Tales of a Graveyard shift widow

I'll be the first woman to admit that I love shopping. But (because there is one) I hate, hate, hate shopping for appliances. (Did I mention I hate it?) The price tag is always too high for the stuff I want, and the stuff I can afford always seems to say, "What's it feel like to settle? That workin' out for ya?" (I'll tell you that it's not. That $200 washer/dryer set I snagged off of craigslist 9 months ago has been a major pain in my ass since the day I got them. They work, but barely.)

The Husband told me to go and buy a new set of brandy-new appliances months ago. Had we been talking about sparkly stuff I can wear and distract myself with, I'd have been out the door before he finished the sentence. But we are talking about stuff I need. Stuff that isn't cheap. Stuff that I'd rather deal with by standing next to him like the demure little Mexican Wife (that I'm so totally not) just squeezing his hand when we happen to see one I like and then letting him puff his Man Feathers while talking specs with the sales rep. It works out much nicer that way...the responsibility's all on him, and I just get to gaze lovingly at the newest addition to my household because The Husband can't second guess what he finally decided on.

But he's on midnights and I'm shopping solo these days. So after putting it off for long enough, I finally headed out to the stores.

"What brands are you interested in?" asks the sales girl.

"I have no clue."

She gives me a blank stare. "Well then, what features would you like to have?"

"Um, a washer big enough to get more than just my toddler's dirty clothes into and a dryer that has more than one setting and doesn't have to be run twice for each load of laundry I do?" Because that description will narrow it down. Oh yes, it will.

She blinks. Twice. I'm betting she is regretting making eye-contact with me when she could be counting inventory or something less painful than talking me down from the Appliance Purchasing ledge right now. "Well, we have these models over here..."

So I look. I like. Then I look at the price tag. I don't like anymore.

"Anything that does the same as this one but is, you know, cheaper?"

"Well, um, no." She hesitates, trying out how to tell me that I'm not gonna get what I want for the price tag she is imagining I'd be comfortable paying. "But this model is less expensive in white. The color makes a difference in the price."

"Mama! Mama!" Buttercup is peering into an open front-load dryer and doing her damndest to boost herself up into the opening. "Can you push me? I need to get dried, Mama. Can you push me?"

"Aye, nina! No, get outta there! The dryer is just for clothes. Not little girls," I say while my mom turns her face to hide a chuckle.

"But I wanna get dried! Look!" She purposely turns her sippy cup upside down and manages to shake a few drops out of the spill-proof top onto her cotton dress. "See? I'm wet. Now you push me in?"

My mom walks to the next aisle where I hear her break into laughter. I close my eyes, count to three, and when I open them I tell the sales girl I have one question.

"Sure," she says. "Shoot."

"Which models have a child safety lock on them?" I grab Buttercup away from the Dryer of Death again. The little monkey actually had a foot hooked in and was using it as leverage to pull herself up into it. "I think I'm gonna need it."

When I finally arrived home with a receipt for much more than I intended to spend, I send a two-line blackberry message to my friend, Mel.

"I spent a  lot of money and left with only a receipt. I feel dirty."