Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hell is a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

On Saturday, I drove to San Diego with four other women (women I don't know very well! And I survived!) to attend a wedding shower. The bride is marrying a dear friend of ours in about a month. I have only gotten to know and love the bride (J) in the last year or so, but her fiance (D) has been a wonderful friend for years, since our days in San Francisco. In fact, D is Vivian and Isaac's designated guardian.

I have known about this shower for weeks, and I decided, some time ago, to buy her a Le Creuset dutch oven. She is a fabulous cook, and I love the one my mom bought me last year. I thought I'd type up a few recipes that I make in mine, put them inside the pot, and that would be the gift. Since her husband is such a good friend, I didn't worry about the cost.

Last Thursday, Isaac was in pre-school, so I loaded up Vivian and went to the mall. I drove to the nearest one that had both Williams Sonoma and a Crate & Barrel, where she was registered. However, once I got there, I realized that both of those stores had moved on to bigger and better malls. No worry, I'll go to the Macy's home store. Oh, the Macy's here doesn't HAVE a home store. Oh-kay, right. I'll go to the Bloomingdale's--they have a home store and it doesn't really matter if she's not registered there.

Once in Bloomingdale's, after waiting for the elevator for what seemed like 30 minutes, I located their display of Le Creuset items. There was the pot I wanted, and it was on sale! However, there were no similar pots, in boxes, only ones on display. I set about looking for someone to help me. This proved extremely difficult, and only partly because Thursday was the day I had absolutely no voice due to laryngitus. After about 10 minutes of walking back and forth and waiting in lines, I finally enlisted the help of a nice young man who told me I shouldn't try to "engage the voicebox at all, just whisper" and said he'd run to check in the back for a boxed pot. Who knew? Free medical advice with your wedding gifts.

By now, Vivian had about had it. She'd already eaten all the goldfish pretzels I'd brought as a snack and was demanding "No stoller! No stoller, Mommy!", while arching her back and turning her body to try and wriggle out of the buckles. When she started screaming, I un-strapped her, and let her walk around a bit. This was only slightly better, as you can imagine: she was no longer screaming, but then again, she was walking freely among the plates and tchochkes of the home store.

Eventually, my nice medical sales clerk returned from the back with bad news: they did not have the pot I wanted in blue. They only had a white one. Since J was not registered at Bloomingdale's I didn't know what color she wanted, but I thought blue was a safer bet than white.

I decided to skip it, and head home. We could go to Williams Sonoma the next day, since Isaac would be in pre-school again.

The next day was Friday. Before we left, I checked J's registry on-line--she had actually registered for the white pot. Vivian and I dropped Isaac off at school and then headed over to Mieke's house for a quick morning play date. Around 10, we left, headed for the closest mall, a different one from the day before, but one that had both a Macy's (with a home store) and a Williams Sonoma.

First, we hit Macy's. They did not have any Le Creuset products except a crock pot. Okay. Williams Sonoma, two floors down and on the opposite side of the mall, was next. (I should mention here that Lance had taken my car in for repairs that day and I was driving his. It was only when I got to the mall that I realized I had no stroller. So I was carrying Vivian.) When we got to Williams Sonoma, I saw their display of pots, but again, none were available in boxes. Vivian was screaming and wriggling like an eel, so I put her down--again, to walk freely among the beautiful fragile glassware and heavy electrics with precariously placed jelly jars. I waited for help. The couple in front of me told the sales lady their life story as I tried to keep Vivian from using a pasta platter as a bowling ball. Eventually, my turn came.

"I need to buy something off a registry", I said. "But I know what I want already."

"Okay. Well, let me print out the registry anyway. What is the Bride's name?"

10 minutes and 10 mis-spellings later, she was ready to ask me what I wanted to buy. By this time, I had picked Vivian back up and she was screaming in my arms. The sales lady went to check for the pot in the back.

An eternity later, she returned with the news that they had no such pots in the back. Would I like to pick something else from the registry?

I glanced at my watch. It was 11:15. I did not have time to go back to the mall from yesterday and buy the pot before I had to pick Isaac up at noon. Fine. I snatched the registry and starting scanning through it, looking for anything between $35-$80.

Do you have the hand mixer? --No.
How about the juicer?-- No.
I like this platter--oh wait, someone already bought it.

At this point, she said to me: "Why don't you just take the registry home with you? Then you can call me and I'll find whatever you need and wrap it for you--I can special order it if we're out. It looks like you need to go home (here she points at the screaming Vivian)".

"Well, the shower's tomorrow, but thanks anyway", I said. And off I went, cursing under my breath. Now it was almost time to pick Isaac up and I still didn't have a gift. We were leaving for San Diego at 9:30 the next morning, and that night was my basketball game. I had to get the gift now.

I loaded Vivian in the car and sped back home, where I fortified her with a sippy cup of milk and some cookies, and threw the single stroller in the car (the double doesn't fit in Lance's car). Then I rushed back to Isaac's school, picked him up, and headed for Bloomingdale's, where I knew they had the pot I needed in white.

By the time we got to Bloomingdale's it was 12:30. It was also raining, and this was an outdoor mall. I hurried us up to the home store and asked the first sales person I could find to go get me the fucking white Le Creuset pot.

Hours later, he returned. "Oh, sorry." he said. "We only have a blue one."
"What? Yesterday you told me you didn't have a blue one; only a white one!"
"Hmm. Well, all I know is that today we only have a blue one left."
"Can I take the white one on display? Do you have a box for it anywhere?"
"Oh, we can't sell those. And you need the box--it has the warranty information in it."

Swearing, I looked around frantically for anything else to buy. What kind of mixer was on her registry at Williams Sonoma? Was it that kind of juicer? I finally settled on a hand blender*, spent my $65, and consoled myself with the thought that at least I'd spent less (monetarily, at least) on this gift than I would have on the Le Creuset.

"Can you gift wrap it?" I asked the bored woman who was ringing us up.
"You have to go to customer service," she said, not even looking up.

I grabbed the gift, and Isaac by the hand, and shoved some pretzels at Vivian to get her to quiet down, then headed over to customer service. Where, after waiting in yet another line, I found that I could purchase wrapping paper and ribbon for $15, but they wouldn't wrap it for me. Perfect.

Now it is 1pm. Both kids are tired, and hungry. I head downstairs, out of Bloomingdales and into the rain, towards the food court. Except the food court is no longer where it has been for the 4 years I have shopped at this mall. "Where are the restaurants?" I practically yell at a woman walking by. "They moved them. Over by Macy's, top floor."

Ohh-kay. Macy's is at the other end of the mall, and did I mention this is an outdoor mall? And that it's raining? I walk as fast as I can, which is not very fast since I am also dragging Isaac, the world's slowest 3 year old. He steps in a puddle and starts screaming.

"My feet are wet! Mommy! Noooo! My shoes are all wet!!"
"Sweetie, come on. It's okay. Let's go quick and get out of the rain, you'll be fine!"
"Nooo!" Throws himself down, on the ground--IN THE PUDDLE!--and continues screaming.

I un-buckle Vivian from the stroller and put her down. Pick Isaac up, and strap him, still screaming, into the stroller. Pick Vivian back up, and run to the elevator.

Eventually we get to the food court where I manage to order our lunches and somehow carry the tray of food with two drinks, and Vivian, while pushing a still sobbing, and now also sopping, Isaac to a table. There we consume a disgusting, $15 lunch.

The end.

(Well, no. Because I still had to get them home and to naps and then wrap the fucking present. But you get the idea.)

*the only link I can find is to one that Macy's sells for $35--since I spent double that, I refuse to link it. FUCK.

2 comments:

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