10 easy steps

How to ruin a perfectly good Saturday for a 9-year-old boy
  1. Introduce the idea that today we are driving an hour to the Pottery Barn outlet to look for furniture. As a family. Yes, that means everyone, even 9-year-old boys.
  2. Spend the next hour until departure calming down the boy's passionate emotions against this plan.
  3. Go anyway.
  4. Hit a traffic jam, lengthening the journey considerably (but since the traffic jam is caused by a vehicle consumed by fire, this is actually a positive in the boy's eyes. Don't feel too guilty about this because, although the vehicle is a charred shell, the owners appear safe and fine).
  5. Start wondering aloud which exit to take now that you're approaching the area.
  6. Call information in order to contact the store for directions and find out THERE IS NO POTTERY BARN OUTLET at this destination.
  7. Gingerly break the news to the carload full of family members.
  8. Spend the remaining minutes of the journey helping the boy to stop hyperventilating about the pointlessness of this trip.
  9. As long as you're there, decide to go clothes shopping, which tickles the sisters in the family.
  10. Since subjecting the boy to going clothes shopping is akin to throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West (and brings on similar pleas for help), apologize for the hours of his life he will never get back because of this error in judgment, buy the boy some dippin' dots, and promise to check next time if the store exists before we leave.
Happily ever after in spite of everything else: Having a friend over to play and going to the pond later in the afternoon will rescue the day from being the Worst Day Ever.