Friday, March 12, 2010

Pants on the Ground

I work for a family business. Sometimes that's a fantastic bonus, and sometimes it's just too much. Ken works for the same business, in a freelance capacity, from a home office. So when things are crazy at work it means:

I work all day. Then I go home, and talk about work with Ken. Then I walk around my home, and there are constant visual reminders of work from Ken's files and equipment lying around. The phone rings. It's my step-dad. First he talks to me about work. Then he talks to Ken about work. Our home is small enough that even though Ken takes the call in the other room, I can still hear every word he's saying (about work) while I'm in the other room trying to watch TV or fold the laundry in peace.

On special occasions I get together with my family, and talk about work with my uncle.

Lately, things at work have been totally off the hook. I've been bellyaching here for weeks about my work stress, and this week is exactly the same. My overall state of mind can be encapsulated by one word:


I won't bore you with the details. God knows, I have certainly talked enough about work lately (see above). So I'll tell you about something else. All you regular readers know that Ken is a prince who consistently spoils me rotten. Well, I finally got a chance to do something for him.

However hard I've worked lately, he's worked harder. More hours, more responsibility, tighter deadlines. His attache case broke, his clipboard broke, and he hasn't had time to replace them. He's eating so little due to stress and lack of time that he's shed enormous amounts of weight, but he hasn't had time to buy any new clothes. Last weekend his belt was on the last notch, and he was headed directly for a Pants On the Ground situation.

He's not working seven full days per week, but when he does have downtime, he's down. The man is on the couch, in a daze, catching his breath.

I decided to go shopping, to help him out.

Replacing the attache case and clipboard was easy. Then I headed into Old Navy to purchase some pants. That was significantly more complicated. Women's clothing manufacturers generally make pants in one length, (long), and expect you to hem them yourself. Or take them to a tailor. Old Navy's mens' pants come in a variety of waist sizes and a variety of inseam lengths. This creates a whole matrix of size options on a two-dimensional grid.

Because the available sizes can't be arranged in a linear fashion, finding a size is like finding a needle in a haystack. The clerks who stock the shelves can't seem to decide whether they're piling the pants by waist size or inseam. It's kind of random. Either that or the customers have been rearranging the display all week.

I dug through stacks of pants looking for sizes until I was sweating. Then I thought I might have better luck on the lower, less frequently-accessed shelves, so I got down on my knees, with my own super-low skinny jeans threatening to give me a case of plumber's butt, and used both hands to burrow through the piles.

I finally came up for air with two pairs of pants one size smaller and two pairs two sizes smaller than Ken's too-big pants. The colours were based entirely on size availability. (Black and beige - what other men's pants colours are there anyway? I can't think of any.)

I cashed out. I was sweaty, tired, and carrying a lot of bags by then. Yes, I'm small and pathetic. Yes, four pairs of pants and an attache case plus my coat and handbag was a lot to be carrying. But I persevered. I still needed to find a belt.

The belt quest was epic. I went from store to store, checking out belts and asking for help with sizing. Either there was nothing in Ken's size, or the belts were all the end-of-winter clearance super-ugly models (for example, white snakeskin), or they had giant buckles shaped like trucks or hundred-dollar bills, or they cost $150 before tax.

I walked through the whole mall before I finally got to The Bay and located a decent belt for $25. By then I was dehydrated, cranky, and my arms were aching. I stood in line at the cash for what seemed like forever, balancing my shopping bags, while some dude fussed over a return. Then, finally, I paid for the damn belt and got out of there.

I dragged my bags all the way home: a subway ride, and then a 20-minute walk. But it was all worthwhile. It made Ken happy. It also made me happy. He's been wearing his new pants, which look much more flattering than his old ones, which were so big on him they were starting to look like clown pants. He's been using his new bag and clipboard. And it was about time I got a chance to do something for him, for a change.


Kate said...

I always sweat when I shop. I hate it. It's why I hate shopping.

DarcsFalcon said...

Well woo for being able to do something nice for the man of the house! It's a great feeling, isn't it? :D

Karen said...

I worked for a family business for many years, but it was not MY family. Oh, I promise you that was horrible. Yuck!

Glad Ken got new pants. :-)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Awwww.... I saw the title and thought for sure this was gonna be some wild sex filled blog adventure, but alas it was shopping.... Hope work mellows out just a tad for you guys.

unsigned said...

You're a good woman!

LL Cool Joe said...

That Pants On The Ground is such a classic!

I think mens trousers are so easy to buy. I just pick the waist measurement then the length and there you go.

And what's wrong with large belt buckles!!! ;) Mind you I wouldn't wear a truck. :D

G said...

You should be glad he doesn't wear suspenders.

I had to go to Home Depot for mine.

Glad you were able to make Ken's day.

whatigotsofar said...

I'm sick of pants on the ground. Just thought you might like to know that.

Sparkling Red said...

Kate: The mall I went to used to have lockers. You could lock up your coat and be comfortable all day. But the lockers were eliminated a few years ago, and now we're all forced to sweat. Maybe it generates income for the coffee shops.

DarcsFalcon: Yes it is!

Karen: I've worked for someone else's family business. They were all crazy as loons. I don't miss that experience.

Ron: It has to eventually. Might not be until the summer, but we'll get there.

Unsigned: Thanks! I try.

LL Cool Joe: It would be OK if women's pants were also catagorized by length - IF they kept the store shelves very organzied!

G: There was one men's store that had a beautiful selection of suspenders. I think they're very classy, but it's not Ken's style.

WIGSF: I've only watched that video all the way through once. That was enough.

Windsor Grace said...

You're so sweet! And I hate to shop. I feel you.

powdergirl said...

I think its very sweet the way you two look after each other : )

Glad the pants fit after all that hassle, buying men's pants is quite the chore.

Hope work levels off for you guys soon too. Mine got so bad with the stress and exhaustion I ended up throwing in the whole towel.

Jenski, PhD said...

Awww, I should totally get pants for the BF because he's not a shopper. Does Ken like shopping for himself, because he does an excellent job shopping for you? Hope work quiets down for both of you in the near future and you can recharge.

Ily said...

How sweet...and exhausting! I felt the weight of all those bags while reading the last part of this post.

I should do something sweet for my husband...but he'd probably go into shock from the SHOCK! It's been that long. Thanks for inspiring me!

Sparkling Red said...

Windsor Grace: I would love shopping if only I had a friendly, helpful robot to carry my bags and coat for me all day.

Powdergirl: Even if I could afford to quit my job, I probably wouldn't. It keeps me on my toes. But I'd rather work part-time.

Jenski: Ken doesn't like to shop for himself, but that's not due to the shopping per se, but due to the fact that he always would rather lose just a little more weight before he goes and buys a bunch of new clothes. The weight comes and goes, but it's never quite low enough to merit a new wardrobe.

Ily: I'm sure you're very sweet to your husband. Although an unexpected gift can be a lovely suprise, so why not?

NicoleB said...

Awwww,... you guys are so sweet :)
I am glad you could do something good for him :)

Dianne said...

an epic belt search! that made me smile
I once spent 3 days looking for the belt my son wanted

what a wonderful thing you did for your honey

I love the way you 2 are together :)

you need to schedule non-work time - make it a rule
even if it's an hour a week

Memphis Steve said...

That was incredibly nice of you to do that for him.

Jameil said...

awww! super sweet! giant buckles shaped like trucks or hundred-dollar bills?? i can't! ROTFL! i can't seem to stop buying rashan button downs. mostly b/c that's pretty much all he wears but also b/c he looks so nice in them! :)

K. Rock said...

I love doing stuff for my husband. He is ALWAYS doing stuff for me and I feel like I daon't return the favor enough. I am sure this made you feel really good.