Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The 90 Minutes I Will Never Get Back...

Me and my wife have been poking around for a new stroller with bigger wheels to make walks a little easier and found ourselves at "Once Upon A Child", which is a "gently used" children's store. They sell toys, book, clothes, etc., that they have purchased used from folks who have no need of them. The quality of the merchandise is very good, and since my kids grow out of clothes monthly, I like the discount. They also sell brand new merchandise, and we were able to find the stroller we wanted for less than other retailers carrying the same thing, not to mention the owner gave us a 10% off coupon. Nice. Needless to say, I was pleased. Mama got her new jogging stroller and I got to be cheap about it, yes!

Then everything changed...

Mrs. Bullfrog mentioned there was a crafts store around the corner and she wanted to stop in to buy a "few things" to make Christmas decorations. The original plan was for Mama and our daughter to take time together to do this bit of shopping and The Boy and I would go to the park or something. But, here we were, so I conceded.

I have not often ventured into a store like this one, so I don't know if it could be considered "typical", but it had what I have to assume is all a person would need to "make stuff": Baskets, seasonal empty wreaths, cinnamon pine cones, paint, fabric, aisles of ribbon, you get the point. Not to mention I was 1 of maybe 3 guys in the place, which was crawling with women picking over merchandise planning their next project. Of the 3 of "us", 1 was actually carrying a basket and looked pretty happy, while the "other one" and I had been brought by our wives and were making the best of it.

I poked around some and goofed around with my son, trying to keep him from getting squirmy, such is his way when he gets tired of riding around in a shopping cart for too long.

From time to time, wifey would ask questions about this or that "thingamabob" or if I liked a particular gold ribbon more than the next for hanging pine cones on our tree. What she got back was a barely coherent, "Dunno" and/or a shrug of the shoulders. It's not that I really do have an opinion about the gold ribbon and do not want to emasculate myself by sharing, it's really that I have NO OPINION about it. She understands, and doesn't give me grief about it, 1 of the many things I love about my wife.

Then she found some clothy, ribbon-type stuff that needed to be measured and cut by the service department. So she went to the counter and took a number, which put us about 3 people back from the head of the line. I busied myself looking at a computerized sewing machine which was doing some custom embroidery on a blanket or something. It was unattended, so I was intrigued, and my son stopped squirming and asking to be released from the confines of the cart. Bonus.

It was at that point that I got a surprise: The Mrs. handed me her number "60" and asked me to wait and get 2 yards of the ribbon... stuff... I really don't know what it is! It isn't ribbon, but it is long and on a spindle thing... never mind.

I didn't know what to say. I just stared blankly at her while I envisioned what I would look like standing in a crafts store with my son holding a number and a spindle full of "what's-it" asking for "2 yards".

Mama didn't have time to wait for me to think it over, so she handed me everything and said, "I'll be back." and scurried off with our daughter.

So I am standing there in what can only be considered complete disinterest. There is not 1 single thing about this store that I am interested in exploring or purchasing. I made small talk with an older woman who had come to check on the automated embroidery machine after she mentioned she had a grandson about my son's age, which she overestimated at 3. Happens all the time: my son is 50th percentile according to the doctor, but people consistently think he is older.

Anyway, my number was up (I don't think I have ever used that in a literal sense before) and I asked for the lady to cut me off 2 yards and went on my way to find the rest of my family. I found it comforting to be near my wife in such a place as this as I believed it provided an answer to anyone who might ask themselves, "What is he doing in here?"

We spent a little more time looking for the right beads, sequins, felt, and other goodies Mama needed to complete her Christmas decorating plans. After about an hour and a half, we were leaving and I have to be honest, I was exhausted and have vowed never to return to such a place as it holds nothing for me.

That said, the decorations are turning out quite nicely and the kids are having a blast helping out. Thank God for women.


Patrick M said...

I have spent a few times in these places (having worked next to one up to the time it went out of business, and having worked in another store that was 13/ crafts until it went out of business). There should never be any reason for any man to spend more than 25-20 minutes in one of these places. You should have done a runner to the nearest man place you could find.

For me in both of the prior situations, there was a RadioShack to work at. Ah, geekitude!

Beth said...

I would say that chances are pretty good anything your wife bought at a craft store was a lot cheaper than anything a trip to Home Depot or Best Buy would be.

Bullfrog said...

Patrick: Next time I will have an escape plan for sure.

Beth: That definitely appeals to me about going the craft route. It is less expensive, the kids have fun doing it and learn how to use scissors and other key skills, and I have to admit I have more of an appreciation for the decor knowing they were hand made with love!

TAO said...

Dear Bullfrog

I have posted the following on my blog and I would like to request that you do the same on yours. You can get more information and the banners from


The Revolutionary Spirit...

Since Christmas is fast approaching I think it might behoove all of us to realize that WE can make a difference! So, remember this as you go out shopping:

"There are 293 million people living in the United States. If each one would shift $20 a month in spending from foreign made products to American made products, that would create 5 million new jobs."
---Made in the

So rather than waiting around for Washington to solve our problems or waiting around till 2010 to vote for the candidate that will represent our values let "vote" with our pocket book; lets start a revolution one person at a time!

Two great resources: Made In The USA and Still Made In The USA.

Lets purchase $20 worth of MADE IN THE USA goods for each and every person in your household and or each and every person on your Christmas gift list!

Roderick said...

That place sounds like Man Hell.

Dee said...

Merry Christmas Bullfrog!!

Beth said...

J-Man, I know this is a busy time of year and all, but here's hoping your Christmas was Merry, and blessings to you and yours for the New Year!

markbey said...

Whats up bull frog. This is mark bey from progress at all cost. Anyway I have been over at a place called unreasonable faith debating I would love for you to stop by my friend.

P.S I hope all is well also I am going over to your barbeque blog to leave a comment hope to hear from you soon.

Dave Miller said...

Bullfrog, are you still there? Just checking on you.

Outside the Box said...

Hey, I hope all is well. If you're on Facebook by chance, look me up. Robert Neddo. Either way, I'll keep swinging by here every few days or so. Take care.

Beth said...

Hey J-man, I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas!