Subourbon Mom

You Really Can Get Everything at Walmart!

I don’t know how or why the Jesus Freaks find me, but they do – and it’s usually at Walmart.  Now, before you get all upset, know that I do believe, but I believe in the privacy of my head and heart.

I’ve had two people tell me in the check-out line that it’s their second birthday, as in, they’re Born Again.  (Personally, I don’t think it’s the best metaphor – why would anyone want to leave their warm, dark cocoon where they have been fed and grown with no effort for the cold, bright world where every day can be a struggle?  How about something like “Refried” instead?)

Ummmm…so you’re Born Again. First, you look tall for a two-year-old.  Second, I’ve had 47 birthdays, and I never once told anyone in a check-out line when they happened.  Third, why do you think I need to know you and Jesus are besties when I’m standing here trying to figure out who wore the superman glasses better – George Clooney or Denzel Washington?

But the best encounter happened yesterday.  I was standing in the freezer aisle at Walmart trying not to buy yet another bag of tater tots, when two teenage girls approached me.

“Excuse me, M’am?” they asked.


“Hi. Um, would you like us to pray for you?”

“What, here?” I asked.

“Yes.  Or is there someone you would like us to pray for?”

Oh my God, this is a blog happening right now.

“My family – they’ve got issues.”

“Okay. Would you mind if we lay hands on you, or is that too weird?”

“That is definitely too weird.”

Then they said a very nice prayer in the middle of the freezer aisle.

So why me? I recently asked my gym trainer if I have a serious RBF (Resting Bitch Face), because whenever I go to other gyms, the trainers never talk to me, while they talk to everyone else who is new. And it’s not because I’m doing things correctly, either.  She said no (probably for self-protection), that mine wasn’t bad. I just always look like I’m concentrating (#thestruggleisreal).

Why do people feel the need to approach me and tell me all about their relationship with God/Jesus?  Do I have a RSMF (Resting Save Me Face)?  You can’t tell me my RSMF is worse than the woman smacking her kid in the child-abuse aisle, or the addict who’s hanging around in the parking lot asking for cash, or the people who live in their camper in the back of the parking lot. I’m pretty sure they might need help from Above a little more than I do.

So please, let me keep my headphones on while I play my soothing spa music and shop.  And while I don’t want it to happen again, it just proves that you really can get everything at Walmart.

Costco Sells Caskets & Urns

I recently received a text from my friend Kristin late one night that just said Costco sells caskets and urns. Naturally, I had to go look it up, and sure enough they do.



So does Walmart…and Amazon.

Did I miss something? When did the big box stores get involved in the big box business? (Apparently, this business is actually referred to as “Death Care,” the death-sensitive phrase I learned while Googling.) In addition to the assortment of caskets and urns available, Costco also posted a must-read FAQ that informed me about all kinds of death-care rules I knew nothing about. For example, not all states will let you order a casket from somewhere other than a funeral home. Of those that do, you are required to be present when it’s delivered.

coffin1Of course, I toyed with the idea of ordering one the next time Hubby makes me furious and just leaving it on the front porch with Universal Casket Company (Costco’s supplier) emblazoned on the box as a hint/threat. But now that we live in the country, only the coyotes and screech owls would see it, so I’ll just have to go back to regular yelling.

I couldn’t believe how expensive these caskets were, and mind you, these were from Costco and Walmart, so I’m sure they had a tiny markup compared to the markup funeral homes add. So, in search of other options, I Googled alternative ways to be buried.


There are more ways to be buried than there are ways to have a baby – and that’s after watching every episode of A Baby Story. Actually, many burial methods are eerily similar to methods of having a baby – standing up; in water; natural (read “green”); and, cut open and filled with chemicals. I guess you really do come full circle, like they say.

I have a weird fear of being cremated. I can’t rationalize it, but the idea of it freaks me out. I much prefer Monty Python’s “Nibble, Nibble, Nibble to Crackle, Crackle, Crackle.”

I’ve also always assumed I would be buried in a plot of land overlooking something meaningful and gorgeous, like Robert Redford’s character in Out of Africa. Since we are running out of planet space and it’s uber-expensive, I started looking for alternative burial options. A few stuck with me, if only because they fell into the OH HELL NO I’M NOT DOING THAT category.resomation

Resomation – in which the remains are dissolved in an alkaline solution, leaving a white powder not unlike ashes from cremation. Or a giant pile of coke.

Freeze Drying – I believe this method is still in development, but the process is similar to resomation, except they use liquid nitrogen. After being exposed to the nitrogen, the remains become super brittle and are shaken into a powder.  I imagine this to be much like the old rock tumblers we used to use to polish rocks. Afterward, fillings and other non-biodegradable parts are sifted out…in keeping with the rock analogy, kind of like panning for gold. No thanks.

ryan-lochteCryogenics – in which the body is frozen until scientists can figure out how to transcend death in the future and bring you back to life. Jurassic Park ring a bell anyone? That went well. What if you are respected now but turn out to be the biggest douche bag in the future (think Walt Disney)? Or worse, what if Ryan Lochte opts for cryogenics and he’s our representative from the 21st century?

My personal favorite is becoming part of an artificial reef. These reefs are being created off-shore using a mixture of cremation remains and whatever else they make artificial reefs with. These eco-friendly reefs are part of the green death care movement, and are increasing fish habitats and scuba diving opportunities, all while resembling the lost city of Atlantis. I like the idea of building something good for the environment out of peoples’ remains. But why stop there? Why not just start making an entire new planet – WAIT!!!! We could call it the Death Star!!


Too far?

But seriously, for a subject that is so personal and impactful to so many people, both the living and the dead, I find it offensive that we can now buy burial items online the same way we can buy clothes or get a pizza delivery. I understand why people will shop at the box stores for these things – the same reason we buy our food and eBooks there. Prices for caskets and funeral services are ridiculous. In my opinion, there should be limits placed on the costs of caskets, urns, shrouds, and burial options. Alternative burial options should be allowed to be explored and utilized. But the big box stores should stay out of an industry that requires sensitivity and dignity. There are entire industries welcoming the box stores with open arms, but the death care industry shouldn’t be one of them – no bones about it.


Dress for Success

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want.” Well, I am a firm believer in dressing for the help you want when shopping. If you dress like a tired mom in stained sweat pants and unwashed hair, see how many sales people come up and offer to assist you. You’ll be leper in the middle of J.Crew, all alone somewhere in the sale section. However, if you dress in a way that says you’re ready to buy, and that you have the money to do it, things are vastly different.

A few of weeks ago, I dressed for a day of shopping at the mall, in my good skinny jeans and a sweater that covers up those saddlebags that no amount of leg lifts will eliminate. I even had makeup on because, let’s face it— women dress for each other when they shop, not for the men. Sorry guys, but it’s true. At the clubs it’s a different story—we’re all about you (just keep nodding and smiling, ladies—they don’t know!).

The first stop that day was Lowes, a store I feel lost in the minute I step through the doors. The signs are hung too high, and nothing is organized the way I would do it. Who puts storage stuff behind the gardening stuff? It should go somewhere in the house section.

But I digress…so I walked in, feeling like a delicate daffodil among the burly men prowling the aisles. There were a couple of other women there, too, and I’m sure they were doing something admirable, like fixing the drywall in their kids’ playroom. But I was heading to the mall afterward, and had dressed for the Nordstroms dress section, not the Lowes drill press section.

Eventually, I found the enormous storage box I was looking for. A male employee about my age (we’ll just smile and call it 30) said he would carry the box to the checkout counter for me. Flexing his muscles, he marched the box past two lines of at least 6 irritated people, and opened a new register just for me. I could feel resentment drilling into my back from the other customers. I never did get his name to give to the manager, but maybe that was a good thing. I think he might have gotten in trouble.

A week later, I had to go to Lowes again to make a return. Again, I was looking decent—ok, maybe it’s a subconscious thing—I dress well when I know I’m going into the giant man cave. I made my return, and immediately tried to exit through the ENTER door.

I walked into it.

That’s right, I walked into the door at Lowes.

I stood there for a moment until my menopause brain eventually noticed the backwards ENTER letters. To my shame, as I turned to go out the actual EXIT, a male employee came over and said, “Here, ma’am, let me help you.” He pushed open the ENTER door for me, like I was Cleopatra, and I waltzed through as if nothing had happened. Maybe it was pity for my blatantly blonde moment, but I’m telling you, dressing for the service you want really works.

Now, if I had watched someone like me walk into the ENTER door, I would have rolled on the floor laughing.

The only store I have found where this strategy doesn’t work is Wal-Mart. No matter what you look like, what language you speak or what expression you have on your face, the employees always treat you the same—like cattle going through the chute. But in a way, that’s ok. There’s no pressure. I can go in there at 7:30 a.m., wearing my ridiculous sequined Christmas tree shirt that I break out once a year for the program at school, or I can be in a cocktail dress getting a last minute hostess gift (i.e. cheap bottle of wine), and I get the same treatment.

I’m anonymous, and I love it. Wal-Mart may be a lot of things, but it is definitely the great equalizer.

Every woman wants their Pretty Woman moment—they want to walk into a store that previously shunned them, and get fawned over when the sales people realize she’s now the real deal. If you want that moment, I suggest starting off small, like in a Lowes or Home Depot. Dress in your “I’ve-lost-all-hope-stay-at-home-mom clothes one day,” and then in your Spanx, good shirt and jeans, and supportive bra, and see what happens.

And don’t forget to say as you leave, “Big mistake. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”

September 15, 2012, 2:12 am
Filed under: Middle Age | Tags: , , , ,

So the other day I went into Walmart, a store that I loathe and desperately need at the same time. And while I go to ridiculous lengths to avoid times when I know the Creepers are going to be there, I recently encountered a new species of person to avoid: the Menopausal Woman.

Now, to be fair, I am on the cusp of becoming one of these creatures. In fact, most of the women I work with are in various stages of morphing: there is a constant battle going on over the temperature and caffein intake in our office, as well as constant discussion about why the “muffin top” won’t go away no matter how many sit-ups we do. There is also very little sleeping going on. Many of my co-workers FaceBook each other at 3:00am because they are awake for no apparent reason.

So imagine my surprise, when I have paused during my stroll (okay, pushing cart quickly, jaw jutting, not looking right or left so as to avoid getting sucked into buying shoes that I know will blister my feet, but OMG they’re only $5!), down the aisles at the pajama section, and I suddenly realize my cart is gone. Not only is it gone, but my purse, cell phone and 20 cans of dog food went with it.

I know, I know, we’ve all been told not to leave our carts unattended, and to keep our purses on our bodies. But this is Southern Suburbia, the insulated tin of Cream Cheese America! I felt naked (no purse or cell phone) and stupid, turning in circles, stalking around the pajama racks as if I am looking for something to buy and not frantically wondering how long I’ve been wandering around without my cart and where the Hell did I put it, anyway?

Finally realizing someone has walked off with my things, I faced a dilemma: Do I
a) find an employee and tell them I lost my cart somewhere between the shoes (yes, I stopped) and the pajama section, and face their looks of pity,
b) borrow someone’s phone to call my husband to come get me and admit I’m too stupid to shop at Walmart, or
c) cruise around the store looking for the perpetrator, wasting valuable time when the professionals could be catching him/her?

Of course, I picked C.

Four aisles over, I spot her: Menopausal Woman, quilted purse slung over her shoulder, staring at her list with a pencil in her teeth. I cautiously approached, experience having told me never to startle such a creature, and said, “Excuse me, M’am, but I think you have my cart.”

Menopausal Woman looked with confusion at the piles of dog food, cat food and $50 worth of toiletries (more on that later), and turned about eight shades of red.

“Oh my Gawd, what is wrong with me?” she exclaimed.

We laughed it off and I took my cart back, chuckling to myself and feeling superior. About three minutes later, I see Menopausal Woman sidling up to me again.

“Excuse me, M’am,” she said, her face a bright fuchsia. “Where exactly did I steal your cart? I still can’t find mine!”

I answered her, knowing that someday I will be Menopausal Woman. The signs are all there: I walk into rooms and have no idea why; my rear end is no longer the coldest thing in our bedroom; I have been known to stand in the grocery store parking lot and have no idea where I parked. So, I took this as a sign: be nice, for you shall reap what you sow.

Now, off to Starbucks for my $3 hit of caffein. I didn’t sleep well last night.

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