Shopping And Pranks

I didn’t sleep well last night.

And when I say that I didn’t sleep well, I mean that I finally fell asleep at 2 AM, and I slept until 6:00 this morning.  I’ve never been a math whiz, but even I can round up and decide that I probably got a solid four hours of sleep, and not a minute more.  I would have kept on sleeping, well past 6 AM and into the territory of TEENAGE BOY AFTER BEING OUT ALL NIGHT, but we had a clap of thunder at 6:00 that shook the house, blasted adrenaline to all extremities, and jolted me wide awake.  And after that one giant roar of thunder, the rain poured down for fifteen minutes, and then it was all calm.

I have no idea why the Lord saw me FINALLY sleeping and said, “You know… NOW would be a good time to wave my band director’s wand at the thunderclap section, and have them come in loud and clear,” but it’s what happened.  So, I got up for coffee, and announced to Hubs, “Thunder at night, sailors’ delight; thunder in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Hubs looked at me with the blank expression that clearly said he was not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

No matter.  I knew that bad luck was going to befall us, because THUNDER IN THE MORNING.  You know… until someone corrected me later today and said that the old saying is “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

I think it’s now evident that I am also not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

But… the bad luck came, because when I picked Thing 2 up from VBS at noon today, he had a glow stick, which the VBS staff had passed out to all the kids, and he cracked his good and proper, and shook it for all it was worth.  And that, my friends, is the exact time that we learned that these were dirt cheap glow sticks (And really?  WHO buys the pricey ones?  No one I know!), because Thing 2 snapped his glow stick PLUM DADGUM IN HALF, and when he shook it, he shook fluorescent yellow goop all over himself.  All the blesses, because my son could have lit up under a black light at a disco club and glowed with the Good News of Jesus!

Naturally, it was a GOOD shirt that he wore to VBS today.

And by GOOD shirt, I mean his very-most-favorite sleeveless shirt, which he refers to as a “strong shirt.”  (What?  You’re wondering why he calls sleeveless shirts “strong shirts?”  Well, it’s simply because sleeveless shirts show your muscles, which lets the world know exactly how strong you are.  It’s kind of hard to hide the fact that you can’t bench press a car, when you put your sleeveless shirt on.  Thankfully, Thing 2 is ripped with all the muscle, and he likes folks to be able to see it all.  He has a little TOO MUCH PRIDE in those biceps of his.)

So, I’ve spent the afternoon on Google, asking, “How do you remove glow stick liquid from fabric,” and I’m finding out that everyone has an opinion, and no one’s guaranteed method for spotless fabric once again actually works.  I think our favorite strong shirt is about to be labeled as MY PLAY-IN-THE-MUD SHIRT.

Anyway.

Speaking of clothes, earlier this week the four of us piled into the car, and we drove to Bigger Town, USA to do some shopping.  Hubs and the boy were both in desperate need of jeans, because theirs were becoming threadbare, in a way that didn’t suggested I PAID $300 FOR THESE RIPPED JEANS AT ABERCROMBIE, but… instead… I HAVE OWNED THESE JEANS FOR TEN YEARS AND MY WIFE HAS DECIDED IT’S TIME TO THROW THEM AWAY.  We would have stayed in Small Town to shop, because I’m a firm believer in keeping our money home, but… well... Small Town puts the SMALL before the TOWN, and that means our shopping is limited to Amazon Prime sometimes.  We simply give thanks that the UPS truck actually delivers here.

So, shopping it was.  Before we left, the boy asked for a crab leg lunch.  If he HAD to shop for clothing, then he wanted to do it after he’d wiped out our checking account with what he referred to as his last supper.

You know… the last supper before he died of boredom in a clothing store.

Hubs and I obliged him, and I am here to announce that the boy’s motto for lunch on Monday was GO BIG, OR GO ON HOME.  He bought the most expensive crab leg and lobster tail and many, many shrimp-on-a-skewer meal the menu had to offer, and he.  ate.  it.  all.

He tried to stop with four shrimp left on his plate, but Hubs looked at him and said, “Those shrimp there cost as much as a diamond bracelet, so… make room and get them down!”

When he finally pushed the plate away, the boy sighed and asked, “Does this restaurant have a resting room?  You know… a room off to the side, with a sofa or a bed in it, where people who overeat can go lie down and recuperate?”  You can imagine that Hubs and I were full of sympathy, as we kept asking him if he wanted something else to eat… you know… a mayonnaise sandwich?  A big bowl of chili with a drippy-yolk fried egg and coleslaw on top?  The boy made gagging motions and asked us to PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT GROSS FOOD, BEFORE I PUT A LOBSTER TAIL AND EIGHTY-SIX CRAB LEGS ON THE CARPET.

We all left happy, as we watched the boy waddle out to the car…

… where he reclined the seat and announced, “I am done for the day.”

He added, “I’ve never hurt like this after a meal!  I am sick!  I have to sleep this off!  I can’t possibly shop for jeans, because I won’t fit into any of them!  I need some stretchy sweatpants!!  I ATE TOO MUCH, MA!”

His mama assured him that we hadn’t driven all that way for him to take a nap in a hot car; he was shopping.

At the first store we stopped in, he held up a pair of pants and announced, “These will work fine.”

Yeah… those jeans had a 46-inch waist on them.  The boy told us, “I’ll just try these fat pants on in the fitting room, and I’d like to wear them home, because mine are too tight now.”

Meanwhile, I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let Thing 2 push the cart, but that’s what he did.  Our second son is usually forbidden from pushing carts in stores because it’s like the Dukes of Hazard, in the parts where the good car chases happen.

We finally ended up at American Eagle, because BLESS THEIR JEANS THAT LOOK GOOD ON TEENAGERS, FOR DECENT DOLLARS.

While the boy tried several pairs of pants on, Thing 2 made himself at home in the store.

Oh, to be six years old again, when a circular clothing rack in a shopping mall was better than Christmas morning!

Throughout the entire day, we kept telling Thing 2 that… IF HE WAS GOOD… we would take him to a go-cart / miniature golf / bumper boat park, where he could ride some rides and celebrate the end of a long shopping trip.  Thing 2 was so excited, he could hardly stand it.  We have taken the boy to this park numerous times, when he was younger, and we were excited to let Thing 2 have a chance to race the go-carts on the track.

And… Thing 2 upheld his end of the deal.  Even though he DID tell the waitress at the restaurant, “You didn’t cook my mashed potatoes very good, because they tasted terrible and had leaves in them,” he managed to be good every other minute of the day.

(And yes.  Leaves in the mashed potatoes.  I think they were chopped up chives.  Jesus, be near to all those who offend Thing 2 with dinner, because he will announce it loudly.)

When we pulled up to the old adventure park…

… we immediately noticed that (1) the grass was overgrown and in need of a good mowing, (2) the windows had plywood boards on them, and (3) the pond that had once housed the bumper boats was completely filled in with concrete.

In other words, HELLO, SHUT DOWN KID LAND!!!

You can bet there were tears.  That little man didn’t gag those mashed potatoes full of leaves down, just to skip the go-carts.  Hubs and I had to do some quick thinking, which included, “What alternative can we think of???”

And then we knew.

It was a place we took the boy a few times, when he was little.  It was a place Hubs and I both loathed, and swore we’d never go back to, because IT’S TOO OVERSTIMULATING, AND THE LIGHTS!! AND THE NOISE!! AND THE BAWLING CHILDREN!!  It was a place we’ve never mentioned to Thing 2, because what he doesn’t know about, he can’t ask about.  And if he can’t ask about it… then we don’t have to go there.

We turned our car around…

… and we acted like adults who could muscle their way through over-stimulation and bright lights and too much noise…

… and we took Thing 2 to Chuck E. Cheese.

To say that our six year old was impressed doesn’t even do the words justice.

OUR SIX YEAR OLD WAS STUNNED THAT SUCH A PLACE EXISTED!!  He told us that it was probably just like Disneyland!!  We bought a lemonade for everyone (as no one was hungry for dinner… especially the boy, who was still moaning that his bloated gut was going to explode and spray fish guts everywhere), and I bought thirty game tokens for Thing 2.  I gave him the little cup, and he stared at me.  He blinked once and quietly whispered, “Is this real pirate gold?”

People!!  Sometimes seeing the wonder of a fun restaurant through the eyes of a six year old is all you need in life!  Thing 2’s ABSOLUTE AND UTTER DELIGHT at being there warmed my heart like nothing else this summer has!  I could not quit smiling, as I watched the fun our baby was having!

And then… THANK YOU, LORD IN HEAVEN!!!… the machines spit paper tickets out at Thing 2, which he didn’t understand, but… once it was all explained to him… he RACED LIKE DASH INCREDIBLE ACROSS THE RESTAURANT, running at full speed and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Daddy!  DADDYYYYY!!!!  I WON TICKETS, AND I CAN GET PRIZES!!!!!  This is the best day of my whole life!!!!”

Just watching his joy made it the best day of my whole life, too.

And then it came time to count our tickets (“Seventy!  DADDY!!!  I have SEVENTY TICKETS!!!  Isn’t that awesome!!  Can you believe I won seventy, Dad??!!”) and pick out a prize.  He was all set to get the fifty-dollar Nerf gun on the top shelf, and was only a little brokenhearted when the teenage boy behind the counter told him, “You can pick anything you want off the bottom row.”

The bottom row, where the penny-candy and pencil erasers were.

But?  Do you know what?  That kid was overjoyed with the fact that he got to pick a prize, and he spent fifteen minutes, going back and forth, back and forth, over that bottom row of stuff, before he settled on an Airhead candy.  It could have been a gold brick REALLY off a pirate’s ship, for all he cared.  HE… HAD… WON… A… PRIZE!!!!

And then we came home.  We piled back into the car and drove and drove and drove some more, and I’m here to tell you that in-car DVD players are the best invention of this century.  Hubs and I had a miniature date in the car, as we were able to have real conversations, while the boys watched a movie together, WITH SILENCING HEADPHONES ON (bless, bless, BLESS!!), in the backseat.

And then…

… we walked into a… well... SCENE… when we got home.

Last week, we had VBS at our church.  And every single summer, during our VBS session, the boy and a good friend of his, who help share Jesus with the kids, pull pranks on one another.

Oh, they’re good pranks, too.

Think… Jim and Dwight, from The Office.

She started the week by putting the boy’s VBS name tag in a bowl of orange Jell-O.

He later saved ALL the VBS decorations after cleanup, when it was over, and broke into her bedroom to… REDECORATE IT… while she was at work.  He put up streamers and enough party favors to have opened his own party favor store.  Her room looked like a birthday party, on crack.

And… while we were gone buying fat pants after an enormous crab-leg and lobster tail and shrimp-on-the-skewers lunch, SHE broke into the boy’s bedroom, and pulled off the prank of the century, which we came home to.

Each one of those six hundred and fifty plastic cups was half-full of water.  (Or half-empty, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist!!)  Cups, cups, OH, SWEET MERCY, LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUPS!  We had to shout out to Thing 2 repeatedly, “DON’T KNOCK THE CUPS OVER!!”

And… she didn’t even make the boy’s bed while she was there, meticulously lining up cups and filling them from a pitcher of water.

And THAT is why the boy spent nearly an hour and a half that night, pouring cups into a giant pitcher, and running the pitcher to his bathroom, to pour down his tub drain, over and over and over, until he could do the routine in his sleep!

My heart goes out to that girl.

I think she’s in trouble.

Especially since the boy has digested his huge seafood lunch and can move a bit faster now!

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