Saturday, April 26, 2008

Beating The Heat at The Three Dollar Theater

It was hot today. Here in Sunny So. Ca., hot consists of anything over 75 degrees, especially if there's a Santa Ana blowing. Okay, I'll admit, it's a helluva lot hotter, relatively speaking, elsewhere. Take a summer day in Ohio, for example (Shoutout to RK!). But for those of us who have adapted to our environment, who've acclimated to warm sunshine and ocean breezes, it was hot today.

Since it was eighty degrees and the hubby was off taking his mother to lunch, the kids and I opted for some cheap, air conditioned entertainment: the three dollar theater. For those of you who have not been blessed with the three dollar theater, let me extol its many virtues. First of all, it's cheap. For the price I paid to go to the movies last Friday night with my friend R., I was able to get myself, my tweenager and my little guy into the movies. Nine bucks! For all of us! Yes, it was a movie that had already left the mainstream (read: pricey!) movie houses. But with the speed at which movies go to video these days, and the fact that movies land at the cheap theater before they hit Target, it's worth the wait of a few weeks. It's a great way to see those "Wait until it goes to DVD" movies and still get the whole-family-goes-to-the-movies feeling. Now, I'm not saying we see everything that way. We don't deprive our kids of a chance to see the biggies when they're first run films (e.g. the new Indiana Jones is a must-see big movie house flick), but it's a great way to spend a hot day in air conditioned comfort without spending a fortune. Or so I thought.

So, I transfer the important contents of my purse to a backpack (wallet, everyone's allergy meds, Little Man's DS and Tweenie's iPod). We crank the A/C in the Highlander to high, and head to Target for smuggleable movie treats (thus the backpack). There's this new, giant 2-story Target with a cart escalator that was the talk of this little beach burg for weeks. Literally.
(For the record, there is very little one needs that you can't get at a Target. Wish I had stock in the company. It's a mommy's one-stop paradise!)

We arrive and find our way to the candy aisle. The movie-sized candy selection just about put my kids into a diabetic coma just by looking at it. Tweenie is decisive, wielding the hand basket. "I'm done. Let's go." Little Man, not so much...he has my sister's indecisiveness. I mean, impossibly indecisive. The kind of 8 year old indecisiveness that, when pressed for time, will force a parent to cave to almost any demand in order to extricate oneself from shopping hell. ("Fine! Get the 10,000 piece box of Bazooka! I don't care if it's $30! Let's just get out of here!!!") He paces the aisle, puts selections in the basket, finds another appealing treat and swaps it out. This continues on, ad infinitum. A very long time, particularly in tweenie years.

Normally, this would make me crazy. But, ah, these corporate greed mongers have designed their Target with great consideration as to how to gouge mommy for all she's worth. I sigh and glance across the aisle. The side of the aisle opposite Kiddie Cavityland is PMS-Happyland! Mommy chocolates as far as the eye can see! Dark chocolates of every percentage, from every continent. Dove, Ghirardelli, Nestle's fancy-schmansy brand...but what's this? Harry and David! A fine selection! I am no longer concerned with how long Little Man takes, or how bored and the tweenie looks of "I'm not with them"...I am in deep contemplation of the myriad of choices there for my perusal. I waver back and forth between truffles and the easy-to-eat at the movies bar. Should I choose the decadent, creamy, heavily-caloric or the vitamin and antioxidant enriched, practically healthy selections? I consider every option on that 9 foot high, 18 foot long aisle. I am feeling 8 again myself, and every bit as intoxicated as Little Man with the power of choice. No wonder the boy takes so long!

Eventually, the kids bring me out of my chocolate-induced stupor. The rattle and clunk of a box of Raisinets lands in the hand basket. "Here, Mom. Get these," says Boy-o, followed by sister's sarcastic, "Yeah, Mom, we're gonna be late for the movie, remember???" It's hell when they start quoting you back to yourself...

So we grab three bottled waters, check to see that they don't have the toxic numbers on the bottom ("All 1's, Mom, we're good," says safety boy), zip through the crowds and score some cash at the checkout. Gotta love that technology. Ya used to have to write a hot check at Vons to get cash that fast! With cash and a small fortune in candy, and we get to the movies on time. Ahhhhh, air conditioning! And everyone even agrees on where to sit. A small miracle.

The film was Superhero Movie, rated PG-13. Little Man asked many a question about the sexual innuendo (who knew superheroes thought about nookie so much? My "Bad Mom" moment of the day...). Judiciously, I took advantage of the teachable moment, adding the color commentary without too much discomfort and embarrassment on his part or mine. That's a whole different post for another time...But in the end, all agreed that it was a movie definitely worth the 3 bucks admission.

Snacks: $15
Tickets: $9
Air conditioning, my kids on either side of me for 2 hours and a movie that made all of us laugh: Priceless.