On dressing mannequins

Ann Taylor occupies two floors in Boston’s Faneuil Hall historic shopping plaza. On the second floor, there are narrow shafts for window displays that are only wide enough for my 23 year-old petite body to stand very still. Problems ensue when I am tasked with dressing one of the mannequins (size 2, all of them, because when have you seen a mannequin holding a hamburger?). My managers at Ann Taylor never say, “Oh, Kendra, can you go simply drape this fetching scarf around the neck of a mannequin upstairs?” They never ask, “Could you be a dear and quick like a bunny change out the broche on that one’s blouse up there?” They are prepared to exploit me for their big window dressing asks, like a child with tiny fingers taken out of school to sew sequins onto gowns. Only I am being paid a fair wage. And am not denied an education. (Forget the child labor comparison. I was being hyperbolic.) My managers see that I am scheduled to work and order the full rack of tweed blazers steamed and for the mannequin in the upstairs windows to don the new angora turtleneck and wool pants with no zippers.

Photo by  Fancycrave  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

I am a visual assistant at Ann Taylor in the hours before the shop opens. Except I am not assisting anyone, per se, besides the mannequins out of their naked Barbie doll ignominy and into the season’s latest couture. This early shift is an absolute idyll for an introvert. It’s so peaceful up in the window shaft. I get to watch the cobblestone paths of this Boston tourist destination come alive. From the second floor window, I see a queue of New Bostonians preparing for their citizenship swearing in outside of Quincy Market. I observe flocks of pigeons pecking at last night’s stale popcorn. I wrestle the mannequins and watch the sun come up. The best and worst part is: not a soul bothers me.

So when I get stuck in the window, no one can hear me banging. The door to the window shaft has suddenly swung shut and I cannot seem to bump it open. I knock on the window, but no one looks up from below on the cobblestone because it is mainly just pigeons and a hungover security detail. Actually, no. That guy doesn’t work security. He’s a leftover from Cheers last night. No one inside the store can hear me yelling, because it is just the manager and I and she is a volunteer gospel choir director, so she is most likely opening up the cash wrap downstairs and practicing, “I Surrender All” while I am upstairs singing, “Here I Am, Lord!!” and hoping that a merciful god/manager lets me out of here soon. I begin to think about how little air there really is in this window shaft and how sad that I may spend my last Christmas on earth with the Madame Tussaud’s rendering of my junior high nemesis and just as I begin to feel tears pooling, Nestor, the custodian, just happens to be swapping out a broom upstairs and hears my plight. Nestor does not speak much English and my Spanish is mostly garbage, but!! That day, Eso dia! He heard my cry for help and answered the call perfectly. I won’t be spending Christmas as a mannequin in rigor mortis after all. Praises be!

That time my son rediscovered crafts

So far in his relationship with crafts, Sonshine has regarded them with a range of emotions. On one end of the Posture Toward Doing Crafts spectrum was a feeling of Ambivalence as demonstrated by a screwing up of the side of his mouth and a shrug, "Like, do you think we can actually go eat a Nutty Bar instead of doing this craft?" On the other end of the spectrum is something I would characterize as Existential Angst, like, "What is a craft and why does it benefit me, you, the community-at-large, if I glue this googley-eye to this popsicle stick and then wait for it to dry, subsequently discarding it as waste in the days to come?" This range has been replaced with one that includes a much warmer zone, a climate where temperatures might even reach Craft Ecstasy?

I know. It's been a confusing time for me, too.

It started when Sonshine started begging nagging harassing  asking me for a white T-shirt. He didn't specify a reason. A small ask by any measure, and although I am sure he wasn't envisioning the woman's JJill white XL T-shirt when he requisitioned the plain white T, he seemed pleased as punch when we scored it for a whole two moneys at Boomerangs thrift store over spring break. Achievement level unlocked!

When we got home and he started asking me for the paints, however, this is when I started to take his temperature, and just asked casually if I could see his dental records. WHO THIS.

The boy set about to decorate the official t-shirt of the Vera Bradley luggage-toting mom with some verbiage that is not completely familiar to me. It would appear, given the primitive YouTube graphic rendering on the back, that the T-shirt is basically an homage to all of the YouTube stars du jour who know Things about Minecraft. I mean, I get it. I wore a Paula Abdul "Forever Your Girl" tour shirt for a minute. I know what it is to wear your fandom on your literal sleeve.

In the meantime, the boychild also produced a puppet that, I would assume was pulled from the Upside Down, but is, once again, some kind of homage to a YouTuber du jour.

I don't know what your alarm clock sounded like yesterday, but I'd be interested to know if you've ever been roused from sleep with: MOM CAN YOU PUT THIS ON TWITTER LIKE RIGHT NOW I NEED TO SHOW THIS TO PIXELDIP AND SEE IF HE WILL GIVE ME A SHOUTOUT MOM MOM MOM TWITTERRRRR.

So I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.

Back to the t-shirt, though. Upon completion of this t-shirt craft involving puff paint (like this was the year 19 freaking 91), Sonshine launched his campaign to get said apparel washed, dried, and wearable so that at 600 hours this morning, he was all-systems go.

"I just hope the kids at school aren't distracted."

Yeah, I mean. I don't see why they would look twice at a kid who appears to have shoplifted from JJill and then gotten dressed in the ballpit at McDonald's Playland.

craft tshirt

Craft on, players.

Overheard: The Royal Sisters Say

My workout on the treadmill was apparently so rigorous this morning that I read the entirety of this incisive work of journalism cover to cover: Untitled As someone possessed of an advanced degree in journalism, I have to concede that I was  BLOWN AWAY by the in-depth coverage of the rapport between the Duchess of Cambridge and her would-be sister-in-law Meghan Markle. Not only did the reporter gain access to a source known as "a Kate insider" but was able to move said "insider" onto the record to document such deeply classified intel such as the fact that Markle has a penchant for popping in on Kate and, now are you sitting down for this? Sometimes Markle even brings treats. Can you fathom?

There is one piece of information divulged in this feature story, though, that I met with some skepticism. Call me an old biddie but I couldn't help but question the fact that on the occasion of these royal pop-ins (not to be confused with royal popovers which I assume are served at high tea) it is reported that Markle will, "proffer a healthy eating tip she's read or maternity style pointers."


Baking powder? Have the insider or the reporter met any women before? Why would a woman who has not reportedly brought children into the world offer health advice to a preggo mcbeggo? Further, would a skinny model actress really offer a thrice preggo "maternity style pointers" and hope to live?

Because I am also possessed of an imagination, here's how that must go down:

::Markle knocks on door to Kensington Palace. Royal servant comes to door. Wonders why Markle doesn't believe in text messaging and insists on 'popping in.' Assumes it is another Ugly American Thing.::

Markle: Kate?

Kate: Darling, I thought we agreed that we'll do Duchess for now?

Markle: Sorry, Dutchy.

Kate::rolls eyes and mutters something about 'murica::

Markle: Sorry?

Kate: Nothing, dear one. Mind your step there.

Markle: Okay. I brought some Rice Krispie Treats?

Kate: Fancy that! Georgie! Auntie brought you some nibbles!

Markle: Mmm actually, they're for you? I used brown rice syrup as I heard that's better for maternal health?

Kate: Ha! hahahaha. Where'd you read that? Pinterest, did you?

Markle: Mmm. Can't remember. Hang on, let me see if it's from someone sliding in my DMs. JUST KIDDING. I read it on this site called Pioneer Woman, have you ever heard of her? She's cute. Very big in the States.

Kate: Charming, I'm sure. Well, you may know that I have hyperemesis. Which means if we talk about food, I'll probably get the heaves. But thank you for the heads-up about maternal nutrition. Following the subject closely, are you?

Markle: Yes!

Kate: By jove. What a thing to not have carried any children yourself but to be always at the ready to proffer a healthy eating tip for a pregnant mum.

Markle: I just want to be as helpful as possible! Why else would I pop by?

Kate: I guess I was hoping you'd watch Georgie and Char so I could take a nap?

Markle: Of course! But first, could we have a maternity fashion show? I've also brought over some really amazing leggings for you that I just think are so fetch.

Kate: Could you stop trying to make 'fetch' work?

Markle: Sure, okay.

Kate: Thank you ever so much. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go ring a Kate insider about the latest goings-on with The Firm. Anything you need from me before I do?

Markle: Actually, I was just wondering if you had any advice? Like, maybe about croquet? Or do you have any gossip for me?

Kate: Really, Meghan. Are we done here?