A new outlet mall just opened about 35 minutes from our house. That means trouble for me. Mom and I decided to tempt fate and visit this new wonder on Saturday. David is taking the next part of the CPA in about an hour and 11 minutes (y'all pray for him, please!!). So, he's been studying like a mad man and we figured this would give him an opportunity to have some quiet time for himself this weekend.
It's a beautiful outlet mall. Really nice. Lots of great stores. And the layout is great. The one at the beach is one long spread and it takes forever to get from one end to the other. This one is more compact and has little alleys. And apparently, this is just phase one...they're adding onto it starting next year...so, I'm really in trouble. Superman has kryptonite. I have outlet malls (and chocolate).
Anyways. We had a short window when we were leaving. We wanted to time it perfectly so the girls would take a nap on the way. So, I grabbed a package of cherry Poptarts on the way out the door and ate them in the car. It was about 9:30 a.m. We got to the mall (was more beautiful than I ever imagined) and started shopping. There were quite a few other folks who had the same idea as us. A sunny Saturday with perfect weather...who wouldn't want to shop. The double jogging stroller we have is awesome because it's super easy to push and has lots of cargo space and the girls seem to be comfortable in it. It's just really wide and difficult to get in and out of stores. And maneuvering it inside a store is a feat in and of itself. It just wears you out.
We had only been to a few stores, including Ghirardelli (where we each got a dark chocolate peppermint bark sample), when we realized it was 12:30 p.m. and we were getting hungry. We headed to the food court. You would have thought the restaurants were giving out free gold bullions...it was PACKED. We decided to shop a little more in the hopes that the crowd would lighten a little. It did not. At 1:45 p.m., we decided we'd just tough it out and try to find a place to sit. Mom stood in the corner with the stroller and I lurked around like a table vulture, waiting for the prey's killers to leave so I could feast on the remaining carcass. I walked to the other side of the food court, no luck. As I was heading back to Mom, a sweet lady tapped me on the shoulder and said she and her daughter were about to leave and we could have their table. Thank goodness! I wanted to hug her. Extreme thirst was setting in and I just wanted to sit down. So, I waved to Mom and started putting my purse on the chair about the same time two little hos walk up and say something snarky like, "Well, we WERE going to sit here." And I'm like, "Are you dumb? Did you not see that I was here for like five minutes talking to the people previously sitting here? Move along, chumps."
Mom arrives at the table with the girls and I ask what she wants and she says, "That grilled subs place looks good. Just get me whatever you think I'd like and a Diet Coke." So, off I go.
The line wasn't terribly long, but it was INCREDIBLY slow. Probably because Guy Wearing A Wool Suite In 76ºF Weather took FOREVER to order. I'm like, "Guy, you had 30 minutes to decide what you wanted and you still don't know?" I was getting frustrated because the line was moving so slowly. Also because guy behind me kept complaining about how henley necklines don't look good on him or how button-ups make him look bloated. His wife assured him he looked fine in henleys and button-ups and she was concerned about the benefit dinner that apparently the caterers cancelled and that was way more important than his fashion choices. It was insanely hot. I could almost see the blurry waves of heat emanating from the grill...radiating directly towards me. There were people everywhere...they seemed to be multiplying. Everybody was talking. Christmas music was playing. Chatter and music competed for loudest decibel level. My level of annoyance was increasing exponentially. I was so thirsty. If only I could have a sip of water. FINALLY, one person in front of me ordering...and then I saw the line of people still waiting for their food. THIS WAS THE SLOWEST RESTAURANT ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET. I was starting to feel really tired and I just knew if I could order, I'd be okay.
I looked at the menu and since Mom's been on a Mediterranean kick lately, I thought the Italian club sub sounded good. I started getting dizzy. I knew that feeling and I knew I needed to sit down soon. It was my turn to order. I just said, "Two Italians and two Diet Cokes." I've never had a Diet Coke in my life, but I didn't care. It was wet and cold and I didn't have the strength to say, "One Diet Coke and one water." The girl taking orders looked at me funny. I figured I didn't look so hot because I didn't feel so hot. She handed me the Cokes. I reached to grab two straws...I think I only grabbed one...and noticed my hand was shaking. I had to sit down ASAP. I turned to the girl behind me and slurred, "Will you save my place in line?" She looked worried and said, "Sure, sure..."
I saw Mom at our table...oh, glorious table. I sat down and said, "I can't stand in line anymore." I told Mom who I was behind and that someone was saving my place. She was like, "Ruth, are you okay? What's wrong? Here, drink some Coke! Your blood sugar is too low!" I was sipping that Diet Coke like a wayfarer on a desert planet. I said, "I'm okay...just go get our food. I just needed to sit down." Off she went and as soon as she left, I regretted telling her to go. I kept sipping my drink, but I was so dizzy and everything was sparkly. My ears sounded and felt muffled. Everything was kind of quiet. I knew the girls were beside me and I mustered all of my strength to look up at them. I made sure they were okay and that our purses were secure. I could feel sweat running down the back of my neck. My upper lip, chin and forehead were drenched. I wanted to pull my hair up, but I couldn't move my arms high enough. I kept putting my head on the table, hoping the cool surface would help. The concrete floor looked so inviting. My 7th grade health class rhyme popped into my mind..."Face is red, raise the head. Face is pale, raise the tail." My face felt cold, so I figured I was pale. I looked at the girls again, who were smiling and giggling. Such sweet babies.
I was about to ask somebody to help because I knew I was about to pass out, but I saw Mom hustling back with two subs. She was hysterical. She grabbed my arm and shook me, "Ruth! RUTH! RUUUUTTTTHHHH!!! What's wrong? Are you okay? What happened? Do you want me to call 911? I'm calling 911!" I kept thinking, "Woman, you're asking too many questions. Just give me a second." I couldn't say anything, so I just gave her my version of a thumbs up...a.k.a. I wiggled my fingers in her direction. She kept asking if both drinks were Diet Coke and I said, "Yes." She said, "No! They're both sugar free!" And then I realized that drinking all of that stupid drink hadn't helped me at all. She said to eat some candy, but I couldn't even tell her where the chocolate was in my purse. I kept thinking, "If I could just lay down..." And then, that feeling in your throat and stomach when you know you're about to hurl. I turned and looked for the nearest trash can. I asked Mom to confirm that that was, in fact, a trash can right behind me. She said, "Yes." I thought maybe, just maybe, I could keep the inevitable from happening. I tried to control my breathing. It wasn't working. I was attempting to move my legs in the direction of the trash can. I turned my torso to get up and walk towards it. I knew I wasn't going to make it. I put both hands over my mouth and...
It. Went. Everywhere. Poptarts, Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark, and Diet Stupid Coke. I just sat there...looking at my hands...then my sleeves...then the entirety of my blue jeans...and a little bit in my hair. Yep. Mom broke out the wet wipes and David had packed us a burp cloth. A sweet lady came by with a mop and wet rag and helped. After I cleaned myself off...well, as best I could...I was overcome with this insane hunger.
Mom wasn't convinced I was okay, but I assured her I was totally fine. She kept telling me how white I was and how pale my lips were. I ate my whole sandwich. I pretty much just sat in my own puke, which had now soaked through to my undies. She wanted to call David to come and help us get the girls home, but I had a burst of energy. I wanted to go shopping. We hadn't even been to Gap yet! I insisted we stay, so we did. I pulled my crunchy hair in a ponytail and we shopped about 3 more hours. I wanted to get some jeans and a sweater anyway, so I figured I'd changed clothes in a bathroom somewhere. But, by the time I found some, I had already dried, so I figured I might as well stay in my barf-infused clothes.
We laughed about it the whole way home. Mom thinks it's "so funny" to say how instead of bringing a change of clothes for the girls from now on, we need to bring a change of clothes for Ruth. So, if you hear her say that, it's not because I wet my pants...it's because I threw up on myself.
We figured it happened because I had only had Poptarts and that peppermint bark and had a sugar high. Then I crashed and didn't get sugar in my body in time. And this whole year has been like that. For the most part, I eat pretty healthy...fruits, veggies, yogurt, protein, whole grains, etc. But sometimes, I get so busy that I just forget or just don't have time and grab something that's not super nutritious. But no more. I've decided that taking care of the girls and myself takes priority and, busy or not, I will make the time. Nothing is worth risking passing out and up-chucking in a room full of strangers. So, I'm making the time to eat a good breakfast and good lunch every day, no matter what. Because walking around in stomach-juiced jeans and sweater is no fun for anybody.