Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Winter Clothes?
Jennifer Flaten

Before starting the car, I turn to examine my children. I want to be sure that they are all secure in their car seats. The seat belt check is an important safety check for a parent especially in winter.

I tell you once cold weather hits it can be a huge struggle to get the seat belt to fasten securely. Just picture trying to squeeze the Michelin man into a five-point harness and you can begin to appreciate my diligence.

Since I am a good mom, I make sure to send my kids out wearing the proper weather gear. This means all the standard winter outerwear like coats, hats, and gloves, and on school days, I make them wear snow pants.

A coat alone is bulky enough, but mix in everything else and you have tiny little stay puffed marshmallow men.

Even after extending the seat belt to its fullest, the kids are pinned in like butterflies to a board.

After my five point safety inspection, we zoom out of the driveway.

On this particular day, we are going to the sledding hill. Driving along, I notice that the car is eerily silent.

I assume it is because the children are wedged in so tight they can't draw breathe to talk.

This makes for a pleasant ride to the sledding hill. Hey, if they can't breathe, they can't fight.

We arrive at the park, and I begin to unfasten them, as my daughter bolts out of the car, I hear a little ripping noise.

I spin her around for an inspection. The source of the ripping noise is immediately apparent; the seam on her snow pants has given way.

It has unraveled from waist to toe. We decided she can still sled in them, but will need a new pair of snow pants ASAP.

Ah drat, I was hoping to get the entire winter out of this pair. Oh well, I guess we will hit the store on the way home.

Sounds simply enough right? Well, you try finding a pair of snow pants in the last week of December.

While the average bear is still in need of thermal socks, sweaters and outdoor winter gear (like snow pants); the retailers think we need bikinis, sunscreen and shorts.

Lady Luck was shining on us that day; we actually found snow pants at our first stop.

There crammed way in the back of the children's department was a sad little display of snow pants. Looking at the selection, I was positive we would be leaving empty handed.

Unbelievably, we found her size and a color that she could live with; at this point, I considered buying a lottery ticket because this had to be luckiest day of my life.

For one insane moment, I considered shopping around for a better price. Then I gave my self a sharp slap and hustled up to the checkout before someone could snatch the snow pants from me.

While there were hardly any snow pants on the floor, I know that there was probably a huge truckload of snow pants in the backroom ready to ship back to the manufacturer or put in cold storage until next year.

In the retail world, they would rather pay to store it then have it out where the consumer may want to purchase it.

Go figure! I simply do not understand that, especially when it is something like snow pants in a state that has winter for 5.5 months of the year.

Wisconsin experienced a huge cold snap about 2 weeks later, good luck to anyone looking for extra mittens or hats at the store. Perhaps, they were able to swaddle their hands in beach towels.

We are at the mercy of the retail buyers who buy their Christmas toys in February, and us to do the same.

Unless, you can afford to shop at a specialty shop that caters to the particular item you are looking for, like outdoor gear, you are not going to find the item you need when you need it.

A perfect example is last summer. We went to the beach in August. We wanted to buy beach toys for the kids, in August. The big general merchandisers did not have any beach toys, at all.

If I really wanted beach toys, I should have bought them when the store had them, in May.

Once summer officially came, poof they were gone. The store needed the shelf space for the Halloween displays.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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