It was Good Friday, so what did my wife and I do with our relaxing day off? We went shopping, of course! And judging by the traffic, half of Tucson had the same idea.
We left the house at 9A, planning on just a quick trip to look for a futon for the new guest room (the ex-Bird Room…long story) and took the yellow pickup just in case we found something. We stopped at the dry cleaner first, where the nice Chinese ladies in back perform alterations and hemming. I needed some hemming, because I’m shaped like a caveman and the shirts Diane ordered online for me last week fit great through the shoulders but are way too long even thought they are the exact damn shirts we bought last year.
After much discussion and trying-ons this morning we decided to get the nice Chinese ladies to hem 2-1/2 inches from the bottom. But the nice Chinese ladies were way too expensive so my wife called the nice Mexican lady across the street since she has a sewing machine and is a skilled seamstress, and offered to buy her and her husband dinner in exchange for her hemming my shirts. She agreed.
We were hungry by then, so we went to Einstein Brothers for a bagel. I like Bruegger’s better, especially the Thai Peanut sandwich, but since Bruegger’s is too far away and it wasn’t lunchtime yet anyway, and especially since Diane was getting cranky by then, we went to Einstein’s for a schmear. I had an Asiago Cheese, untoasted, and she had a no-fun boring Honey Wheat with light cream cheese. What’s the point of that? As we left, we witnessed a near fistfight in the parking lot between an impatient snowbird trying to get past some idiot sitting in the middle of the driveway chatting with a friend, but sadly nothing developed. Parking there sucks.
We headed for Tucson Futons (hereafter referred to as Futon Store #3) because it was the closest and we were hopeful we wouldn’t have to drive all the damn way down to Broadway on the other side of the University. Upon arrival, however, we saw a transient-looking fellow sweeping the parking lot and a couple guys out front smoking cigarettes and thought the place looked “too ghetto” as my daughter would say and we moved on.
Fifteen minutes later we arrived at Futon Store #1, way the hell on the other side of the U of A. The store proprietor there was very nice (twenty-five years in business, I heard several times) but he had no queen-sized futons in stock even thought his Yellow Pages ad bragged about the biggest futon showroom in Tucson. But Diane insisted on a queen-sized, even though neither of our families ever visit and in my opinion a double would be more than adequate and would minimize the risk of an extended stay by any family member who might be so inclined (I cite my son Jake as an example here). Making guests too comfortable in your house is generally a big mistake.
Futon Store #2 was a white-painted brick building ten minutes north and west, on 1st Ave near Grant. There was a sign out front which read “Se Habla Espanol” which we should have interpreted as “gringos stay away.” The mattresses were “hand-crafted” from foam rubber, cotton ticking, and what appeared to be cardboard. We didn’t stay long, even though the price was right and the sales clerk was quite proud of his handcrafted futon mattresses.
Finally, we returned to Futon Store #3, where if we’d investigated more thoroughly to begin with we could have saved 45 minutes of our lives which we will never get back. The transient-lloking fellow was still working on the parking lot, but we were able to agree on a queen futon (from China, he warned us), a nice Sealy mattress so our guests would be most comfortable, and a futon cover, all of it costing way more than we’d figured. The good news was they agreed to put it together, the bad news was we had to come back in one hour.
So we went to Office Max to get a toner cartridge for a Brother HL-2070N Laser Printer to the tune of $65, not because I particularly needed one but because my son prints out his homework five times a day and the red warning light on the printer was beginning to flash and it was irritating me. All I use the damn thing for is to print out recipes from Rachel Ray or Alton Brown and to print out maps for ridiculous day-long shopping trips.
We were thirsty at that point and Eegee’s was next door so we swung through the drive-through for a strawberry-flavored slurpee. Disgusting, but Diane liked it, even though it was frozen and she wasn’t able to suck it up through the straw for three hours.
Michael’s Crafts was next because we needed fresh eucalyptus branches for the library (since we took the desk out of the former den it’s now called the library). I love eucalyptus.
Lowe’s was across the street, and we had to pull out of the Eegee’s parking lot onto Oracle and flip an immediate bitch to get there, pissing off some long-hair hippy type guy attempting to cross on a blinking DONT WALK signal. Going into the store some middle-aged guy in cowboy boots and horn-rimmed glasses kept looking my way and Diane said he was queer for me. Whatever, I told her she was just being weird. We wandered around for 10 minutes looking for garden hoses and then argued about the correct length of hose needed for the north side of the house. I won, and bought a spiffy 75 ft. red, no-kink contractor hose for $40.
We then drove to and entered the worst place on the planet, the Tucson Mall on Good Friday. Luckily, we only had to pass the First Circle of Hell into the shoe department of Dillard’s. Diane had rushed me the week before at DSW Shoes and I bought a pair of Rockports in regular width and to avoid ingrown toenails I wanted to buy a wider pair of Rockports, 9 wide, which DSW doesn’t carry. On the way out of the store Diane told me that Jake had privately told her my shoes look gay. Maybe that explains the guy at Lowe’s.
By now, the futon was certainly assembled, so we drove all the way back to pick up our new futon guest bed for guests who will never come and who we likely don’t want anyway (except for you, Debbie, and of course my daughter and her husband the Cat-sitter, along with any other family members who might be reading this, of course you are all welcome). The transient-looking fellow was making a second run around the parking lot. We loaded up the bed and I strapped it in with two ratchet straps capable of securing Dorothy’s house against the worst Kansas twister imaginable just so Diane wouldn’t worry about the damn thing flying out.
She wanted some black fabric for the back of Chester’s bird cage because the psycho bird freaked out this week when a crow who landed outside his window and after investigating bird behavior online thought that covering the lower third of the cage would make for a hiding place and prevent any potential bird trauma. What a strange fucking place Joanne Fabrics turned out to be; I felt like I’d entered some no-men-allowed club. I was the only guy there and all the women looked at me funny so I hastily pointed to a suitable bolt of fabric (I wanted the black denim with the white skulls, but she stubbornly said no) and suggested that I should go outside to monitor the futon strapped in the back of the pickup lest a wayward dirt-devil come by and carry it away while she stood in line.
By now, we’d planned the second half of our day, and realized that hauling the futon around was a real pain in the ass. mainly because she kept worrying it might fall out. She called Jake to find out when he would be out of school so we could meet him and pass the burden to his truck, the Danger Ranger. As it turns out, he was down the street at Bevmo picking out a $10 bottle of beer (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and some white wine for his girlfriend’s birthday (Happy Birthday Cassandra, nobody bothered to tell me). We drove down to the Tucson Mall again and pulled into the Bevmo parking lot next to the Danger Ranger and went inside to see Jake cruising the store with a shopping cart. What a great place! Row upon row of beer, wine, booze, snacks, alcohol-related supplies and paraphernalia. There was even a big display cooler full of meat and cheese and pickled vegetables. A man could die happy there. We helped him spend another $20 or $30 on a case of Miller Lite for Diane and a big plastic can of Beer-Nuts for me and proceeded outside.
Rather than move the futon from our truck to his, we decided it would make more sense to trade vehicles. Hungry by now, and thirsty after viewing all that beer at Bevmo, we decided on a snack at Thunder Canyon Brewery would be just the thing before heading off to complete the balance of the shopping trip. We drove off in the Danger Ranger to my favorite place, TCB (Bevmo is now my second favorite place).
After a beer, a pulled-pork sandwich and a bowl of chemical-tasting clam chowder, we stopped for a $4 bag of Kettle Korn outside the Foothills Mall, then turned our sights towards home. We just had to make a quick stop at Petco for 23 cans of frigging gourmet dog food for Annabelle, then Walmart for Easter Baskets and gifts (I never got gifts for Easter when I was growing up, but she seemed shocked when I suggested malted milk balls and jelly beans should be adequate).
While she finished the shopping, I walked down to Verizon Wireless to argue with the robots there about the crappy cell phone they talked me into buying last year, and sure that I could now convince them to give me a Droid in exchange. Diane showed up fifteen minutes later, the back of the Danger Ranger filled with plastic Walmart shopping bags, and I had to leave, empty-handed, muttering vague threats about switching to AT&T.
We arrived home soon after, unpacked all the shit from both trucks, placed the futon in the garage until the bird-room remodeling is done, opened a third mortgage to cover off the day’s debt, and went out to Chili’s with the neighbors. She took the shirts (all six of them) and we bought dinner. We went home where Jake and I split the $10 bottle of beer, and had our asses kicked at Scrabble when Diane executed a stunning 72-point upset with the word “_RACTION_” which we interpreted as FRACTIONS.
Anyway, America’s a great country, for many things, but especially for shopping. We are great consumers, from mall to shining mall. Tomorrow, we have to go grocery shopping and bring back the stupid shoes she made my buy last week at DSW. We’re planning just a quick trip.