Saturday, 9 December 2006

Shop of little horrors

I guess you could say we brought it all on ourselves. Ashley (husband) and I did the unthinkable today. We took the kids to the store after spending the entire afternoon running non-stop at a birthday party - two tired and sugar high little kids are neither a good starting point nor a good combination in any circumstance, but locate the scenario inside the gigantic box-like mega hardware store, and well.... it just adds a whole new level of crazy to the mix.

We required several items from the mega hardware store; a mail slot, some pipe, garden edging, butterfly screws, rubbish bags, window trim and who knows what else. On a normal day, it is not uncommon to see me shuddering upon entry at one of those God forsaken stores, but I can never usually remember exactly why I loathe those joints so much. They have everything you are ever likely to need - right? However, the mere mention of the mega hardware store is enough to reduce my face to pasty white, induce anxiety provoked chest pains and have my eyes to produce streams of hot tears. There are mega ladders at these mega hardwares stores, so staff can climb up to reach an item placed in the upper stratosphere of the mega shelf. These ladders have wheels and a punchy warning - "DO NOT CLIMB". That is it - a sign - nothing else. So of course, at their earliest possible convenience, both kids (pre-readers) are either climbing the mega ladder or pushing it into some carefully constructed display of light bulbs.

These mega stores also have tools, as you would expect - hammers, axes and hand saws, all placed at the convenient toddler taunting level. Note: nothing makes the mega store staff come off their "break time" with greater enthusiasm and in greater numbers than seeing a 2 year old wielding a hand saw.

The mega store has trays and trays of open topped nails, in all different sizes that little hands LOVE to sift through and grab as you walk on by. It has rows and rows of LOOOOOONG aisles so kids can run off screaming down them just as someone walks through with a big old mirror or pane of glass. They have things on spinny racks, which, if spun fast enough sends dozens of garden gloves flying north, south, east and west.

They have interestingly shaped and brightly coloured bottles of poison at little kid level- so they can make believe it is a drink..... "Mummy look! Glug Glug Glug".

They have bulk vinyl on a roll so kids can pull it to see how long it can stretch, and also teetering piles of rugs and mats just asking to be jumped on and spilled all over the place. And lets not forget to mention the fountains, ponds and water features, which always seem to have something handy nearby, so kids can play "does it float or does it sink".

So while Ashley was tripping over his own tongue and drooling over all the man goodies (like every other man at the mega hardware store), I had been reduced to a chook with its head cut off in the attempt to replace deconstructed displays, remove objects from tiny hands and intervene before one disater turned into another.

Ragged and traumatized, I followed the kids to the check out- Olivia , Miss two year old, with a roll of garden edging wrapped around her head so she couldn't see, but still singing an incoherent song. The sales woman, (who had witnessed the glove flinging contest) strides over and says in a cheery and very annoying voice, "Oh look! Who is having more fun in the hardware store- "Mom" and Dad or the kids?" "Well, it certainly isn't me", I snarled. She laughed. And then so did I, she made me feel better.

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