Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Stealing Christmas Gifts (where's McGruff the Crime Dog?)
My sister flew in from Northern California. I picked her up at the airport and we hit Tio Leo’s in Bay Park.
It’s the first time in December they haven’t had the fountain in the lobby covered by a Christmas tree. I blame the atheists.
After some delicious Mexican food, I took her to the antique and craft shops in Solana Beach on Cedros Avenue.
I figured it would be something a bit different, and we could get some last minute holiday shopping in.
I have some friends in town that take relatives to the usual places – the Zoo, Sea World, and Balboa Park. But my sister grew up here. And my mom has taken her to those places on previous visits.
I know she enjoys the less touristy things. And sometimes they appeal more to her interests -- the book stores and shops in Hillcrest; the restaurants in Little Italy, and this time, antiquing in Solana Beach (to answer my older brothers: No, I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
I had my little dog with me (see parentheses above), because I’ve seen these various shop owners with their small dogs inside.
I carry my dog around inside, because I never know if he’ll decide to pee on something. And I don’t need him knocking over an expensive antique or barking at an old lady.
As I walked in, I heard the woman at the cash register say something to me. I’m not sure what so I merely smiled.
My sister came up behind me and said “Did you hear that?”
Apparently, the woman said to me in a sarcastic tone, “Yes, you can bring your dog in here.”
It’s probably best I didn’t hear, because I would’ve said something rude back to her.
After about three shops, and realizing how painful it can be shopping with a woman, I took a seat on one of the benches outside.
The last place we went into was Antique Warehouse. A lot of their stuff is overpriced, but it’s still fun to look at.
There’s a Life Magazine with the Beatles on the cover, selling for $55. There’s a few sections with records, mostly priced at $10 each (albums aren’t really worth a lot, and you can find the same albums for $3 at used record stores like Record City in Hillcrest or Lou’s Records in Encinitas).
I thought about buying this set of old skeleton keys for a locksmith friend of mine. They were $45, and framed nicely. But we don’t exchange gifts, and I didn’t want to throw him off by showing up next time we met with a present (trust me…women don’t mind this, but guys do).
I was still carrying my dog when I walked by a couple that had a huge yellow lab. It didn’t have a vest that said “service dog” so I was surprised they were comfortable walking around with the big thing.
I left, and trekked back over to get my car and bring it around. My sister had just purchased her first house, and she was finding lots of things to fill the walls (so much for holiday shopping for others!). I figured it would be easier for her if the car wasn’t a mile away.
She came to my car laughing, and told the weirdest story.
A really loud alarm had gone off, and the dog couple said “Oh, our dog walked into that area.”
She looked over and saw there was an area that said an alarm would go off if you went near it.
As the couple was scolding the dog, the woman said “I better just take the dog outside so he doesn’t do anything else.” The man went on and on, saying things like “You were a bad dog! A very bad dog!” My sister found it a bit odd, but continued looking at some paintings.
As the lady walked out with her dog, an old woman working there stood in the doorway. She said, “That skirt fits you nicely.”
They stood and stared at each other, and my sister was confused. She walked around a corner to take a second look at something, and when she decided to leave, the woman was taking the skirt off and handing it back to the cashier. She had sweat pants on underneath, and that’s when my sister realized she had tried to put it on and leave without paying for it.
What I found odd is that the store made no effort to call the police. The couple just sauntered on out.
Who knows what other businesses they’ll try to pull a scam on, with their dog as a distraction; or an accessory to a crime.