a day in the wife

Dsc_9574 Weekends in fall are reserved for many things earthy and sweet. This one brought proper clothes shopping for Lucas (we’ve started to call him Luke) and Abigail. While I was away, Phil had emailed me photos of them. And I replied, not with "how cute" or "adorable," but "creepy, they need new clothes. He looks like an accountant, and she looks like a ragamuffin." So, off we went, shopping list in hand. Cable knit sweaters (ooh, or those Irish knotted ones), brown thick corduroys, tweed dresses with leggings, footsie pajamas and faux fur boots.  Speaking of boots, we ventured to Nordstrom on our way to Janie & Jack (my all time fave) to stop at the shoe department for Phil.  Nordstrom, aside from offering free alterations and piano music, has a half-decent shoe department. It’s no Neiman Marcus Last Call, but it will do. Shhhhh, don’t tell. Identifying a Lacoste sneaker with a velcro strap, Phil said, "Look, Izod," then asked the salesman if they had it in his size. We sat and waited, and my period cramps were appreciative.

"I need socks" Phil explained as he walked toward the stock room following after the associate. Little did I know just how much. If it had been a scene in a movie, you might see me wince. Had it been "You’re a Stinky Cheese Man, Charlie Brown," there would’ve been a brown cloud of dust rise to bitch-slap me across the face. But this was real life, and that, right there, the indescribably rancid smell that bordered on vinegar and smelt roe, simply had me draw in a deep breath from over my shoulder. Then I held it, as if I were in a car, passing a cemetery, believing if I held my breath until we were a safe distance away, I’d have good luck. Phil began to laugh, that laugh you can’t help. That moment where you’ve smelled up a room and not only do you know, but you know the people around you know it. He laughed until he couldn’t breathe. Add some serious insult to injury, this was no ordinary salesman. He was old school, sitting on his leather measuring of a stool, pulling stuffed knots of paper from the shoes, wiggling the tongue. He was right there, that close, to the enemy.

Already in the process, Phil swiftly pulled on the "communal socks," wrong on so many levels, and attempted to push his way into the shoes, hoping the quicker he was, the closer he’d be to containing his offense of a foot. Phil looked at me, giggling like a school girl. I bowed my head, shaking it as if my child had just smeared a dookie across the teacher’s desk. The associate asked if it felt right.

The shoes didn’t fit but the moment did.  This is what makes life memorable. Now go bust a pit on someone you love.



  1. Sounds like a fun day! Foot odor & lots of laughter, you've got yourself a good time! How did the shopping go for the kidlets?

  2. First off, thanks for answering my question in the last post! There were so many, I was impressed that you got to mine! Your story reminds me of an early date my husband had in the city,( upper east side restaurant). Summertime. Guy on the date next to our table is wearing loafers, sans socks, and nervously pulling his feet in and out of his shoes. How do I know? Because we were desperately searching for the culprit of that SMELL! Gross. A shoe dept. in a major store is one thing, this was a tiny restaurant of all places. We were horrified, and giggling, we slowly picked up our table and inch by inch, as we were seated in our chairs we scooted as far as we could from that couple.

  3. Soon you'll have your kids pointing out the embarrassing daily doodies, poots, boogers, foot odor, you name it. They'll make sure everyone in the grocery store knows about it.

    Nothing worse than a pair of feet that smell like ass. :)

  4. You owe it to yourself to buy The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, by Jon Scieszka. Your kids will love it.

  5. This brings to mind the issue of dressing kids, particularly little girls. Boys are easy enough, and you seem to favor classic styles as opposed to trendy anyway, but some of the kids clothes I've seen lately are disturbing. I'm not even talking about 12 year olds in belly shirts or spaghetti straps. A relative of mine recently sent "back to preschool" pictures of her 4 year old in a winter mini-dress with little knee high boots. Not fuzzy little uggs, or girly sparkly pink wellies, but knee high leather boots. Talk about creepy. I don't know the exact rules here, but I'm pretty sure I don't need to see a 4 year old flashing her gams.

  6. They're so cute. I want Abigail's outfit! I love her red top. Amazing how you can sense their personalities in this photograph.

  7. Haha. This whole thing was hilarious. "Vinegar and smelt roe." And that last little paragraph was my favorite. I could see it and it made me laugh.

    And oh my, how the beans have GROWN. They're just beautiful.

  8. Does Lucas have an asymetrical face? I am not saying this to be mean – I have one also, basically one eye is a little higher than the other. It was casued by a dent in my skull when it didn't fuse correctly in utero. I have noticed that in some of Lucas's photos. Have you noticed it?

  9. Nate and I officially fell in love the first time I farted in front of him and he said, "That's okay. Farts are funny."

    If you can't laugh together at the stuff that freaks everyone else out…well, then, I don't know what. Something.

    I always love your stories Stephanie.

    (And ps Janie and Jack = huge guilty pleasure.)

  10. Oh – those precious babies. What a lovely photo.

    It is amazing, this eve of my sweet boy's 18th birthday, how it passes in a second. I was reminiscing tonight with my mom and dad about 18 years ago today – how I was enormously pregnant – afraid – excited – and totally unprepared for the love that would soon consume me.

    A million hours of labor, and then that sweet big, white baby…and, my god, how life changed.

    I now look at this enormously tall, brilliant, sweet, incredible young man…and I am humbled at how amazing he is. How can you love anything so much?

    Anyway – thanks for the glimpse in to your world.
    It is fun to look at baby pictures of my darlings and see their grown-up features peeking out…that's how I feel seeing your sweet babies.

  11. Hey SK off subject but I just read your latest Twitter about New Orleans. I am Native New Orleanian{moved due to Katrina} I go back frequently and would be happy to offer you a slate of OH MY GOD DID I JUST EAT SOMETHING THAT FUCKING GOOD Restaurants, Divine and fun Hotels, AMAZINGGGGGG shops. AND MUST SEE music & bars that will give you a real taste of New Orleans. "Beyond the French Quarter". I wax poetic relentlessly about the terra of my birth. But it is truly the most amazing place in the United States. Minus the Hurricanes…Corrupt politics… But I like to think its flaws give it color. One thing I have always dug so much about your blog is your LOVE of food/dining. New Orleans is there for you Honey, Big Love on the menu. SO thrilled you are going for a visit!!

  12. Hey Bee– I think we'd all love to see what's on your New Orleans list! New York Magazine just named it one of the best on-the-cheap winter vacations a few weeks ago and we were looking into spending Christmas there. Thanks!

  13. I like to make sure I learn at least one new thing every day. It may only be eight in the morning right now, but I think my encounter with "ragamuffin" means I can go back to bed right now.

  14. Ms. Klein, your next book needs to be a user manual on how to create the most perfect looking children imaginable. I'm 23 and so blissfully far away from even contemplating having my own children, but MAN – they're just utterly lovely, and even more importantly — they have so much bloody character in their eyes! Such atypical, personality-filled faces.

    Well done.

  15. I love the Nordstrom kid's shoe department as well. Last time we were there I got my son an adorable pair of tiny pumas and he got a balloon. We both won. It never ceases to amaze me how long that child can be occupied by a balloon.

  16. I think Luke and Abigail are incredibly adorable, and that their personalities come through in their pictures. I have to disagree with Emily. I work with children and do not think that most kids have typical and/or lacking-in-personality faces (as her comment seemed to imply).

  17. I think it's more an element of good pictures — anticipating the perfect moments that show their personalities — rather than "good kids".

  18. What a beautiful photo! Lucas looks like he was dressed by a professional stylist. It must feel great to create these memories with your family, Stephanie. Congratulations!

  19. Ugh- I have not laughed that hard while reading a blog in a long time. so.freaking.hilarious. I was just picturing the old salesman at Nord's kneeling on the floor keeping a straight face; I'm sure he didn't even consider laughing. I don't know how you contained yourself!

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