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I Need a T-shirt with Sequins!

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We have now entered the season most dreaded by me and my compatriots of housebound workers otherwise known as IEAHs (invisible employee at home). Say that acronym out loud and it sounds similar to past presidential hopeful Howard Dean’s well-known shout.

We are a group of misfits who only leave our abode with a lot of prodding. We can be identified through having various animals to substitute for coworkers, having the freedom to pad around the house either barefoot or shod in old, worn slippers, in my favorite ratty T-shirt (with a minimum of underclothes), having a cup of coffee constantly in hand, and having the TV blaring in the front room for a semblance of company. We are lucky in one sense to be working at home: No panty hose, no scrambling for a clean blouse, no last-minute hair arrangement, no search for car keys, no burned lips from grabbing a Hot Pocket on the fly, no travel mug with cold coffee, no frustration going through a school zone while running late, and blessedly, no tangle with interstate traffic!

This time of year, however, we are forced out of our natural environment and into a social scene: the dreaded company Holiday party, either ours or that of a loved one. In most cases, the clothes closet is where we first turn, with the inevitable challenge of coming up with clothing that can be worn outside the house. Predictably, the choices have shrunk since this time last year, either through attrition, misplacement, or having being borrowed (stolen!). As I recently searched my closet, I found an old, really awful light pink paisley number with ruffles at the bottom that think I wore when was pregnant with our now adult daughter (back in the late 1970s, need I say more?). Even Goodwill would politely pass up that donation. My other choices were only marginally more acceptable. It’s about this time that other IEAHs and I realize that we have to do the even more dreaded deed: Go shopping for something to wear. Try as I might to avoid shopping in person, by haunting the eBay site, I soon realized most of the sellers were offering different variations of my pink jersey monstrosity and that I would have to actually leave the house in the daylight to go shopping.

My car is a year old and has 456 miles on it; my hubby has put most of those on it, insisting it has to be driven now and then! It’s been so long since I’ve been behind the wheel that I’ve forgotten where the windshield washer is, and none of those doodads to the left of the steering wheel on the dashboard look at all familiar. The helpful icons only confuse me. I’ll take a few turns around the block to familiarize myself with the car and then head off via side streets to the closest mall. I’m meeting fellow “homies” in the afternoon and we’ll buck one another up as we venture out into intimidating crowds to forage for suitable togs.

If you see a group of older ladies, seemingly walking in step, holding hands for mutual support and looking oddly similar in faded but clean T-shirts, give us a thumbs up for encouragement. You won’t see us again for a year.

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