That Was Easy

written by liz on Monday, September 29 2008

I am helping in the school garden for Alex's class this year. Another mom and I are going to split the task and alternate, each of us will take half the class to the garden every other week for a short lesson and garden time. It's Fall, so I thought it would be fun to teach the kids about bulbs and have them plant their own. The first class is tomorrow, so today I had to take Sam with me to Yard Birds Garden Center to buy Daffodil bulbs (as well as a few other bulbs for our own home garden that I did not need and could not resist but that is another post entirely). I had the garage sale (from yesterday) money burning a hole in my pocket and I was feeling the happy vibe that helping out with a school garden can engender.

Sam and I had a soft cuddly little snuggle in the car before I helped him out of his car seat. We played a giggle inducing game of "I see you" on the ride over. Things were going smooth. Enter garden store. Sam approaches flats of pansies. He gasps. Look ma, you love these (I said to myself: not really Sam but who am I to argue over a technicality). Do you want some mom? They are so pretty? It had a sing song quality that makes me think he really does listen to me. No babe, I say,  let's look for bulbs.

I am so validated when I see a huge bulb display that it is impossible to miss, center store. I start to feel the need to hoard every bulb I can see, but muster some semblance of restraint. In one of the aisles near this bulb section, there is a cart that some employee has left right in the middle of things. It contains a small computer, small printer and one of those scanning guns that they probably use to check prices, and take inventory. While I am salivating over parrot tulips, violet crocus and a bag of pink teacote ranuncula, Sam finds equal fascination in the cart. Well not just the cart, but in the scanning "gun". He goes directly for it, and I remind him not to touch, which he ignores. Large garden store employee who is in charge of the cart appears. Jolly and robust, he engages Sam. Hey buddy, how's it goin''? Good, Sam sniffles. You want to try the gun bud? I mutter something about not being fond of guns, but it's useless because Sam is so intrigued. Even though there is 45 years between them, the two of them enter another dimension of male bonding. Point it at this bud! He hands Sam the device and Sam points and a light goes off at the end.  The man says, here buddy, I can make you your own label. He scans something with his gun and a 8 inch long sticker emerges from the printer on the cart. He pats it across Sam's chest, on his shirt. Newly priced and labeled, Sam is thrilled. At this point Sam is thinking this outing is better than riding on a steam train. Just as quickly as Sam was distracted, so was I. All the sudden I am selecting  bulbs, carrot and radish seeds more bulbs and I found onion starts to grow red onions. When I realize I have gotten a little carried away, I think we better leave before more temptation robs me of my sense of reason and budget.

Come on Sam, lets get in line I beckon. He lingers but finally goes. I wait in line, trying to balance too many bags of bulbs without a cart or basket. With the stuff teetering in my arms I estimate I can keep it from tumbling if the lady in front of me would just check out a little faster. Hurry! Meantime, Sam finds another contraption. Like a party favor at the end of the festivities, he thinks he should have it. His selection is a shiny blue attachment for the hose that is about 3 feet long, and has a turning spigot that rotates and spins. It's the Rolls Royce of water hose attachments. I look at the place where I thought he got it, and it says $7.99. I think, that is a pretty good price for that, and decide to say OK. Clerk rings me up and when I see my total I realize I better check it.  Didn't I come here for 10 bulbs? I end up with four times that and this new attachment that is actually $21.00. I start to waiver. I tell her I don't really want it if its that much. Sam, we can't get that I say. He begins to repeat himself. I want it mom. I want it mom. I want it.  I ask the clerk if there something for a little less? She starts to lead me a away from the cash register and there are now a good 5 people behind me and Sam becoming more and more agitated. I want that mom. I WANT IT. No Sam, it's too much. I don't want a $21 garden hose attachment. So, the clerk takes me to another section where there are quite a few more options. I notice people shifting from one foot to another impatiently. Sam, I say, this one is better. Look, it has a button you can push to make the water come out. Of course he senses that I want him to say OK so he says, NO! I want the one that TURNS. I should have compared it to a gun and said it had a trigger but I wasn't that desperate yet.

The one I have just found is half the price and still blue I reason with Sam.  Let's get this one. At this point, we are back at the register and she is ringing me up. Sam still protests. NO I WANT THE ONE THAT TURNS! A couple women behind me try to intervene and say how nice it is, how it matches his beautiful eyes. NO! HE WAILS. Somehow I keep my cool . I pay $10 for the attachment that neither Sam or I want. He keeps protesting. I turn to look at my rooting session. One lady says, You are in charge mom. Remember that, I never was. You can do it, good for you.  We get out the door and Sam is now crying.

I finally say:  either you stop crying, or I am going to return this nozzle Sam. Neither of us wants it! He continues to disagree. I want the one that turns he pouts. I want things too, I  reason (like a child who behaves, I rage to myself silently). Sometimes it just does not work out. As people leave the store, I notice them staring at us in our crouched showdown. Finally, I decide I am finished with this fiasco. I leave my bags of bulbs, and seeds in the middle of an aisle outside, and head back inside.

I would like to return this, I say to the rotund man who labeled Sam and is now behind a register. He looks at me surprised.  I get my money back for the the semi fancy long handled nozzle and leave the store. I look at Sam all sweaty and tear stained. I finally read the label that is sprawled across his chest. The man labeled him a 5 pound bag of fertilizer, $11.99. 

How appropriate.

Best part of my day, Sam fell asleep in the car on the way home and took a 3 1/2 hour nap. You think he was a little tired? I noticed when I looked at his face before I carried him inside to his bed, he had cried three eyelashes off....

So much for the joy of volunteering.

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