Saturday, June 27, 2009

Outfitting an Army (W update)

Our family is scheduled to go to a very special event next week, specifically one of my nephews is go to be bar mitzvah-ed, or more properly said, going to become a bar mitzvah. In either the vernacular or the proper however, it is a BIG deal. So, being a family member of the guest of honor, we have to make sure we are dressed to the nines (where'd they get that phrase anyway?) . Problem is, our family is usually dressed to the two's, we might hit the fours or fives on occasion; but nines require us to get out there and spend some real numbers in time and money.

First let me get through the logistics of the day. We opted out of having neither the girls nor the congregation nor ourselves endure the girls endure the ceremony. So we just have ourselves and the three kids (hopefully all three). My mother in law will watch them while we are there, that is, she'll watch them if her back is able. She has been having relapses of an old back issue, and with Livie being, shall we say, physically difficult of late, we are scouring the area without much luck, for someone to ride shotgun in the house while we go. Right now, it looks like we're going to have to at least do something about the party afterwards. We'll probably leave Gracie home and take Livie.

Okay, we know HOW we're going to do it, but now the inevitable question...WHAT TO WEAR? I'm the only one in the family who remotely has any level of dress up stuff, but even though I work in an office, we are 5 years into a daily dress down policy. I hardly think my 'Autism Awareness' golf shirt and khakis are gonna work in this situation. The 3 older kids, forget it. We need to go to the store if we need a white shirt for a choral concert. Livie and Grace my have a decent outfit or two. Linda's last nice outfit was the wrong season. So we have a 6 alarm fire that need to be put out.

I am first. Since life has not only seen me accumulate experience and battle scars, but also has physically accumulated on me, I can no longer count on major retailers putting on major sales to have sizes in my 'major' category. I love all those euphemisms for large: Plus size; the oldie but goody 'husky'; portly; women's sizes; big and tall, I'm sure if I actually went into stores, I could find a dozen more. My latest encounter was at Men's Wearhouse where I was declared an 'executive' size. Yup, I'm moving both up AND out in this world. What if I get any bigger? Am I then a VIP size; a presidential size...I guess they'll just stick with good ole' King size. Good experience from that place, from suit to tailor to shirt to tie....I'm set.

While Dillan's height has gone up, it's all just more beans on the pole; he has gotten use out of his last suit for three times counting this event. His 'difference' is in his shoe size. He's pretty much starting out in men's sizes, yet his feet are what they call narrow. He flopped out of the dress shoes we got off the internet, and we had to search out narrow sizes on Amazon. I honestly don't know how they did it before the internet. I guess that's one of the reasons society shunned those who were 'different', and maybe part of the reason society's getting wider, since strange sizes are now a click away. Heck, if I were a parent back in the 70's and I knew I couldn't find sizes for my kid, I would have stopped feeding them until they were back 'in range'.

Jason had proved even more a challenge. One suit we bought wound up being tight around the waist and we finally scoured all over the real and virtual earth to find something that A) fit; B) He liked and C) did not clash with Dillan's suit. By clash I'm sure you realize that means 'is NOT the same'. If you talked to them, being dressed at all similar would mean the equivalent to a personal Armageddon.

The 'other' two girls, Linda and Aly took to the malls over the weekend to finalize their ensembles. All I can say is THANK GOD I did not have to sit through that. I used to go out with Linda to the mall when she went out clothes shopping. Note the phrase 'USED TO'. No offense, but you women shop differently than men. It's true, and it's been 'scientifically' validated. Men hunt. Me lookum for 'XX '. Me kill (buy) 'XX'. Me go back to cave. Women 'gather'. They stroll the 'fields' looking for berries (bargins). Result: more berries than we can eat and WAYYYY too much time spent looking for the most ripe ones. Alright, men do miss lots of plump berries carrying their kill out, but that's the price of being king.

Okay, Saturday will tell whether we can pull it all off. We have 6 new outfits (well 5, with Dillan having a new shirt and tie). The next challenge is whether these nice outfits can survive 8 hours of our family. My bet is that at least one casualty; maybe one 'death' and one that will require major surgery. Mazel tov, Alex...
We made it to the Bar Mitvah, well most of us...
Livie was sick this week with some kind of weird virus and she seemed to have a sore throat and she's been very clingy. So Linda wound up staying home with Livie. The 3 older kids had a bang up time at the the point that they were requesting when the NEXT bat mitzvah party was. When I told them that there was no prospect of a bar mitzvah in our immediate family for more than a dozen years; the idea of conversion to Judaism seemed a viable solution to them.
We were heading home and we got a call in the car from homebase, requesting supplies from the local Stop and Shop. With the four of us fully dressed, and a supply of fun stuff from the party (goofy hats, glow stick chains, sunglasses etc) I saw an opportunity for fun.
I had the boys put on their jackets and sunglasses from the party, and with my jacket on and aly in her fancy dress; we went into Stop and Shop as an entourage. Jason and Dillan had fun playing Secret Service agents; checking aisles for dangerous characters and potential explosive devices. We had the checkout clerks in stitches as they saw Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues go by. The way I figured it, when was the NEXT time we would have the chance to have fun in full regalia? Halloween?

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