It was a sultry August afternoon -- the kind of summer day where your legs
stick to the car seat like microwaved Velveeta and your kids try to trade
the family dog for a Fudgesicle from the ice cream man.
My son and I were on a mission. Due to a confrontation between a weed
wacker and our inflatable swimming pool (The weed wacker won.), we found
ourselves prowling around the local toy establishment in hot pursuit of
a replacement. As far as my son Ryan was concerned, we would not be leaving
that store without something that was going to cool him off.
"May I help you?" inquired a young clerk with Bryl-creemed
hair and heavy, black-framed glasses.
"Yes," I said. "We're here to buy a pool."
"You must be joking. We haven't had any inflatable pools in stock
"February?" I squeaked.
"Of course," he said, smirking at my naiveté.
Riva Sno-Raptor Sleds
I looked around, and for the first time since we'd entered the store,
noticed the silvery strands of Christmas garland snaking their way around
every shelf and display. "Jingle Bell Rock" jumped out of the
PA system, and not five feet from us, bright red Riva Sno-Raptor
were stacked to the ceiling and ready to topple over and bury us at the
merest hint of a breeze. A robotic Santa did a belly dance and "ho,
ho, ho'd" in the corner.
"You mean to tell me that in the middle of an August heat wave,
when the temperature outside is 115 degrees, and when there is not a snowflake
within 10,000 miles of here, that you don't have a single swimming pool
in stock because you're getting ready for CHRISTMAS?!"
"Well," he said. "It is just around the corner you know."
Silly Willy Bubblin'
"You've got to have something. Look, how about a Silly Willy
Bubblin' Sprinkler? Those were big this year -- maybe there's one
or two in the back?" I asked hopefully.
"Sold out in January," came his reply.
"A Slip 'N Slide?"
"Out of stock."
"How about a little rubber duck and a nose plug?"
"Now THOSE we still have," he said with a grin.
My son and I each learned a lesson that day. For me, it was that no matter
how annoying I consider those hyper-organized people who have their taxes
done by January 2nd, their Christmas shopping completed by July 4th or
their New Year's Eve reservations locked in by September 1st, it might
behoove me to plan ahead a little. At least where retail shopping is concerned.
Super Saucer Snow Sled
As for my son, he learned that if you fill your Super Saucer
Snow Sled (ToyDirectory)
with water and sit in it with your snorkel and mask on, you should probably
do it in the back yard where nobody can see you.
Writer's Bio: Kris Decker endures eternal Minnesota
winters by writing freelance articles, essays and features. Her two kids
(a rich source of poignant, humorous, and most happily, free material)
are the inspiration for much of her work focusing on the topics of kids,
parenting, families, individuality and creativity. Contact her at WriteEffct@aol.com