Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

It’s a normal Sunday. Just a little family fun, swimming at the community pool. The plan is simple. We drive up to the local community center for 2 hours of swimming. It’s $7 each for a grand total of $14 for 2 hours of fun. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday on a tight budget. My 5 year old ends up exhausted, I get a little workout and everyone is happy. In reality: almost 4 hours, $101 and I am the one exhausted and scarred from the experience.

We are in our bathing suits and warm clothes over them on our way out the door.

“Where are your goggles?” I ask darling 5 year old daughter.

No answer.

“Where are your goggles?”

“I don’t know.” Darling daughter answers.

I can see the little pink goggles in my mind, but I have no idea where those little suckers are. The awesomeness of aging is the ability to see things clearly in our minds, but not to actually translate that into reality. This leads to an extra 20 minutes of going through her room, unpacking the backpack with our change of clothes and digging in the back seat of my car. New rule: no more apple juice boxes in the back seat of my car. Apple juice boxes do not go directly from box to mouth. Insertion of the straw into the box almost always has an in between step of juice exploding out of the top of the straw before it enters my child’s mouth. The back seat of my car is a sticky mess that has collected cracker crumbs, small toy parts and pieces of Kleenex in the apple juice residue. After all of this, I’m sweating and we are still goggless.

“We will make a quick stop at Target.” I said.

Here is how the scenario played out peacefully in my mind. I drove in to the parking lot of Target. Park my car at one of three open spots right by the front door. My daughter and I jump out of the car and run into Target, smiling ear to ear as we do it. I head right to the goggle section of the store. We grab the goggles, go to the checkout lane, pay for the goggles and are back in the car. Total Target time: 10 minutes and the cost is approximately $8.00.

Here is what actually happened.

I get to the parking lot of Target and it is a nightmare. I find a parking spot at Target in the back section. The back section is the dividing line where people just give up and stop driving around. We get in the front door and I grab a cart. Goggles don’t need a cart. This was big mistake number one. I think I subconsciously knew I was not just running in. We are on the opposite side of the store from the goggles, the side by the groceries. I picked the wrong door. This is self sabotage.

“Don’t we need juice?” I say.

“Apple juice,” darling daughter answers.

“Hold it, not the boxes.” Those little shits I think to myself as I pry the boxes out of my daughter’s hand and place them back on the shelf.

I grab a bottle of juice, not goggles. As long as it says 100% juice in big, bold letters on the label, not juice cocktail, I figure I am good in the nutrition department. Score one juice marketing department for large bubble letters deciding my choice in juice. Next, we find ourselves in the Children’s allergy medicine section. Last time darling daughter went swimming her eyes were irritated from the chlorine. This is why we needed these damn goggles in the first place. Well, while we are here, I might as well get the allergy medicine in case she has a reaction. Meltaways or liquid? Those meltaways are so cool. Meltaways it is, even though they are more expensive. The coolness factor wins out. God forbid I should measure something. I mean I am a very important professional mom and something very important might come up where I may not have an extra five seconds to measure the liquid.

On to the goggle section, wait a minute, cart slowing to a stop, swimsuits. We are in the girls section and I am surrounded by cute swimsuits. Darling daughter is growing like crazy and all of her swimming suits are just small enough that every time she gets out of the water, the poor suit is up her tushie. I hate it when that happens, so I can’t have my baby suffering. New swimsuit it is. There must have been 20 swimsuits and out of 20 there were maybe four that were one piece swimsuits. Note to Target: my child swims. She doesn’t pose, she swims. When children stop swimming and start just lying on towels like bathing beauties then you can have this many bikinis. Until then, offer one pieces. Seriously!

Dang it! I forgot the towels. Detour to the bath section of Target. We need beach towels. Target may have 20 different swimsuits, but they do not have any beach towels to go with them. This makes no logical sense to me. It would be like selling hot dogs with no buns. Target this is Johnson County, KS. There are many wealthy families supporting the hospitality industry. If you are offering up an entire section of swimsuits in February, you are in on this secret. Offer matching beach towels next time. I am trying to find the largest bath sheets I can find. I envision myself trying to wrap the bath sheet around myself at the public pool to hide my pale white, non-pilated thighs on my 10 foot walk from the pool to the locker room. Maybe a bath sheet will not cut it, but they have yet to make bath quilts. Hot pink and hotter pink stripes should do the trick. No one will notice my thighs under this striped distraction AND on clearance for $2.50. I give myself an imaginary pat on the back for saving $2.00 per bath sheet. Some extreme couponer will be proud of me.

Now we are close to the goggle section. I pass the 12 pack of Diet Coke. Don’t do it Aimee. You gave up Diet Coke. You read the yahoo article on six bad things soda is doing to your body. Remember, the fat particles are collecting around your lungs or something like that. The article said you were a human science experiment. Oh screw it. A lab rat I shall be. I stop and add it to my cart. This week was a bad week to try to give up Diet Coke. I’m too stressed out about this little community pool outing. I need Diet Coke like a junkie needs crack. I know it isn’t cold and frankly I could care less. I’m tempted to rip open the box right there in the store. Again, I’m sweating.

It is at this point my child decides it is an awesome idea to walk backwards in her Crocs down an aisle.

“Honey, you are going to hit something or fall down.”

“No, mom, mom, just watch.” she says.

Crying….

We make it to the goggle section. My daughter is carefully making this selection with the same level of caution like I chose my car.

“I like these. They’re pretty.”

Yep, that’s about the same way I chose my car. I like this one, it’s pretty.

Finally, goggles are in the cart and we are headed to the check out. After a few more things thrown in the cart on the way to the finish line, we make it. Grand total $87.00 and I am still sweating.

On the way out of the door, we walk by the Target mirrors that line the path on the way out. I am sure that is where the Target executives sit like we all sit at a movie theater enjoying the show of consumers like me with carts filled to the top with purchases that most of us do not need. All of us consumers heading for the exits with scowls on our faces because, like me, everyone just came in for one thing. I glance up to give these executives my “screw you” face and before I can curl my lip, I notice that hanging out of my sweat pants is my swimming suit mom skirt. Yes America, when I am not hiding my thighs with a bath sheet, I attempt to cover the damage with a mom swimskirt. It’s job is usually to distract from my backside. In this case, it was blowing in the wind like a flag from the back of a parade float. It was at this moment I tore open the box of Diet Cokes, grabbed one out of the box, and opened the warm drink and gulped it down in sheer delight.

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