Friday, November 27, 2009


I started off this morning thinking that, hey, we're off to a late start, so we don't have as much time, and maybe I'll just get one or two things, and call it done.


I so don't know my own shopping strength.

I picked up Toni, and she still looked a little shell-shocked (she'd had the flu on Wednesday, but had soldiered on, and had come for Thanksgiving pull-out-the-stops and keep-the-wine-flowing Dinner last night), even though she said that she'd been fine in the night. She perked up a bit as we drove to the far-away mall (also a tradition! There's one mall in the vicinity that has a JCPenney, and a Target, and a Barnes and Noble and an Old Navy, and those are the places we usually hit, so we make the pilgrimage in the dark), and was almost back to her old self by the time we waltzed into JCPenney at 5:45 am. The line-ups were atrocious! Egads! I looked at the crowds, and thought "Why are we doing this to ourselves?" but then we started to shop, and it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Everywhere we went, people just vacated the premises, and we had clear sailing.

Nate's shot up in the last few months, and ALL his trousers are about 3 inches too short. I scored three pairs of track pants for him, and did NOT pay $13.88 for them, but a measly $4 each. *fist pump* Also at JCPenney, I scored vintage-looking Star Wars t-shirts for both boys. I also got Skip a groovy Marvel Comics one.

...... stop the presses..... Nate just came scampering down looking all worried. "I might lose a tooth tonight!" he announced. Then he proceeded to wrench one of his bottom teeth right out of his mouth. I shuddered. But now it's over... Someone remind me to put money under his pillow THIS TIME, seeing as when he lost a tooth in class earlier this month, SOMEONE forgot to let the Tooth Fairy know about the Blessed Event. That is all.

Anyways, back to the shopping carnage. I thought to myself, "Hey! I've got 2 t-shirts for Skip, and a shirt for Nate and three pairs of pants. That should do, right? Maybe I'll just stop now..." We don't really need to get Skip anything, because he needs Flash, and that's a pretty pricey add-on. And last month, I found a few jewelry making supplies for Kelly, so maybe I'll just stop now.... And then I saw the rack of pale-turquoise-and-dark-brown puffer jackets for girls... marked down from $69 to SEVENTEEN BUCKS EACH.

It was all downhill from there. But now Ken *is* giving me a very nice pair of red slippers for Christmas.

And then? When we went to check out? There was NO LINE at the cashier that we chose. What are the odds?

Out to the car, to unload our stuff (and shed our jackets) and back into the mall for a trip to Target.

Where all hell was breaking loose as we walked in the door.


But once we broke through the ranks of fidgetty people standing in line to pay for their purchases, it was surprisingly easy to navigate the aisles.

I had a "10% off the entire day" coupon (of course), and I also had a "Get a $15 gift card if you spend more than $100" card. So that meant it was time to stock up on things like shampoo and laundry detergent and bird seed for all the outdoor feeders.

Yeah, the cart was full pretty quickly.

And I was being so 'do we really *need* this?" until I realized that my mother-in-law had sent cash for me to get stuff for the kids, and my folks were sending cash for us to buy their gifts, too! I needed to stop reining myself in, or the kids were going to have nothing under the tree, except what the grandparents sent.

So Nate is now getting a nerf gun that will probably take someone's eye out. And did you know that Club Penguin has merchandising that you can access in stores? Three years ago, I had to get it all online. And I got a couple of new Christmas CD's, so Homer's sound system is now All Holiday, All the Time. And Ken is getting me a couple of nice shirts. He got a real deal on them, too. I snagged the Robocop movie series for Ken. He loved them when they came out (at least he loved the original. We quote it all the time). I also got books for the kids at Target. The prices were great, and then you put the 10% off discount, and it's quite the dealio.

When it came time to check-out at Target?

Everyone was GONE! There were No Lines! We just breezed through.

And then the lady says "oh! You spent more than $100, so you get this EXTRA $10 gift card." And then when I rang up Toni's haul, it as more than $100, so I got ANOTHER $10 gift card. All in all, I *MADE* $35, not including the discounts.

Then we went to Old Navy, which was just One Big Fiasco! Oh my! We walked in the door, saw the line-up for the cash registers, and said, in unison, "There is NOTHING in this store that is enough of a bargain to wait in that line", and we walked out, and straight to Barnes and Noble... WHICH WAS EMPTY! We had our very own "personal shopping assistant" while we were in there. I don't know if that's what he was supposed to do, but he was just So Nice, and he helped us find EVERYTHING we needed. Toni was looking for the Eoin Colfer-written sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide, for her son. And the guy looked for it, couldn't find it, and then went out to the store-room, found it, and brought an unopened box of them back, and gave one to Toni (and one to me, I caved. You might have too, if he'd just said 'Oh, and these are half price'). And then he helped her find the Halo books that her son wanted (and I might have bought one of those, too), and then when we were downstairs in the kids' zone, he ran into us again, and I said "oh, there is one more thing!" and I told him about the 'supposed' Richard Castle novel, which I thought might be some elaborate publicity stunt, because when it "was released" last month, none of the brick and mortar stores seemed to have an actual copy, even though all their records said that they had nearly a dozen in stock. But guess what? Our Personal Shopping Assistant FOUND ME A COPY!

I also picked up a great geography book for Nate, and a few "how to draw" books. He wants to draw dinosaurs. I was looking for Origami stuff (he's still obsessed), but it was pretty slim pickings.

On the way out of the B&N, we saw this "Gift Wrapping" table, manned by high school kids raising money for summer camp. Hey! Let's spread the joy, and avoid wraping the books!, we thought. So we dropped some generous "donations" into their box, and the kids got to work wrapping.

Alas, there was ONE girl who knew what to do, and the boy that got my books? I don't think he'd ever wrapped ANYTHING in his life. Those books under the tree? They're going to be the ones that have "the great story" that we have to tell, whenever anyone sees them. You can hardly tell that they're books. Boo yeah. I should photograph the wrapping job. Alas, I had them wrap the Castle book, so I wouldn't be tempted to read it before I unwrapped it on Christmas.

But the kids were so nice. And the boy got better, after I sat down with him, and gave him 'how to wrap square presents' lessons.

I'm sure that the people that got their books wrapped after us (we were their first customers of the day) would thank me, if they only knew!

I looked at my coupons... I had a Joann's 20% off my complete purchase coupon, but it had to be used by noon (and it was already nearly eleven o'clock), so we booked it over to Joann's, where I scored just a SMALL amount of flannel. No. really! I showed restraint. And I didn't buy any yarn, either! Yes, I know, try not to look so shocked. Toni's husband was complaining about her iron, so she bought HIM one for Christmas. Sweet revenge, baby! And Joann's is where we get our wrapping paper every year. And Butterick patterns were 99 cents. And yeah, I may have offered to make Toni's daughter a black skirt for her band concert next month... But Toni bought the fabric, and a pattern to use as a 'guideline'.

After all that, we were starting to flag (It had been nearly seven hours since my wake-up Starbucks Doubleshot, so it was time), we went to Denny's for slams. Their new tea-twisters (or whatever they're called) are pretty spiff. And the free refills were nice, too. And while we were waiting for our food, we settled the score (I pay for everything at Target and Joann's and B&N to get the discounts), so now I just need to be reminded to PUT THE STUPID CHEQUE IN THE BANK tomorrow.

I should be able to remember that... if I also remember to put cash under Nate's pillow...


Which is what I should be doing right now.

Oh, and then? Because I have a freakin' horseshoe lodged in my butt, and everything was going my way today? I came home to a Jury Summons. It's like... Christmas!

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