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Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm a schlumpadinka!

Who knew? I had never heard the term "schlumpadinka" until my friend Nicole used it to describe her daughter's attire for school pictures. Since its a fun word to say and it sounds cute and it pertained to elementary school-aged girls, I thought it was some "cool" (maybe that's not the latest acceptable terminology, but at least I didn't say "groovy") word meaning "casual but stylish." Then, this morning I log on to take care of some travel business for my niece and what do I see but the word "schlumpadinka" as it related to slouchy moms who had received makeovers on the Oprah Winfrey show. I saw nothing wrong with the drawstring plaid flannel pants and layered t-shirts. In fact, it looked an awful lot like my favorite winter outfit! I had to admit that the "new" look was rather nice with the crisp white blouse, khaki pants, light jacket and scarf to complete the look; not to mention the model's hair was actually combed and hanging down around her face in the makeover shot instead of pulled back in a hasty, scraggly ponytail.
No wonder Alisa was cutting her eyes at me in an accusatory manner as we watched her John & Kate Plus Eight DVD (yes, she's all into that mess enough to own a copy of season 5 on DVD). They were interviewing Kate about wearing high heals in every episode and her own fashion trends. Kate admitted that in the earlier seasons she wore nothing but sweat pants and t-shirts; after all, she had 6 infants/toddlers and 4-year-old to 6-year-old twins back then. Now that the kids are bigger her "look" has changed from her stylish hair (which I've seen on many a woman lately) to her stylish clothes. She said something would be very wrong if she was still living in sweats and t-shirts at this point in the game. Really, Kate? Very wrong? Alisa obviously agrees that because I only have 2 kids who are 11 and 13, I have no excuse to still be dressing in sweats and T's. Does that fact that I taught 18-month-olds at Parent's Day Out for eight years count for anything? That was kind of like having sextuplets at times, right? Okay, so how about the fact that I was in school for two years after that? It's hard to be a fashion plate when you're broke, unemployed, paying for tuition and you spend most of your waking ours studying, cooking & cleaning. I guess I could go back and watch some episodes of Leave It to Beaver and take some tips form June Cleaver with her pearls and pumps and dainty little apron around her waist.
Because the title of the article was "Don't be a Schlumpadinka" I got the idea right away that this is not a positive fashion trend, but instead a slouchy, kind of unkempt presentation of oneself, and I definitely fall into that category. In the winter I live in my flannel pants and sweatshirts. In the spring & fall, I migrate toward the flannel pants and t-shirts. In the summer, I live in Mike's "hand-me-down" shorts & t-shirts which he has not outgrown, mind you, but have "shrunk" in the wash. They don't exactly fit me, but they're something to jump into in a hurry to shuttle kids back and forth to school/other activities (God forbid I have to get out of the car for any reason!) or sweat in while I walk around the neighborhood for exercise. The fact that my closet is full of clothes yet I never have anything to wear should be another indication that schlumpadinka is bound to be my fashion trend tendency. So, what to do?
#1 Get a job
#2 Take up sister-in-law's offer to help clean out closet (If the rule to get rid of it if you haven't worn it in 3 years applies, I will have to start from square one! I'm not kidding, either).
#3 Find my fashion style. Part of my problem is I readily accept "hand-me-downs" from anyone who offers them (I only recently got rid of a couple of blouses from my grandmother's elderly neighbor. Yes, I admit that I was wearing Blair-mail-order-catalog-looking hand-me-downs from a 70-something-year-old which would probably make schlumpadinka look good!). If anyone were to ask me what type of style I like, I couldn't even begin to say...I remember a project back in 5th or 6th grade where I had to plan a trip to Ireland. You know the kind of project where you have to color a map using actual paper and map pencils, research the country (using the dewey decimal system at the school library and real, hardcopy Encylopedia Britannica-so, now this is sounding like a "you know you're old if you remember when..." type e-mail. Sorry, let me get back on track!) I'm almost certain I was looking in the "old lady" section of the Sears catalog to find comfortable polyester knit pants (with the seam sewn down the front of the leg of course) and matching "shell" with cardigan sets with sensible, comfy shoes for my trip. Not much has changed over the years.
#4 Go shopping for non-schlumpadinka clothes (torture of all tortures! Until now I have relied heavily (okay, solely) on the generosity of friends and family supplementing my wardrobe on birthdays and Christmas. I have found that my brother-in-law and my uncle are very good shoppers. It is no secret that I absolutely hate shopping (unless it's grocery shopping or craft-related).
Perhaps with a job and some the subsequent availability of resources, I can learn to like to shop and not be a schlumpadinka. Bye for now...until next time!

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