Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All I Needed was a Vacuum. And PopTarts. And Aluminum foil.

One thing has always been true of my children: if I don't plan their fun, they will plan their fun.  And their fun won't be fun for me.  I have spent the last five years trying to stay at least one step ahead, or no fewer than two steps behind.

If they get bored, look out.  Consider yourself warned.

Last Saturday morning, when I slept for 20 minutes longer than them, the boys broke the vacuum cleaner.  It was a mission of exploratory surgery: they were sure Woody's head was hidden inside. 

(It wasn't.)

Together and separately, we each tried to put it back together, all to no avail.  I gathered all the separate pieces, tossed them in a classy paper bag, looped the handles over the neck of the vacuum, and put a note on it:

"Dear Goodwill shoppers:  This works, if you can put it back together.  I surrendered."

I went into WalMart today, in search of the new model to keep our floors neat and tidy.  Or, you know, livable. 

(Robb would have neither purchased this small appliance at Walmart nor made the purchase at all without extensive research into his decade's collection of Consumer Reports.  But WalMart's the best I can do, and Consumer Reports isn't literature I can invest my heart in.  Believe me, I would love to have his shopping and research in my corner.  The best I can do is to have learned from observation.  Lots of observation.)

Christmas has exploded in WalMart, by the way.  It is November 9, and it is virtually a winter wonderland in there.  (I am told the same thing is true at Costco, Home Depot - really anywhere.) 

I just wasn't ready.  I didn't see this landmine waiting for me.  Every aisle held a red and green display, a snowflake montage, or the clustered marketing ingredients for the recipe for a favorite tradition.  

And the music followed me everywhere.  Chestnuts roasting.  Santa Baby.   Jingle Bell Rock.  Once I found the vacuum cleaner that was 1) within my budget and 2) 'built to last,' I just really needed PopTarts and aluminum foil.  That's all. 

I left without either.

I have become a force to be reckoned with in situations like this: I am determined not to be bullied away from the places I choose to be.  I try to be determined.  I keep my head high and put one foot in front of the other.  I choose to beat this thing called fear and anxiety.  But they are hearty competitors.

Sometimes a girl has to come to terms with defeat. 

I made it through the express lane (I contend that it's still 20 items or less, even if that one item is taller than my son), to my car at the end of the aisle, and into my purse for an anti-anxiety pill, all before the holiday tidal wave crashed over my head. 

I'm done with this day.  But I suspect this day has more for me.


Jaimie said...

Good for you. And thank God for modern medicine. (Mine are in my purse too.)

Katy said...

Praying for you.

Laura said...

I love you Tricia.

Claudia said...

Dear Tricia,
This is my first time to comment, but a friend follows your blog and sends me an occasional update. I just wanted you to know that I am two years further on this journey of being a widow...mine was a totally unexpected accident...I have three children...teens and early twenties.

I need a vaccuum too, but you got further than I did. When grief blindsides you, dont ever be embarrassed by the tears. It happens to all of us.

Your courage and honesty are encouraging many on this first year.

Bless you,

Gwen said...

Bless you! Stay out of the stores. Do any shopping you need to do online. It can be overwhelming even for those of us who aren't overcoming grief. Keep on plodding. Prayers warriors are at your back!