For Christmas, my mom gave me pajamas. These were not your ordinary pajamas. They were not from Victoria’s Secret or Gap Body or Soma. These were bright pink fleece with a dog appliqué on the chest. So far, not soooo bad. I love pink. I love fleece. I love dogs. But the pjs were a one-piece zip-up affair with the feet in them. Yes, footie pajamas. And not just plain footie pajamas — the feet were like built-in doggie slippers, complete with floppy ears and flapping tongue. Now I admit, I loved wearing footie pajamas long past the socially acceptable toddler years, but, um, hey, Mom, I’m not 4 – okay, er, 14 — anymore!
I know she was proud of her purchase because all of my siblings had heard about them long before the Santa wrapping paper was ripped off the box. When I talked to my brother Patrick in Seattle, he immediately asked, “How’d you like your gift from Mom?” I groaned loud enough for him to pull the phone away from his ear. Still, his laughter came through the receiver loud and clear.
“I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in them,” I said. And I meant it. I always think about how Marcus died so unexpectedly and so suddenly, he didn’t have time to pick out a stylish outfit or groom himself before the paramedics rushed in. In his case, it didn’t matter. He was wearing what looked best on him, his birthday suit, which made it easier for them to hook up their defibrillators and needles anyway. But, yeah, I do think about how I will go out when my time comes, what situation I’ll be in, and what may or may not be covering my body. I can tell you this: it definitely won’t be pink fleece footie pajamas with built-in doggie slippers.
“You could be like Ralphie in ‘A Christmas Story,’” Patrick said.
“I’ve never seen it.”
“You’ve never seen ‘A Christmas Story?’”
“This kid gets pink bunny pajamas from his aunt, and his parents make him wear them. That’s what your pajamas remind me of.”
“Well, they’re not going to be my pajamas much longer. I’m taking them back. Mom enclosed the gift receipt. She must have known I wasn’t going to like them.”
“Yes, I figured,” he said. “But she had fun buying them for you.”
“Yeah, and telling everyone about them.”
The pjs were from Target. I love Target. And while Southeast Iowa isn’t exactly a shopping Mecca, it does have a Target. I had decided that I was going to use the store credit to buy new underwear.
Someone either told me recently, or I read it somewhere, that they were tossing out all their old undies and getting new ones to symbolize a fresh start. I liked this logic. After all I’ve been through the past 16 months, I could definitely stand to get rid of the dingy old boy shorts and threadbare thongs, and kick off the New Year with some new lingerie. Yeehaw.
The trouble is, I got to Target and I just wasn’t in the mood. Or, perhaps, digging through the sale bins of black lace and white cotton and plaid and flowered and polka dot and everything else in every size all mixed together killed the mood. It wasn’t just the disorganized display though. The prospect of buying underwear made me contemplate my future. Will anyone ever see me in these? Will there be new love on the horizon? How can I even meet a man when I live in such an unpopulated place? And anyway, does the style or color of underwear really even matter in the scheme of life? Even if these new ones are marked down to as little as $2 a pair, do I really need to throw out the old ones which are perfectly fine?
I got so fed up with myself I threw the ones I had already picked back into the bins and walked off in a huff.
I had two other things on my shopping list:
1. Silver polish. I use my grandma’s silver as everyday flatware and her beautiful cutlery is due for a cleaning.
2. Detangler. For my hair, which is getting harder and harder to comb seeing as I haven’t cut it since July.
I wove in and out of the aisles, and somewhere in between Cleaning Supplies and Hair Care I stumbled upon Kitchen Gadgets. There I was, as instinctive as a Golden Retriever sniffing out a tennis ball, homing right in on the pie supplies. Perfect! I’m waaaaay overdue on getting a Christmas present for my niece, the 16-year-old beauty who I taught to make pie last summer. In an instant, I knew just what to get her. My adrenaline pumped, my pulse quickened, my mood lifted as I grabbed not one, not two, but five Chop N’ Scoops. I could send one to Lauren and give the others as presents later. They were $2.99! (I got ripped off paying 10 bucks for mine at that BBB store.) I also put in my heretofore empty basket a set of paring knives (my favorite for peeling apples) for my niece — they were a crazy 99 cents — along with a set of pastry brushes for $2.50. What a score!
As I drove home elated about buying the pie supplies (you know how I love a good bargain) I forgot all about my underwear buying mission. I figure I don’t have to really think about it again until spring anyway because as long as I’m spending the cold winter in an Iowa farmhouse the only kind of underwear I need are long ones. As for the pajamas, I shouldn’t have to worry about those again…until next Christmas.
Thanks anyway, Mom. It’s the thought that counts!