Monday, December 20, 2010
The Gap (gap.com) was having forty percent additional off everything today at the Mall which I didn't know until walking into the store and being (thankfully) accosted by a salesperson. Eddie Bauer (eddiebauer.com) had some great deals and of course, my bag was full from Barnes and Noble (bn.com) not to mention the peppermint mocha latte I downed (starbucks.com) while perusing books, sitting at a table and reading stupidly, endlessly which was fortuitous because there in the store stood Debbie K. and her oldest daughter Stephanie, the one I accosted at the graduation party for Casey (Miles and Lisa's daughter) telling her how I thought she should meet my second son, Ray. They haven't met. They have tons in common and really, I need to stop trying to set people up, the last set up worked out somewhat fine, they have been seeing each other for a year. However, it has been off and on and on and off and drama, drama, drama so much so that I refuse to talk to either one of them about their relationship and being nearly fifty, you know, I should know better. Nonetheless, there was a quick sit-down in the mall with Deb and her daughter and Kim and her daughter Meredith who will graduate from a College somewhere in Florida in June... Girl-talk. Different.
Christmas is coming and as usual when I ask the boys, "What are your dad's plans?"..They don't know because truthfully, he doesn't know.
Christmas shopping went as usual with a sprint through downtown Columbia Saturday morning, breezing through a number of businesses, sick as I was, a regular typhoid Mary (albeit with symptoms) spreading the cheer. The sprint was planned around the parking. The easiest spot was found on seventh street, just up from the Candy Factory. The plan (hurridly hatched) went as follows: park, get out, plug the meter and walk up and around the corner to Broadway and up a block or so to the Peace Nook (scarf 21.90) books, priceless (midmopeaceworks.org). Cross the street for the kids Christmas Cash. Leaving the bank walk around the corner and briskly down ninth street to Bluestem (sorry, nothing this year..but love their stuff bluestemmissouricrafts.com), then across the street to Lakota (lakotacoffee.com) for the luscious christmas coffee. Continuing down ninth turn onto Cherry and up to Hitt stopping in at 9th Street Videos (9thstvideo.com), rent "Paris" (the plan is to go this spring or next..prices are good now) then fillip on over and into the Uprise Bakery (uprisebakery.com) for a Batard, which is a loaf of lovely crusty bread. Talk with the young guy at the counter, thank him and return down Cherry to the Clip Joint (theclipjointsalon.com), slip in and say hello to the girls, plan on baking Christmas Cookies for the staff this year, show Lindsey--who was sitting behind the desk, resting her feet--what you have done to your hair. A pixie cut. The girls laugh and Lindsey rolls her eyes. Say goodbye and wander down Cherry, returning to the car on 7th to dispose of the packages. Continue from the car to the Candy Factory (thecandyfactory.biz). Spend way too much on chocolate (agh!) before going back out into the weather and back up towards Broadway taking the first alley on your right. Walk down it and notice Alley Cat Yoga (alleycatyoga.com) in an intersecting alley and two guys in 'cooks whites' standing outside behind Bleu (bleucolumbia.com) taking a smoke break and talking. Continue across Eight Street and through the alley on up to Get Lost Books (no web address) on ninth, peruse, buy a dollar book, "West With the Night" by Beryl Markham--one of my all-time favorites. Leave the bookstore and again head up the alley, past the blaring music from a new Sushi place and on to an interesting new little shop (goodnature.us), again browse and buy nothing. Return to the alley, walking briskly back to 7th. Put packages in car and depart. whew.
After that there was the mall, but briefly, and also Clover's (cloversnaturalmarket.com) for certain stocking stuffers and a gift basket for mother (the kids' grandmother).
Christmas shopping is done. The tree sits well in a corner of the living room.
Walking around downtown and out at the mall. Seeing people. Nodding hellos and how are you's and "Hey, did you do the Jingle Bell Run?" and feeling normal and middle class and well, lucky really.
In Eddie Bauer today while checking out (with great buys) there was a woman behind me who dropped two packages, one landing softly on my foot, the other splayed nearby on the floor. Turning around the packages caught my eye before she did, "Oh sorry." I said and picked them up and finally noticed her and placed the packages back in her lap. She was in a motorized wheelchair, shopping before the afternoon rush :(... Then while leaving the mall, traffic was being re-directed around an old woman, still sitting in her car her coiffed white hair visible behind the steering wheel, who had run over the median, ruining (and I do mean, RUiNing) two tires.
Why do we do it?
Every year is the same. The madness, the shopping, the stress...
And every year we do it (if not in the mall, then on-line), or I do it, but why? Subconscious masochism?
Back in the Day.
After buying my first house (by myself) and being relatively newly divorced and earning significantly less than I do now, I bought Christmas gifts for a woman in my neighborhood who the kids knew. Her husband was in jail and she was a hardworking single woman with twins the same age as the boys and an older son (probably fourteen at the time). I didn't buy them much but felt something internal nudge me to give up a newly purchased worn once Eddie Bauer (enough of EB right?) red coat. So I did and returned it to it's giftbox. The younger boys received little toys (probably legos or something like) and for the older son, I bought a bible. It wasn't much, but it was something.
And this year?
How many years have I done nothing for anyone else..but us? (And truthfully, as kids get older they get, 'useful' stuff..well, they always have, but even more so this year..if you call wind up solar powered battery-less 'lamps' useful..hm).
The families (my kin) will all get home baked cookies in decorative boxes.
While baking up a storm tomorrow I'm thinking that maybe it would be good to bake a few extra..for granny's house, for the food pantry and for a few others as they come to mind....and maybe a little extra box for someone who likes my cookies.
"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out of the store with a loaf of bread are three billion to one." Erma Bombeck