5 minute read

December 30, 2009, 11:01 PM

Mom and I went to Roanoke today to get my outfit for Sis’s wedding that’s coming up in a few weeks. I’m the photographer, and we got a really cool black-on-black-on-black outfit for me. We got black dress pants, we got a black shirt, and the surprise: a black vest as well. Mom saw it and wanted to see it on me, and it actually looked pretty good. So we got it. Excellent. I’m covered for the wedding, and at less cost than renting a tux. Oh, and unlike the rest of the boys, I get to keep my new threads after the big “I do”. Plus I’ve got my Metrobus tie that Sis is letting me wear, and we’ve got it all covered.

Then afterwards, we went to Panera Bread for lunch, where the food was good, but a little pricey. Fun stuff, if you ask me. Then after that, we went over to Valley View Mall, mainly just to wander around for a bit. We spent most of our time in three stores.

First, we hit up Bath and Body Works, where Mom got various treatments to mask stinky air in the bathroom. There, they had these giant rubber duckies. I, of course couldn’t resist picking one up. I wondered if they were functional or for looks. So I squeezed it. It let out a squeak that just made my face light up. This was fun! Then I got Mom to take a photo of me with the duck. And here we are:

Holding up the rubber duck at Bath and Body Works

That’s one giant functional rubber duck! And contrary to what we all thought, those ducks were not just for looks, but were indeed for sale, though at $12 a pop, I’d guess that they weren’t moving too fast. It’s cute, after all, but not that cute.

Then we swung by a cookie store for a few minutes. I didn’t get anything, but Mom got an iced tea. But I did notice this cookie, which puzzled me for a moment:


I was looking at that, and was like, Zoid? Seriously, I was trying to figure out what “Zoid” meant, and why it was on a cookie, and wondering if I’d missed an Internet meme or pop-culture phenomenon or something. Then I figured it out: it wasn’t “ZOID”, but rather “2010”, the year that starts on Friday. Seems someone needed to work on their frosting penmanship just a shade, and make those curves a shade smoother, but it certainly got a laugh out of me and the lady behind the counter.

Then the second store where we spent a lot of time was Christopher & Banks. I absolutely hate going into these kinds of stores, but at least they provide accommodations for the men. They understand. Get the men out of the way while their sisters/girlfriends/wives/daughters/mothers/etc clean the place out. They provide a chair in the store for the males to sit while the women do their thing. So I just parked it and played Scrabble on my phone. I can deal with that. This is also when we find out that the customer-loyalty program they have isn’t so sophisticated. You have to put in your information separately for every store. I keep telling Mom that she needs to be more selective about who she gives her information to, but she just forked it over. Me, I usually give (202) 456-1414 as my phone number and “” as my Email if I don’t really want them to have my information. For those wondering, is my “kill” address – anything that hits that address dies on contact and is never read by a human. Then (202) 456-1414 is the number for the White House switchboard. The number is perfect for my purposes. It doesn’t look corporate or institutional, as it lacks a double-zero ending. And thus no one has ever picked up on it that I’m giving them the number for the White House switchboard. And an additional plus when I’m at home – it’s local.

And finally, the third store we spent time in was Yankee Candle. Let me just say that I couldn’t handle that store. There ought to be a rule on the scented-candles-to-cubic-feet ratio, since for me, the smell of all those candles in that too-small store was just overpowering. I mean give-you-a-headache strong. I had to leave. So I parked it on a bench outside the store. Most Yankee Candle stores aren’t like that, though. They’re bigger, and so there are more places for those scents to go. The one in Wheaton is more than twice the size of Roanoke, and I can handle that store. The smell has room to diffuse a bit more, plus the mall entrance is wider, and so I can handle that. I could stay in there all day (but why would I want to?).

Then leaving the mall, we got back to the Sable, and… the car wouldn’t start up. It acted like it was trying to start but wouldn’t. Then it would also start up, run weak for a second, and then die. We called AAA, and they sent a guy out. Before he even got his hands dirty, we demonstrated what the car was doing. I turned on the key, and it started right up. Figures. I’ve seen it happen many times myself – as soon as the guy who knows what he’s doing shows up, then the thing decides to work like it’s supposed to. We were done anyway, so we took the car straight home. Mom was concerned about the car making it, but we ended up making it just fine. So now I have something to do when I get back to Maryland – get the car fixed.

Then the drive home was interesting. I’ve done the ride between Stuarts Draft and Roanoke a lot, but usually I don’t have any passengers. It’s usually just me. Mom, meanwhile, was being Mom in the passenger seat. She’s of the always-in-the-right-lane-except-to-pass mindset, while I tend to think a little more long-term. If I know that there are hills that the trucks will run slow on, or if I’m eventually going to overtake someone, I’ll just prepare myself ahead of time. Then Mom’s all, right lane and right back after you pass someone. So we had a spirited discussion about that. Also about keeping up with traffic and such.

That latter point reminded me of what happened when Katie and Sis and I went for dinner. We’re driving on 250 towards Fishersville, and this guy’s close on my tail. I commented, “What is this idiot doing right on my tail?” Then I looked at the speedometer, and in a guilty-sounding voice, I commented, “Oh, wait, I’m the douchebag here,” before taking the speed up to a more acceptable level. I was going about five or so miles below the speed limit. I mean, if I’m going to refer to the right lane as the “granny lane”, I’d better at least drive the speed limit.

So there you go. So once I get back to Maryland, I need to take the Sable to the doctor…

Web site: Men's Wearhouse - where the boys are getting their tuxes done. Like I said, though - at the end of the day, I get to keep my outfit. Theirs are due back the next day.

Song: Damn you, Sparrow, I still have the song from your snow raid stuck in my head!

Quote: Meanwhile, the Sable's probably going to see the inside of the Firestone place in Wheaton again. I am willing to forgive their minor moments of "DUH" the last time I was there, because outside of that, they did good work. The last shop I took the Sable to is officially on my craplist. Any time you have to politely and firmly beat the manager to within an inch of his life to get an apology for their crummy service, and get sales calls for a new car from the same company while your car is in their shop, that's justification enough to give them a spot on the craplist.

Categories: Family, Mercury Sable, Roanoke