Monday, October 18, 2010
Mad as a Hatter
Although I am mad as a hatter right now, I'd sure like me some mad hatting skills. It would get me out of a hole that I dug for myself last October.
Last year, The Kiddo dressed up as a witch for Halloween. Shortly thereafter, in a move to fend off masquerade ideas that might generate nightmares (that would be zombies, ghosts, vampires, and anything to do with spider webs) and prove to be as hard to find as her last year's witch's costume, I suggested an easier disguise: a cowgirl.
I sweetened the deal with something I knew The Kiddo wanted - boots. She really had her eye on a pair of stiletto boots that were pictured in my Cinderella of Boston's catalog. I did not totally disabuse the notion. I figured we could find her some moderately heeled boots, put her in a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt, stick a straw hat on her head, and presto, a cowgirl is born.
Fast-forward to October 2010, past August and my job layoff, past September and the end of my severance pay. The witching hour was upon me, and The Kiddo reminded me of my almost (well, it seemed that way now) Faustian bargain. Boots? Gulp. Well, at least, I thought, the jeans and a shirt that would do were already hanging in her closet, and the hat should be relatively easy.
Thanks to The Kiddo's very generous grandparents, the boot were the easiest part of the whole deal. They picked up the cutest little cowboy boots you ever did see, and -- bonus points -- the boots fit me. They'll look great with a pair of my jeans once The Kiddo outgrows them.
So I started trying to find a "cowgirl" shirt. It developed, after much time on the web with The Kiddo, that a "cowgirl" shirt was a red gingham shirt. I finally found one, for a modest ten bucks, and then The Kiddo confessed that she probably wouldn't be caught dead in it as of November 1. Retreat, rethink and forward march.
We found a tee-shirt and denim vest combo that she said she WOULD wear after November 1. I may go ahead and order the gingham shirt just in case it's cold, and then force feed her into it a couple of more times this winter just to get my Return on Investment.
Onto the easiest part of the costume, the hat.
Only, of course it wasn't. The millinery acquisition process had as many provisos and caveats and ixnays as a treaty of peace must. First of all, the hat had to be WHITE. No villain headgear for The Kiddo. And second, it couldn't just be any sort of hat. It had to be a tightly-woven straw hat that looked solid (I've since learned, along with far too many other arcane details, that such a hat is called shantung) or wool felt. Third of all, she wanted one WITHOUT sparkles but WITH discreet decoration: turquoise beads would be good, or concho shells or anything that ran the price up to obscene limits. There were also limits and provisos about the shape of the brim. AAAACK.
I can't seem to find any hat that would actually fit her beautiful little head for any price less than $20, and all the ones I've found for that garner only a thumbs down.
The Kiddo took matters into her own hands today and began googling hats. She found the perfect hat: a 35 buck hat that is exactly like the one George Strait wears. Never mind that she doesn't know George Strait from a hole in the ground -- whoever he is, The Kiddo opines, she thinks he has extremely good taste in headgear.
No, I am not buying the child a $35 hat. I might if I knew she would wear it more than once -- the boots have been a spot-on investment, as they are almost inseparable from her feet. And yes, there are some who might argue that $35 is a terrific deal on a Halloween costume. In other, flusher, economic times, I might agree.
Not now. So that means I am looking for a cowboy hat (child hat size 6 and a half) that is white or very light, that we can add some beads or turquoise or fake concho shells to, and that is very, very cheap.
Somewhere the devil is laughing at me and saying that if I'd let The Kiddo go as a mummy or a zombie, I could have used old sheets ripped into strips.