Needing a coffee to fortify myself in case Willem went into snarling beast mode, we stopped in at Caffe Piccolo Paradiso. A local blogger has posted some nice photos of it here. Nels kept saying in his very loud voice, "THIS IS THE SMALLEST COFFEE SHOP I'VE EVER BEEN IN. IT'S SO SMALL! I'VE NEVER BEEN IN A COFFEE SHOP SO SMALL." Yes, I'm ashamed to say that our errands usually lead us to coffee breaks in strip malls, not in places that have random bottles of wine with handwritten price tags scattered throughout the room and a oversized bumper sticker that says "I love my German Shepherd: Pope Benedict XVI."
Coffee in hand, we headed to Carla's barbershop. You can see it on Google street view: View Larger Map (You should "walk" up the street, too. It's charming.) At first I was a little disappointed not to have a crusty old guy cutting their hair, and then I was afraid I might be in a little over my head when Carla asked me to point to a giant chart of men's haircuts from the 80's to select a haircut for Willem, but it turned out OK. We ended up having a very satisfying barbershop experience.
Adding to the old-school ambiance of the tiny shop were a hand-lettered sign that said "Cash Only--You Understand, Times are Hard" and yet another chart, this one with large photos illustrating the difference between benign moles and those that need to be checked out.
Both kids were much more well-behaved than I expected. It could have had to do with Carla's promise of a quarter to put in the candy machine when she was done--if they were good. She talked with the boys a lot. At one point the conversation went like this:
"What's your favorite color?"
"Orange. I like shiny colors too."
"Oh. Do you have a gold or silver necklace or bracelet?"
(With a pained look) "NO."
"Do you have a bike?"
"What color is it?"
"But I thought your favorite color was orange. Why don't you have an orange bike?"
"I don't care what color it is. YA GIT WHAT YA GIT AND YA DON'T THROW A FIT."
Carla repeated this expression several times so she could remember it later.
In one of those "only in a small town" moments, I left the boys watching inappropriate cartoons with Carla while I ran across the street to the ATM to get some cash. At least Willem was distracted from his thoughtful looking-over of the naked Barbie in the toy box.
Flush with the success of the haircutting venture, I decided to push my luck and make a circuit through the nearby antique shop. Cases of Pez dispensers and collectible cars kept the boys occupied long enough for me to find a few affordable treasures. I'm sure the lady behind the counter cringed inside when she saw us coming, but by the time we left she was impressed by our good behavior. The boys were rewarded with yet more candy, which I know is a bad precedent to set...but if candy makes them agreeable to shopping with me, well, then, bring on the sugar.
All in all, it was a fine day out in our little corner of the world.