Was it only yesterday I was lamenting my clothing dilemma? (Yes, it was.) Well, here's the bottom line: the problem is solved.
Yes, you read that right. The problem is solved.
My friend Cindy - my friend since infancy - read my post yesterday morning and immediately emailed that she loved the analogies. (Cindy is a horse person, so she would.) Then she emailed back a little later and said if I was thinking of going to the Marion Salvation Army in Marion, she was free and we could go together.
I jumped on that offer as soon as I could.
Warren and I then went out last night, looking for a pair of shoes for me, and the more we looked at the gigantic mall just south of here - you know - the one that starts with a "P," the more discouraged I grew. No shoes, no skirts, no service. I had earlier struck out at our local Goodwill, as well as another smaller one that Warren and I had stopped at together. I was already thinking ahead to next week and whether I could cobble together enough clothes to make it to Friday again. So when I pulled into Cindy's driveway at 10:00 this morning, my expectations were low.
But my spirits were high. They always are when I am with Cindy. This is the friend I have always had. This is the friend with whom I learned to swim, and to shoot a camera, and a whole bunch of other stuff. This is my wonderful friend of a thousand sleepovers and a million memories. Before we got out of her driveway, we were laughing and talking.
That mood carried into the Salvation Army store, where Cindy announced "we'll need a shopping cart! Here." She then steered us straight to the dresses and we started to cull jumpers from the racks.
I soon learned Cindy's technique: flip through the rack quickly, pull any possibilities and toss them into the cart to try on. She worked one side; I worked the other. Sometimes she would hold up something: "What about this?" Sometimes I would hold up something for her nod. Twenty minutes later, I was headed to the dressing room with a cartful of clothes. Thirty minutes after that, I had three jumpers, one dress, and soaring expectations.
"Okay, shoes next," Cindy said, leading me in another direction. I protested mildly: shoes are hard to find for me, I can't wear anything more than a low heel, my feet are really touchy because of the neuropathy. No matter, let's look. Fifteen minutes later, I had a pair of dress shoes that I had tried on and then worn while walking up and down the shoe aisles. They felt fine. (I would have had a pair of casual office shoes as well, but they were just that much too big.)
"Now what?" Cindy said. Well, could I find some skirts? Anything was possible. We worked the skirts rack with the same efficiency we had applied to the dresses, then I went and pulled a few men's shirts (which I prefer to blouses) to try on as well. In the meantime, Cindy picked up some pieces of her own.
Another twenty minutes in the dressing room, and I was ready to go. Not because I had given up in despair, but because, thanks to Cindy's enthusiasm, my new wardrobe had come together.
Cindy checked out first and paid for her purchase. I then checked out: one dress, two skirts, three jumpers, three men's shirts, a pair of socks, and the dress shoes. Yellow tagged items were 50% off; pink tagged items were 99¢. I had several of each. (The dress shoes? 99¢.) Grand total? $34.51.
Cindy looked at me, her eyes big. "My gosh, I think that is what I just paid!" She rummaged for her receipt and started laughing. Her purchase was exactly three cents less.
It figured. That's what happens when two old friends go thrift shopping together. They come out within pennies of each other.
We drove away laughing. I called Warren to tell him of my success, which caused him to say, in mock sternness, "you spent how much on new clothes?" I gave Cindy a huge hug before driving on home, where I spread the new purchases out for Warren to view. Before this afternoon was over, I had scored a pair of casual office shoes at our local Kohl's. By using a $25 gift card I had received at Christmas, I paid an additional $3.81 for the shoes, which had been heavily discounted. (A note: I went to Kohl's twice in one hour. The first time to try on shoes, the second time with Warren in tow to give me a second opinion, as in "do you think these are okay?" When you suffer from a severe lack of fashion sense, it helps to be married to a man like Warren, who patiently looked, gave a thumbs up, and didn't once question why he was asked to go back to a store I had been in a half hour earlier.)
It is almost 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. The sky is brilliantly blue and clear, which bodes well for viewing tonight's supermoon. I am doing laundry; Warren is working in the shop. I am starting to think about supper. Today's purchases are spread out on the couch, except for the ones already in the wash. I already emailed Cindy about my shoe coup. She wrote back, "you are set for clothes for a year!"
A year? I'm thinking a couple of years at least. But when I am ready or need to go shopping again, I know what to do. Grab Cindy, laugh our way through the store, and come out with totals within mere cents of each other.
The 3¢ solution. It works for me.