With the first day of Autumn upon us, the air becoming crisper, and the temperatures dipping into the decidedly chilly range at night, we finally had to admit that it was time for that most challenging of expeditions....that's right, I'm talking about the Storming of Kohl's...with my small attack force of exactly two members...to seize the valuable asset known as...pants. (When facing such a daunting task, I find it's helpful to just go ahead and succumb to the drama. At least that way I'm amused...) Given that my children are BOYS--and have never in their lives given the tiniest thought or emotion to what they place on their bodies when they leave the house--I expected this trip to be a quick and easy proposition. It would be nothing more involved than pointing out some acceptable options (me), cheerfully agreeing to try them on for size (my sons), paying for our selections (me again, rats!) and perhaps ending the triumphant day by celebrating with a tasty beverage. (Pumpkin Latte, anyone?) Ha! Apparently, my naivete knows no bounds, these days.
What actually happened transpired more like this: I held up a perfectly inoffensive pair of sweatpants and asked Riley for his opinion. (My first mistake...) There was an immediate, shocking display of thoroughly obnoxious gagging and retching noises, accompanied by animated eye-rolling and desperate clutching at their throats, as if the very life were being squeezed out of them (which I must confess was not too far from reality, had they continued this embarrassing nonsense in the middle of the store). After they regained control of themselves, and then several more of my offerings were ridiculed for trivial faults such as "I don't want stripes" or "I hate pockets", I couldn't help but wonder: what in heaven's name has gone wrong with my children...and how on earth did I acquire...teenage girls?
After what felt like hours of torture, we finally settled on some fleece pants and trackpants for Riley. Little did we expect that his clothing requirements would turn out to be the easy part of our day, however. You see, Derek decided he wanted some jeans. No problem, right? You can get those everywhere, in a plethora of styles and fits...that is, unless you're built like a long, straight beanpole...in which case it becomes considerably more complicated. (Naturally...sigh...) I read the dizzying array of adjectives out loud to try to pinpoint a likely candidate, "Husky? Yeah, absolutely not. Loose? Hmm, seems risky. How about Relaxed?" To which he quickly replied, without a trace of humor, "Well, my butt IS pretty chill, so that works..." As Riley and I succumbed to gales of laughter, he added with a groan, "That's going on Facebook, isn't it?" (You're learning, sweetie...) Anyway, we ended up having to try a Size 18--with an adjustable waist that you could suck in to make them stay up on my skinny child's hips. (Derek's response to this: "No, Mom...I like saggin'!"Um...just....NOOOOOO) And they had exactly one pair on the shelf, of course.
But if we thought the trials were over, we were so very, very wrong. Because imagine now wandering around searching for elastic-waist pants that will remain planted around his concave midsection. Even with a drawstring, it's a pants-ing just begging to happen. (Middle School boys being ever so predictable...and ridiculous...in that way...) We did prevail, although we had to examine Every. Single. Type. in order to identify the most likely to succeed. In order to complete our arduous assault on the retail world, we had but one more item to obtain: flannel sleep pants for Derek. Now you'd think, of all the things we'd gone through so far, this would be the slam-dunk, right? Easy-peasy, just hold up a pair with a plaid pattern...and get a derisive glare in return. "What could possibly be objectionable about these?" I demanded in exasperation. "Mom," he retorted, "what is it about 'looks like something my grandfather would wear' that you don't understand?" Oh. Good. Grief. (At that moment I really wanted to whack him with a hanger, but I restrained myself by sheer force of will...with great effort...)
Happily, we did manage to come to a truce on the blasted sleepwear, thus completing all phases of our mission without losing any of the participants to...tragic...shopping mishaps, or the like. And in conclusion, all I can say is: they had doggone well better not grow before next Winter, or else...or else what, you might ask? I'll tell you: they'll have mighty cold knees when I go buy shorts without them and that's the only thing they have to wear in February, that's what! Now where's my Pumpkin Latte? I certainly earned it!