Last night, the McD family went on a little excursion to the busy, busy mall to shop at the busy, busy Eddie Bauer. Our mission: Find something for James.
Now, there are a couple of "points of interest" that I must make before I proceed with my retail tale. First, Eddie Bauer is a wee bit expensive. We don't regularly shop there because the price tags scare us. (One hundred dollar sweaters?? Yikes!) But last night was special...the ENTIRE store was a whopping 40% off! (Even on items already on sale.)
Second, Eddie Bauer is a "cream of the crop" retailer that sells world class mountaineering gear for men and women, as well as a variety of clothing and outerwear that one might need if one lived at a ski lodge. Or fished, often. Or enjoyed kayaking glacial fields. Their male models look like this:
James looks like this:
With his trophy. After he won a "ping pong championship" at work.
He's not a mountaineer, and I wouldn't call James a "rugged man," per se. When he grows a beard--brown, with auburn flecks throughout--I think of bag pipes and clovers. NOT Everest expeditions. Sure, he's manly and athletic. He can pitch a baseball like nobody's business, and can hold his own on a basketball court. BUT...he's a computer programmer. His idea of "rugged" is being without the internet for a couple of days.
So, why shop with Eddie? (Hello! 40% off, remember?)
Two words: Tall sizes.
James is fairly tall. (6'4") He's slender. (Every year I ask, "What would you like for Christmas?" And every year he answers, "Thirty pounds.") He has wicked-long arms. (Which I lovingly call his "Go Go Gadget arms.") I cannot begin to explain how difficult it is to find nice fitting, long-sleeved shirts for my Irish bean pole. Shopping for long-sleeved shirts that fit him is like looking for Big Foot or the Loch Ness monster--people claim they're out there, but do they REALLY exist?
Imagine our elation when we discovered that...EUREKA!...Eddie Bauer carries "Large Tall" sizes!
We walked into the store, and James began to wander through the racks of flannel shirts. He selected several items to try on and made his way to the dressing rooms. I sat down in a plush chair, in front of a TV that was running Eddie Bauer ads. (Perfectly put-together people tromping through the snowy woods in their Eddie Bauer garb; clearly on an outing to cut down their own Christmas tree.) Lilly cuddled up on my lap to watch, and asked, "Do you think they'll turn The Little Mermaid on for me?" Cam sat in his stroller, beside a full-length mirror. He kept screaming and crazily laughing at his own reflection. Thankfully, for the moment, the kids were entertained.
After an hour of hanging out in that log cabin-like store, the tots became restless. It was getting late, and Lilly and the Cam Man were tired. James selected a couple of items to purchase, and we made our way to the registers.
A "cool," young kid--with confidence and a swagger--rang up McHubby's shirts. He was friendly enough, despite "zooming" nearby chicks while James was swiping his check card. He put our items in a bag and casually asked, "So, what are you up to tonight? Anything fun? You guys have plans?" (NO! He was not asking us to hang out....just making conversation!)
James and I were like deer in headlights. We did not know how to answer.
Humorously, after a few seconds, we both answered the SAME THING at the SAME TIME: "We're going to go home and put our kids to bed."
I swear I heard crickets chirping in that Eddie Bauer store! The young employee just stood there, looking at us. I laughed, awkwardly. James grabbed our bag and said, "Thanks."
As we walked out to our car, I said to James, "Geez! NOW I feel lame. And old!"
"We're not lame," he replied, simply, "We're parents."
Later--after our little ones were tucked in their warm beds and slumbering soundly--James worked on his computer and I read a book. No ice fishing or skiing or hiking through the woods in search of a Christmas tree for us! No parties, no loud music, no crowds, no journeys to base camps, no wild adventures (aside from bathing Cam). Nope. Our little house was quiet. The glowing red numbers on the digital clock by our dresser read 10:02. 10:02 on a Saturday night and we were lounging in bed!
But here's the thing I realized as I fell asleep: James was right. We're not lame. We're parents. That is pretty awesome.
And a little rugged.