I am happy to report that YES! There is an end to my hand-ringing search for THE bear for our little girl. So let me regale you with the saga as it unfolded…
Back in February, I wrote about the tradition of teddy bears and our babies. We have been determined to find the perfect bedtime companion for our little girl, and let me tell you: it has not been an easy search. But I’m getting a head of myself.
So back in February, I wrote that post. MOMD read it, and then came up with a list of places where we could conceivably go to potentially find THE bear. Since our anniversary was in May, and my parents had offered to take our boys for a day & night as our present (awesome gift — thanks again, Mom & Dad!!) we decided to head to Niagara-on-the-Lake. There was a shop MOMD found in Jordan Station, it was close enough to NOTL (and the Coach outlet store, not that influenced my decision in anyway, whatsoever) to make a day of it. So, we schlepped the kids off to my parent’s place and hit the road.
After several bathroom stops (and a snack run at Starbucks, of course) we found ourselves at the address listed on the web. In the interest of full disclosure, MOMD did research this location a bit, as the picture of the building looks… well, a little sketchy is almost a compliment. According to the internet though, this shop was fairly well reviewed, with lots of people saying things like, “Ted is great!” and “I found exactly what I was looking for!” and “I could spend all day here.” Armed with comments like that, we were sure that we would find what we were looking for.
So we pull into the driveway, park the car, and are faced with our first dilema: which door do we use? There was the one at the front of the building, plus 3 more doors to try off the parking lot. We approached the one that looked the most “main entrancey”, off the parking lot.
I’ll admit it: we were both feeling a little trepidation at this point. “It’s okay,” I told myself. “It’s quirky! And think of the story we’ll have to share about finding her perfect bear in the strangest shop imaginable…”
Little did I know how on the nose I was…
So MOMD is first up the stairs. He pushes open the door and we enter into the tiniest room you’ve ever seen. “Mansion,” I think? “Talk about an oversell…” It’s as the door is closing – and the bell to let the shopkeep know customers have entered has all ready rung that we are assaulted with the most horrifying stench you can imagine. In fact: I doubt you can imagine the smell. It was of rot, and decay; it smelled like old, dead and decaying bodies. Completing this bone-chilling tableau is one lone fly, circling above our heads, buzzing. “Ah ha,” it seemed to say, “fresh meat…” And the eyes of many, many stuffed toys gazing on from the surrounding shelves.
We looked at each other and were about to make a break for it when another door opened and out popped the shopkeeper. If you’re like me, and have a dreaded fear of clowns, this description will be perfect for you. He looked like a retired clown. He was wearing denim overalls, was easily 70, with snow-white hair and the wateriest blue eyes I have ever had the misfortune of looking on. “Well hello,” he said as slowly and creepily as you can fathom, “Where are you folks from?”
The thing is, I couldn’t just walk away. I was raised to be polite, and while I was not going to actively engage in conversation with this
creepman, I couldn’t just ignore him and try to push my huge – and vulnerable – belly passed his equally sizeable girth and run for my life. So I chatted a little, never answering more than was asked, and MOMD picked up a few things on the shelves, threw in a few comments here and there, and no more than 5 minutes later we were outta there.
Never has fresh air smelled so good.
We walked to the car as fast as I could waddle, got in, and burst out laughing. I mean, WTF just happened?!?! Were we unknowing participants in some elaborate ruse that would later be televised? Was that the set of some real-life horror movie? Because I will tell you this: there is no way anyone would EVER in their right mind buy a toy from that store. Aside from the creep-factor (which I hope I’ve conveyed was massive), you would never be able to get the smell out of the fibres of your plushie! You would just be throwing your money – and your toy – away.
We sped off to NOTL and got a much needed glass of wine:
After that, it was ice cream at Cows, and then we checked out a few gift shops hoping we’d find a bear, but alas. It was not to be. I did get an awesome diaper bag however, and MOMD was a trooper and stood in line for me at Coach to pay for so I could sit down. So the day wasn’t a total waste.
But what about the bear???
We took the boys to our local mall to check out the toy stores there: no luck. We went into card shops, and again no luck. We huntedfor this bear… and we found it.
He was tucked away on a shelf in our local combo Hallmark/Laura Secord shop, and when I saw him, I knew he was perfect. I brought him home for the boys to inspect, and they too agreed that this was the bear for our little sister. He’s been de-tagged, washed and dried, and now waits patiently for her to come home and lavish him with her love.
Just like the rest of us.