Retail Therapy

I went shopping tonight.

For those that know me, I’m sure you’re bracing yourselves for an onslaught of bitter vitriol about the evils of shopping.

But I’m going to surprise you – I actually enjoyed myself.

I’ve always wondered if I was missing a critical female gene – I don’t enjoy shopping. I’ve read so many women who write about the challenge of finding that perfect top to go with those hard-to-match pants. Or the hunt for the shoes that make just the right statement.

And I was envious. I’ve never understood their enthusiasm. Actually, I’ve (politely) snickered behind my hand about their enthusiasm.

How can they enjoy something so frustrating?” I’ve thought to myself.

Because shopping, for me, is TERRIBLY frustrating, for a variety of reasons, really.

1. I’m an Amazon woman. It’s incredibly hard to find tops that are long enough for me (I can’t tell you how many shirts I’ve given away because they’ve shrunk to the point where all I have to do is raise my arm to reach for a glass and suddenly, my entire [wrinkly] midriff is on display for everyone to criticize), it’s even harder to find pants that are long enough.

2. I have very simple taste. I’m not into big flowers, or leopard spots, or funky colors or graphics – I like simple, pretty colors in flattering styles. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find something like that, but trust me, IT IS.

3. Clothes, and I’m talking good QUALITY clothes, are freaking expensive. (No offense Old Navy, I like your stuff, but the material, and sometimes even the cut, looks and feels cheap). I’m just too cheap to fork over the money necessary to own a quality wardrobe. I’m glad I’m careful with our money, but sometimes, I wish I could just let go and buy what I NEED so I can stop looking like a homeless person.


4. I am unwilling to take the time to actually visit the stores, look around at the selections and then try clothes on. I can think of 50 things I would RATHER do than shop for clothes. And that includes mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms.

I just hate to shop. I always have. I don’t mind shopping for my boys or for Kevin, but me?

Forget about it.

But there are times, like now, that I am forced to take a hard, honest look at my wardrobe and have to make changes. In case you don’t know, I’m applying for jobs. And I’ve already been on a few interviews. For office jobs. And office jobs require office clothes. That I currently don’t have. But need to buy.

So I took advantage of the fact that the boys went to their cousin’s house, Kevin went to band practice and I was left alone, at home, fretting about my crappy wardrobe and went shopping; I grabbed that bull by the horns and I held on for dear life.

I took a deep breath, I gritted my teeth until my jaw ached, and I went to the mall.

On a Friday night.

With permission to spend a little money from the boss man.

God help me.

I did what I always did – I sort of swept through the stores. I glanced over the selections, made a few choice criticisms (okay, I totally made fun of some of the styles), and didn’t see one cotton-picking thing that I even remotely liked. They did have a lot of clearance items on sale, and I DID look through the selections, but I’ll be honest, clearance clothes take even more time and patience and I don’t have any to begin with. I simply can’t summon the energy to take clearance clothes seriously.

Which is really stupid, I know, considering how cheap I am.

I walked through Dillards, picked up a pair of gray slacks, thought they were cool looking, and then checked the price.!/writefromkaren/status/48891312325406720

Oh HELL to the no! For a pair of SLACKS?!?

I promptly left Dillards and went to JCPenney – and had absolutely NO luck there.

At all.

Discouraged beyond belief, I started back to my car. I simply couldn’t summon the motivation to continue. I just wanted to go back home, change into some comfy sweats and bury my misery in a carton of ice cream.

I was heading back through Dillards and to my car, when I saw a section of slacks that looked promising. I cautiously inched forward and with one eye open, took a look at the price tag.!/writefromkaren/status/48903173859049472

(Yes. I totally tweeted my shopping trip because YOU ALL are my friends. As pathetic as that sounds, I know).

Okay. I liked the slacks. The price was right. Now it was time to do the deed – try the suckers on.

I grabbed my size and one size larger. Come on gals, you know how it is. Sizes are not consistent. (Which is another reason I hate to shop, actually). And I grabbed some khaki slacks with a side zipper (by the way, slacks with side zippers make you look skinnier – did you know that? You’re welcome), a pair of navy slacks and some really cool, sort of pin-stripped (but not, they’re kind of textured, they’re hard to explain) black slacks.

I went to the dressing room.

Two of the slacks I had to buy the larger size. I could fit into my size, but it was pretty snug and well, it just looked … wrong. The third pair fit nicely in my size.

I was ecstatic! They looked good and were of a stretchy material, so I knew they would be comfortable to wear all day.

I looked around for quite a while at their tops, and saw quite a few I liked, but they were too expensive to be taken seriously. I did end up trying on one, taking a large, and an extra-large into the fitting room with me, but the large looked too … big, so I bit the bullet and tried on a medium – it fit perfectly.

Now I’m wondering if I’m buying my clothes too big. I have some family members who wear tight clothing. In fact, I’d daresay they wear sizes too small for them. They don’t look bad, just … uncomfortable. But since these clothes fit them snugly, they also look pretty skinny. I’m wondering if part of the reason I always look LARGE is because I’m wearing LARGE clothes. Maybe if I concentrate on wearing clothes that actual fit, I’d also look skinniner. I know that doesn’t make sense, but when I read back on this some day, it’ll make perfect sense to me.

Anyway, I ended up buying the three pairs of slacks and the one top. That’s the most I’ve spent on clothes, for myself, in two years. No joke. But price aside, I have to be honest – it was FUN to actually find some clothes that fit me and that I actually liked. I left the store feeling like I actually accomplished something and I’m looking forward to going back to Dillards (when the shock of spending that much money wears off) and trying to find some more clothes that I can mix and match.

I’ve left the tags on everything. I bought these office clothes assuming that I would either get this job I’ve applied for, or another office job. I know I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I like to be prepared. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll take everything back.

But I hope everything works out because I really want to wear those slacks now. 😀

I think I can FINALLY understand what people are talking about when they talk about the whole shopping experience. It’s fun when everything falls into place. It’s just a shame it doesn’t fall into place very often.


No Heat, 50 Years, Second Interview

Our oven conked out on us.

The same, beautiful oven that we bought a little over a year ago to put in our newly-remodeled kitchen.

(you can see the whole kitchen process, from start to finish, here. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!).

Did I mention it’s only a little over a year old???

GRRRRRRR – Talk about frustrating!!

Here’s what happened: I cooked chicken pot pie. I blame the chicken pot pie. Okay fine, it’s MY fault that I didn’t put the pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch the drippings. *sigh*

When we went to turn on the self-cleaning option, to clean up the chicken pot pie drippings that happened because of my lack of foresight, it kept telling us that the door wasn’t completely closed. Um, yes, it was. At least, we thought it was. But the oven light wouldn’t shut off. And when we took a closer look at the oven door, we could tell, yes, it wasn’t closing properly.

(This actually happened last Thursday night. We had to turn the breaker off to the oven over the weekend so we wouldn’t burn the oven lights out. They’re special lights. Which is really code for “EXPENSIVE”, I’m sure).

Since the door wouldn’t close properly, the oven wouldn’t permit itself to turn on and heat up. We could still use the stove top, just not the oven.

So we had to call a repair guy. Actually, we had no idea where to even find a guy that would know how to work on our oven, so we called the place where we bought the oven and they recommended the place to us.

The guy came out this past Tuesday. Kevin had to leave work to meet him – I had to brush up on a program that was required for the position I applied for and my interview was later that day. I couldn’t afford the time away to meet the guy, so Kevin did it.

Luckily, the only thing that was wrong with it was the latch. (I was afraid it was a computer issue. Because computers are AWESOME, until something goes wrong). Apparently, that’s a common complaint with this particular oven – the latch is a bit wonky. The repair guy said that he gets a TON of calls about ovens not working right before Thanksgiving because so many people pick that time to clean their ovens and then something goes wrong with the latch and it no longer heats. I can’t imagine not having an oven to cook the Thanksgiving turkey!! Talk about freaked out!

So. The moral of this story? We won’t be using our self-cleaning option in the future. We’ll just have to don some old fashion rubber gloves and scrub our hands off.



The boys are pretty much on their own now. They (and when I say “they” I mean “Dude”), drive themselves to school every day. Unless there’s a chance of snow/ice – then I drive then. (No sense pushing the envelope, don’t you know). They’ve also been driving out to their cousin’s house in a nearby town – which is about thirty minutes away.

I also made them drive to a Hallmark store to buy their cousin a birthday card, by themselves. I thought it would be a good exercise in independence for them. Drive there, pick out the card themselves, (instead of mom picking out a few and saying “which one do you like the best?”), paying for it, and then driving back home.

Dude was a little nervous about doing all of this by himself, but he’s a little more brave with his little brother with him. (Jazz is my outgoing, social kid and doesn’t shy away from people like Dude does. Though Dude IS getting better about being around people).

I’m so glad they’re doing all of these things on their own, because it’s just a matter of time before I land a job. (More on that in a second).

I was just returning to the office after my second interview, when Kevin says to me, “Hey, did you know the boys are going bowling with your mom at 4:30 today?”


I guess the boys feel it’s okay to make plans without me.

Which ……………. okay. I mean, on the one hand, I WANT them to do stuff, you know? They’re teenage boys, they have friends, they have a right to their own lives, and they have the transportation to get there, but ………….WAH! It’s WEIRD letting go, you know? It’s weird knowing they are ready to do things away from me and Kevin.

At any rate, I had no problem with them taking off with my mom. (And thanks for taking them, mom, they really enjoyed themselves), I just want to know what the plans are.

And thank goodness for texts. I swear, I talk to my sons more now than I ever have since we all have phones and can text each other now. And though I knew my boys were funny, I didn’t really appreciate their senses of humor until they started texting me.

They had a good time. (Who doesn’t have a good time with grandma, right??) And I got tickled when my mom told me that Dude kept worrying about how much money she was spending on them. HAHAHA! I’ve taught them well, apparently!

I also got tickled when I talked to Dude after he returned from buying a birthday card and I asked him how much he spent on the card.

“Three dollars and twenty-nine cents. That’s too expensive for a birthday card, mom,” he says.

HAHAHAHA. Hence the reason I insist that Kevin not buy me cards for holidays. It’s such a waste of money (to me, at least).

It’s really encouraging to see them starting to live their lives separate from me and Kevin. It’s sad, but exciting at the same time. I don’t want to hold them back. I have no desire to clip their wings and keep them home with me. But at the same time ………………. *sigh*

I have to say, though, that it’s kind of fun to watch their lives unfold before them.


Kevin’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party was this past Sunday and it was a lot of fun. His sisters did most of the planning, Kevin and I just helped carry things in, set things up, tear things down and I did a lot of dishes.

Which was FINE with me, that meant I was out of the way yet doing something productive.

Anyway, Kevin’s parents’ church was kind enough to allow us to use their facility for the party. Kevin and I went over to his sister’s house on Saturday and I spent the entire afternoon washing and chopping fruits and vegetables. We then packed everything up (it took three cars full!!) and we unloaded everything at the church. Since the church planned on having service the next morning, we couldn’t set everything up, so we stuffed everything into a back room and all met at the church at 12:30 the next day. We all frantically worked on setting up tables, food, pictures, cake, my MIL’s wedding dress, a slide show of their life together and Kevin had downloaded some 50’s music onto his iPod to play for background music.

We all worked well together. We brought our steamer so we could steam the wrinkles out of the tablecloths and Kevin worked on steaming the wrinkles out of his mother’s wedding dress.


(I was too petrified to even try it. The dress was 50 years old, after all, and if I ruined it … HELLO!! That’s my MIL! I’d likely never live it down).

My in-laws arrived and they looked so cute together!

Everyone clapped when they came in and I could tell they were really enjoying the attention.

I mean, it’s FIFTY years together! That’s a big deal!!

The gathering was pretty informal, people came and went for about two hours and we did a lot of socializing. I didn’t know most of the people there, but Kevin really enjoyed reconnecting with family friends and some of his cousins. The boys drove themselves over there, so they left before we did. Kevin and I stuck around to help clean up.

Kevin helped tear down tables and put the chairs back where they belonged while I washed dishes. Between standing for two hours and then standing another hour doing dishes, my back was pretty much shot by the end of the night, but we had a really good time and it was worth seeing my in-laws’ happy faces.

We ended up taking more family shots once everything had been cleaned up and everyone had left. You can tell, by my rather greasy-looking hair, that it was limp from sweat because this was right after I finished washing all the dishes.


Oh well. Such is life.

I’ve been very blessed to have married into a really great family. Everyone is sooooo nice and we all get along sooooo well. Not to mention, we all have the greatest kids and not one of them has gotten into trouble or been (much of *wink*) of a rebel.

My side of the family is the same way. I just can’t tell you how fortunate I feel, especially when I read about the troubles other families go through with not getting along or some other drama affair.

It’s such a blessing when you actually LIKE your families, you know?

Kevin and I were talking about our fiftieth wedding anniversary – he’ll be 79 and I’ll be 75. I hope we LIVE to see our fiftieth anniversary!!


I had my second job interview yesterday.

It was another one of those whirlwind days. I had returned the call on Wednesday, but hadn’t heard anything, so Kevin pushed me to call again. (Something about the squeaky wheel … something-something. I don’t know. I was too distracted to pay attention). I had expected to get the woman’s voice mail, but to my surprise, she answered and here I was, put on the spot, again, and had to force myself to think fast.

(No easy feat, let me tell ya!)

She looked at her calendar and asked if I could come in at 3:00 that day for the interview. And I would be interviewing with two of them because they liked to double team up that way to save them from having to schedule another interview.

I said “Absolutely!” and died a little inside.

I wore the same thing to my second interview as I did for my first interview with the recruiter. Again, I didn’t have time to shop, but more importantly, it somehow felt wrong to wear a suit and/or a blazer. I wanted to fit in, so I stuck with my “office-type” garb.

I’m glad I did. I didn’t feel over, or under dressed and that helped me to relax a bit, I think.

I arrived, right on time, and checked in. (I was rather surprised to see you couldn’t just walk in, you had to be buzzed in). The woman came to get me and en route to her office, she stopped to introduce me to her team – the same team of women I would be working with IF I get this job. I just sort of gave them a shy smile and a wave and then she took me back to her office. She introduced me to the other woman and we sat down to have a little chat.

I was nervous, and yet, I was not. I felt comfortable with these women right away (they were my age and we discovered we had a lot in common – children in band, teenagers, etc). They asked me a series of questions and I was quite honest in my replies. I kept everything professional and my awkward answers were tactful, but I also tried to keep everything friendly, too.

They acted like they were really pleased with my answers. They also acted VERY interested in the fact that I have some training in technical writing. In fact, they both looked at each other and named off some sort of project name so I’m assuming they could use my talents for some project at some point.

I mentioned, and apologized, that I would need a week off in July so we could go on our family vacation. I told them that it had been planned for a few months now (which it has been), and that I couldn’t really get out of it. They appreciated my honesty, once again, and I just hope that doesn’t hinder my chances.

But again, I would much rather be up front and honest about possible snags than surprise and disappoint them later.

So, I left feeling pretty good about the interview. I hope they liked me and I REALLY HOPE they will give me the job. They said that it would likely be a week before I heard anything (more applicants), but they were desperate to fill the position, so I’m hoping it’s sooner than that.

Kevin is a bit sad at the prospect of losing me in the office. But I’m READY for this. I’m excited to get back out into the working world. Even though the pay isn’t that much, it’s enough to pay for our groceries every month and every little bit helps, right?

I’ll keep you posted as to what happens. If I get the job, I probably won’t be blogging as much – I simply won’t have the time. My hours would be 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, so any blogging would have to be done later in the evening. Actually if I get this job (or just any job), I’ll have two jobs – my “day” job and my website business job. I’ll have to update websites when I get off work every night AND THEN blog – in between cooking dinner, exercising and of course, catching up with my family.

Just the thought of being so busy makes me smile.