I have a bit of a karma situation brewing over here. I know the right thing to do and probably should be getting in my car right now to return the bath gel I stole last week. That the theft was accidental is of little consequence at this point. It’s the second stolen item on my conscience in the past 6 weeks.
The stolen bath lotion. Last week when Jeff was out of town, I succumbed to a fit of denial (that shopping with both kids was physically possible) and stupidity (that the right place to try shopping with both was T.J. Maxx) and boredom (I simply could not spend one more second playing hide and seek in our living room). I found myself at a very busy T.J. Maxx on Fullerton Avenue around, say, rush hour. I needed soap for both our kitchen and our guest bathroom, so it was a noble, first-world errand.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized I had never really done extraneous retail shopping with both kids. Sure, I had been grocery shopping, but this was not a necessity purchase; I could always throw a bar of soap on the counter and offer my guests hand sanitizer. Before I unbuckled both kids, I told them the plan: We would put Sadie in the cart and Simon in the Ergo. (Yes, Simon is a 25lbs walking child that I wore in T.J. Maxx. I will do it over and over again until my spinal column simply gives out. Is he too old for a baby carrier? I don’t fucking know; I am too busy trying to keep my children alive through a walk in the parking lot to think about weightier issues.) We made it into the store.
Sadie swiped a pair of Nine West sunglasses early in our visit so she was happy. Simon lurched for some Coach purses, but I deftly put my shoulder between him and the luxury handbags. We were doing great. I found some great liquid soap and decided we could look in the toy section for new puzzles. Right as I got comfortable with my bad-ass-ness, Sadie says, “Mommy, I have to pee.” What did I say? Duh. I said, “Oh shit.” I was trying to think of how to get Sadie out of the cart and help her do her business in the rather foul-smelling bathroom while wearing Simon. The only appropriate response is “oh shit.” We head to the bathroom, maneuvering through a group of ladies checking out the Ralph Lauren linens. Sadie waits until they are all within earshot to ask, “Mommy, why did you say ‘oh shit’?” They laughed. I laughed. One of them said, “Sometimes, that’s the only thing to say.” We made it through the potty and found some puzzles for both kids.
Then, a heard and felt a small rumble. Simon had been experiencing some gastrointestinal distress all week. I pushed the idea that he was going to blow out of his diaper out of my mind. We rushed to the check out. I felt more rumbles.
Here it comes.
What smells? Yes, Simon appears to have had another attack of the GI distress and he started bawling and clawing to get out of the Ergo, the store, and the solar system from the way he was screeching. I am in the check out lane but there are 4 people ahead of me. I start handing Simon all the random shit that TJ Maxx’s displays by the check-out lines, such as socks, weird Melba toast snacks, and bath gels. I just hand him anything that will distract him (and me) from the issue we have going on in his southern hemisphere.
Once we checked out and I got to the car, I unloaded our stuff into the trunk, put Sadie in her seat, and went to take Simon out of the Ergo. As I unbelted him and raised him up, guess what fell out of the carrier? Yes! Philosophy bath gel. It made a thud when it hit the pavement. I picked it up after strapping Simon into his seat (which only took a very speedy 7 minutes) and hoped that I would see it on our receipt. Once settled into the driver’s seat, I put on the air conditioning and looked at the receipt. There was no entry for bath gel. It was stolen property and it was in my hand.
In my defense, here’s what it would take to return it right then: Simon would need a diaper change– 12 minutes. Then I would have to put him back in the carrier– 2 minutes. Sadie would need to get out of her seat and into the car and, let’s face it, bribed with a new treat from the store– 3 minutes. I would have to trudge back into the store (after finding a bio-hazard bin for Simon’s diaper) with get back into the check-out line, because, honestly, I don’t know where to stand for the category of merchandise best described as “stolen goods”– 5 minutes. Then I would explain to the staff what happened and return the item and pay for some fucked up licorice bits for Sadie who is now threatening to throw up on a Jones New York coat display– 4 minutes. Then back to the parking lot and unload all over again — 7 minutes.
Who the hell has that kind of time?
I plan to take it back. By sundown on Sunday. I swear. Even though I kind of think that my pain and suffering and lifelong loyalty to T.J. Maxx entitles me to a little bath gel that they can use as a write off.
Gap T-shirt. Since, we’re confessing, I will admit that right before our Texas trip I took Sadie to the Gap to exchange some stuff for Simon. When I got to the car with her that day, our pay box (like a meter) had expired as well as Sadie’s congenial mood when I saw that one of the shirts had fallen in the back of our stroller so we didn’t pay for it. Ya’ll, I should have walked those three blocks back. I know I should have. I didn’t. I just got into the car and hoped that God would be too busy to smote me for an ugly children’s tank top (of course it’s now Sadie’s favorite shirt, so I have to stare at the symbol of my ignominy all week long).
An Eggplant. In my feeble defense, I will point out that on Sunday, we had an eggplant in our grocery cart that we forgot to pay for and I returned it on the spot. It was big and organic, (read expensive) so I like to think I am on the road to some kind of tenuous morality. I don’t know what is going to become of my children who had the misfortune of being born to a mother who doesn’t have sticky fingers, but is so damn lazy she can’t rectify a misdemeanor theft on anything like a swift basis.
If you don’t hear from me again, it’s probably because I am in lock-up in Cook County jail. Send chocolate.