Monday, May 04, 2009

Head Like A Hole or Fear And Loathing in the Jeans Department

Both my knee and Strummy's running contacts decided to self-destruct last week leaving me wallowing in a pit of frustration. One step forward, how many steps back? The knee turned south a week ago Sunday night. We'd spent yet another weekend painting and I'd done a small bit of kneeling and other weird movements related to painting in small, hard to reach places and Sunday night while walking through the living room my knee gave out on me. The pain was so bad I couldn't put any weight on it and had to hop to the couch. My back was in a bad state too probably from a combination of painting and bending over to brush the dogs. I gave everything a few days to heal up but was still in pain on Wednesday and managed to get an appointment at the chiropractor for Thursday. My chiropractor is awesome and also specializes in sports medicine and treats all manner of running injuries in real actual athletes. He worked his magic on my back and sent me home over the weekend with a knee icing gizmo that surrounds your leg with icy cold water while applying pressure like those blood pressure testing devices that choke your arm. So I had yet another boring weekend of no fun on the trails and stayed off my knee aside from a 3 mile walk each day with the dogs. It was another cold, rainy, gloomy weekend (4th or 5th in a row!) so it wasn't a huge deal but still.

I've been trying to buy a new pair of jeans for the past month or so but painting has interefered every weekend and I hate shopping and I might get swine flu if I go out in public so I was happy to have the painting excuse. But my 'nice' pair of jeans looked so bad that even Jonny said 'You're not wearing those to work are you?' When I told him I was going for a new pair he said, 'Oh, so the homeless look is out?' It's what I get for marrying a snarky Scotsman. Since the weather was gloomy and I was grounded anyway I figured I'd put off the inevitable long enough and dragged myself kicking and screaming to the department store. I already live in constant fear/hope of the 'What Not To Wear' people showing up at an agility trial while I'm wearing one of my Crazy Dog Lady outfits and making me cry but then making me fabulous. I'm pretty sure I could make that scary lady cry, I'm so hopeless and clueless and stubborn when it comes to clothes.

She has a cute little dog, maybe she's not so scary?

I always get the exact same pair of Levi's, I know I know, Boring. But they're comfortable and I like them and they're affordable. When I tell one of my frugal friends that I'm going shopping for jeans he tells me I must go to Costco, that is the place for a bargain on jeans and I tell him no way, I may be cutting down on agility trials but times aren't so tough for me that I need jeans from Costco, I can afford the $25-$30 that I'm sure my Levi's will cost. So already I feel like I'm splurging going to the fancy pants department store for name brand jeans but they're having a sale and I have a 20% off coupon and I'm not even sure if Boulder has a Costco and if so where it might be. As soon as I walk in the store I see jeans and they're not Levi's but they look o.k. and I think maybe I'll live dangerously and try another brand and then I see the $120 price tag. $120. For jeans. Who spends $120 on jeans??!! I have no idea why so expensive, they look like regular jeans and are made in the same or similar sweat shop as the cheapo Costco jeans so why? Then I see jeans with a dragon embroidered down the front and side of one leg-on the sale rack! Oh lucky day! They were originally $140 (o.k., maybe I can see this if you have a cool ass dragon embroidered down the side) but marked down about a million times to $38. A little out of my price range but I will pony up the extra $$$ for the cool ass dragon and the chance to get out of the store right away. Then I see they are size 16 and I'm pretty sure that even with my incredible laundry talents I can't shrink those down to a size 6. Well, maybe the dragon was not terrbily appropriate for the office anyway.

So I continue my quest to find the Levi's which I'm hoping do not cost $120 but I'm thinking maybe I'll have to be a little flexible on that $25-$30 budget. I finally find the Levi's and they're over $40 but marked down to $34 and I'm not sure if my coupon works on sale items but this is close enough to my budget. There are a million styles and sizes and some are hanging up on racks, some are folded on tables, some are hanging on the wall and there is no rhyme or reason to any of it. They're mostly 'Boot Cut' which I find is a euphemism for 'flares' and I hate flares, I want simple, straight legged jeans which turn out to be ridiculously hard to find. I do manage though to find my size except they're too long. I find out they do make a shorter version but after looking at every damn piece of denim in the department I realize they don't have the 'short' version. So I go to the 'petites' section and that is a nightmare. The pickings are slim and dorky, even for me. Then I remember there is a store across the street that sells only Levi's, surely they'll have jeans for short people.

I go to the Levi's store but the jeans are $70-$80 and they are made for teenagers. They don't have the kind I'm looking for and I cannot pull off the teenager look, I had that jarring realization lo the many years ago when I inadvertently wandered into a Juniors department. To this day I'm surprised that no salesgirls came rushing into the dressing room when I screamed in horror at the sight of myself in a pair of skinny leg hugging jeans. Yeah, I didn't need the fashion police to tell me I couldn't pull that one off. Anyway, I discover the fancy Levi's store has a clearance section and I find a pair of jeans on sale for $18 and organic cotton and they fit fabulously in the waist! But again they are skin tight around my thighs and legs and I can hear the mean t.v. fashion lady yelling 'and what is going on with your butt??!!' Then some guy coughed and I immediately fled the store for fear of contracting Swine Flu.

So I decide maybe I will try the department store again but online where I'm much less likely to contract Swine Flu. My coupon is still good and they have free shipping. I go home and when I walk in the door I hear Jonny yelling, 'Elayne, I've had an accident'. His tone sounds guilty so I think he's in at the painting without me and we will have yet another weekend of breathing in paint fumes to fix his 'accident' but when I get in the bathroom he's sitting there swaying from side to side and a huge pile of blood on his head. Usually I'm freakishly calm in an emergency but something about all the blood on his head sent me straight to panic mode. 'You're going to the E.R. RIGHT NOW'!!! Then I remembered about how the Boulder E.R. sucks and you only go there for dire emergencies. And of course it will be teeming with people who have Swine Flu. He told me a bicycle wheel rim fell on his head an hour ago while he was cleaning the garage and he insisted he didn't lose consciousness and he's only a teensy bit dizzy. He looked a bit shocky to me but he insisted he wasn't. The blood on his head didn't look so bad up close and it wasn't gushing so I sent him into the shower to clean up the wound so I could see how bad. Once everything was cleaned up the bloody area didn't look too large and it was oozing, not gushing, and there was no visible gash, nowhere obvious for stitches to go. It was more like an abrasion. I called a friend who was a nurse in a former life and she said the E.R. was likely an overreaction, just wash it and keep and eye on it. After some Thai food and a few episodes of 'Flight of the Conchords' he was fine.

The next day I went back to the department store because I found out you had to spend over $99 to get free shipping and that according to the size tag the jeans I was wearing were the exact same length/size as the ones in the store and must have shrunk over time so I didn't want the short ones and I would shrink them and they'd be too short. On my way to the Levi's section I saw some more jeans and thought I would check them out, maybe they'll be cheaper and fit better but they were $175! Uh, yeah. I ended up with the exact same jeans I have right now except they don't make me look homeless. When I went to pay I oouldn't find my 20% off coupon and told the saleswoman I'd have to go out to my car and she said, 'Oh I've got a better coupon than that, 25% off the sale price'. In the end I paid $28, right in my budget and I didn't have to go to Costco. Was a good thing too because I had an unexpected meeting with a brand new client this morning. And I looked fabulous. Or at least I didn't look like homeless crazy dog lady.

I also bought some new bras as long as I was in the store but I'll spare you that tale of trauma. You thought the jeans story was long and drawn out.

I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing, stress free agility trial next weekend where there is no painting or shopping or kneeling or bloody head traumas. Pretty please. I don't even care if it snows.


  1. Wow, jeans shopping & bra shopping. For me, a less-than A on top and decent cyclist legs below, that means your basic nightmare. I don't even know where to begin. I'm amazed you found a pair of Levi's that fits, doesn't flair, and doesn't look so distressed that they might fall apart after two wearings. I think you have better stores than we have in Bloomington! It's either Old Navy or Kohl's here, or drive up north of Indy to the really nice malls.

  2. I have the same problem with the cyclist/runner's thighs. That's why I can't wear the skinny leg jeans, yeah, that's it.

    We have a Macy's that's been a millon different things before it was a Macy's but I can usually get a deal if they're having a sale and I have a coupon. I'm not even sure if we have any other department stores, I've always gone to that particular one and I don't know of any others. Usually I buy clothes at Title Nine and GoLite's warehouse sales and maybe REI when they have a sale.

  3. Ok, just Too funny. I like Wrangler jeans and can find them at WallyMart for a whopping $15, so I just stock up on a few pairs every 5 or 6 months or when I cant find a pair without holes in the knees. Thanks for sparing us the bra story ;)

  4. Title Nine warehouse sale? [drool]

  5. I'm glad someone else lives in fear of the dreaded What not to Wear women. I swear my friends want to turn me in too. I say what is wrong with trackpants and teeshirts???

  6. LOL! Loved your account of the shopping nightmare. I hate shopping and I hate jeans. I don't buy jeans. My hips don't fit into them.

    Yeah, Title 9 and Patagonia - that's where I buy my clothes (and luckily the University is Bus. casual)so my work clothes do double-duty as agility/weekend clothes:-)

  7. Title 9 has a warehouse sale a couple of times a year, it's hit or miss but sometimes you can get some great deals.

    Those What Not To Wear people could have a field day at an agility trial, I'm surprised they haven't figured it out yet.

    I'm not a big fan of jeans either but I need them for work in case I have to go to a job (construction) site. There is no dress code per se at my office and as bad as I dress I'm still better than the guy engineers. The Queer Eye guys could have a field day at my office if they're still going.

    And rest assured I won't make you all squirm with tales of bra shopping. I'm pretty sure nobody wants to hear about that.

  8. You've obviously hit a common chord with your jeans & bra shopping. I also have been buying the same style of Levis for many, many years. I finally broke down and bought some low-rise boot cut stretch ones when my model wasn't in stock--back in the '70s I loved my flare-legged jeans and hated when all I could get was straight-legged, but then over the last 30 years decided I liked the straight legged and then they came back with the boot cut, and I decided I liked those, too, so I try to have some of both on hand. But the low rise boot cut are--shall we say--more adjustable when it comes to an occasional surge in the eating too much not exercising enough kinds of activities. Sure, I bulge in odd places, but I'll get those 10 pounds off AGAIN any day now and then they'll look fine.

    And I also hate shopping for bras. I even have, I guess, sort of a normal size. But bras are just not normal clothing. Thin uncomfortable straps or underwires or lacy hoohahs or super-tight sports bras or what have you. Bleah.

    Thanks for sharing the story--I've relied on Mervyns for decades for my Levis-on-sale supplier, and now they're gone, and I don't even know who carries them any more. Macys used to, but it's been so many years since I've been into Macy's (and they were much more expensive anyway) that I don't know whether they still do.

    And my sisters have also suggested that I could use a dose of the What Not To Wear person. But it doesn't bother me. I sit at home in front of my computer 80% of the time and the rest of hte time I'm out sweating with muddy dogs jumping on me. Who needs a makeover?

  9. Oh I would love a makeover. I think. I like nice clothes, I'm just never going to spend my own money on them. I can't shop at those Mervyn's type places because I end up buying the most outrageous, inappropriate, ill-fitting things and they seem to have more of those types of clothes at those places and all at prices I can afford. I've found that I can't go too far wrong at REI or Title 9 and maybe I don't look fabulous but at least I don't look like I escaped from the mental home.