Once, several years ago, the mother sent me to a local mall on Christmas Eve for a last-minute gift. It took me three times as long to get in the mall lot, find a parking space, and then get off the mall parking lot as it did to dash in and get the solo gift, I vowed never to do it again.
I’ve kept my word. In fact, in the week or so before the holiday, I still don’t go near a mall. I try to not go in any stores at all during those final, frazzled days. So it was with much dismay that I realized a shopping trip was inevitable. Not at the mall, thank God, but worse still, the grocery store and Wal-Mart. The mother has been eating and drinking cleaning supplies, so I had to get more as we start to approach the home stretch. The groceries? I needed to get ingredients for the mock soufflé for Christmas with the family – away, that my pure genius forgot about Thursday night. And, I got some more things for post-Christmas with family friends – home, the visit that has touched off this mad bout of cleaning.
I also had to pick up more Christmas cards at Walgreens which I’d ordered online. I thought I’d have enough, but apparently Ozzie is a more popular dude on YorkieTalk.com than I gave him credit for. (He continues to get all kinds of cards from all over the country – even the world – daily. Three more came yesterday.) I’ll apologize now for the tardiness of this last batch which includes some of my local, real-life pals. I figured those would only need a day or so at most to arrive so I saved some of those for last.
Wal-Mart was the insane asylum one would expect it to be with less than two days left for shopping. I was glad to escape it. The soundtrack of screaming children put my teeth on edge. I stopped off at Walgreens to get my cards but they weren’t ready yet. The machine had broken down so I was about sixth in the queue. Great.
I went grocery shopping. Almost as maddening as Wal-Mart, but not quite. The most frustrating thing? Some of the key things I went for couldn’t be found. So, off to the grocery at the other end of the street. Things were only a little better there, but at least it wasn’t as busy.
I grabbed some fast food (pot pies at KFC) and back to Walgreens. Success! The cards were done. It was buzzing in there, too, so I was glad to make a relatively quick exit. Once in the car, I opened the box. Thank God I did. This wasn’t the design I had used before. And wait. Who ARE these people? My card doesn’t even have people. It’s a pic of Ozzie and Toby. Sh*t!
I looked at the box. Wasn’t even MY name on the box. I dashed back inside where the girl in photo apologized profusely. She’d just grabbed the wrong box. (They only had about 30 of them on the counter. Clearly, I wasn’t the only last-minute card purchaser. And, of course, they now have 10-cent prints going on. You know I’ll be all over that this week.)
The moral of this little adventure is this: It’s NOT a pretty sight out there. Get what you have to get – and only what you have to get – NOW. I suspect it’s going to get a whole lot crazier really fast.