Saturday, December 16, 2006

The "I'll Shop Tomorrow" Update

(Because I'm tired, my back hurts like a &^%$* and it's a slow news day - for me, anyway).

I shared my trepidation about holiday season shopping the other day, so I thought I'd give you a little update. Yes, my ankles and I did finally take a trip to what I like to call the Shopping Triangle of Hell™ - where Superstore, Toys 'R Us, Canadian Tire and various other shops all conveniently located on one of the busiest Calgary thoroughfares meet to form a cosmic 'Buy Me!' zone, which is handy if you have a car, but no so much when you have to hoof it through those vast parking lots of untrained drivers who would rather be sleeping...or something...anything other than driving.

Anyway, I grabbed the little shuttle bus (they call those 'mini-buses' in Jamaica - like the one I took from Kingston through Ocho Rios to Montego Bay back in the 80s when I worked for a reggae magazine - but they pack people and stuff into every possible bit of space down there and then you all sweat all over each other together in the scorching, non-air conditioned interior in the most uncomfortable body contortions imagineable...okay...where was I?). Anyway, my bus driver was an extremely friendly guy - merrily (so I thought, with my suspicions though) welcoming everyone who came on the bus and wishing them a 'Merry Christmas' when they disembarked. I was the last one left on the bus so when it was my turn to say goodbye, I remarked that he had to be one of the friendliest bus drivers I'd seen in a while. He mumbled something like, 'If you only knew' to which I responded, 'Yes, I thought you might be a serial killer or something' (considering how he tried so hard to be so extra nice). He laughed and I was on my way.

I could only handle making my way through one big-box store because I just don't have the energy for more than that. When I asked a clerk where the toy aisle was, she looked at me with those Evil Eyes of Doom™ that are so popular this time of year and pointed the way. When I later thought about that exchange and pondered if it might kill her to smile, the reality of working retail came back to me and I understood just how working at a job with such low wages while being accosted by clueless customers constantly was not exactly conducive to being a happy camper this time of year, so I forgave her.

Sidebar: I've made it a habit to seek out opportunities to do simple good deeds for people when I go out to hopefully brighten someone's day. So I hold doors open, pick up stuff that people drop, smile at pouting kids and so on. I'm not one of those happy, optimistic type people who grate on your nerves so it does me some good as well to at least treat people like they're human and to let them know that they're not out there in the concrete jungle all alone.

Anyway, my elder grandherb is 11 now and is very specific about what she wants for Xmas. This year however, I have a new grandherb who will be a year old in January and that has forced me to walk the toy aisles once again in search of entertaining bits of plastic or material - no easy task since my daughter has a home day care and they already have toys coming out the wazoo (whatever a 'wazoo' is). But I was able to secure some things that ought to please him. He's only one. It's not like he's going to complain.

Update on the afghan catastrophe: I had decided to keep on crocheting and to find a way to fix the mistake I made at the beginning of the project. Well, that would have worked out fine except for the fact that the store has run out of the wool I was using. So now I have a half-done afghan and no more wool to match. I called around to other stores. No luck. To top that off, the wool my daughter picked out via the web for a hat and scarf set doesn't seem to be in this city either and she is very particular about her colour choices and, unlike the grandherb, she actually will complain if I make it in something that doesn't very closely resemble the 'earthy, fall tones tweed medley' that she would prefer. (Well, not really, she'll probably just put the substitution away and end up giving it to charity at some point). She's a fashionista as is the elder grandherb who I can no longer buy or make clothes for because they'd just end up in the charity bin as well. Maybe I should just buy and make stuff and take it directly to the charity bin myself. There's a thought.

Now, you must know that they do not get this trendy fashion sense from me. I've written before about the fact that I still have a pair of pink knee socks that I wore in high school and that my runners only cost $2. I live in sweatpants and comfy shirts. I'm a shoe-in for one of those makeover shows but I would never spend the $5000 on clothes that they give you. Who the hell spends that much on clothes? That's just obscene.

Anyway, I finally did make my way home on the bus with my bulging bags and the same bus driver and a young fellow actually gave up his seat for me. Must be my grey hair. That was nice of him. The driver wished me farewell with a quip about having fun when I wrap all of those presents (which I quietly grrred about) and, of course, the standard 'Merry Christmas' that he was now infamous for. Oh well. At least he tries.

Today, I got a ride to what must be the biggest flipping liquidation store in the city (why do they make stores so damn big?) and then I went on to get baking supplies at the grocery store. Thus the sore back. And here I was worried about my ankles. Little did I know that my terrorist of a body would attack some other location to make me miserable for the nite.

So here I am with tea and you...baking to be done...presents to be wrapped. But the most important thing is that I did indeed survive to shop another day. Now if only I actually had enough money to do that, I'd be laughing.

The holiday season: what's not to love??

Sidebar: I did get myself a much-needed socket set for $10 at that humongo liquidation place (my other socket holder thingy broke), so it wasn't a total write off. Maybe I should try crocheting with that...

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