Today we're going to talk about that most humble of garments...the one that we throw on every morning automatically...the article that quietly and faithfully covers our legs and protects them from the elements...the item for which no one even spares a second thought (unless of course they somehow forget to don them, but that's a whole other story...or recurring nightmare better addressed by a licensed therapist)...that's right, of course I'm referring to PANTS. Why, you might wonder, is this even worth mentioning? Well, believe it or not, the topic came up not once, but twice in the past couple of days in our household. (And also...it's been an otherwise slow news week, so you get what you get, okay?)
First we have Husband. Now, you might recall that when we moved to NC, his job became home-based. Thus he has a cozy office downstairs in what would be the "formal dining room" (if we were the sort of family that would ever use it as such...yeah, "workspace" seemed a much more reasonable way to re-purpose the area). This allows him the freedom to just roll out of bed, pull on a set of sweats, and consider himself ready for his professional duties. We have often joked that the colleagues and clients he IMs or teleconferences with not only can't see, but also couldn't care less how he's attired. But--all kidding aside--early on in his new work paradigm I set the incontrovertible House Rule that he must, at all times, at least be wearing a full outfit. After all, though he might be toiling away in the comfort of his own domicile, rather than occupying a desk in the company HQ building...this is still a No Nudity Job Site. (I know...this does seem to go without saying...but I still felt it needed to be crystal clear...just in case...)
Well, it just so happens that every once in a while he is called into the nearest actual-rather-than-virtual office (in Durham) for a meeting...or this week, Managerial Training...and Whatnot. So you'd think that after spending so many hours alone in front of his computer, he'd absolutely relish the opportunity to mingle with other human beings in person, right? And he probably does, but the only comment he made was a melodramatically anguished, "This means I have to...WEAR PANTS!" After I gently pointed out that, in fact, he does this every day (you know, since it seemed to have inexplicably slipped his mind...) he clarified, "Yeah, but...dress pants!" I admit I could not be held up as a shining pillar of wifely support when I snapped back, "Oh, you poor dear! Now go put on some nice clothes, get out of the house, and practice interacting with real, live adults for a change!" Oh, and...um...have a good day, honey...)
However, I was definitely more sympathetic when the 6th grader came to me with his dilemma. It seems he had to participate in a debate in Language Arts class, and his teacher very specifically instructed them to show up in--you guessed it--long pants. Riley expressed concern, because while jeans were deemed acceptable...he doesn't own any. He explained this to Ms. M, who assured him that windpants would be fine as well. Great, problem solved, right? Sure...except that there's a veeerrry fine line between "windpants" and "sweatpants"...and after both of us intensely scrutinized the contents of his drawer, we decided that what resides there falls squarely into the latter category. Fortunately I remembered that the solution lay mere steps away, in Riley's closet, where several pairs of hand-me-down pants hung neglected and all-but-forgotten. These were leftovers from Derek's season of attending about a dozen of his friends' mitzvahs--2 options: both black Dockers, one casual cotton twill, one fancier polyester/rayon/wool blend.
This raised a hue and cry from Riley, of course--"Ewwww! I don't waaaannnna wear dress pants!" (What are you, channeling your father? Suck it up for a couple of hours, dude! Oh, wait...I was being compassionate, right? Oops...) After reminding him that this was indeed his only choice...as I was not under any circumstances going to be traveling to a retail establishment to purchase him a pair of pants to wear for ONE DAY...I got him to try on the offending apparel. It's worth noting, here, that Derek wore these at age 13. And because he'd had a growth spurt already, I was forced to buy Size 16 to accommodate his height. Riley is 11--taller than his brother was at the same age, but just as lean. Aaannnnd...the cotton pair wouldn't button. But the second pair--lighter weight material, softer feel, with a more forgiving hook closure--fit him pretty darn perfectly. So after the obligatory whining about being required to tuck in his shirt (per the Debate Regulations, evidently)...there stood my middle schooler...looking bigger...and older....and waaaaay more grown up...than he should...or his mother was prepared for...(as usual...sigh...).
And that's far more hoopla...about pants...than you ever expected to occur in one family, yeah? I'm happy to report that Husband seems to be surviving his mandatory wardrobe restrictions this week. And Riley? Naturally he wore the Dockers to school, kept them on through his 2nd period debate presentation...then immediately crumpled them into a wad, stuffed them into his backpack, and swapped them for the shorts he'd stowed there in the morning. All is well...and back to normal...and we made it through the Great Pants Panic unscathed...whew!