an educator, I feel blessed that I usually have the same spring
break as my three daughters, which means we get to spend a week
of quality time off together while my wife continues to go to work
to support our leisure activities. This year, while scanning Facebook
to witness our friends and loved ones on exciting ski trips, vacations
to Europe, and jaunts to the beach, we spent the first part of our
break in a thrilling competition to see who could sleep the latest
and wear the same pair of sweatpants for the most consecutive days.
Unfortunately, by Thursday, the girls had figured out my ploy and
were starting to complain about bedsores. Wimps! At that point,
my wife suggested we all could use a change of scenery (and clothing),
so we decided to take a weekend trip to Dallas,
Texas, for some shopping, good food, and more sleeping in (I
Our first stop upon arriving in Big D was for supper at P.F. Chang's,
an upscale (at least for us) Chinese restaurant chain that has great
food but, disturbingly, lacks an all-day buffet. We ordered several
variations of what appeared to be the same chicken and shrimp costuming
themselves with noodles, fried rice, and sauces to make us believe
we were actually trying different entrées. Although it was all delicious,
I began to suspect that the cooks were former school lunch ladies-
experts at turning Monday's beef chili into Wednesday's sloppy joes.
After supper, we drove to our accommodations for the weekend, the
Westin Galleria, a hotel attached to a three-story shopping mall/parental
bankruptcy center. Although the Westin offers valet parking, we
decided we'd rather spend our money on Auntie Anne's Pretzels and
Jamba Juice, so we drove around the lot until we found the only
empty space available-conveniently located behind a sanitary sewer
cover. The odor from the sewer was enhanced by the twenty mph winds
blowing that evening, and when my youngest daughter handed me what
was left of a milkshake we'd picked up on the way there, a gust
somehow caught the cup and tilted it just enough to blow pink shake
residue all over our luggage. Ah, the sweet smell of strawberry
sewage on a spring evening!
The next day was full of typical parent-daughter shopping mall activities,
including my refusing to purchase any clothing items for my daughters
that didn't extend from their foreheads to their lower ankles. One
exception was the apparent need to purchase a bra for my middle
daughter at Macy's, which was having a massive brassiere blow-out.
As a father, I figured I had a couple of options in this situation:
1) Stand out in the mall concourse alone like some creepy weirdo
comparing people to cartoon characters or 2) Wander around in the
lingerie section like an even creepier weirdo helping my wife buy
the perfect bra for my adolescent daughter. Sensing the opportunity
to take a more active parenting role and, at the same time, embarrass
my daughter to within an inch of a walleyed hissy fit, I naturally
chose option #2.
The first step
of my bra-shopping strategy was to use as many nicknames for bras
as possible when speaking to my wife and daughter about their selections.
(I got an especially strong reaction to "hamster holster.") After
I'd nursed my wounds, I decided to be more helpful by scouting for
items in the correct size, bringing them to the dressing room area,
and draping them over the door of my daughter's changing room so
that she could try them on and tell me to get lost. Everything was
going well until I made my first trip to the dressing room, sent
the bra over the top of the door, and then, in sheer horror, heard
my wife's and daughter's voices a couple of doors down from the
occupied room into which I'd just deposited said undergarment. Needless
to say, I spent most of the remaining shopping experience standing
in the mall concourse trying to avoid mall security and decide which
shopper looked the most like Squidward Tentacles.
Despite my bra-buying blunder, we ended up having a great time together.
On our way home, we even visited Uncle Julio's, my favorite Dallas
Tex-Mex restaurant, for some fajitas and the famous chocolate piñata-a
chocolate shell filled with churros, chocolate empanadas, and other
Mexican desserts I can't pronounce. By the way, I wonder how you
say "bra" in Spanish.
© Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" April
15 , 2018 column