Archive for In My Humble Opinion

C’est L’amour – a year later

Once every ten years or so I change my mind about something. Most people with my personality will tell you that it is not easy to admit that your views on something may not have been sufficiently explored, and must therefore be subjected to scrutiny. Valentine’s Day is one such issue for me. Those of you who remember last year’s post are no doubt intrigued that I would even suggest a change of heart.It all began with my resolve to be more prepared this year. Because I have always found the tradition of handing out Valentines at school utterly useless, I would wage silent protest by not participating until February 13, when it became clear that my children would be the only ones not professing their undying love for their 19 classmates the following day. So on February 13 at 4:30pm I would yield to the will of the masses, and by 4:45 I’d be standing in Shopper’s Drug Mart with the other parents who had dragged their butts on the issue until the 11th hour, so to speak. (See last year’s post for a more detailed presentation of the repercussions of this type of approach on the home front.)

To avoid the stress and frustration therefore, I vowed that this year would be different. So casting aside my principles about the utter wastefulness of the purchase, preparation and distribution of Valentine’s Day cards, I headed to Shopper’s on February 3 of this year – a personal record in preparedness.

I should mention that the thought had been planted quite firmly by our second son, Sammy, (hereafter referred to as Romeo to better reflect his character) who began preparing Valentines for the entire family on February 1st. When we turned over a new page on the calendar he saw hearts, and immediately felt it incumbent upon himself to prepare for this most worthwhile of celebrations. By the end of the day every family member had a construction paper heart taped to the wall beside their bed with a heartfelt message of his affections. Obviously, someone around here actually cares about Valentine’s Day this year.

Contrary to the common perception, I am not a troll on matters of the heart, particularly not where my children are concerned. If it means this much to Romeo, I will surely do my part to help him celebrate. If I learned anything from last year, however, it is to carefully examine the cards before purchase. Do not purchase anything that has the fine print “some assembly required” if you do not wish to spend the evening of the 13th furiously assembling cards. The cards I found this year are really quite simple (no folding, no stickers, no pop-up construction, no GPS tracking device) and, I think, quite profound in the message they convey. Nothing says “I love you” like a googly-eyed Lion with the caption, “You’re Wild!” (The argument could be made by the astute parent that these cards may not be appropriate for young children, but I’m claiming naiveté in my defence.)It is hard to over-state the profundity of these cards.

The children are excited to hand out Valentines this year, I must admit. I suppose there could be worse things to celebrate. So while I do not ordinarily go on about mushy stuff on these pages, it is only fitting that I close with a small tribute to my stalwart husband who has, in the past year, selflessly taken on a lion’s share of the responsibility at home, now that I have a real-life job. I do not know too many men who do laundry, groceries and vacuuming in addition to working full-time and keeping everything from faucets to hinges to piano pedals working properly. So here’s to you, Babe: Happy 13th Valentine’s Day!

Leave a comment »

Parenting 201 – The practicum

United States women's national team and former...

United States women’s national team and former North Carolina soccer player Lindsay Tarpley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes life just passes you the ball of opportunity, and if you’re ready, you get to experience the satisfaction of connecting with that ball and sending it flying into a wide-open net. Such was my experience at tonight’s soccer practice, although my time on the field lasted mere minutes. Just an opportune jaunt across the grass, really, but oh the timing… the thrill of a well-placed shot. Glorious.

I’m not actually talking about soccer, although it happened at my children’s soccer practice. Anyone who read last week’s rant will remember my near-apoplexy at the behaviour of two very wayward, poorly behaved youngsters who managed to spoil the game for themselves and their teammates by insisting on calling their own shots and paying absolutely no heed to any authority figure. As providence would have it, the young lady who dominated last week’s blog was now on a different team, so I no longer needed to watch her antics (although a cursory glance at the other field assured us that she was up to the same old tricks from last week). Her brother, however, is still on our older son’s team, and so we watched him as he sat alone in silent protest of the coach’s agenda. Although his coach paid him essentially no attention, he continued sulking, silently picking the grass, waiting to be cajoled to join the team.

As I walked by to bring our son his water bottle, I noticed that he was out of ear-shot for virtually everybody, as his teammates were having a team meeting at the very opposite end of the field and his mother was coaching his young sister’s team further away. I perceived the clean pass, took the ball, and ran with it. I casually sauntered over to the young man, knelt down to his level, and asked,

“So, are you having fun?”

“Kind of,” he replied.

“Not much fun when your teammates are over there and you’re over here, is it?” I suggested.

“I want to run,” was his reply.

“I’m sure your coach has some running planned, but a soccer player who only runs and can’t maneuver a ball is pretty useless.” At this point he had already gotten up and was making his way to join his team, probably a little confused by the fact that there was a strange woman calling him out on his annoying behaviour.

“I just want to run,” he repeated as he walked away. I motioned for him to get moving in the proper direction, and off he went to join his team. I didn’t see him sit again for the rest of the practice.

To be honest, I’d expected more resistance; more attitude. Evidently he isn’t so far gone that a good honest confrontation by a strange adult won’t do the trick. I’ve got my eye on that kid. Little does he know that his own personal life coach is sitting on the sidelines.

Leave a comment »

Parenting 201

Ladies and Gentlemen, I freely admit that today’s post is a rant – pure and simple. If you don’t like that sort of thing, don’t read on. I need to decompress, and since I pay the rent here (figuratively speaking) I will vent as I see fit. If you have ever seen misbehaving children in public and your inner Super-nanny has reared her bold head, you will know what I’m talking about.

Today was Teddy & Sammy’s first soccer practice in a league that we are new to this year. I was feeling relaxed about this new season of soccer, since we now have two children playing and only one to entertain on the sidelines, and we had found a nice shady spot in which to sit and watch. I almost said to Oliver, “I think I could get used to this,” as I sank into our camping chairs, but now I’m glad I didn’t. To be honest, I’m not sure how I’ll make it through the season without suffering a stroke due to high blood pressure.

It all started out innocently enough, as most first encounters among children do. Teddy and Sammy practice simultaneously on adjacent fields, so we were able to watch both at the same time. In Sammy’s SK/grade 1 group there were 9 children; seven boys and two girls. Eight of those children were under the guidance of a coach. The ninth (a girl) had a handy-dandy personal assistant (PA) who looked to be either a much older brother/cousin, or family friend. It soon became evident that she required this personal assistant because she could not receive instruction from the coach. True, she couldn’t receive instruction from the PA either, but perhaps he needed community service hours in order to graduate, and this was his project. One never knows.

Before someone chimes in here and says, “now don’t be so hasty… this child may be suffering from ADHD or something similar,” I will a.) attempt not to roll my eyes and b.) suggest that even parents of children with ADHD would be well advised to follow through on the consequences they promise their children for bad behaviour. In such a case, intentional parenting would be all the more critical. While I don’t doubt that there’s something in our label-happy modern-day Psychology manuals to diagnose this girl, she was obviously very smart and a great puppeteer, seeing as all the adults in her life danced like marionettes as she pulled the strings.

After I had watched this young lady prance around the field in blatant disregard for her PA’s pleas to please join the rest of the group “or else she’ll miss out on the fun!” for 15 minutes, I leaned over to my mild-mannered husband and warned him that I may not be able to sit out the hour without intervening in this situation with some measured words for the princess in pink shin pads. I felt real pity for the young man who was assigned to her, because he obviously had no idea how to claim his rightful place as the authority figure in the situation. He would probably thank some stranger for doing him the favour of giving his young charge a realistic idea of her place in the hierarchy of society.

As I sat there planning out the best approach to stop the insanity of the situation (for she was now running off the field during dribbling practice, and sitting in the net into which her teammates were kicking soccer balls – still pretending that her ears were stuffed with cotton) a female assistant coach walked onto the field, ostensibly to help the first coach run his practice. She obviously knew the girl, and I was curious to see how she would handle the situation. It quickly became clear that she had just as little sway over the girl’s choices, and would merely call for her to “come on and join us!” without ever actually doing anything about the fact that she was now walking the perimeter of the field while the other children were quietly sitting in a team huddle. I looked over to my mild-mannered husband, who now sat deeply in his chair with his hat over his eyes. He couldn’t watch, he said. I was coping by squeezing his hand to release some of my inner tension. I found myself wishing for my stress ball. When Oliver’s hand could take no more, I began firmly massaging Caleb’s shoulders, who happened to be standing in front of me.

At about the same time that I heard this young lady call the coach “Mom,” I also observed that there was a similar situation brewing on our other son’s field right next door, except that this boy was sitting in the grass about 10 feet from the sidelines, waiting for someone to come and cajole him to “join in the fun!” When Sammy’s coach called to the young man in the grass to go and join his teammates, and the young lady’s PA ran over to try his luck with the boy, it was clear that these two children shared the same parentage. It should have tipped me off right away that they were born to the same set of parents because the boy was named after a State on the West Coast, and his sister was named after the Native American tribe that lived there. Cute.

Throughout the practice, Mom would either ignore her children’s misbehaviour (having obviously bought into the psycho-babble that if you ignore your children’s bad behaviour it’ll go away on its own) or she would threaten to leave early. At the respective ages of 6 and 8, this sister and brother team knew full well that the chance of Mom actually following through on her ultimatum was about as great as the chance of a meteor hurtling from space and leaving a giant crater at centre field. They live this way. These behaviours do not suddenly creep up once kids hit school. A 15-month-old baby is already checking to see whether “No” actually means “No,” and whether the promised consequences will come immediately or once Mom has finished counting to 3.

Please understand that I am no perfect parent. The pages of this blog are filled to overflowing with tales of my children’s misbehaviours and my failures as a parent. Since becoming a parent I have become much more gracious of other parents who struggle with tough-to-manage children. I have been there, am living there, and will most likely continue to live there. I understand that there are tough nuts out there, and many of them are under the age of 10. But folks, could we at least all agree to follow through on the promises we make to our children? And to do it in short order? For the sake of their future school teachers, piano teachers, soccer coaches, and parole officers, could we please place a higher priority on letting our children know that when we say “No” that really means “No?” And could we please all agree to just go ahead and let the promised consequence rain down as soon as the children step out of line again after we’ve told them not to (once)? A child doesn’t need three warnings any more than the guy caught drinking and driving does. Although I am not a police officer, I know enough about that line of work to know that no self-respecting police officer will threaten 5 times and then count to 3 before actually slapping the cuffs on a guy. It’s ludicrous in policing, and it’s just as ridiculous and ineffective in the world of parenting.

Yes there are children who are more difficult to parent than others. But as I am learning with my own kids, those are the kids who need the solid boundaries most desperately. When we discussed the soccer practice afterwards, both boys told of their respective Disruptors without any prodding from us. Both commented on how annoying they had been to the rest of the team. And when I asked them whether they thought the Disruptive Duo had had fun, they had to admit that no, they probably hadn’t. It’s not a lot of fun sulking on the sidelines, or not being involved in the practice with your team, simply because you need to wage war with the parent that hasn’t enforced clear boundaries. It was a great moment for us to explain to the kids that we are teaching them obedience because we want them to be happy, not because we want to rob them of their joie de vivre.

No, our children are not perfect; nor is our parenting. But by God’s grace our boys are respectful and obedient to those in authority, and there’s something to be said for that.

Leave a comment »

Saving the Oregon Spotted Frog

“We are going to save The Frogs!” Teddy announced yesterday as he arrived home from school. What I heard was, “Mom, I need 20 bucks!” He proudly presented a round, pink paper-maché pig, which, in his little mind, made perfect sense in connection with saving The Frogs. Although the details were sparse, the connection in my mind was clear: Teddy’s school needs more money.

Let’s just say I wasn’t too enthusiastic about throwing money at frogs. The kids’ pizza order forms are still lying around on my desk, waiting to be filled. Our friends are going to Thailand and are asking for our support. The Kidney Foundation wants our money, as does the Humane Society. Our el Cheapo BBQ needs to be replaced, Caleb has no summer shoes, and some months our grocery bills are dangerously close to the four-figure mark. I don’t need another thing to throw money at. (Did anyone notice that I stifled the urge to include rising gas prices in my list?)

At supper, Teddy finally filled us in on the details, which were surprising to say the least. Apparently the Northern Leopard Frog and the Oregon Spotted Frog are both endangered in North America. The fact that the kids are learning about endangered species is not surprising to me. What is surprising, is that the kids are supposed to fill that pig with money raised by the sweat of their brow. In other words, they’re supposed to work for mom and dad’s support! I have decided that his teacher is a genius.

What makes her even more of a genius is that she’s asking every child to raise – get this – one dollar. Not $20. One dollar. I had to read that several times to be sure I hadn’t misplaced the decimal in my mind. Given that Teddy and his classmates have been primed to seek work vacuuming, clearing the table and drying the dishes, I can get a lot of mileage out of this buck. He received a quarter for clearing the table after supper yesterday. This morning he helped Sam clean out the dishwasher (Sam’s morning chore) in hopes that it would garner him a dime. All of this from a kid who, together with his brother, earned almost $10 picking up sticks from the lawn during March Break. To be specific, Teddy and Sammy picked up 960 sticks, which, at a penny per stick, added up to a handsome $9.60. Teddy was already earning $1.00 picking up sticks when he was five or six years old, so this assignment seems almost too easy.

I suppose his teacher has to consider the lowest common denominator though. Our children learn to work almost from the time they can walk upright, whereas some of the 7 and 8-year-olds in his class have probably never made the acquaintance of a kitchen towel. Kudos to the grade 2 teachers at Teddy’s school for reintroducing the long-forgotten idea that kids can do real useful work to raise money for a cause they believe in.

Leave a comment »

C’est L’amour – the Fall-Out of Valentines Day

Buster Brown Valentine postcard by Richard Fel...

Image via Wikipedia

The only thing more frustrating than wasting err… spending precious time on February 13 making your child’s Valentines for his classmates, is finding every single Valentine still in his backpack when he comes home from school on February 14.

I didn’t realize how much pent-up frustration I still held from the previous night’s mad dash to finish something I do not believe in to begin with, but let’s just say Valentines Day at our house became a little less sweet beginning at 3:30 in the afternoon when everyone arrived home. “Sammy, what’s this?!?!?” I asked, both surprised and annoyed.

“Oh, I forgot.” He answered.

Nice try, my boy. There is no way he could have forgotten when I spent the night before urging him on toward the goal of at least writing his name on all of the cards, by painting a mental picture of how he would get to be the mailman the next day and distribute all his little letters in the kids’ mailboxes.

On the morning of February 14 I led him to his backpack, showed him the bag full of Valentines, and again enthused about how today was going to be a great day where he would get to hand out all of his Valentines just like the other kids.

You may ask why all this enthusiasm is necessary. I’ve already learned that our Sammy’s middle name is Apathy when it comes to things like this. The canned goods I sent in all came back home in his backpack. “I forgot.” His library book collected about 25,000,000 Air Miles riding back and forth in his backpack before he finally returned it. And now, we have over 60 Valentines in the house: Teddy’s received Valentines, Sammy’s received Valentines, and Sammy’s undistributed ones. I know you’re all laughing at the poetic justice of it all.

I should have known something was amiss when he was unwilling to go into school yesterday. He quietly confided in me that he didn’t want to hand out his Valentines. A shy boy, he probably feared having to go out on a limb and personally wish everyone a happy Valentines Day along with his little offering. I explained that he only needed to put them in the kids’ mailboxes when everyone else was doing the same thing.

Knowing that he is sometimes blissfully unaware of what’s going on around him because he has his head stuck in a fantasy world involving paper fish and possibly fire-breathing dragons, I figured he probably doesn’t really get what’s supposed to happen with those Valentines. So we went in together and I talked to his teacher, explaining that he was nervous for some reason and might need a bit of help handing out his Valentines. His teacher, an exuberant woman who does not have an introverted bone in her body, simply exclaimed, “Oh, he’ll be fine. It’s you who looks nervous.” Little did she know that I had a vested interest in those blasted things, am fully aware of my son’s track record in these types of things, and had just picked up our two-year-old off the ground after he had gone down a wet slide wearing only cotton pants.

My guess is, that while all the other children were happily putting their mothers’ carefully prepared Valentines into all their friends’ mailboxes, our son was either eating a cupcake (blissfully unaware) or playing with the dinosaurs in a corner (also blissfully unaware).

Maybe we should have just used the undistributed Valentines as fire-starters this morning and saved ourselves the hassle. Although, living with the guilt of having transgressed the 11th commandment would be too much for me to bear.

 

Comments (1) »

C’est L’amour

I just finished the single-most futile yet somehow obligatory task in all of motherhood: my children’s Valentines cards. Combined, we completed over 40 this year. And yes, the kids did help. A little.

This afternoon (Feb. 13) at 5:00pm I found myself browsing through Shoppers Drug Marts’ assorted Valentine offerings along with all the Dads who had left the task to the last minute. The funny part is that I am not a Dad, but a Mom who is supposed to love Valentines Day and all it stands for. I’m supposed to be the torchbearer of all things sappy and pink in a household where my gender is outnumbered 4:1, but I just cannot do it. In my mind, Valentines Day and this ridiculous tradition of handing out a Valentine to every child in the class could be done away with, beginning immediately.

Being the saintly mother that I am, however, there I was standing in the drug store trying to decide on whether to throw my money away on Dinosaur Valentines or (official) NHL Valentines. The Dad next to me was on his cell phone with his 6-year-old: “How about Hello Kitty? No? Tinkerbell?… Ummmm, pink, it looks like… The Tinkerbell ones are Pop-Ups. No? So Hello Kitty then? Ok, I’ll keep looking.”

I wasn’t about to let my kids make the choice between dumb and dumber, and so I went with the non-licensed character Picture Search Valentines for Teddy, who would love that type of thing, and the Dolphin Pop-Up Valentines for Sammy, who would also love that type of thing. Had I realized that the pop-ups aren’t actually built-in, I would have dropped that box like a hot potato.

While Teddy went about preparing his Valentines like a seasoned pro in a chicken processing plant, Sammy needed more guidance (this being his first Valentines Day, after all). He was so taken with those dolphins that all he wanted to do was play with them. I repeatedly reminded him that his only task was to sign his name, which he did to the best of his ability. My tasks in preparing those Valentines included:

  •  punching the 20 dolphins out of the cardboard
  • matching the correct dolphin to the correct card background (which took some figuring out, seeing as there were 8 different card designs and 8 different dolphin types – Yay!)
  • bending the little tabs to fit into the little slots of the cards
  • carefully finagling them through the little slots
  • ensuring that each dolphin would actually pop up
  • securing the card tops into the little tabs to keep it closed
  • addressing it to the lucky classmate who would receive this token of Sam’s affections.

The hilarious thing is that Sammy has no interest in actually giving Valentines to girls. Just this morning he was telling me that girls only gave to girls and boys only gave to boys.

If only this were so, my Boy.

The truth is that there is this unspoken 11th commandment that says “thou shalt prepare a Valentine for each child in the class of thy progeny with a view to each child’s fragile self-esteem and the other parents’ esteem of thee. Shouldst thou disregard this immovable law, thou and thy child shalt be smitten with the knowledge that thou wast the only family to not participate in this most sacred Elementary sacrament.”

So every year I put it off until the very last minute, finally haul my reticent rear-end to Shoppers Drug Mart on February 13, and spend the evening helping my children complete a task that they really cannot be expected to do by themselves at the age of 4.

I asked one last-minute Dad whose children are in grades 5 and 2 whether there was any end in sight to this madness. He didn’t offer me much hope, saying that the tradition was still alive and well in his daughters’ grade 5 class. I’ve done the math, people. If this blight lasts until grade 6, I will have spent 12 years buying and preparing Valentines that will only end up in the recycling the next day (at least if the other homes are anything like ours). For 7 of those years I will be responsible for more than 60 Valentines.

I think it’s time to start a revolution.

Comments (3) »

Mrs. Trefz Steps Out

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Image via Wikipedia

It’s not often that I, a mild-mannered housewife, get to defend my citizenship to a gun-toting US Customs and Border Protection officer. “What are you doing en’ering the Uuunited States at 7:21 in the evenin’ M’am?” What I wanted to say was, “Actually we were planning to enter the Uuuunited States at 6:30pm, but your search of our veHicle changed all that.” What I said was, “We’re going to Walmart in the States because it’s cheaper than the one  in Canada.” Cringe.

This is a faith-based response, of course, since my knowledge of Walmart in the States is limited to www.PoWM.com and what friends have said about their prices. My esteem of Walmart the company is shaky at best, based on some of the company’s dubious business practices, so this venture constituted a leap of faith and a bending of principle. Sigh.

Still, with out-of-country family here, a trip “over the river” is in order. It’s not often that I get to go shopping with my two German Sisters-in-law. My feelings about the value of shopping are well-known by those close to me, but my love of my husband’s sisters is equally strong, so I said yes. Besides, Christmas is just around the corner and I would love to check some things off my list.

The problem with cross-border shopping is two-fold for me. The first problem is the “cross-border” part. My dislike of the border is largely based on one experience Oliver and I had there where he was interrogated and almost arrested for reasons that were actually quite straight-forward and benign, but in line with US CBP protocol, were made very complicated and menacing. It was probably not the first time a newly-wed young couple, as innocent as the dawn, sat in the friendly waiting area of US Customs, wondering what they’d tell their Small Group Bible Study that night about their reasons for not attending. “Umm…Oliver was arrested at the Border this afternoon so we won’t be able to make it. Yeah, something about him being suspected of transporting a kitchen countertop in the trunk of his car. We’ll explain later.”

The second reason cross-border shopping is problematic for me is the “shopping” part. I shop like a man: I know what I want, I look for that thing, and I get out. If I’m looking for a pair of boots, I’ll figure out what I want and how much I want to spend before I go, walk into the store, and begin the search. If the first few pairs I see cost $80 or more, I will turn around and walk back out because the chances of me finding my $25 pair are exactly zero. Why would I continue looking? I don’t care if there is a cute ankle bootie with fur trim, because I wasn’t looking for that, so it is irrelevant. Actually, I am the subject of a ground-breaking study that explores a rare defect on the X chromosome which causes this type of odd behaviour is some women. They’re not sure though whether this behaviour is chromosomally linked or a learned behaviour based on a lifetime of not having extra money to spend on things that are not actually necessary.

Given the above reservations then, on November 7, 2011, Mrs. Trefz decided to step out to do some cross-border shopping with “the girls.” I had been told by cross-border shopping friends that “all you need is your license” to cross, so I dutifully left my expired passport at home. Having renewed my license not so long ago, I assumed it was equipped with the advanced technology necessary to meet the new border regulations of the US government. It has some silver key-like graphic on the front. It looks high-tech enough to me.

Alas, it isn’t, and the friendly US Customs Agent explained that my license is missing “the carrots” on the front (no joke), which would indicate that it has advanced features. So basically he’s telling me that my futuristic silver key on the front doesn’t cut it, but that I need carrots. Seems backwards to me, but whatever. “We’ll just do a quick search of your car, ladies, if you’ll just pull into that bay right over there,” he informed us.

“Any sharp things we need to be concerned about?” the next CBP officer asked. Thankfully my metal nail file had been seized at the airport a few years back, so we assured them they’d be fine. While sitting in the well-appointed waiting area my nervous sister-in-law (the car’s owner) wracked her brain, trying to come up with anything that might be considered contraband. Short of a dirty diaper and stale Cheerios she came up with nothing. Neither did the Customs agents, although we did get a bit of a scare when the inspecting agent came walking in with a large unmarked brown paper bag. As it turns out he’d bought subs for the night shift gang.

Three separate times I was called to speak to an agent to explain where I was born and what proof of citizenship I could come up with and whether I was trying to facilitate anyone else’s entry into Canada. The only time I got nervous was when they wanted to know my husband’s name (see above for reason why). Perhaps they were concerned that I had come to finish the installation of the countertop that he had allegedly tried to smuggle into the country 10 years before.

The question I was asked most frequently was, “have you ever traveled into the US with your passport, M’am?” My answer was always the same: “The last time I traveled into the US was before your new passport laws came into effect, therefore I have not had occasion to carry my passport with me when traveling into the States.” During my third interview I mercifully remembered that yes, we had flown out of Buffalo to visit Germany once back in 2006, and I would have had my passport with me then. As it turns out, the people at US Customs keep good records, and proof of my citizenship was found. This despite the fact that Canadian officials had assured them that Debbie Trefz is not a citizen of Canada. This after I have sponsored a spouse, voted in every conceivable election, and taken in a fireworks display on July 1st.

With the issue of my citizenship cleared up we were released from custody and allowed to proceed to the promised land of great deals. As became evident to me last night, however, a “good deal” is relative. When one is used to buying clothes at a typical Canadian mall, then the offerings of an American Outlet Mall seem like a good deal. For the person used to spending no more than $6.00 on a pair of pants at a thrift store, however, even a clearance rack won’t yield anything competitive. I’ll leave it up to my readers to decide whether Mrs. Trefz is the former or the latter.

Needless to say, the Outlet Mall yielded no deals that measured up to my high standards (pun intended), and so we proceeded to Walmart, the apparent Mecca of cheap Lego. We kept our eyes pealed for any PoWM sightings while scanning the Lego section for possible Christmas gifts. I am here to tell you today that an exhausting err… exhaustive one-night survey of  Walmart’s Lego section revealed that a Lego set costing $39.95 at Walmart in Canada costs about $39.95 at Walmart in the States.

Hoping that I might yet snag a deal on Playdough (another Christmas gift on my list) I stood in front of the Playdough section for far too long, trying to actually like any of their three sets.

By 9:45 we were all tired and ready to go home. In total, my selection of “hot deals” included a $5 set of Hot Wheels for a Samaritan’s Purse Shoe box, and two kids DVDs for $5 each.

Back at the border we declared our total purchases to the Canadian official: about $40 between the three of us. “Have a nice night,” he said, and waved us through. And so it was that on November 7, 2011, Mrs. Trefz stepped out.

Comments (8) »