Last Saturday I experienced a traumatic mental earthquake. It ranked up there on the Richter scale of 9.9.

Harry was gone on a Boy's Day Out to a tractor/truck pull in Lancaster. No help there.

Left alone to my own devices, the little angelic Linda with a halo and wings sitting on my right shoulder calmly whispered in my ear, "You are strong and can cope just fine."

But the little Linda with devil horns sitting on my left shoulder whispered, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping."

So I flicked the little angel off my shoulder with disdain, put on my shopping shoes, grabbed my keys and purse and out the door the little devil and I went. I self-prescribed a little retail therapy to remedy what ailed me.

Knowing I had no time constraints, I leisurely went from store to store.

I love shoes and spent a good chunk of time trying on pair after pair.

I had to chuckle as I remembered my friend Connie's latest shoe shopping experience.

Connie and her husband George went to Cabela's a couple of weeks ago. She visited the shoe department and tried on several pairs. As she was walking about in a pair she was considering buying, she came back to where she had left her own shoes but they weren't there. Instead, she saw them on the feet of another lady walking about. Connie was kind of flabbergasted. She kindly told the lady that they were her shoes. But the lady thought Connie was trying to take them away from her and told her, "You left them there. They're on my feet now." Connie had to explain to her that they weren't for sale because they were the shoes she came into the store wearing. The lady was reluctant to relinquish them but finally did when George verified they were indeed Connie's own shoes.

I just think that story's a hoot!

So anyway, as I was walking down the one aisle at Kohl's, I saw a mom with three children ranging in ages of about 15 to 6 heading toward me. She seemed somewhat frazzled, trying to answer one child's question, as the middle one was having a conniption fit because she couldn't have something and the youngest was zipping in and out around her making stupid kid noises. Finally having had enough, she stopped the shopping cart she was pushing and announced in a strained voice "Please. Just stop! This is why you should never shop with kids!" The kids were kind of taken aback by their mother's outburst. Even the youngest settled down and took a hold of the side of the buggy. I lost sight of them after a bit. I think she needed a little therapy that day, but it wasn't going to be retail.

I could feel her pain. I remember shopping with Becky when she was young. It wasn't always fun. Once kids are too big for a stroller, and too young to be out of your sight, shopping takes on a whole new context. For some reason, kids think shopping is prime time to play their favorite games of "Hide and Seek" and "Let's Drive Mom Nuts."

Jan Burger remembers when her daughter, Shala was 7 and her son, Norman was 5. They were living on the Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska where her husband, Norman, was stationed at the time. Jan liked to visit a small shopping center were there were about six or seven little shops. One day she was shopping with the two kids and she realized little Norman wasn't with her. As she and Shala searched and searched, she began to panic. She asked one of the shop owners to call the police. Her daughter suggested they go look in the car. Jan remembers saying, "Why would he go there? How would he know to go there?" But, they went out to the car. He wasn't in the front seat and he wasn't in the back seat. But when she looked closer, there he was lying curled up on the floor of the back seat. Grateful he was found, and safe, she asked him why he came back to the car. He told her that when he couldn't find her, he just thought he should go to the car. He laid on the floor because he didn't want a stranger to see and steal him. She was amazed that he thought so rationally for one so young.

Do you ever notice how many people are on their cell phones as they're shopping?

I talked to Carol Esdale last night and she told me that she goes nowhere without her phone and keeps it attached on her waist. She and her husband Dave were shopping in Sam's Club. Her phone rang and it was her daughter.

"I was talking to her for about five minutes. I put my hand on my waist and didn't feel my phone. I went into a state of panic. I said, 'Dave, I lost my phone!' Of course it was in my hand as I was still talking to my daughter. Dave and I were in stitches! My daughter told me she was saving a room for me in a personal care home."

Maybe I didn't really need retail therapy ... just a little laugh therapy.

"All I do is shop. Once I was sick for a week, and three stores went under."

"Last year I bought an escalator. I'll buy anything marked down."