a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Mar, 2006

Yesterday was the first day of March Break 2006

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

There was a great column in the Saturday Citizen about canceling March Break. And I’m afraid to say I have to agree. (1) It’s too expensive to travel anywhere. (2) It leaves many parents in a lurch. (3) Museums and other kid-friendly places are packed. The author of the article suggested each kid should have five “floating” vacation days, and be able to take them any time of the year. What a great idea! The kids can take a Friday or Monday off for a long weekend, or a bunch of days together for a family vacation. And everyone is happy.

I can only hope that someone in the upper echelon of the school system takes that idea and runs with it. I’m only one day into the break and I’m already pooped.

Yesterday was a crazy day.

I had a dental appointment in the morning, so we all ate breakfast in the cafeteria at Mark’s work and I left the girls there to watch TV for 1.5 hours while I drove downtown, had my teeth picked and polished to the point of bleeding and then drove back.

Then the three of us drove out to Ikea, where, admittedly, I was hoping to snag some free time for myself while I left the kids in the ballroom. I figured hey, it was only 10:30, there’s no way the ballroom (which holds a dozen kids or so) can possibly be full.

But it was. And so was the rest of the store. It seemed as though a lot of people had the exact same idea I did. I think there may have been more people there to get a $1.00 breakfast (eggs, sausage, mini-croissant) than to shop, but then again there seemed to be a fair bit of shopping going on too.

So the girls and I walked around the store, trying our hardest not to get trampled.

Before we left we turned into the As-Is section – the place where returned furnishings are reborn to live in someone else’s home. I have never had any luck finding anything in the As-Is section. Little did I know that this time would be different. I saw it almost as soon as I walked in: a small shelf, about yay high. Almost like it could be used for a night table, but higher. It was beech-coloured, and upon examination I determined it would be perfect for Sarah’s bedroom. She has been complaining about a lack of a bookshelf for the better part of a year now.

This is where it got sticky, and I actually learned something about CUT THROAT people a.k.a the pirates of the As-Is section – and how to handle the stress of finding something cool that everyone wants as soon as you see it.

A lot of the items here come from store displays, and are often peppered with dings and dents. I knelt down to inspect the shelf. This was my first mistake. I drew unnecessary attention to myself. Out of the corner of my eye I could see sudden hovering. The act of my kneeling, the showing of interest, was in fact a metaphorical RED FLAG that I was waving in front of bullish bargain shoppers.

I saw people snap to attention all around me. They were all undoubtedly thinking the exact same thing:

What is she looking at?
How much is that?
It looks like it’s in good shape.
Does she want it, because now that I see that someone wants it I decided that I want it too!

The shelf was pretty solid and it was only ten bucks.

I was going to walk away and get Sarah, to ask her if she wanted it, but I quickly realized that the very act of removing my hand from the aforementioned furniture was going to send a message to the hovering pirates that I didn’t want to send.

My hand did not leave the shelf at any time.

Calmly, so as not to draw any more attention I called to Sarah, and asked her if she liked the shelf and wanted it for her room. Yes mummy yes! Her face glowed with excitement. That was all I needed to hear.

I picked up the shelf – it was freakin’ heavy – and dragged it to the register, much to the obvious disappointment of the people around me. As I stood in line I was approached by a fellow who verbally acknowledged the great deal I was getting, I recognized him right away as one of the hoverers. HA HA!

I bought the girls a cinnamon bun to celebrate our triumphant purchase. There was nowhere to eat it, and they used the shelf as a little table. It was raining when we left, so we ran to the car, I stuffed it in the trunk and we went on our happy little way.

Later, I will tell you about the trip we took to Fabricland later in the afternoon, and what a huge mistake that turned out to me.

Okay. I’m off to shower. Today is my dreaded doctor’s appointment. *sigh*

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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