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Clothes Hoarder

Remember that shop, Britches Great Outdoors? It was a chain store in the mall selling primarily men's preppy/outdoorsy clothing in the 80's and early 90's and was James's go-to for wardrobe staples. Despite the (drink) demise of Britches, his wardrobe has remained a relatively stagnant assortment of flannels and polos over the years. Just minus the BGO label. But wait! That's not entirely true. Still hanging in his closet, and thrown into his clothing rotation from time to time is a blue and white plaid button down shirt, the buttons of which I've sewn back on several times over the last 25 years. I'm generalizing (drink) here, but in my experience, guys have a sheer inability to throw away an article of clothing.

Socks with holes would never get tossed if I didn't discreetly pluck them from the laundry. Just the other day, James (drink) strutted into the kitchen stretching the waistband of his workout shorts at arms length as if posing for the "after" picture in a weight loss commercial. He marveled that the shorts were a size medium but seemed more like a double XL. Perhaps because after 2,000 washes, the elastic has worn out.

And don't get me started on the tee shirts. We have New Jersey Nets tees that they gave out for free at the games dating back to the 80's. They don't even play in New Jersey any more. There's concert tee shirts, alma mater tee shirts, souvenir tee shirts from vacations, and an entire drawer dedicated to beer tee shirts.

The other day, he dug deep and donned a really bright tie dye gem with an image of a Lithuanian skeleton playing basketball (???)* that I gave him back in high school. It worked when he was seventeen and had long hair, but the kids questioned his fashion choice as they watched their dad-turned-hippie mow the lawn. (Drink)

Shoes too. He has like ten pairs of sneakers claiming the old ones are good for yard work and such. I get that, but does yard work really necessitate eight pairs of backups, some of which are so worn (drink) out they wouldn't stand a chance against a thorn bush?

He claims he hangs onto to clothes so he doesn't have to buy more, thereby allocating more of the clothing budget to the kids and me. So kind, but there's no place for me to put any new purchases since four dresser drawers are home to sentimental tee shirts.

Still, I remembered this sentiment when I took Abigail and Paige for our first shopping trip since, I'm guessing, February. Unlike their father, they were sick of everything in their closets and were having retail withdrawal. We masked up and hit the shops.

It was weird. Super weird. I have always enjoyed shopping, but even BCV, I had started doubting my love for malls and chain stores in general. It just wasn't enjoyable and everything looked the same. I was much more keen on scoring finds at local thrift shops and small local mom and pops. When I couldn't find what I was looking for there and ventured out to the "big city," I felt like (drink) I was wasting my time as I could easily find exactly what I was looking for and also compare prices with a few taps on my phone. Add a mask (I can already feel another honking zit materializing on my chin), one way aisles, fowl smelling hand sanitizer, and Plexiglas to the equation, and there was no question that my passion for retail therapy was on the decline.

The girls persevered (drink) though and left with several new pieces to refresh their wardrobes and even some new attire for their younger counterparts. Since you can no longer try on clothes before committing, I let them go on a bit of a splurge, banking on a few returns. Plus, James is still wearing Britches, so...

I have to admit, it was refreshing to see the kids in fresh outfits today. Even Cynthia got dressed. They have a tendency to rotate the same three outfits and anything in the back of their drawer gets completely neglected. But the new clothes breathed life into my otherwise shirt-stained, ripped legging visual landscape today.

I did my part for the economy, but I can't say I'm eager to return to the world of masked shopping. Too bad the kids grow so quickly and can't adopt James's knack for stockpiling. Until things return to normal, I'll be fueling the economy with a click of the mouse or by (drink) taking advantage of those convenient curbside pickup rituals. And there's always four drawers of tee shirts we can make dresses, nightgowns, and beach cover-ups out of. Maybe James was on to something...

  • *James's friend just pointed out that the weird skeleton shirt is from the Grateful Dead's sponsorship of the Barcelona games circa 1992 and worth $250 on Ebay. No more wearing it to mow the lawn!!! And I stand corrected - maybe hoarding isn't so bad.

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