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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trip to the Big Smoke

I was pretty much finished my shopping by December 7th this year, but the Farmer needed some assistance with his list. I agreed to go into Bayshore with him, on a weeknight, when hopefully the crowds would be diminutive. And then Paulina threw a wrench in my plans.
Our fifteen-year-old pointed out that she has been to Bayshore so many times, she knows the entire inventory of each store as if it were in her own closet. I told her that they might have received new stock for Christmas, but she wasn’t buying it – no pun intended. She needed to do some shopping, apparently, for the school semi-formal Christmas dance. And she wanted to do that shopping at the Rideau Centre (I know it’s technically called just “Rideau Centre” without the “the” but that bugs me so I’m not calling it that).
Surprisingly, I was able to talk the Farmer into the adventure. We loaded ourselves, Paulina, Anastasia (who wasn’t about to miss a trip to the Big Smoke) and one of their male friends who would probably prefer to remain anonymous (hey – his mother isn’t a columnist – why should he suffer?) into the big Ford F150 with the cap on the back. Yes, the Cavalier is better on gas but fuel is relatively cheap these days, the 4x4 is better on the roads and besides, the Farmer doesn’t fit very comfortably into my modest vehicle.
The ride in only took 35 minutes. I was impressed – and grateful, as the giggling and shotgun laughter coming from the back seat was almost as difficult to bear as the rap on the radio. The last stretch from Nicholas to Rideau was painful, however, as the two-day-old bus strike had things backed up for blocks.
Finally we arrived at the parking garage. And took notice of a big red sign hanging overhead that clarified a clearance of just 6 feet. The Farmer looked at me. Suddenly I wished we were in my little green car. There were no parking spots available on the street, so it was the garage or go home. The Farmer opened his door and stepped out to see if we would fit. I did the same on my side. Four inches of ice topped the roof of our cap. We decided to go for it, and grimaced at the scraping noise as we slowly squeezed our way into the garage. I giggled at the look on the face of the parking attendant. All we needed was a dozen sheep in the back to complete the image of Farmer-and-clan on city tour.
Once inside the garage, we noted the low-hanging pipes on the ceiling. So this is why you must be shorter than 6 feet. The Farmer did a dandy job of navigating his way between the low spots, and parked us in the middle of the garage. There were only about six other cars in the lot. It was a slow night, to say the least.
Once inside, the kids went their way and we went ours. I was shopping for boots, and found a store with several styles to try on. The salesgirl was very helpful, but I worried that her abundant cleavage would burst forth at any moment, potentially injuring someone. I snuck a look at the Farmer, to see if he had noticed the busty brunette. He had. At least he wasn’t as obvious as my father used to be. On the off-chance that we managed to get Dad into a mall, he would shop quickly and then spend the rest of the time sitting on a bench, people-watching. We would find him in the same spot three hours later, with his mouth hanging open, obviously staring at oddly-dressed passersby.
I found plenty of boots I liked, but none under $200 were available in my size. The salesgirl in the fishnet stockings told me that my size 9 feet weren’t particularly big; they were just the most popular size. I looked at her petite little size 6 feet skeptically.
We met the kids at the pre-designated spot at the pre-designated hour. I was almost surprised to see them there. At what point did they suddenly become able to wander through a mall without my guidance? I’m pretty sure just last year they were still disappearing on me in large crowds.
From her shopping bag, Paulina produced the four-inch stiletto heels and just-past-the-bum babydoll dress that she had purchased to wear to the semi-formal. Suddenly I was the one with my mouth hanging open. Just last summer, this kid refused to be seen in public wearing shorts or a swimsuit. And now she planned to place her mile-long legs on display in a dress that only Beyonce would wear.
“The salesman was very convincing,” she smiled, a bit sheepishly. I thought to myself that her male companion might also have uttered some encouraging words.
The Farmer was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t able to find the perfect gift for each of our 5 girls on this shopping trip (I advised him against buying 5 ear-flap fur hats in various colours), but we did manage to strike Mom’s name off our list with a great gift, so the trip was not all for naught.
On the way out of the garage, the Farmer had a fair amount of trouble lowering his window to pay the parking attendant. Apparently someone had been trying to jimmy the door open while we were in the mall. How rude.
Thus ended our trip to the Big Smoke. We may not have busty women in low-cut tops and fishnet stockings on the farm, but the scenery is pretty nice, all the same.

The Accidental Farmwife would like to thank all of her readers for being so loyal over the past year. May your home be peaceful and warm, and your family safe on the roads throughout the holiday season.

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