Monday, March 28, 2011

Janie and Jack and Jody

I just came off of Spring Break, where I spent half of my time in Louisville, where I am from, and where my parents still live, and half of my time in Indiana with my best friend, Alissa, and her three girls.  During my time in Louisville, Brad decided that it would be a good time to investigate the engine light that had been illuminated for the last six months. 

To make a very long and uninteresting story short, my oxygen sensor was bad and required Brad to open his wallet and extract $300.30 from it.  That'll teach him to be responsible.  Not that he really was...he just passed to torch back to my Dad, who on my wedding day thought was not ever going to come back his way.  Boy was he mistaken.  Anyway, while my car was in the shop, my Dad comes home from work (he works at Ford) and excitedly asks me what the diagnosis is on my car.  When I relay that it is the oxygen sensor, he whips out what looks like a long crooked metal bar with some doohickey on the end and exclaims, "I knew it!  I was talking to the head mechanic at work and he said based on the lights that were on, it was probably the oxygen sensor and this is it.

"Oh.  So can I go drop that off at the dealership and have them install that and get some money back?"  my mood was improving.

"No," my Dad explains, "this one has been taken out of a car already.  It doesn't work either."

"So, why did you bring it home?"  I am mystified.

"So you could see what it looks like, "my Dad says triumphantly.

"What's next?"I was amused now, "Did you arrange for me to assist with the surgery at the dealership tomorrow?"

"UmHum." I think I got through to him this time and the message was not, "Hey thanks for trying to enlighten me, Dad, on some real world situation that I could benefit from later, " but, instead, my clear message was, "Don't waste your time and energy on me Dad, because I am neither interested nor am I capable of evolving as a responsible adult.  I will be revisiting this exact same situation sometime in the near future when my light comes on again to reveal that the other oxygen sensor has gone kaput.  I will then wait six months to have my car serviced and I will probably drive 3 1/2 hours South to involve you.  At that time, I will have completely forgotten our current lesson and will ask you for a ride to the dealership after a long and exhausting day at work following a late night taking care of my children while I read my book and talk on the phone with my friends."

Now, my Mom buys all of my kids' clothes at the children's clothing store, Janie and Jack.  It is uber expensive and I would never pay those prices.  I only go in there with my mother and they absolutely LOVE her for obvious reasons.  I have three girls and because I did not get my "sale" gene from my mother, she enjoys paying retail for things and becomes visibly agitated at the prospect of an item being sold to someone else.  I have tried on multiple occasions to explain to my Mom that there are alternatives to breaking out in a cold sweat in the middle of Janie and Jack when they have put something back out on the floor that she has put on hold.

For years, all they would have to do is call her to tell her that their new Spring line is in and she would fly to Oxmoor (the mall I grew up in) to buy up everything.  They hit the jackpot when their Paris line came out right after her trip to France and it must have been through osmosis that they released their English collection the week before she visited London for the first time.  All my mother needs is some distant connection to something in order to justify buying something.  Ask me about her snowglobe collection sometime.  It is a disturbing sight to behold.

Anyway, my mother is a VIP at Janie and Jack to say the least.  She knows each Manager and all of the assistant managers, all of the employees and each respective extended family member.  Recently, though, they have had some turnover and there is a new manager.  (No doubt the previous manager due to astronomical sales as a result of my mothers credit, has hit the glass ceiling somewhere at Janie and Jack Headquarters. )

So we go to Janie and Jack on the first day of my visit there, as is the ritual, so that my children can have matching couture bathing suits, with accompanying cover ups, hats, shoes and sunglasses.  The importance of a four-year-old that accessorizes is not lost on the good people of Janie and Jack and obviously my mother shares their vision - times three.  The women behind the counter do not know my mother (Now, I have had previous employees contact me on Facebook to see how my mom is doing, so this is RARE.) and she is trying to use a coupon that expired the night before and they have put all of her "on hold" clothing back out on the floor.  My Mom is distraught, to say the least, and she has those women hopping in no time.  They are calling other stores and surfin' the net and calling home offices.  It was a wonderous thing to observe. 

My mother has single handedly, not only put Janie and Jack through private boarding school, but she is also funding their Ivy League educations as we speak.  Apparently, my oldest daughter who is 9, is about to size out and this produces a ton of anxiety for my Mom.  She will be disappointed if my three girls do not go off to college in matching Janie and Jack outfits.  Like many women of the South, they make it a priority to dress their children as if they were attending the Royal Wedding everyday. I find it more economical to go to resale shops in Southern cities.  I not only recommend it for children's clothing but for adults, as well.  Southerners just tend to be more impractical than people of the North when it comes to spending money on things that make them appear to have better lifestyles than they do.  Nothing gives me a bigger high than buying something from a resale shop that still has the tags on it.  Fifth avenue is the new up and coming resale area.  I love that it is so close to me.  I think Trader Tots is a rip off, both for selling and buying.  It is OKAY for winter boots and rain boots but mostly it is overpriced. Once Upon a Child on Sawmill is better.

The recommendation portion of this post is that if you are traveling South, seek out a few consignment shops and you will be pleasantly surprised.  This also applies to any major city.  Enjoy not only the unique things that you will find, but the discounts as well.

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