I bake brownies when it rains. The good kind; with two sticks of butter in the frosting.
The kind that make you want to turn off the television and escape to the back porch with a fork and a hot mug of coffee. There is permission in this indulgence; permission to sit down while I eat and savor the slow melt of chocolate on my tongue, the careful scrape of the fork against the plate. Its deliciousness demands appropriate attention.
But, it’s been a very wet spring, so there have been a lot of brownies. The careful scrape of the fork is starting to sound a little closer to an angry shovel, and I’ve taken to just hovering above the pan instead of sitting down with a designated square. Another clap of thunder and I “even up” the row for the third time since lunch. Apparently, portion control disappeared with the sunny forecast, and I’m afraid of the damage I can do with an unsupervised afternoon.
The only way to slow down this train is to pull out the big guns: swimsuit shopping.
Now, when you are young and firm, buying a new swimsuit marks the beginning of summer. After all, bikinis and cut off shorts will constitute your wardrobe for the next three months. Tan lines dictate style choice.
However, when you have housed and birthed four children and have taken to food therapy during rainy bouts of weather, buying a swimsuit is an entirely different experience.
First of all, forget browsing the racks. There is only one appropriate cut of a swimsuit that I can wear in a pool filled with innocent children and neighbors, and it does not have ornamental ties. Or beadwork. Or, God forbid, mesh.
It has underwires.
I need a no-nonsense, one color sheath of waterproof Spanx. The closer it looks to a sausage wrapper, the better. Floral is always unacceptable on breasts that have nursed four children; exhausted hydrangeas are not attractive.
Second of all, you will have a young (and vocal) audience in a very tight dressing room. This is when it gets interesting.
“Mommy, can I touch your wings?” my 4-year-old daughter asks in her most booming voice.
She is sitting on the dressing room floor amidst a scattering of breast-shaped fabric inserts. Needing no extra cushion, I have removed them (in angst) and she has piled them up like a nest made of giant Skittles.
“Those aren’t wings, honey. That’s just part of my back,” I breathe through my teeth. I make note to cut her off from Tinkerbell movies.
“The ‘extra’ part of your back?” She looks alarmed, puts her hands in her pockets for safety.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and have to restrain from yelling, “Bisquick!” Those are some shockingly white legs (that need a little stirring). I’m suddenly craving a scone. So much for baking penance.
But worst of all is the moment you realize you need to remove the spandex casing for purchase. Or risk jail-time and a stained record. It’s a tough call.
There is bracing. And yanking. And maybe a little mumble of swear words. And that’s just from my toddler.
Eventually, gravity wins. I sit down and regroup in the Skittle nest.
So what if my runway days are wrapped up? I have a tendency to slip on wet cement anyway.
The rain will stop and warmer days will reveal more than pale legs. Sundresses that fit my little girls last summer will barely dust the bottom of their bloomers this year. Everyone will need new sandals for growing feet. My children have not stopped growing during the long winter months, and I have the honor of witnessing a new season of splashing limbs and Kool-Aid mustaches.
And this swimsuit will be my uniform for play … because it is never coming off.
I hope the cashier can reach the tag.