Thursday, October 20, 2011

They Came. They Saw. They Shopped.

Last Thursday my mom and her good friend Deborah flew into D.C. for a visit.  I knew there would be shopping involved because my mom is a champion shopper, Sarah is her protege, and Deborah puts them both to shame, but I was not prepared for the shopping tsunami that was headed my direction.  What is one to do when a giant tidal wave of consumerism is headed her way?  Head for the hills?  Build an ark?  In the end, there really is only one answer.

Grab a life preserver and hang on for dear life.

I tried to keep up with them, I really did.  And at first I thought it might not be so bad.  Our intentions were so pure on Friday morning as we headed to the National Portrait Gallery and the Building Museum.  But after twenty minutes of letting Jack flop in the lobby of the Building Museum, Sarah's eye landed (quite by accident, I'm sure) on a giant sign that read URBAN OUTFITTERS.  Urban Outfitters is Sarah's Mecca.  She makes a pilgrimage there at least once a week.  She was due for a fix.  And besides, the National Portrait Gallery wasn't open yet, so we had some time to kill.  It wasn't exactly difficult to convince my mom and Deborah (or myself, if I'm being honest) that this was the perfect place to bide our time.  It was all downhill from there.

After we parted company with John (who I'm ashamed to say got caught up in the whole thing and actually purchased something himself), we managed to get back on the wagon and head to the Portrait Gallery.  Of course, by then we were hungry from all our shopping, so we sat down at the cafe for a quick snack.  An hour later, we finally forced ourselves to look around.  There was a folk art exhibit that my mom thought sounded interesting, so off we went.  Within five minutes Deborah had made a new friend, a security guard who had apparently been to heaven before and assured her that the gold there looked quite different from the gold tin foil covering a piece of art.

An example of what it DOESN'T look like in heaven.
He then moved on to a giant paper mache sheep (I'm a big fan of folk art, let me tell you) and asked if he could have a sheep as a pet.  My mom and Deborah mulled that one over for a moment before Deborah replied, "I guess so.  If you're zoned for it."
"Could I have it in my house?" the man asked.
"I'm not sure you'd want to," my mom said.
"But could I, like, hug it?"

On that note, we hightailed it out of there and we went where we'd really wanted to go all along: the gift shop.

A true work of art.  And you can pet it.

On Saturday we headed to the zoo.  We saw the orangutans (and learned all about regurgitation and re-ingestion, a super fun subject), the sea otters, the elephants, and the small mammals.  Jack enjoyed watching the otters make a nest in a hollow log.  True, he thought the otter statues were mice, but if it makes the kid happy, who am I to correct him?

In the small mammal hall, Jack was delighted by the golden lion tamarins, mostly because he thought they were Minky.  Now you might be starting to think Jack has a hard time differentiating his mammals, but in this case, he may be on to something.  I'll let you be the judge. 

Later that afternoon, post-lunch at Lauriol Plaza, we did the only logical thing: we shopped.  There are a handful of great boutiques and furniture stores on U Street.  I think we saw them all.  The biggest hits were Legendary Beast for vintage jewelry and the new vintage furniture store Foundry.  By the time I drove home that night I didn't care if I ever saw another Pendleton jumper or rhinestone necklace again in my life.

It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do.

On Sunday we had brunch in Old Town and took Minky to the dog park near the river.  Jack had a wonderful time chasing Minky around. However, when Minky dared approach another small child, Jack was less than thrilled.

After the dog park, we shopped at the enormous and amazing accessory boutique, Lou Lou's, then hit up LNRB's Stella and Dot party, because clearly we hadn't done enough jewelry shopping in the past three days.  After that, we headed for Georgetown for yet MORE shopping.  I think I hit my shopping wall somewhere during those following three hours.  Anthropologie lost its luster.  Madewell made me want to cry.  Even a cupcake from Baked and Wired couldn't revive me.  When I went home that night I was ready to collapse.  Monday loomed before me like a wall of bad pleather accessories.  I prayed for a miracle.

Fortunately, even my mom was starting to show signs of wear and tear on Monday, and we agreed to go to Gadsby's Tavern for their toddler play time.  I kind of love how in Old Town they have a play group in the same place where our founding fathers used to drink beer.  It was seven dollars for a group of three, which worked out perfectly, since Deborah was determined to press ever onward in her quest for shopping glory.  Jack had a good time reading with Grandma.

Jack was also invited to participate in crafts or play in a tunnel, but his tastes have always been unconventional.  For example, this keyhole proved to be highly entertaining, until we were told not to touch it.

Gee, you'd think it was a historic landmark or something.
After Jack's nap, I picked the ladies up in Old Town, which required visiting one last boutique, and then we went to see Footloose with Sarah.  I later found out that she went to Urban Outfitters after the movie let out around 9:30.  It's a disease, people.  Fortunately, it doesn't appear to be catching.

On our final day, Tuesday, I dropped Jack off at preschool (no tears!) and I took my mom and Deborah into D.C. so we could tour National Geographic and grab lunch with some friends.  I left the ladies to fend for themselves for the afternoon, and they actually chose to do something cultural: the Holocaust Museum (which I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen yet).  They said it was really amazing and I think even Deborah was happy for the brief respite.  John made a fabulous farewell dinner, and we culminated the visit with a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay and a pumpkin mascarpone pie that somehow only lasted two nights (a real shock in this house).

Seeing my mom was so wonderful.  I'm thankful to Deborah for flying out here with her (the visit might never have happened otherwise) and for both of their generosity while they were here.  I made out like a bandit, let me tell you.  Of course, now that Mom and Deborah are back in their respective homes, I'm starting to feel a little down.  It's hard not having family around, especially when you have a kid.  Jack had the best time playing with his Grab-a and I loved catching up with my mom and Deborah.  We always seem to have the most fun when we're all together.  I love you both!

And you know, it's the darndest thing, but I suddenly have this strange hankering to go shopping...


Dad said...

Sorry I missed it all!

Sarah said...

You've painted me as some sort of shopping monster! And yet, despite my new, ugly rep, I've still been shopping about 6 times since Mom and Deborah left. C'est la vie!