Despite having a bunch of different calendars – wall calendar, planner, work calendar – holidays still seem to sneak up on me. Which is how I end up using a random cow sleeper for a baby Halloween costume, cobbling together a Green Lantern onesie and some striped socks for St. Patrick’s Day, or thinking on the Friday before Easter, Should we be doing an Easter basket for him this year?
We opted out of the Easter basket, figuring it would just be stuffed animals (and I have sworn to myself to not buy any stuffed animals, since he seems to collect them just fine on his own) and candy (which Drew and I would eat ourselves, obviously, and which really isn’t necessary in this house). So, no Easter basket this year. And no “My First Easter” outfit, because I also haven’t gotten into things which are really only applicable one time.
But Easter kept nibbling at the back of my mind, and on Saturday afternoon, I found myself alone in the car, driving a route that would take me past the Dollar Store. And I couldn’t resist turning into the parking lot, searching out a spot, going into the store that I have always just passed on my way to Starbucks.
As it was the day before Easter, I expected them to be pretty cleaned out. But I saw it as soon as I walked through the door: a pair of kid-sized bunny ears, blue and white, on a rack with a giant “$.99” sign.
(Okay, actually there were two sets of bunny ears, but the first one I picked up had a lot of loose threads dangling off, so I was happy there was a second, less-shabby pair.)
I grabbed the ears and got in line, pulling a handful of change from my pocket. Luckily I had found a quarter on the ground when I left home, which meant I could use fewer dimes and nickels. I had just separated out $1.05 worth of coins when a guy behind me said, “Excuse me, can I set this on the belt?” and put down a basket with 8 jars of pickles. I counted them while he walked over to a wall of kitchen implements and selected a pizza cutter, then came back.
The woman in front of me was slowly writing a check for a selection of things that for some reason just made me sad. In fact, being in here was making me sad. The bin of dingy-looking plush animals by the door were looking at me with disconsolate eyes. I looked away from there and noticed a rack of off-brand candy, and just below it a shelf of pastel-colored Tootsie Roll banks. So that’s where all those things went.
The guy behind the guy behind me said, “Are those pickles any good?” and the pickle guy said, “Eh, they’re all right.” Who buys 8 of something that’s “all right”? The woman in front of me was almost done writing her check, and my bunny ears had traveled all the way to the cashier on the conveyor belt. At that point, another cashier opened up a second register, which I figured was just my luck, since it would have been awkward for me to get all the way over there. Three people from the end of my line bailed and went to the new register. The woman in front of me was just putting the finishing touches on her check.
Finally it was my turn and I paid with a handful of change, which at the last minute, I suddenly thought I had counted wrong. It wasn’t wrong, for which I’m grateful. Paying with a bunch of change is okay if I’m in the right frame of mind – but at some point while waiting in line this whole trip had just gotten depressing, and suddenly paying with a handful of the wrong change could have ruined the whole bunny ears experience.
I got my receipt and my $.06, and hurried out of there with no intention to ever come back.
But once Drew and I put the headband on the baby, and he looked all around with these wobbly fuzzy blue ears, my heart melted and the sad Dollar Store trip and the handful of scrounged change was all totally worth it.