Thursday, July 31, 2003

FiFi has a new sleepy bear friend. I adopted him from the Outer Banks Bear Factory, located in Scarborough Faire Shopping Center in Duck, NC, where, in case you are living in a bubble, is in fact where I happen to be vacationing at this point. Are we all caught up now? Good. Fascinating place, this bear factory, actually. You go in, and you pick out a non-stuffed bear from plastic bins. It's a bit disturbing, actually, to rummage through bins of bear carcasses, but it does get better. My Bear Master (or BM for short. Heh heh, BM...) was named Steve. He said he owned the place. Anyway, after I'd picked out my bear carcass, Steve told me to come over to a big machine that was churning fluff in a glass contraption. It has a steel tube attached to it, where the fluff was supposed to come out. Steve commanded me to stand on The Magic Spot, which was somewhere on the floor. I couldn't quite see the Magic Spot, but Steve said most people from Virginia didn't. (Ok-ay.) Anyway, Steve then asked me to select from a shelf of plastic bags, each containing a puffy little star and a few grains of sand. I chose one with a pink star. (Ever since I got FiFi, I've been naturally gravitating towards pink. I think it's some mother instinct thing. I don't know). Steve told me to close my eyes, make a wish (I won't tell what I wished for) then to spin around in a circle. Steve then told me I had spun in the wrong direction. (Yeah, I know, it's a lot to go through, but this bear is damn cute.) I spun around in the opposite direction, then was instructed to hop up and down twice. Steve then took the bag from me. The bear had an opening in his back, and Steve placed the little bag into the pouch so that "the bear would always carry the stars as well as a little bit of the beach with him wherever he goes." Aww.

Next, Steve placed the bear's pouch around the tube, and told me that when he said "go" to step on a black petal that was connected to the machine. I was instructed to make sure that I let up on the pedal immediately when he said "stop," so as not to get fluff on the floor. I braced myself to step on the pedal.

"Ready, set...stop!" I stumbled. "Almost had her!" Steve sighed. Steve is a funny guy. Really.

Finally after it was okay to push my foot down, the machine whirred and my bear magically inflated. After it was done (and yes, I didn't get any fluff on the floor) I was instructed to hug the bear and then was able to go and get Bear Apparel for him. I established it was a he from the very beginning, kind of like when you spot Chanel from the window display at a department store. Anyhoo, I got him the official Outer Banks Bear Factory sweatshirt. At the checkout, the lady asked me his name.

"His!" [Gunther was what I was thinking of naming my second dog, if I decided to get one. Since FiFi's name begins with an "F", the second dog's would begin with a "G." I had been throwing around Gunther (pronounced GOO-nther) or Gus.]

"Gunther? Okay!" she replied cheerfully. I guess she was used to having many people with many different names coming at her all summer. So Gunther was just a run of the mill thing for her. Anyway, she then filled out a birth certificate, complete with Gunther's name, date of birth, and when she asked who he was purchased for, I didn't give it a second thought.

"FiFi." I told her when she asked. She again cheerfully wrote in the blank my dog's name like she was an old pro at this. Then she let me dress him. She was a bit miffed when I put him in his plastic bag head first. I guess I came off as an ogre at first, but after I thought about it for a sec, I decided to put him in the Kate Spade with his head poking out so he would be able to breathe. She seemed relieved. I would love to be a fly on the wall for the Outer Banks Bear Factory New Employee Orientation. (Policy #2055583: Encourage customers not to potentially suffocate their new friends/purchases in the yellow plastic bags upon checkout. It is preferred that customers take home their bears in their own bags, preferably with said bear's head not obscured by yellow plastic bag.)

Next stop was the specialty store (and NO, I am not making this up) Try My Nuts. Yes. The name of the store is Try My Nuts. Again: I WILLINGLY WALKED INTO A PLACE OF BUSINESS THAT IS LISTED IN THE PHONE BOOK AS WELL AS REGISTERED WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU AS Try My Nuts. Needless to say, TRY MY NUTS is a place where you can buy...nuts. All types of nuts. I bought a bag of honey roasted peanuts, a bag of butter roasted peanuts, as well as a bag of chocolate covered peanut brittle. But the majority of my money was spent buying the male baheads some Try My Nuts merchandice such as beer huggies ("they'll keep your cans cold," the clerk told me. Eww!) and key chains. No way was I bringing home any of the T-shirts. I'd like to think our men have standards. (BTW, the only guy I didn't purchase for in that store was Micah. NO WAY was I bringing anything that said "Try My Nuts" home to a married man. Sorry.)

I got home, climbed on my bunk and sorted out the presents by person/couple. My cousin Bridget (age 6) soon wandered in and climbed up on my bunk to join me. I offered her a sampling of the bags of peanuts and peanut brittle I got, and we both agreed that those were some damn good nuts. We both agree the chocolate covered peanut brittle was our favorite. (DISCLAIMER: In no way did I contribute to the delinquency of a minor, although Bridget is able to read labels, and did, at said snack time, knew the name of the store, she never understood the innuendo. Thank Christ.)

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