This past week has about sent me into early retirement. Here's what it looked like.


We flew home that morning (after an amazing weekend of shows with the people of Indiana) and hit the ground running. Ryan and I had so much work to do that we drove an hour away to his parent’s house so that they could watch Annie while we got our “computer” jobs done.

Annie was not down for this drive. Not after an airplane ride and two car rides the day before which left her in the car seat for close to five hours. Nope. She was having no part of this.

She went ballistic.

Ryan jumped in the back seat to soothe her.

She gave him the stink eye.

She continued her high-pitched squealy scream.

We gave in. We pulled over in a stuffy, upscale shopping center and we looked like worn-down airplane rats (gypsies if you will). Ryan went into Smoothie King to ask for free water and I held our dirty, angry, crying baby outside on the bench in the Texas heat.

The rich ladies looked at me. I pulled out the pour-n-go packet of formula from my bag, whipped up a bottle, and began to calm this little person down. Just when it got quiet, I heard a buzz. Then another buzz. Then lots of buzzes.

This bench was like a rich person’s house… only meant for looking at. It was surrounded by big potted plants and needed a sign that read, “Warning: This bench is just meant to be looked at and not actually sat upon. In reality, we don’t want you sitting in front of our stores anyways. That’s why the bench is surrounded by an entire rainforest of plants, shrubs, bushes, and flowers. And, just in case you don’t get the hint, we’ve planted three beehives and wasp colonies to ensure you don’t sit here. But thank you for visiting our shops. Really, we are happy that you came our way today.”

I was sitting in a bee colony. And this is a moment, as a parent, you are trying not to scream like a little girl…no, you are trying to stay calm and not instill fear in your kids (The way my mom did with us when my dad was working night shifts as a police officer. “What was that noise? Did you hear that? Girls, be quiet! Jenny you get a knife from the kitchen. Melissa you grab the phone. Sarah, you stay under your covers.” Wow. Thanks lady. I’m still dealing with anxiety attacks and reaching for butcher knives). So, as calmly as I could, I brought Annie up to my chest, held her tight, buried her eyes into my arms so she couldn’t see…

Then I screamed like a little girl, bolted from the bench, and opened up the door to the first store and ran in. Literally, I ran in.

I was panting. I’ve got a baby and a bottle in one arm, an ugly purse and drool running down the other arm, no make-up, and we look like airplane rats. Now I’m in some high-end swanky boutique with really cute clothes that, I tell myself, I could have fit into long before the stretch marks. That is, if I could’ve afforded them. “Stop Jenny. No room for self-defeat right now.”

The two gorgeous college girls with boob jobs, blonde hair, and awesome outfits that were working there just sort of looked at me. No welcome or anything.

What? I can shop in your stupid store. In this moment I wish I had a $1,000 to drop just to make a point. Stupid point, I know. But dang I wanted to make it.

So, I strolled around (in my sweats, hair falling into my face, still feeding my baby with a petrified look that should’ve let everyone know I was just barely attacked by the wasps that live on their fake-not-for-real-people-to-sit-on bench) looking intently at each piece of clothing and stitching as if I were the master of their universe and I had every intention of purchasing something real nice (again, spoken as Eddie from Christmas Vacation). As if I were intentionally planning on getting out of the house that day to go to their store. As if I have so much money and so much class that I don’t even care how I go into a store, I just go when and how I please.

I was tempted to have them set up a fitting room for me and order the finest clothes sent there for my approval. But then I remembered how exhausted I was. I just needed to get this baby fed and get on with the trip.

“Hum. Perhaps next time I will buy something from you ladies,” I said in my head. I scanned the store over with my eyes, giving it a look of disdain. And then in my Meryl Streep, Devil Wears Prada, voice I said to them in my head, “That will be all.” And I left.