Tag Archives: shopping

Sound Horn and I’ll Pull Over

“Sound Horn and I’ll Pull Over.” Yep. That’s what the sign stated. Said bizarreness was curiously broadcast on the back of a Bud Light truck I happened to be following the other day. Like everyone else on the planet, I was in the throes of last minute Christmas shopping, ready to rip the clappers out of as many Salvation Army bells as would be physically possible. So it was terrific timing, actually, because at that particular point in time I desperately needed some sort of distraction to keep me from going off the deep end—Grinch style.

Naturally, I shook my head and wondered aloud, “What in the sam hill does that blurb mean?! If I honk my horn will elves suddenly burst out of the cab and fetch me a cold one, scuttling across the snow in their curled-up elf feet, jingling all the way to my Cheerio-laden minivan? Or perhaps a response such as this would require laying on the horn for a while—boldly sending a message that I simply cannot deal with the holiday traffic anymore and MUST quaff a beer immediately or sooner.”

Who knows? If I honked, maybe Mr. Bud Light guy would pull over and offer to wrap all my Christmas presents, and then he’d finish addressing the vat of cards I have yet to mail and after that he’d perform a magnificent scene from the Nutcracker leaping and twirling in sexy white tights to my utter delight. A Real American Heeeeeero! That’s what he’d be. A chorus of cheers from all around would then erupt from those still gridlocked in traffic (but decidedly, no longer dwelling on such frivolities).

I’d be waiting in his toasty cab, of course, frosty mug in hand, hoping to be ravished till I begged for more. Or mercy or something.

Sadly, however, the story remains untold. I will never know what might have been that day because I never blew my silly horn.

What a dolt.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (in a deranged mental state much of the time).

Copyright 2007 Melinda L. Wentzel


Filed under "S" is for Shame, Holiday Hokum, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, Me Myself and I, Normal is Relative, Vat of Complete Irreverence, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

And the Monster That is Mommy Reared her Ugly Head, Just in Time for Halloween

Seems like only yesterday when my charges were perfectly content to wear costumes that reeked of adorableness. Alas, that was eons ago…

If my kids were truly cognizant of the hideous nature of my most recent crime, they’d surely sell me on eBay. “One ROTTEN MOMMY for sale!” the blurb would read. “One ROTTEN MOMMY who did a BAD, BAD thing!” And I wouldn’t blame them one bit. Indeed, I have done something horrible. Something atrocious. Something downright wicked—even by my standards.

I picked out this year’s Halloween costumes (Gasp!) without so much as my children’s input, say-so or collective blessing. Yep. I did. And I am deeply ashamed of my deplorable conduct. As I should be. Needless to say, it pains me greatly even to admit to something so heinous—much like the time I rearranged the ABC magnets on the refrigerator door without first consulting the powers that be. Naturally, there was hell to pay for that little transgression.

Remarkably however, this time my charges weren’t nearly as outraged or distraught over my rash and brazen behavior. The fact that I made an executive decision in their absence barely made a blip on the radar screen amazingly enough. In large part, I attribute this stroke of good fortune to two things: Number 1: I can be exceedingly clever (read: conniving) on occasion. Number 2: My kids are exceedingly distractible (read: gullible), on most occasions.

“Honeys, look at what Mommy brought you! A ladybug with wings and spots and boingy little antenna things…a silly-looking monkey with a banana in his pocket and a squinky little tail…and a chicken suit! Yes, yes, a funny chicken suit with fluffy featherish stuff and big, floppy feet!! I know, I know, we only need two costumes for Halloween, but Mommy couldn’t resist GIVING YOU DEAR, DEAR CHILDREN A CHOICE!”

See. That’s where the cleverness sidled in. I totally and completely diverted their attention with all the bells and whistles I employed, spewing forth (in one giant breath) each and every wonderful feature of those ridiculous costumes I could think of, precluding so much as a hint of protest. Then I threw them the infamous you’ve-got-a-choice bone for good measure. Insert fiendish laugh here.

In all honesty though, I never ever meant to steal their joy or to crush their delicate spirits (and thankfully, I didn’t). Truthfully, I have no clue as to what made me do the unthinkable. I never intended to buy those silly suits; they just sort of fell off the rack and into my cart as my inner mommy voice soothingly cooed, “Hey, smart shopper, think of the time and trouble you’ll save—I mean, everyone will save—if you just pick out a couple of costumes right now, while you’re here, free from the endless swirl of chaos and the din of despair. Your kids won’t mind. Come on, you know you want to. They’ll love you for it and besides, if you let them choose… a) it will take for-EVER (because there are zebras and mice and kangaroos and a veritable ark load of choices!), b) you will be driven insane in the process as they weave deliriously in and out of the racks aplenty, drunk with joy over the momentous event and c) they’ll whine and carry on until you let them have those stupid pink poodle outfits. Do you honestly want your children to be seen wearing something so utterly HIDEOUS for Halloween?! Have you gone completely mad, woman?! They’ll look like a couple of ninnies!”

So I tossed the blasted things into my cart, unable to silence the voices in my head. Alas, I was weak. And the monster that is Mommy reared her ugly head, just in time for Halloween. Shame on me. Of course, I felt awful after the fact and I began questioning myself. I started thinking the poodles might not have been so bad (God knows they’re OBSESSED with dogs). The kangaroo (with a pouch for candy!) had potential, too. Egads! What had I done?!

Like I said, if they could only wrap their little minds around my egregious behavior, I’d be sold to the highest bidder. Or to pretty much any bidder for that matter. Let the flogging begin.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2007 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "G" is for Guilt, Daily Chaos, Holiday Hokum, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction


Well, the back-to-school shopping frenzy is over for the most part and I couldn’t be more thrilled, having survived the ordeal with yet a few marbles to my name. My two kidlets have once again returned to the world of books and pencils, and the crippling sense of urgency I felt to outfit and clothe them appropriately has now passed. Amen.

No longer will I look at a rack of insanely discounted apparel and feel the need to devour it, stuffing armload upon armload of garmentage-I’ll-never-use-but-God-this-is-cheap into my cart like a maniac. Nor will I be inclined to haul my brood to 17 different stores in search of the perfect (fill in the blank with an infinite array of gotta-have-it items for the first day of school or I’ll die), pausing only to refuel, to wade through the carnage in the aisles and to visit the loo roughly 600 times in a period of 10 hours. Nope, we’re done with that foolishness. The gods have smiled upon me and my heart is glad.

But it certainly was an epic event—a shopping marathon worthy of high praise and recognition from a husband who refused to participate (except when it came to the “fun stuff” like buying soccer gear and doling out soft pretzels). That aside, I guess I expected a certain degree of pain and suffering to accompany such a woeful duty; but I never imagined the misery that would come to define our lunchbox selection process. It was pure agony. And a complicated matter at that.


At one point, I felt hopelessly bound within a Dr. Seuss nightmare. Thing 1 and Thing 2 ostensibly found fault with everything lunchboxish and were virtually incapable of making a decision. (So much for the eenie-meenie-miney-mo method).

“I do not like them, Sam-I-am! Not one will suit my bread and jam. I do not like them with a fox. For lunch, I need a pinkish box. I do not like this stupid pouch. Stop rushing me; I’m not a grouch! I would not could not on this shelf. I want to pick one by myself. I do not like them in this store! Take me, take me where there are more!”

Five stores and two meltdowns later, we were still deeply immersed in the absurdity our day’s undertaking had become. I seriously toyed with the idea of offering a pony to the first child who suggested that brown-bagging it was suddenly cool.

At that point I called for reinforcements (the husband), since I was sure the madness would never end and I knew someone would need to raise the children once I had gone off the deep end. Dozens upon dozens of possibilities then lay at our feet—because our lovely charges felt it was necessary to yank them off the shelves (with glee) in order to examine them more closely (i.e. to Kid Test them and to eventually place the ones that received a passing grade in a nice, little clump on the floor—the Maybe Pile).

After a time, their tactics morphed from strange to even stranger. One child encircled the other with eight or more viable options from the heap of maybes, engaged in some sort of ritualistic rain dance and then instructed her to squat down and start spinning. Yes, spinning like a giant Spirograph around and around until one glorious lunchbox shouted out to her, “Pick me! Pick me!”

Soon, curious onlookers gathered in the aisle. Some were amazed. Others, amused. We had become a spectacle of sorts and everyone apparently wanted to be there when the final verdicts came in. I just wanted it all to end—before sunrise.

And end it did. Finally. A green ogre for one and three pink princesses for the other. It seemed simple enough on the surface, but I knew better. Choosing a lunchbox was a complicated matter after all. And sadly, the virtues of eenie-meenie-miney-mo were all but lost on my crew.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

This piece also appeared on the blog of the lovely and talented Susan Heim: (aka Susan Heim on Parenting).

Copyright 2007 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, Kid-Speak, Rantings & Ravings, School Schmool, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Men in Tights

Just bought Easter dresses for my brood and couldn’t help but remember the year I foolishly asked my husband to shop for tights…

Men don’t belong in tights. Nor do they belong in stores that sell tights apparently. At least that’s what my husband thinks—after I sent him on an insufferable mission to obtain a couple pairs for our resident ballerinas/heathens-who-needed-suitable-Easter-attire on short notice. Of course, this ridiculously urgent need arose because I don’t plan particularly well. June Cleaver (as a mother of daughters) would have had a stash of snag-free tights at her fingertips, available in a rainbow of sizes and colors for all of her tight-wearing brood.

I’m no June Cleaver.

Me: “Hon, would you run to the store and pick up some white tights for the girls? They need them for church in a size 4-6. Oh, and they have to have feet. And they have to be stretchier (is that a word?) than the ones I got for Palm Sunday. Remember those wretched things? It was like they were meant for some squatty toddler with beefy thighs—not a gangly first grader. Remember how stinking irate I got when I tried yanking and pulling on them to get them up where they were supposed to be—and they just wouldn’t go? A squirrel could have lived in that crotch gap. Anyway, I threw the hideous things away. Did I mention that the tights have to be white—not off-white or cream, but white white? Otherwise, they won’t match the dresses I bought. Can you handle that, Hon? I knew you could.”

Dutiful Husband: “Alright already. I’ll do it (insert string of indecipherable griping). White tights. Not cream. Size 4-6. With feet. Stretchier than the last ones. Got it. But remember this—you owe me. This is NOT my idea of fun.”

Needless to say, when the man returned it was evident that the assigned task, which had indeed not been the least bit fun, proved to be a supreme challenge. I would owe him for an eternity. Maybe longer.

Me: “Thanks for getting the tights, but where are the feet? I believe I specifically stated that they needed feet. These are ‘capris,’ Hon. They have no feet.”

Dutiful Husband: “Wad-da-ya mean they DON’T HAVE FEET?! Why doesn’t it just SPELL THAT OUT IN ENGLISH on the stupid package for crying out loud?! And what the $#@* does ‘capri’ mean?!”

Me: “It means they have no feet.”

Dutiful Husband: “And a man should know this—why?!” (I assumed—correctly—that this was a rhetorical question).

The love of my life then proceeded to fish out the phone book and dial up another establishment that could potentially save the day. (No sense driving there when the impression of idiocy could be made over the phone just as handily). It saves everyone time and trouble.

Dutiful Husband: “Hello? Yes, I need two pairs of white leotards in size 4-6 WITH FEET. Do you have such an animal? No? Okay, thanks anyway. Bye.”

Me: “Did you just ask someone for leotards? We need tights, Hon, not leotards. White ones. With feet.”

Dutiful Husband: “Who do I look like?! Fricking Baryshnikov?!!! I’m a DAD—not a guy who buys stuff like…like this!” he shrieked, motioning emphatically at the soon-to-be-returned merchandise. “Leotards. Tights. Tights. Leotards. What’s the difference?! I don’t pretend to know the difference! I’m not supposed to—I’m a DAD, remember?!”

At that point I quietly and privately acknowledged how infinitely obtuse I had been to expect the man to deliver under the circumstances. It was an impossible mission and one I probably just should have carried out myself. Then again, I could have wound up with that home for wayward squirrels/embarrassment-of-a-crotch-gap disaster a second time and felt like a fool all over again. Either way, I lost.

Me: “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have ever…”

Dutiful Husband (furiously punching numbers into the phone): “No, no. I’ll do it. I told you I’d do it and I will. Hello? Yes, it’s me again. APPARENTLY I don’t need leotards, I need tights,” he said through clenched teeth. “White ones. Size 4-6. With feet. Do you have ‘em? Good. I’ll be right there. Hold them for me and guard them with your life.”

This time he came back with four pairs of the silly things (just to be on the safe side). Lo and behold…THEY HAD FEET. And the crotch gap was at least tolerable. All things considered, I was comforted in the knowledge that he came through in the end. But I have to agree…men just don’t belong in tights.

Except maybe Baryshnikov. Somehow they suit him.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Captain Quirk, Holiday Hokum

Dances with Carts

Shopping carts are the bane of my existence. It seems I have an uncanny knack for choosing ones that are both polluted with germs (Gak!) and hideously deficient in some unforeseen manner (i.e. equipped with a smarmy, foul-smelling handle or some gunked-up, pathetic semblance of wheels that lurch and rattle and are positively driven to move me in any direction but straight).

For whatever reason, I tend to poo-poo the many and varied imperfections at first, foolishly thinking that I won’t have to tolerate them all that long and they certainly won’t be all that bothersome in the end. Moreover, the truly vexing nature of most of the rogues I choose doesn’t become readily apparent until I’ve already journeyed halfway through the produce aisle, mindlessly fingering the fruit and considering whether we need more carrots or romaine. By then I’m committed to the match made in hell. For better or for worse. Till death do us part. Or at least until I manage to shove the misfit-of-a-cart through the checkout line or muscle it to my car where I can finally ditch it for a better life.

To add insult to injury, I often have to endure such hardships with my heathens in tow—the lovely creatures who yearn to make each and every shopping excursion I embark upon more memorable. And they do. Whining incessantly about this or that item—the one that the mean-and-horrible-troll-lady won’t let them have. Wrestling over the matter of who gets to man the cart first. Wooing me with pleas for sinfully sugary cereals and those sickly sweet gummy snack-a-ma-call-its that ought to be removed from the planet altogether.

Apparently it is not enough to be blessed with a wayward cart.

And once I make that regrettable and irrevocable decision to allow one of my miscreants to navigate the treacherous trail ahead, my fate is sealed. Someone’s ankles will indeed pay the price. Likely, mine. Despite the innumerable lectures I’ve delivered, the live demonstrations I’ve provided and the vat of instructional guidance I’ve offered on the subject, my two dandies, though well-intended, are physically incapable of maneuvering from Point A to Point B without smashing into someone or something. Granted, the aforementioned errant and evil wheel-a-ma-jigs do little to further their cause.

Not surprisingly, at some point during each supermarket tour my patience usually wanes with the pushing-of-the-cart-ludicrousness, climaxing shamefully somewhere between the toothpaste/shampoo aisle and the frozen foods section (i.e. the beast that is mommy rears her ugly head). As I return to the helm, attempting to pilot that which refuses to be piloted, I am met with yet another challenge: that of effectively communicating to my brood the notion of walking single file. My futile commands typically go something like this: “Okay girls, someone is coming toward us now and we need to walk single file.” “Girls?” “Hellooooooo. This stinking aisle isn’t WIDE enough for all three of us AND another cart to pass—is any of that remotely registering with you two?!”

Of course, neither child of mine responds, so engrossed are they with hanging onto the sides of my cart, eyeing the shelves for more of that which is forbidden. I must then stop the cart and clumsily move them—as if they were a couple of giant chess pieces—either in front or in back of me, smiling apologetically to the person now upon us. Again and again I repeat this cart dance—this utter lunacy, aisle after aisle, both stunned and amazed that creatures capable of telling me anything and everything I might want to know about a Euoplocephalus dinosaur cannot grasp the concept of hiking somewhere single file.

And let us not forget the times when one or both “helpers” insist upon riding inside the cart, “…so you can pile all the stuff on top of us, Mom, like we’re inside a little house! That’s so cool!” Naturally, there are people who find this disturbing—especially when they detect a hint of movement somewhere beneath the econo-sized Goldfish and the Lucky Charms.

“Do you know there are children in your cart?” they’ll ask, alarmed by the possibility that I could, in fact, be so clueless as to not notice a couple of stowaways on board.

“Yes. They’re with me, otherwise known as Dances with Carts.”

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (forever dodging those ankle-biting menaces in the grocery store). Visit me there at www.notesfromplanetmom.com.

Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Rantings & Ravings