The Viertel Family and the Temple of Consumerism.

It was not an auspicious start to the day. 

Harry fought his timeout to the point that we were hopelessly late for church.  In addition, while I had food for the kids (they would find this assertion debatable, but I really did have PB & J sandwiches bagged up for their portable breakfast.  They wanted McDonald’s), I didn’t have anything portable and gluten free for Alissa or me.  I hadn’t had coffee either, so, as I put it to Alissa, “I must admit that the cries of the peasantry sound favorable to the king’s ear. 

The plan had been to have a nice portable, GF breakfast while driving to our 9AM service.  We’d come home and have lunch.  Then, while Annie napped, Alissa would take Harry out in search of that most elusive of items:  school pants.   (Raise your hand if you’re imagining the pants shopping scene from The Wonder Years.  Thank you.  You may lower your hands.) Meanwhile, Annie would help me bake a pink cake for our bon voyage dinner for “Auntie” Karen tomorrow.  It’s also practice for her pink birthday cake. I’d make a nice chicken dinner.  My mom was coming over in a borderline unspoken celebration of my dad’s birthday.  When Alissa and Harry got home, I even had some delusions of  having time to work with Harry on our Lego starship. 

Well, church was off the table.  We had decided to go through the arches.  As I started the car, I asked Alissa.  “Where are we going?”  Her answer was simple, innocuous, innocent.  Yet in our destination’s one word, was carried an oddly ominous undertone.

“We’re going to Target.”

Why target?  We needed wipes. Seriously.  We needed baby wipes.

Well, we also remembered that we owed Harry a toy that he’d earned, which meant that we also owed Annie a toy…that Harry’d earned. (Yes, I know there are probably a hundred things wrong with this.)

So Harry and I went to check out toys while Alissa went to look for a start of school dress for Annie.  And wipes.

Well, Harry was indecisive and had eyes bigger than his budget.  It didn’t help that was drooling over the Lego sets. By the time Alissa got back with Annie, who did not want any of the dresses that Alissa offered here because they are not twirly…apparently a common problem with the fall 2011 line of preschool dresses.

Well, Alissa quicky got Harry to select a couple of toy cars fro Cars 2.  She took him off to look for pants while I helped Annie find her prize.  Of course, Annie seems to have a sixth sense, because she was convinced that all the baby dolls were scared and wanted to be liberated.  You know, liberated…from their packaging!  Well, not only does Annie have eyes bigger than her budget, she also has a birthday coming up. Ultimately, she settled on a Dora doll.  We went looking for Alissa and Harry. 

It’s amazing how hard it can be to find someone in a store when you’re without a phone, but ultimately I found Alissa. She had sent Harry back to toys to find us, and he was on his way back to report that we weren’t there. 

Way to be a big boy, Harry!!!!

Well, the pants hunt was successful.  We checked out and headed to the car.  Our next stop was to be JC Penney at Alderwood Mall to reurn a previous selection of ill-fitting pants.  Also, Alissa and Annie would continue their dress hunt while I took Harry to the play area.


One wheel on Harry’s brand new Finn McMissile didn’t spin freely.  New plan:  Drop Alissa and Annie at Penney’s and come back to Target and exchange the defective car for a good one.  Then we’d meet at the play yard.

This pretty much went as planned, and we all met up eventually.  The dress hunt had come up empty at Penney’s and the Disney store.  Annie found a dress at Pumpkin Patch, but Alissa didn’t like it.  Eventually, we bought it, but not without Annie picking out matching shoes. (We’re taking both back.  The sizes aren’t quite right.) Annie looked unnervingly natural walking through the mall with a shopping bag in hand.

At this point, the kids were asking for cookies, but we decided on lunch instead.  It was at Red Robin that Alissa realized that she had neglected to purchase wipes at Target.

So, it was back to Target.  I would wait in the car with the kids while Alissa popped into the store for the elusive baby care products.

Twenty minutes later, the kids were both in the front passenget seat and we were listening to a country music CD.  Alissa comes up with shopping cart full of organizational baskets. Jokingly, I called out to her.  “New brand of wipes?”

She stopped the cart, hung her head and started laughing.

Not only had she forgotten the wipes, but she found Annie’s takout apple juice on the rear fender of the car.

Well, I went into the store, ran into and conversed with the mother of one of Harry’s preschool friends who was in the same Kindergarten class last year that Harry’s going into this year.  Then, I got the wipes.  Mission accomplished.

I returned to an empty car.  Naturally, Alissa had taken the kids to the bathroom.

By now, it was nearing 3:30,  and we had dinner scheduled for 5.  My chicken was not sufficiently thawed, so I punted on the chicken dinner and ran into Fred Meyer to get some ground beef for Spanish Rice.  I also picked up some strawberry ice cream and dark chocloate syrup to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

He always loved strawberry ice cream, and my mom would always tease him about his “pretty pink ice cream.”

So, dinner went fine.  Of course, around the house, we can’t keep Annie clothed, but we insist that she where something on her bottom when eating.  Well, she came back from a potty visit somewhat…lacking…in that area.  Lacking as in buck naked. So we told her that she had to wear something on her bottom.  The wording was deficient.  She came back to the table wearing a tutu.  Only a tutu that bounced around gleeully as Annie pounded out notes on the piano. 

In the end, dinner was had, complete with some tasty Rainier cherries to go with the ice cream. The kids were put to bed. The pink cake was baked. The dish washer was run. Bank accounts were updated and reconciled, and a good time was had by all.

 Aaannd…..we’re out.


About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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