I really hate shopping at the mall. Like, a lot.
I hate how I look in the dressing room. Maybe it's the lighting. Maybe it's my first time looking in a mirror in several weeks. But I hate it so much that I usually carry on the following conversation with myself--after my shocked ego has recovered enough to think clearly: "Really? My family let me out of the house like this? Self, tell me I don't look like this all the time. [long pause.] Crap. I do, don't I? That's great. Well then. I guess I don't need this [highly overpriced cloth item], seeing as it couldn't possibly cure my [acne, love handles, green skin, cold sore scar...]." Dressing rooms have historically saved me a lot of money.
I hate how tired I am after shopping around all day to find the best bargain. I don't ever in good conscience buy the first thing I like. Unless it's 80% off. And it's ridiculously perfect. Which never happens. So I usually end up wandering from store to store liking plenty and buying nothing. Which makes for one long wasted day. And a sore back.
Mostly, I really [really] hate. spending. money. In truth, on the rare occasion that I buy anything [a phenomenon requiring the planets align and give me the perfect outfit at an incredible discount with a less-than-punishing dressing room experience], my stomach drops and I feel sick the rest of the day. I'm sure some of you can relate to that part. [You can relate, right?]
So when Grace requested to spend her hard-earned chore cash on a single ride at our mall's Merry-Go-Round, I groaned [silently, of course]. But it was her money. And I had promised she could spend it as she wanted. So we went.
I avoided clothing stores. I avoided making direct eye contact with the women who don't need the mall since they are already perfectly coiffed and elegantly accessorized.
And I had a total blast.
We stopped at Starbucks for an incredible cupcake and vanilla flavored milk.
And then Grace and I perused the Disney Store, looking to use her remaining funds for a gift for her friend's birthday party.
Grace paid in quarters, very carefully counting them out in a thankfully empty line behind the register, to a thankfully patient cashier.
We headed back to the car and wrapped the present in paper we found. [My car might be messy, but sometimes the mess comes in handy.] On the way to the party, Grace wrote "CARTER" on the box--something she didn't know she could do.
And she kept repeating, "Oh, I hope Carter likes his present!" Over and over.
It was the perfect Saturday. And it started at the mall. Makes me want to go again.