So, my parents gave Richard and me a huge gift for Hanukkah. By huge, I mean a check that was the size of an inheritance. And, boy did we need it.
We have college tuition for one child, and college tuition coming up for another in a year. We are pretty frugal, but sometimes, you just need to get the roof fixed, or, when the washing machine decides the spin cycle means it should dump gallons of water onto your floor, you need to have that looked into.
So, normally, when receiving a check of any amount, I usually put it right into the checking account so we can pay our bills. But, this time, Richard said, “Take this check and go buy some nice clothes.” I did. I put that check into the checking account via the drive-thru at the bank, and went directly to the Eileen Fisher store in town.
I was a little hesitant as I turned onto Central Avenue, knowing that finding a parking spot at noon-ish the day before Thanksgiving even blocks away from the store would be a mirage. But, there it was, right in front of the store –a nice, parking spot that may as well have had a sign in front of it that read: “Reserved for Leslie.” I almost cried. But I took the parking space instead.
My auto-immune disease has been acting up in ridiculously hideous fashion lately. Every joint hurts and I now have Bursitis of the elbow. For God’s sake. Really? I’m only going to be 50 in January, yet I’ve been fighting this disease for over ten years. I have been really depressed about dealing with pain every day while going to work and being a good wife and mom, when all I really want to do is stay in bed with a heating pad. The meds I take compromise my immune system, so working with kids, which I love to do, is probably stupid, but I love my job, so I’m not about to let that stop me. I’m very careful to wash my hands, and stay away from boogery noses, but it’s a risk.
I go for acupuncture treatments, and see an alternative physician who recommends bottles and bottles of supplements and anti-inflammatory rice-protein shakes. I exercise and am now not only meat and dairy-free, but have also recently given up gluten to try to undo what my body is doing to me. My fingers are too swollen to accommodate my wedding ring, and other rings I like to wear.
So, now that you feel sufficiently sorry for me, let me tell you how much fun I had shopping!!
When I initially walked into the store, I looked around wondering if I would be able to put together those amazing Eileen Fisher “looks” I had recently seen in an Eileen Fisher e mail. I had even written down some of the pieces in the outfits to try to see if my Target wardrobe contained anything close to any of them. I realized I had purchased a cardigan here, and a skirt there that would easily fit into the Eileen Fisher look I wanted to achieve. I also knew that if I went into the store, I would probably only be able to afford one or two items from the sale rack, but that was then, and this was now.
I literally felt my breath taken away as I touched a cashmere sweater that was beyond light and soft. And, as I continued to stroll through the store, I began to touch everything. When I started stroking a leather boot, I realized I had better snap out of it and begin to pick out a few things to try on before the sales clerks deemed me a stray walk-in who needed to be escorted out of the area. Oh, and did I mention that I hardly ever buy leather? It’s a personal choice that has nothing to do with not eating meat. I can’t digest meat, but I don’t usually buy anything made of leather if I can avoid it because I think there are more humane alternatives. But cows be damned. The right boot, that I was still unknowingly clutching, was going to be mine. And so was the left one.
A little black dress with an adorable bow placed cleverly right beneath the boobage area beckoned me closer. I found my size and slipped the hanger over my finger. There it was in silver, too. And, there were matching coats for the dresses. I chose one in each color. Did I mention they had my size? I can never find my size. Most stores in our town of skinny women don’t carry anything above a size 10. I remember walking through town once with my friend Rosa. We had been in and out of clothing shops that offered nothing we could get our behinds into, when she did the funniest thing I’ve ever seen someone do. We walked into one of the stores for teeny-tiny women who never eat or throw up after they do, and before we even touched anything on any of the racks, asked the fist clerk we saw, “What’s the biggest size you carry?” When the clerk answered, “Size 10,” Rosa said, “thank you very much. Come on Leslie, let’s get out of here. We don’t need to waste our time.” I started laughing before we got out of the little boutique. I couldn’t contain my larger than size ten laugh after that.