Back in the summer, I made a promise to E.
When he was using the potty, I would buy him truck underwear.
It didn’t, at the time, seem like a particularly rash promise. E., after all, is a three year old boy. He is not the only three year old boy who loves trucks. Surely companies who manufacture underwear have realized this.
Time passed and before too long it became clear to me that I was going to need to hold up my end of the bargain. So I started looking.
There was no underwear with trucks on it.
I checked all my usual haunts and then started branching further out, all with no success. If I wanted robots, or dinosaurs, or vehicles related to a particular Disney franchise, I had all the choice in the world.
In August we were in a Wal.mart and, as I always did by that point, I checked the toddler boys underwear section. They had a three pack of briefs with cement mixers and diggers on them.
No dice. The undies came in two sizes. E., being
ridiculously skinny a little on the slim side needed the smaller size. They had piles upon piles of robots in the smaller size but the cement mixers were only in the larger.
We came home. I set my mother on the case. She checked two or three Wal.marts in her area. No joy.
I posted about the undies on my birth club. In early September there was a Canada-wide search in Wal.marts for the undies.
Then, at last, I found them. A five pack of boxer briefs with dump trucks and fire trucks and trains available online through Kmart.
They were perfect. Absolutely perfect.
I tried to order them. I wanted two packs. Ten pairs of truck undies for E.!
They wouldn’t ship to Canada.
I got my sister to order them since she was in the U.S. and could also qualify for free shipping using her U.S. credit card.
The undies arrived. She put them on the “mail to Turia” pile and forgot about them for a while.
My mother and stepfather arrived to visit. My sister opened up the undies to check them before my mother took them home with her. (Yes, I am not above getting my parents to carry around my son’s underwear on their vacation in order to save shipping costs.)
THEY WERE ZOO ANIMALS.
My sister called Kmart. They refunded her the money without her having to return the undies. My mother took the undies home with her, and I’ll get them when I see her at the end of the month. I’ll give a couple of pairs to E. (because he doesn’t need ten pairs of zoo animals) and will send some to his friends.
The undies were still showing as in stock online.
My sister ordered the truck undies again. The Kmart person put a note on the order to make sure the right undies were sent.
The undies were sent.
They arrived on Wednesday.
My sister opened the package.
ZOO ANIMALS. AGAIN.
My poor, long-suffering sister, who has now had twenty pairs of unwanted zoo animals undies shipped to her apartment, spoke again with someone at Kmart, who suggested that if she wanted to make sure she got the right ones, “she should buy them in the store”. (Side note: Kmart, this is not great customer service. Do not put a product on your website if you are incapable of actually providing said product. If I were on twitter I would tweet you and be annoyed.)
My mother and stepfather, on a previous trip in the U.S., had already checked a number of stores and had failed to find these undies.
We gave up.
And I cried.
I wasn’t really crying about the undies. I have enough self awareness to know that I was really crying about being back at the clinic and the uncertainty of what was coming and about my lack of a job and lack of an identity outside of mother and about finishing the PhD but was there a point to it given my lack of job, and how I don’t really have any control over my life no matter how much I try to pretend I do, etc. etc.
But still. They were the perfect undies. And so I sat there in my living room and wept big fat tears about my total inability to keep what should have been the simplest of promises to my son.
Lessons learned from this:
1. Do not make promises to your son unless you already have the thing that will allow you to keep the promise in your possession.
2. Don’t buy anything from Kmart online.