Friday, January 28, 2011

In Search of Another Wal-Mart

Our neighborhood Wal-Mart has lately been overrun with what I can only describe as press gangs from Sam’s Club. Sam is building a new Club in the vicinity, and he wants to sign up members. His minions lie in wait about thirty feet beyond the senior citizen greeter, and if I don’t slip by them fast enough to avoid their ambush, I’m likely to get clubbed over the head with a clipboard, only to regain consciousness with a Sam’s Club membership card in my hand.

I half-jokingly suggested to Mr. Lucky that we needed to find a new Wal-Mart. So we drove up to the Great Shopping Vortex better known as Brandon Town Center, where first we had lunch at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. (We wanted to do The Olive Garden, but they were so swamped, I think there was a second waiting list just to get one of those little round pagers that light up and vibrate once you are promoted to one of The Chosen who get To Be Seated.)

After committing the deadly sin of gluttony, we headed to the nearby Wal-Mart, where no press gangs accosted us.

This wasn’t the first time we’d been to this particular Wal-Mart. Indeed, I don’t think it was the first time we’d pushed the particular cart we got, as it came with an all-too-familiar, loudly clunking wheel that caused the cart to jerk with every revolution. We used to shop here all the time in the last century, before a couple of subsequent moves finally placed us near the Wal-Mart now rife with press gangs. Yet this was like a sparkling new Wal-Mart, since it had been recently renovated—and totally rearranged.

The pharmacy, for instance, had been moved from the front of the store to the very center, where fitting rooms used to be. The health and beauty items were now directly across from the food section, which I think makes better sense than putting them at separate ends of the store.

We were there mainly to stock up on food for Baby Bear, and once that was accomplished, Mr. Lucky decided he wanted to get more dog food. Dog food, he declared, was always near the garden center at every Wal-Mart he knew, so that meant a trek to the opposite side of the store.

The dog food wasn’t there. The pet supply section had been replaced with toys.

We turned right and headed toward the back of the store, where in front of paints we finally saw a sign that said “Pet Supplies” pointing us to the right—the direction from whence we just came.

So we turned right again, and saw nothing ahead of us but the Men’s Toy Department (better known as Electronics)—which, I might add, was in the same place it had always been because men can never find anything and won’t ask directions and if you dare move it, you’ll only get them more confused and surly. We clunked past—and after circumnavigating the entire store, we finally found the dog food where the baby stuff used to be—the same corner where I once bought diapers and formula and teething rings when Baby Bear really was a baby.

After that heavy lunch, we needed the exercise anyway. And we still haven’t been pressed aboard Sam’s Club membership—but never say never.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Bear Ransacks My Office

Honestly, I thought all that noise was coming from his own room. At least once a day he rearranges his bedroom furniture, empties his toy box (one of those heavy duty plastic storage bins), then lies on his back on the bed, lifts his legs, and sets about balancing the box on his feet, spinning it until he finally sends it flying across the room to hit the wall or door with a horrific banging noise.

That’s what I thought he was doing, until I went into his room to find he wasn’t there. His toys were in the toy box, and his furniture did not appear to have been rearranged since the last time I dared to venture into his booby-trapped domain armed with whip, fedora, and Grail diary.

But there was a lot of thumping coming from across the hall, behind the closed door of my office.

I found him sitting in my desk chair, surrounded by wreckage. He’d knocked over framed photos; pushed my laptop and a flat screen monitor into the dead space beyond where my desk curves; tipped over five stacked letter trays, the contents spread all over the floor; dumped the pencil and paper clip receptacles; and relocated the printer from the desk to the top of the two-drawer file cabinet where the letter trays had been.

I suppose I should be thankful he didn’t pull the books off the bookcases—or maybe he would have had I not discovered him when I did.

At least my laptop still works. I keep it closed when not in use, and that may well have saved it.

But it’s for this very reason that I usually keep my office door locked when I’m not in there. Usually. Why the lapse this time? Well, lately Baby Bear has developed a knack for locking doors before closing them. Even if I leave my office for just a minute, he’ll swoop in to push the button on the door knob, then close the door before returning to his own room. So why didn’t he do it this time? Why, instead of locking my door and going back to his own affairs, did he make himself comfortable within? (And trust me—ransacking a room IS his way of making himself comfortable!)

Perhaps the recent door locking has been all one big diversionary ploy, designed to trick me into keeping my office door unlocked for more prolonged periods, lulling me into thinking I don’t have to lock it, because he’ll do it and that’s it.

Or perhaps—in fact, most likely—I’m just losing my mind.