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About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The one day I leave my hemp and flax dress home...I swear

I had today off from work. Chuck was on interviews (after a year of being laid off, employment is on the horizon) so Junior and I were left to frolic in the wonderland that is southeastern Connecticut.


I decided to buy Junior some new books. I was all set to go to Barnes and Noble when I thought, why not support an independent bookseller instead? So I set my sights on the Niantic Book Barn.

Holy books. The place is set up like a compound, and there are used books everywhere. Not only do they sell books, there’s a kids’ playground…

…which was so infested with mold and mildew I skeeved at Junior touching anything. Seriously, have you ever been to someone’s house and enjoyed the ambiance of his/her laid back d├ęcor but upon closer inspection realized you mistook carefree for neglected? That’s how the Book Barn felt. I wanted to embrace the outdoor armchair nestled by a stack of books, but the more I looked at it, the more it looked like a chair I’d seen by the side of the road on dump day.

I don’t want to leave an establishment with Cladosporium clinging to my ass.

So Junior and I ventured inside and climbed the steep wooden stairs to the children’s section. A flattened Clifford the Red Dog lay on the floor, along with an assortment of…oh, hell, why pussy foot around? The toys looked like they had mange. As I raced through the books, I kept whispering to Junior, “Don’t play with that!”

Have you ever done the whisper-shout? It hurts your teeth.

Finally, I’d had enough. I grabbed some books and paid for them. The cashier ringing me out looked like a chubby Lily Munster. She didn’t smile. No one did. It was like everyone had just survived a plane crash and was suffering from PTSD.

Maybe I didn’t fit in. Maybe I should have worn a beret with crusty apple stuck to it and been perusing Yeats instead of wiping my child down with Purell? Maybe I should have braided organic alfalfa sprouts into my pubic hair to symbolize the suffering of genetically modified food?


I don’t need every retail experience to feel like Mickey Mouse’s smile is crammed up my butt, but as I drove away, I seriously wondered if I’d accidentally wandered into a Niantic commune full of childless artists and hippies and if they were pissed off about it.

Oh, but right, the books. The friggen books.

The best part? As we walked to the car, Junior squatted, turned to the woman walking past and grunted, “I’m poopin.”

Book Barn, if you'd give me all your Bukowski and Curious George books, I'd spend the day sweeping and polishing. You just need a little shine to your grime. I also have some gently used children's toys I'd be happy to donate. And maybe, just for a day, your moose statue could squirt vodka instead of water. Maybe then someone would smile.


Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

"I'm poopin"
Thats priceless! My kids would do that too. Sorry your book trip was so dirty. Did you wash the books you bought? I would. Somehow.

Keely said...

Ugh, I hate it when the 'small business' is that brutal. I want to support indie business too, but sometimes...they don't deserve it.

Trac~ said...

OMG too freakin funny! Sorry about the grimy bookstore though. :O)

tootertotz said...

What a delight! Glad you dared to try it out but so sorry you missed the memo that the bookstore owner was mauled by a tiger and the employees were still in the anger and depression stage of the grief process. Three cheers to Junior for the "I'm poopin" otherwise, you may have left in a mood. All that angst can make a girl testy!

Pricilla said...

What are you feeding that boy that he's always poopin'?
He's as bad as a goat!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Ba ha ha! I love the poopin comment.
It sounds like it has potential, it sucks that they are just letting it go to hell in a handbasket.
(says the girl who dreams of owning a book store)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Ba ha ha! I love the poopin comment.
It sounds like it has potential, it sucks that they are just letting it go to hell in a handbasket.
(says the girl who dreams of owning a book store)

Frogs in my formula said...

I did wipe the books down. Sigh. I wanted that trip to go differently. Ah well.

Elle said...

Sounds like a seriously depressing place to go.

Too bad junior didn't say "I'm poopin" while Lily Munster rang you out.

Lindy said...

I'm sorry - "alfalfa sprouts into my pubic hair"....a sentence I was pretty sure I wouldn't be reading today and yet, there it is.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

It's hard to support a 'small business' when they don't seem to care about it themselves...

The "I'm poopin" scenario totally cracked me up! Apparently he was showing what he thought of the place, too. ;)

Otter Thomas said...

It definitely sounds a little like a hippy commune. At least it was dirty enough it made junior comfortable enough to do his business.

Stacie's Madness said...

great read.
"i'm pooping"

The Mother said...

Luckily, studies show that exposure to all those nice, normal bugs might decrease childhood asthma and allergies.

Just trying to brighten your day.

Grand Pooba said...

Oh man, now you've given me an idea. A vodka drinking fountain in the kitchen?! You are just brilliant my friend, brilliant!

Jen said...

The whisper shout thing is one of the things I have mastered about parenting. Usually I yell at my kid not to touch something because I don't want to pay for it when she breaks it and because if she touches something she will whine that much more to get the damn thing. When she had H1N1 and we had to stop at Target on the way home from the doctor I told her to keep her hands in her coat and not touch anything. I really didn't want her spreading her germs around but we had to stop and get medicine so what are you going to do? Anyway, she kept her hands in her pocket, she actually did very well not touching anything. From now on whenever we go to Target I'm going to have to tell her she is sick so I don't have to buy her stuff.

I like the Vodka idea.

Jen said...

Me again, you know, I used to own a used book store and it never looked as shiny as Barnes and Noble. I'm a clean freak, and there was no mold but there was a layer of dust that just would never go away. It didn't help when the exterminator made his monthly visit. I was next door to an ice cream shop that was really grimy and they stored food in the basement which we shared. It wasn't because me that the exterminator was visiting. Just so everyone knows.

Mad Woman said...

Aww what a shame. I love supporting local businesses, but not at the expense of my spore free lungs and ass. But hey, maybe they'll take you up on your offer!

By the way...I just about choked on my drink when I read the "I'm poopin'" bit.

blognut said...

I love Junior! Honest to God, that is an awesome kid!

Anne said...

So excited to hear about Chuck's interviews. I hope they went well. I didn't realize that southeastern Connecticut was a wonderland. Maybe I should slow down next time a am passing through (although Mystic is fun). Used bookstores can be kind of grimy. You need to enter with lots of wipes and Purell.

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Mammatalk said...

Brilliant post. Hysterical!

Mrsblogalot said...

I sterilize each book that comes home with my son. Towels come off black each time! EWWWW!

You were lucky to escape with your lives!!!!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Oh, the end of that story is too freakin funny!

Sara said...

Oh my! Hahahahah! Mold shakes right off, dontcha know? ;) I am impressed with your word usage, Basidiospores, Ulocladium, Pithomyces, Epicoccum, Myxomyces, Curvularia all thank you from their fungal hearts.

The book store reminds me of a bad flea market.