Friday, November 1, 2013

Procrastinating Mommies

Waiting for Trick-or-Treaters

Procrastinating mommies are easy to spot.  Those of us who wait until there’s no hope of getting a Halloween costume, then park as close to the door as possible, and stampede into the store, hoping not to hurt anyone in the process. 

We meet every year in the costume aisle at Wal-Mart about a half hour before the official Trick or Treat thing is to begin. That’s the way we like it.  It works for us.  This way, we don’t have to worry about what to do when we get there.  We already know what’s left...nothing.  

Still, we are there to do the mommy thing.  Also, there’s the thrill of the hunt, and we can prove it.  Shoulder to shoulder us procrastinating mommies stand, crammed into the same aisle, attempting not to invade each other’s body space, holding up bits and pieces of costumes that have been trampled underfoot. We hope for a miracle, which would consist of actually finding a costume that accommodates our children’s body sizes, without causing us to mortgage our homes to pay for the goofy things. Then, we discover what we already knew we would discover, which is the crabby reality there is no way we are going to pay that, not when our kid is going to wear it once we move on to plan B.

Plan B. Reconsider. Impress the neighbors if you have to, but cue for the chocolate. The candy that matters. The ones you don’t let your kids have before bedtime while you count the minutes until dreamland visits the premises and you can be alone with the Kit Kat bars. Twix. Mini packet of M & Ms. So what if you pay the ten bucks? You could go to the candy aisle, purchase your own Snickers minis, and be known as the one who hands out the good stuff, or you can pay your ten bucks for the costume like the rest of the procrastinators and get the free stuff.

Plan C.  Snap back to the moment. Fuss about the lack of choices as if it isn’t our own fault.  “Can you believe this pitiful selection?”  Some of us mouthy moms approach the poor sales ladies at the store. “Pardon me, ma’am, but do you perhaps have a Batman costume in a size 6?”  This of course, puts the poor saleswoman in the position of having to maintain a poker face while hee-hawing on the inside from her own self-talk (What a dweeb.  Reality check, ma’am, its 10 minutes before Halloween is to begin. Get a life honey, nothing’s left).  These sales ladies are good, though; they manage sympathetic smiles while walking over to the costume rack to help us look for what we all know isn’t there.

Plan D. Drive to Rite Aide to see what they have left.  Even though there’s virtually nothing there either, we do have reason to smile.  Why?  Because we have the aisle to ourselves.  At least, for approximately 30 seconds before the rest of the mommies burst through the front door.  It appears the other mommies have had the same light drizzle (you can’t exactly call it a brainstorm).  Perhaps there will be something, anything at Rite Aide that might come close to resembling a costume.  Which brings us to Plan E.

Plan E.  This is where the real creativity of us procrastinating mommies begins to percolate.  We strategically place ourselves in front of the cashier at the Rite Aid counter, holding a piece of what used to be a costume, which has been dismantled from its price tag, hoping that the cashier will have a sudden case of mental pause and not remember the price.  Perhaps, we think to ourselves, the lady will see the panic on our faces, look at the clock and realize there’s only 10 minutes till the door-to-door candy campaign, and mark the price down because the store doesn’t want to get stuck with it. 

“How much?” I heard myself ask, only to add “If you give me a good price on it, I’ll take it off your hands.” 

Wishful thinking.  Fat chance. 

“That piece is $9.99," she answers.  

“For this?” “There’s nothing to it.  It’s a red thing.  The material alone at a fine fabric store would have cost me 50 cents.”  It appears that I’m not going to wind up with the red thing.  There’s absolutely no way I am going to spend $9.99 on a red thing.  The cashier is not a bit concerned.  She knows only too well that the mommy standing behind me in the check out lane is salivating, hoping I will put it back so she can get it for her kid.

Plan F. Run at top speed back to the car, drive back to Walmart, circle for the closest parking space, and rush to the aisle that has little boy’s sweat pants.  Buy a black pair of sweat pants for $4.95, and a black sweatshirt with a hood for $4.95. Race home and convince your kid that he is going trick or treating as Darth Vader.  I was one of the lucky mommies.  My child fell for it.  I also had a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt left from the big night that could be used as pajamas or an every day play outfit.  And it only cost $9.90. Nine cents less than the $9.99 I refused to pay. I win.

Procrastinating mommies understand each other.  We know we don’t have to worry about our nerves, because they’re already shot. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will still find ourselves in Walmart 10 minutes before Trick or Treat time next year.  How do I know?  Because while I was standing there some woman looked over at me and said, “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”  Of course she had.  “That’s funny,” I grinned.  “I was just thinking the same thing about you.”

I am happy to report that I only succumbed to this Procrastinating Mommy routine a total of seven times before it hit me that Charley didn’t even like Halloween. He was terrified of the scary music people played at their houses. He was afraid of the goblins he met on the sidewalks. He cried and hid in the back seat of the car while we routed through his pumpkin bucket.

 Plan G: Let the kid decide.

And he did. At eight years old, Charley stood outside with his Batman cape and waited for what he called the “wittle kids.”

To this day, without fail, he announces, “I hate Hoween.” And at twenty-three years old, he still hands out the candy.

Well, minus a few Kit Kat bars.
Handing out the Candy

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