The Bike Quest

Bike Riding

Let’s get something straight right from the beginning.  I’m a Target girl, plain and simple.  When Shannon and Boomama start raving about WalMart, I admit, I start to itch.  After all, why would anyone with a Trget within 20 miles bother with a skeevy WalMart?  But, you know, to each his own.

Well, lately I’ve been trying to find bikes at reasonable prices, seeing that I need to purchase two. And a friend informed me that the best place to go for affordable cheap bikes is WalMart.

Now, I might be a Target snob, but I’m not about to cut off my nose to spite my face.  I have already looked at Target as well as KMart, C0stc0, and ToysRUs, and I couldn’t find anything I wanted in my price range.

So yesterday I loaded all three kids in the car and drove 25 minutes out to the not-so-skeevy WalMart.  (This is is the nicest WalMart I’ve ever seen, but it’s a trek.  There is a closer one, but it’s about as skeevy as it gets, and I just can’t stomach it, no matter how many pennies it might save me).

Upon arrival, we were welcomed, of course, by the infamous greeter in the blue coat, and I sensibly explained to the kids that we would gather our smaller items first and then go pick out bikes.  But as we entered the store, what to our wondering eyes should appear but the biggest selection of bicycles I’ve ever seen outside of a Bikeline.

Well, you try telling two excited children that they must bypass the bikes for diapers, and see what happens.  I didn’t have the heart to insist, so the next thing I knew, we were trying out bikes.  C was easy.  I knew from going online exactly which bike she was going to get, so she spent the next ten minutes riding through the isles on her new bike while I helped D decide which one he wanted.  I’m not sure the nearby patrons appreciated this, but it kept her from asking for everything in sight, so I didn’t sweat it.

Except for one unfortunate incident where D fell over on a bike he was test driving, we weren’t making too much of a spectacle of ourselves.  That is, not until we had made our decisions and I had to figure out how to get 3 kids, 1 shopping cart, and 2 bikes to the diaper section and then to the checkout register.

Of course, conveniently placed next to the bikes was a display of beach toys.  And given our beach trip scheduled for next week, it didn’t take much convincing for me to let the kids pick out an assortment of cheap plastic buckets and shovels.

And then they spotted the foam noodles in a big box nearby, and they have always! wanted! some of those!!  So I took a look at the price, and for $1.50 each, I figured, what the heck, so we added three noodles to the cart.

Of course, R was enamored with such an interesting new object, and she insisted upon holding one and waving it around as we proceeded down the isle.  Now, in the hands of a 20-month old, a 4-foot-long foam noodle can be quite a dangerous weapon, especially when wielded among the crowded isles of WalMart.  Let’s just say we didn’t exactly leave the store the way we found it.

I finally figured out that C could ride her new bike, and D could push the shopping cart with R and her deadly weapon, and I could push D’s bike.  We were quite an entourage, I can tell you that.

We must have made quite a sight, because everyone who passed us chuckled and/or cast sympathetic glances in my direction.  Except for one disgruntled older gentleman who, when trying to get around us, shook his head in disgust and muttered, “I can’t believe this.”

And I think I said something like, “Well, guess what, Dude?  Neither can I.  And this is MY life.”  Or maybe I just thought it and smiled apologetically.

Anyway, I decided that it might be wise to stop and get my bearings, as I had no idea where to find the diapers.  Naturally, the helpful salesperson in blue pointed to the far corner of the store.

What IS it with bathrooms and diapers?  I swear, whoever (or is it whomever?) designs these stores must take sadistic pleasure in forcing us moms to navigate our way through the entire store to get to the necessities.  This never ceases to amaze and infuriate me.  But what can you do?  I needed diapers.

So I left the two bikes and the shopping cart in a fairly deserted isle and carried R on my hip, with the two big kids trailing behind me, to the back corner of the store to grab a box of diapers.  Then we reclaimed our merchandise and began our grand procession to the checkout registers.

Naturally the checkout line was full of toys and candy, and D immediately started begging for a bag of M&M’s.  I had to gently but firmly remind him how much loot we were getting already and that he needed to be grateful for what he has.

Then C started naming all the things on her want-list, and finally she just gave up and said, “Mom, I want everything.”

And that, my friends, just about sums up the sinful condition of our hearts, now, doesn’t it?  But that’s a post for another time.

We finished checking out and then made our way out to the parking lot, where I tried every possible configuration before I figured out the one and only way to fit the two bikes into the back of our minivan.  An engineer, I am not.  Now, if my husband had been along, he would have stood back, assessed the situation, and then proceeded to load the bikes correctly the first time.

At least I got a good upper body workout out of the deal.  And some blog fodder.