September 29, 2011

Directionally Challenged

I do lost. I do it brilliantly. It is, in point of fact, one of my greatest skills.

My sister has complained that after living in and around a certain major metropolitan area since, oh, say, the day I was born, I probably ought to know where its neighborhoods lie and how they connect to each other.

I do not. I get lost. Even in the city of my birth.

And gee, that's fun.

On Saturday I dragged my two youngest kids to the biggest mall in our area. A great big outlet style mall. Big, big parking lot. So big, in fact, that it features valet parking at three different entrances.

I know my own deficiencies. So whenever I go anywhere - work, the grocery store, the colossal mall with 87 movie theaters - I park in the same place. Always. I pick one favorite row. I know where it is. I walk down it until I find my car.

Brilliant, right? It works every time.

Unless, of course, said mall has decided to do massive construction on its parking lots. Hence the valet parking. Because there is no parking. None.

I don't pay to park at the mall. There's a sort of ridiculousness in paying to park when you're paying to shop. So we avoided the valet and, after driving around for 15 minutes, lucked into a little, hard-to-find space as someone else was leaving it. The space was not in my row. It was in the unfamiliar hinterlands. I made a mental note that the car would not be where I expected it to be. I studied landmarks. I asked my kids to help. Then we bravely left our little car to fend for itself.

In the mall, I dropped insane amounts of money on child-sized fall clothes. I'm not sure why my kids keep growing out of stuff. Possibly it's because they're kids. Oh, but I found a pair of dress pants I could wear to work, to replace all the ones I don't have anymore. And they were a size 4. 4! I'm not even kidding.

But I digress.

I got a text at that point to come pick up my oldest from his playdate. So we trucked back around the mall loaded down with our big bags of stuff, exited ... and spent 40 minutes trolling the parking lot for our red minivan that looks just like every other red minivan in this part of the world. Ours wasn't there. I pressed my panic button. No answering honk. I pressed it again. And again and again and again. Still no honk.

So we went back in the mall. Where we realized we'd come out the wrong door.

When we went out the right door, we found the car, right where we left it. So we got in it and drove straight home.

Or we would have. Except I got lost doing that too.

That'll teach me to leave the GPS at home.

September 23, 2011

Wrap Me In Happy

I found myself in my basement earlier this week. It doesn't happen often, because my basement is scary as hell. My ex-husband collected pretty much every collectible thing ever made, and he left all that collectible detritus behind him when he moved out. Now there are mazes of old boxes and the empty wrappers of baseball cards everywhere. It's a rodents paradise.

I don't have rodents, of course. I mean, who the hell knows, really, rodents are squirrely little things. But since my basement is also full of mousetraps, I seriously doubt it.

So I was down there, climbing over the tipping towers of crap in search of Peabo's old size 7s to pass down to my redhead, when I ran into a treasure trove of clothes. My clothes. My old, teeny, tiny, I used to be a skinny person clothes. 

Skinny for me predates Peabo, which means this stuff is really, really, colossally old. Like, 14 years or better. And I should have gotten rid of it a long time ago. But some stuff you just can't part with.

Like the first interview suit I ever bought, back when I was in grad school.

The only bridesmaid's dress I had that I ever considered wearing again. Except that I squeezed into it pretty much that just that one day before I grew right out of it.

An old, blue sheath dress that once fit me like a glove. I don't remember where I wore it, but I remember I felt fabulous in it. And that was apparently reason enough to keep it forever.

The slim-waisted, full cut white skirt my mom bought me for my birthday the summer after eighth grade.

The nearly backless, slit-up-to-here revenge dress I wore to my 10-year high school reunion, where I knew I'd run into my very recent ex. I'm pretty sure he didn't notice, and actually it wasn't really that racy, because when you get right down to it I'm just not that flashy. Or revengy. But it gave me the courage to walk into the room, and that's all I needed that night.

And a whole slew of what we'll call vintage Victoria's Secret - that is, some very pretty bras that I retired when I was pregnant with Peabo and never fit back into. They all have real wire underwires. Can you imagine? Real wire.

It all fits. Even the skirt my mom bought me when I was 14. Granted, it's snug. But it buttons. And I can sit down in it. And it still fans out beautifully when I spin around. Which I most definitely did when I tried it on.

That's what happens when you lose 47 pounds. You fit into not just your skinny clothes, but your very skinny clothes.

Most of this stuff is ridiculously dated. I'm talking giant shoulder pads and pocket hankies here, folks. But it fits. And while I may never, ever wear it, I put every bit of it back into my now empty closet.

Right next to the size 14s I can't bear to part with.

The black and white dress I bought at the Loft on the one and only shopping trip I've ever made with both my sisters together.

The dark orange shirt with 3/4 sleeves that I bought for my very first post-divorce date.

The soft gray sweater that made me smile every single time I put it on, mostly because someone once told me I looked pretty in it.

The form-fitting blue dress I wore on a very special Christmas date with my fella. I still remember walking home, warm and happy, in tall black pumps that left soft prints in the snow that had fallen ever-so-gently while we were at dinner. It's a great dress.

My closet is empty now, but for this handful of outdated or oversized memories. I've shrunk right out of pretty much every single thing I own.

I miss my clothes. I don't miss the extra weight, of course. And I don't want to fit back into that stuff again. But I miss my clothes. I miss the memories, and the feeling you get from wearing something that wraps you in happy.

Time to make some new happy. Which would be a lot more fun if I didn't have to go shopping to do it.