heebie-jeebies. But these shoes looked brand new and were so so cool--forties-style heels of mauve/lilac faux snakeskin and a gold luster when viewed from the right angle, complete with peep toe and a little mid-arch strap.

High School Girls compliment me on these shoes each time I wear them.

But lately I have been mourning the fact that they're beginning to show signs of wear, pre-emptively anticipating their demise and the passing of my momentary coolness for having at least one hip item of clothing. Vintage clothing stores, like after all, don't sell diapers (thank goodness).

Imagine my glee when I spotted a Red Patent Leather version of My Favorite Shoes. On Sale. At Nordstrom. The first thing that crossed my mind besides These better fit me/nevermind I don't care/I'll wear them anway, was My two-year-old daughter will dig these shoes. She will totally approve. And wear them before I do.

My littlest girl has a remarkable shoe fetish. It involves her 1) coveting other people's shoes; 2) spending much of her days changing her footwear repeatedly; 3) taking all of my shoes out of the over-the-door shoe bag every day to clompclompclomp around the kitchen (making putting them back while I swear under my breath my own daily ritual). Her love for shoes is a trait recognized by anyone who loves her. She's only two, but she's a Shoe Girl.

So I asked the helpful, hopeful salesman for the other shoe in the pair so I could try them on. Alas, a little too big, with that gap between my heel and the back of the shoe that made them not uncomfortable, not falling off (there's that great strap across the arch!), but looking a little silly. No fear, says salesman, after delivering the bad news that this was The Only Pair In Stock. We have little pads we can add that will solve your problem. I'll throw them in the box. For free.

Ahhh, Nordstrom. You always make it better.

This is how I came home with the Clinique Bonus AND a spanky pair of fabulous new shoes that raised my toddler girl's eyebrows and had both daughters modeling for me within minutes (above).

Post-surgical daughter was fine when I got home an hour and fifteen minutes later. Phew.

And my clando trip remained on the downlow until now.

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