For the last 6 years, or so, my mother in law has been sending me money in November, and asking if I would "shop for the children for Christmas". A couple of years ago, she added in "and here is money for you to buy something for you and my son". I love that she does that. She's VERY generous with the money, and I have weeks to plan, and to check sales, and to get things that I know the kids want and need. And then I have to get them less stuff, because Grandma just seemed to KNOW exactly what they wanted.
Partly, she does this because she just doesn't see the kids often enough to know what sizes they are, and she also realizes that no matter how many times we talk on the phone, and I make the kids say 'hi' to her, she's not going to be able to divine what it was that they most wanted to have for Christmas. Another big part, though, is because she is VERY mall-phobic. Like her eldest son, she would much rather poke her eye out with a stick than brave the crowds and no-natural-light setting of the narrow-aisled, over-stocked mall stores.
She tells me, over and over, that I am a hero for her, shopping so she doesn't have to. Sometimes, I let her off the hook, and tell her that it is a joy to shop with someone else's money (which it is). Other times, I just bask in the accolades.
So you get the idea that my mother in law does not shop.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise to you that I thought I heard the first horse of the apocalypse whinnying at the back door last night when she came up to me, and asked if I might be considering going to the Boxing Day Sale at Macy's the following morning (today: stores opened at 6am), because if I was, she would like to accompany me.
What? Is this some sort of test?
But it was all innocent as it turns out, because she'd seen a Macy's flyer (I recently opened a Macy's account - saved me $400 on a sofa in October - and the store now sends me nearly-daily flyers and reminders of all the money I could be saving if I used my credit card at their store - they don't seem to realize that I am saving WAY more by simply not shopping...) and had noticed that $110 cashmere sweaters were marked down to $39. Much as she is not a shopper, she does have a very nice modest wardrobe that has two cashmere sweaters in it, and she thought having a third, especially at that price, would be a wonderful expansion.
Together, we looked at the macys.com site, and examined the crew neck sweaters (the only style that she would consider wearing), and she thought that she would brave the mall for that kind of bargain. I suggested that there was no need for us to burst through Macy's doors when they opened at 6am, but that perhaps we could go over there after our 7:30 (regular time) breakfast.,
And so it was decided.
Mom then went upstairs to get ready for bed, and Ken looked at me. "My mother wants to go to a MALL?" he asked, incredulously.
"Yes, but I do worry that the selection will be a bit picked-over by 8am..." I replied.
He raised an eyebrow, "You *KNOW* you love to make those pre-dawn shopping expeditions...."
"I could make a reconnaissance run and be back before breakfast!" I whispered with glee. And so with that, I went off to bed while Ken waited for Skip to come home from an X-box party at a friend's house.
OK, I'll admit that I'm getting old for this. But when the radio blipped on at 5:45 this morning, I was SO ready to just hit the snooze button repeatedly. Alas, my "all Christmas music" radio station had reverted to "The 24-hour Huey Lewis and Bee-Gees show" content, and I couldn't get out of bed fast enough when my brain registered another chorus of "Happy to be stuck with you".
It was good that I went as early as I did. TEN MINUTES after the store opened, there were barely 6 sweaters left on the rack. And only one size medium, and one size large. The rest (and the rest of the other styles, too) were all X-large, and my mother in law is very petite.
I took the only medium (cool red - "claret") and the only large (black) into a fitting room, and tried them both on. The medium fit, but perhaps was a little more form-fitting on my post-Christmas-feasting belly than was modest. The large was a bit roomy, and had extra fabric in the back, but draped down the front better.
I bought them both.
And, true enough, when I got home, not a creature was stirring.
I was able to get breakfast ready before my mother in law came downstairs, and then I sprang it on her,
"Mom, I thought that there might be limited stock on hand, so I took a look, and I'm sorry to say but there were no size smalls at our local Macy's. There was one size medium, though, and I bought it, and if you like, you can try it on. If it's a colour you like, you can have it, otherwise, I'll keep it, and we can order another one in your choice of colour from the macy's online store, and the sweater should arrive before you head back to Canada."
Her eyes got wide. "What? You mean... I don't have to go to the mall? I get to shop at home?"
She gave me a big hug. "You have just made my day!"
And, wonderfully enough, the size medium was exactly right for her. About as roomy on her as the large is on me. And the colour is a PERFECT foil for her pale skin and silver hair.
I hope she wears the sweater to church tomorrow. She'll be a knock-out.