Friday, March 28, 2014

At Last

Few people know that I've been waiting for this week to happen for the last SIX MONTHS.

Yes, since way back in September, I've been in serious count down mode.  You know, slashes on the calendar.  A phone app to help me keep track.  Brightly highlighted pages in my planner.  A magnet on our refrigerator.  And frequent hand-washing to insure that I'm not sick when this blessed week is here.

I guess I'm not unlike the school children who are counting down the days to summer vacation.  But, really, I had something cooler I was counting down to.  This beats no-more-homework hands-down.

Drum roll, please.

It's the week of Weeuseables!!!

This mega-consignment expo comes to us only twice a year, bringing with it millions of kid items, from gently-used clothing to nearly-new toys, plus every bit of gear and paraphernalia that comes with parenthood.  Most excitingly, everything is dirt cheap.

Serious shoppers like me begin a wish list 6 months in advance.  Three weeks before the event, we prioritize that list from "OH, ABSOLUTELY!" all the way down to "Only If It's Less Than $1."  Two weeks before the event, we print out the floor map and plan a shopping route.  We order the search.  And then we memorize it. 

We get there early, even in the bitter cold, and we bring a wagon, this time wise enough to leave our children at home.  We take snacks, in case there's a long line, and we are in great moods, all of us sweetly apologizing to one another as our bodies bump in the crowded aisles.

We are clamoring, yes, but we are joyful in the process.  This is one of most satisfying days of our young motherhood, and we're bringing home gifts for our littles that will delight them without breaking the bank.  Plus, these are the women I'll be working with and buying from over the next few days.  Some are volunteers and others are consigners.  It's the Weeuseables before-the-public pre-sale, and I didn't set my alarm to sign-up first thing in the morning for nothing.  Neither did they.

Dare I tell you my shopping strategy?

First, always, it's educational electronics.  Those are the most expensive and are right by the entrance, so a quick glance there is a must.  Within seconds, I saw the two LeapFrog things I wanted to help Liam learn sound associations with letters.  Grab, grab, and into the bag.  The prices are fine and there's no time to compare, so my feet usher me on.

Next, always, is shoes.  The good ones go fast.  The table is somewhat near the entrance, so I can get there quickly and start sorting through the piles.  Within seconds, I find a cute pair of Ralph Lauren sneakers, his signature Polo icon peppered over the bright red canvas.  Score.  Oh my gosh, and there's a perfect pair of brown leather shoes for Sunday mass.  My eyes widen as I discover that in front of me are 5 new-looking pairs of water shoes for the beach.  I take my pick and then move onto the sandals, now struggling to decide between several pairs, each of them made of brown leather.  I'm losing time if I can't decide soon, so I throw three pairs into my wagon and later decide to only buy two.

I'm close to boys' clothing now, so I vow to drive down the aisles almost without stopping, my hands ready to grab whatever looks good.  The rush is not because I'm aggressive but rather because I must trust that my preferred colors and fabrics will pop out at me; paging through each hanging piece would be a significant time-waster which clouds the mind with so much to see that Indecision sets in.  I need to grab only what stands out from all the rest because that is how I want my son to look.

So I drive that wagon straight through, and I don't stop.  And when I reach the end of the two aisles of his size, I've got in my wagon a plaid Janie and Jack jumper, a blue Ralph Lauren blazer for Sunday mass, an entire Easter outfit on one hanger (shirt, pants, and vest included), a lightweight jacket, a yellow raincoat, and several shorts, polos, and button-ups -- all in colors and styles that speak "Liam" to me.  I got 15 pieces of clothing.  And it only took 30 seconds to gather it up.

I found some small toys for his Easter basket, a bowling set to save for Christmas, a carpet with street scenes on which to drive his cars, wooden road signs to prop atop it, and a few educational puzzles that teach numbers, colors, and letters.  I also scooped up a few Baby Einstein DVDs.

With a little math, I discovered that the average price of each item was $4.00.  Hooray!  And now we're set for the Spring and Summer.  Thank you, Jesus, for this blessing!