Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Trip to Orlando

It is Spring Break in our school district. Daughter Dear (DD) went on her class trip last week, so we did not plan a family vacation. Since the Medusa of mother's-guilt has been rearing its head over the fact that I have been way too busy lately, I took a couple of days off to hang out with her. I am not 100% sure she was thrilled about the prospect, but she agreed to be a good sport about it.

Yesterday, DD and her Wonderful Boyfriend (WBF) took me on an outing to Orlando. The plan was to visit IKEA and then have a late lunch. They love to shop and eat out in fancy restaurants. I hate to shop. I am cheap and I consider a restaurant expensive if my husband and I can't eat for under $25.00 -- both of us, including tax and tip. Do you see where this is heading?

The kids thought even I might like IKEA. They were right. I loved the layout. I loved the look of the merchandise. I especially liked the idea that the stuff was all designed for really small spaces. I was crazy about the $0.75 coffee with free-refills. I went there with the intention of getting ideas to spiff up the Old Homestead. I knew full well after about five minutes that I like the idea of redecorating the house, but I will probably not actually do anything about it.

The fact of the matter is that as long as my home is reasonably clean and all rooms other than DD's bedroom are picked up and reasonably straight, I don't really give a damn what it looks like. Lately I've been talking about actually doing some redecorating because, well, it has sort of deteriorated to the point that even I can't ignore it. It's all just talk, though.

We wandered around IKEA for hours, and bought a few things for DD's room. Damn if I know where she's going to put it. I got some ideas. I may someday go back with my dear huband to look at lighting for the living room. I'm getting old. My eyes are bad. I need better light to read by. They have cool lighting. That's not "decorating" it is a matter of necessity.

For lunch the kids wanted to go to a restaurant at the Mall at Millenia. Mind you, IKEA is probably a little upscale for my tastes. Most of the stuff I buy comes from thrift stores and WalMart; when I really want to put on the dog, I visit Target. People like me should not be allowed in places like the Mall at Millenia.

For anyone who may possibly read this who is fortunate enough not to have visited Orlando, Florida, recently, let me explain. The Mall at Millenia was apparently built in an effort to overcome some of Central Florida's reputation as a shopping haven for people who like overpriced tacky souvenir shop crap. The Mall was built as a sort of one-stop shopping location for rich people or people who spend money like they are rich. They sell Gucci bags (real ones), Ferragamo and Jimmy Choo shoes, Cartier jewelry and a bunch of other overpriced stuff in fancy stores I've never heard of. The first time I went to the Mall, I walked into the Jimmy Choo shoe store because I wanted to make sure that DD (who was drooling on the counter tops) did not even think about buying anything. The employees who were standing around pointedly ignoring us made it clear that we were not buying anything there because they would die before they would wait on us. I was sort of grateful for that because it meant that I didn't have to be the bad guy dragging DD out of the store, but I still wanted to scratch the bitches' eyes out.

A few minutes later I walked into Cartier just to see what would happen. The guy behind the counter looked like he was ready to call security. I simply smiled what I think of as my best "Bless Your Heart" smile and walked on.

They do actually have some cool stores where normal people could buy stuff if they were so inclined. They have an Apple store. We played with the I-phones and the new Macs. I managed to keep DD out of Ferragamo. She managed to keep me out of Williams Sonoma because my weakness for cool kitchen gadgets sometimes manages to overcome my cheapness but I always end up with buyer's remorse. There is evidently some kind of electronic gadget store that DD would not let us go near because she figured (probably rightly) that WBF and I would want to stay too long and it was time to eat.

I like the music they play in the Mall. It is quiet by mall standards. For a mall it has a nice atmosphere. I'm trying to say something nice, here....

I give up! The place gives me the creeps. Do people really not have anything better to do with their money then spending it on ostentatious, expensive shit? Do rich ladies have to wear so much makeup, such ugly clothes and such god-awful stinky perfume you can smell half a block away?

Looking at the stores and the shoppers I was reminded of a conversation I overheard on a city bus years ago. An older lady was talking to a young woman who worked in the most upscale dress shop in Cincinnati at the time. The older lady, who not only did not shop in that store but had apparently never visited it, asked what the clothes were like. The younger woman thought about it for a while and said, "I have come to the conclusion that the uglier the clothes and the more expensive they are, the better our customers like them." That describes a lot of what I saw yesterday. Hideous jewelry. Clothes that would have embarrassed a hooker. And let's not even talk about those disgusting stiletto heeled shoes that look pornographic (not to mention painful). I would not have believed people would buy any of that but all day long I saw people walking around the mall actually wearing it.

Since DD and WBF invited me to go with them, I was determined to be on my best behavior. I managed to make it through the entire day without throwing one fit or complaining very much. I even paid for a truly delicious late lunch and proclaimed the cost "not bad". Our lunch cost approximately twice what my husband and I ordinarily spend when we go out for dinner, and I didn't even have a glass of wine (... or the double vodka martini I actually needed after six hours of shopping).

On the way home we got stuck for nearly an hour in Orlando traffic. I kept my mouth shut.

I pretty much hated everything we did all day long, but the opportunity to spend an entire day with the kids was worth the aching back, the tongue-biting and the cost. (I'll worry about the fit DH is gonna throw when he gets the credit card bills some other time.) The kids had fun. I enjoyed spending the time with them.

To top the whole thing off, I even got another hug from DD. I am on a roll!

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