November 8, 2018

lille vs. the sewing machine (but not really)

(You asked, so now you have to read the whole thing.  -Lille)

That thing I was saying about Supermom?  I suck at not doing it.

Because I'll be damned if The Kid isn't going to have some thought given to his costume for his dance performance next week, just because he's the only boy.  He's in two dances.

In one, he's Star Lord/Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, and I've already hooked him up with that awesome dark red leather jacket (which cost a fortune, but GOTG III comes out soon and I can sell it before Halloween and get my money back) and some great black jeans.  We've even figured out how to give him facial stubble using mascara.  Learning the technique involved some dangerous flirting with Pinterest, from which I normally run screaming, because Crafts.

In the other dance, the theme is Narnia.  The girls will all wear beautiful, flowing, deep cornflower-blue dresses.  The teacher told The Kid to just wear a white shirt and black pants like he did last time they performed.

I was piqued by this.  I took umbrage at it.  I should have been all "thank fuck I don't have to make an effort for this bullshit," but instead, I felt like he'd been overlooked.

Enter the Quest for the Vest.  "What colors are the dresses?" I asked him early last week.  "Just turquoise," he replied.  "Like, teal-turquoise, or closer to blue-turquoise?"  "Closer to blue.  I think."  We then walked around the basement pointing at various blue objects until he decided one was spot-on.  It was turquoise.

(This was where it all went wrong, in retrospect.  I was asking for an accurate color description from a child who wears navy blue shorts with orange piping paired with a black t-shirt with red lettering.)

Bring on Supermom:  I whipped out a tape measure like a professional seamstress and measured his chest, then ordered a vest on eBay.  Bam!  I even rolled the tape measure back up and everything.

Two days later, he texted me a photo of one of the dresses.  It was not turquoise.  Not even close.

I tried to cancel the eBay order.  They shipped the vest an hour later.  Because of course they did.


I then spent a few days in complacency denial.  But yesterday, I received another text from The Kid:

"We have to have our costumes tomorrow for the dress rehearsal, not next week."

Blistering hordes of fuckwads.

There ensued a frenzied afternoon-long online search, punctuated by phone calls to various formal wear stores in our vicinity, which turned up a multitude of blue vests, all navy, and exactly fuck-all in the strange-shade-of-blue-shiny-vest category.

Fine, I'll fucking SEW him a vest, I decided, at that point half-crazed and in despair and fully divorced from any shred of perspective and proportionality.  I spent another hour speed-devouring web sites about How To Sew For Unbalanced People With No Aptitude Whatsoever Who Will Probably Die Of A Needle Injury.

I am.  I'm going to damn well go to the fabric store and buy some fabric and thread and buttons and a pattern and sew him a silky Narnia vest that matches the girls' dresses and I know where P.J. keeps that thing she calls the "sewing machine" and I kind of remember from Girl Scouts when I was eight years old what to do with that trick with the thread all through the top thingies and then the other thread in the bottom and the hangie thingie and them both coming up and being long enough and I think there are some round things, too.  And there's Google.  And booze.  And I'll probably be up until dawn doing this and the booze will help me not throw anything through the sliding glass doors.  Probably.  And the finished product might look like harem pants or maybe a handkerchief used in a magic trick when I'm finished, but it's going to god-damned well be a vest!

I picked The Kid up from school and headed to the fabric store.  En route, he chose to share that in his backpack, he had a basic microfiber men's tee that his teacher had handed him during class that was the same color as the dresses and he could wear it.  I very sweetly inquired as to why he had not shared this information with me when we discussed my picking him up and my grand plans to overcome Crafting that very evening.  "Um, I was really into doing my math.  Uh, sorry about that."

We went home.  He tried on the shirt.  It was a little too small.

But a black vest would make it perfect.

And you can buy black vests in this town all day long and twice on Sundays.

"We're going shopping.  Get your shit," I said.

We went to Men's Wearhouse and found an okay black vest that rode up a little but everyone knows they have the best stuff, so whatever.  I even kept a straight face when they rang us up and the total was over a hundred dollars, and handed the gentleman my credit card while dreaming wistfully of Goodwill.  We left the store.  We got into the car.  We closed the doors to the car.  Then I let out a lightning-fast scream-rant about the price of that vest and exactly what they could do with it.

"I didn't actually catch all that, but I assume it meant that there went my Christmas present," The Kid said when I had finished.

"It cost too much," I whimpered quietly, my head in my arms, folded on top of the steering wheel.

I drove The Kid to his dad's house while muttering, "I have to take it back, I have to take it back."  On the way, we formed a plan, which was that I would go on a shopping spree for a cheaper, better vest, then grow a pair of ovaries and return the one we'd just purchased.

The first place I stopped didn't have any vests.  But they did have dress shirts, and that's when my eyes lighted upon a black dress shirt and a pair of black suspenders, and it occurred to me that many male dancers wear all black and it's a very classy look, and also fuck vests, so I bought a black shirt and the suspenders and left the store floating on a shimmering cloud of unicorn-sparklies triumph.

The cloud was so wonderfully drifty and glittery that it carried me straight to Men's Wearhouse, where I returned the vest with my head held high.  It was almost not even noticeable that I was slinking away wishing I was running when I walked out of the store.

I called The Kid and told him about the wonderful new Thing that had happened.

"Do you think the teacher is going to be okay with that?  Let me text her."

Poof, went the cloud.  Sparklies were all over the floor board of the car.  It's going to take years to get that shit out of the folds of the seats.

I called P.J. for reinforcement and moral support.

"Isn't that going to make him disappear on the stage?  Black against black, no color at all?  Hmmm."

She was, of course, right.  That's when the high of being faced with doing the impossible and the ironic low of being relieved of that duty combined with feeling like I failed when I thought I had actually been the genius of the world, and I started crying.  P.J. was the unlucky, undeserving recipient of the unattractive noises involved in crying over the phone.

So if the teacher raises an eyebrow today, I suppose we have the option of buying a different black vest.  Maybe from Goodwill.  And it's a happy ending, really, because I think the black shirt will work, and also that sewing machine thingie remains lurking in the back of the upstairs closet, and nothing got broken or smashed, and no one got hurt in any way.  The world is safe from Lille trying to do Crafting.

UPDATE:  It's so gratifying to pull something like this together, especially when the stress of it nearly did you in ... we got The Kid dressed up all snazzy in black and he looked great, and we drove through the rain and heavy traffic but still got to the school right on time for rehearsal to let out because that's what time it ended instead of what time it started because The Kid got it all wrong.


Happily, they think the dance will be fine anyway.


  1. err... you have Prime Membership for Amazon and they have a lot of colourful men's dress vests - just saying.

  2. Lille, Step away from the crafting...I mean sewing machine, so no one gets hurt! Also, I'm stealing "blistering hordes of fuckwads" cuz that makes me giggle! This was a brilliant piece! Tell The Kid I said to "break a leg!" So glad you gave us the details! Mona

  3. Parenting sounds hard. Because you just do your normal human fuckups, but your kid has to deal with the fallout. Also you have to take responsibility for HIS fuckups as well as your own, and end up being three or four times the fuckup you started out. LOL.

    1. I think it's mathematically exponential, actually, so it's like fuck-up cubed. And yeah, it's hard, because on the side you get questions invoking moral ambiguity and constantly being called out for every single instance of hypocrisy and fault noted under a hyper-observant eye. You get dumber and dumber until they turn 25, too, I hear, which means I'll be somewhere in the negative numbers by then!

    2. Does the nursing home where I sit drooling at that point have to be located in Texas for y'all to come visit? Just asking.

  4. "Blistering hordes of fuckwads" is my new catchphrase. Just sayin'.

  5. Uhm, by then, hopefully one of us bloggers will have gotten lucky by then and by lucky I mean richer than God and will have a nice retirement home set up for all us old bloggers to entertain each other with the drooling and the crapping of the pants, etc. And of course we will all have to bitch how none of our loved ones to to visit, but came you blame our loved ones being too afraid to come anywhere near the likes of our lot! Ha! Mona

  6. By the way, "blistering hordes of fuckwads" perfectly describes the hives I have been plagued with this fall! Forever now that is what I'm going to call them! Thanks. Lille! Mona