I ran out of the house not looking back.. I would look like a freak to anyone who saw me.. I was actually, but only for a while.. :)

My mom offered to babysit my two little ones, so there was practically no “luggage” to lug to the stores.. Except for my big bulky black handbag, my friend gave me for becoming a second time mom!!

With the economy not so rosy, and everyone hurting all over the world, I have been cautious too.. Not even window shopping, I am!

But on Tuesday last week, I ventured out, after a very long time, just with an hour and half hour of time before my son’s next feeding, I wanted to spend some time with myself, without any hassles of general life’s chores.. if shopping isn’t considered one.

The regular mom that I am, I have the mentality of shopping at discount stores like TJMaxx, Marshals, Walmart, but then I thought I will get a good diaper bag, the designer type, from the local child only stores.. First I thought I should explore in the strip mall right in front of our subdivision. It used to be home to a baby-exclusive upscale boutique with all kinds of stuff for kids.. Turns out they had closed their doors permanently a year and half ago.. Then it slowly started to sink into me that every other store in the mall was either going out of business or had closed it doors for ever.. It is a sad situation considering that our cities had one of the highest median incomes in a 2006 survey!

I was wondering if I should then go into the mall right adjacent to it. Barnacles, a popular sea food restaurant which was a major crowd puller Friday nights and Saturday nights was closed. I would go past it every day during my evening walk. One day, just like that, it was gone…. The ceiling fans, the wall to wall TV sets, all in all some 30 of them, yanked out of their installations just dumped into a long trailer truck and driven away.. All it now poses is a “Sorry out of business” card – dirtily handwritten. But then I did not find an baby stores there anyway.

Disappointed, I drove towards the downtown area. Our city, officiated in the fall of ’06 with much pomp and show had opened up its prestigious “Johns Creek walk” with a small, beautiful collection of its own mom and pop stores – a local city bank, a kids store with a story reading time slot in the weekends, a cleaner, a read-again book store, and two restaurants, one all American and the other an Italian pizzeria and a Korean nails saloon and a Japanese spa place.

We had been to the Italian eatery sometime last year after knowing that we were expecting again. It was our own private way to celebrate the arrival of our second one. It was nice place we thought, proud of the fact that we owned a home in a neighborhood which was so yuppie and cool.. !!

But now on a Tuesday afternoon, a working day, most of the stores were either empty or closed, and some did not even have a board to indicate whether they were running or not.. A lone customer was waiting at the cleaners’ driveway waiting for his laundered clothes.. I wondered if dry cleaning would be considered a luxury in these tough economic times..

The search for my diaper bag has ended somewhere else and a little later after that Tuesday, but what lingers on is the question of economics.. I don’t have a degree nor do I understand the basics of stocks and the share market, but I understand what a mom goes through while picking out her kids lunches and leave behind her necessities or when a dad makes a tough choice to financially secure his and his kids’ future!

With good luck to you all and hoping for a wonderful year ahead, I am signing off..

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