So we had ourselves a little holiday blizzard here, and I'm not talking about a WBFDC (Whoppers Blizzard From Dairy Queen) where the Whoppers are nice and crunchy and the ice cream is cool and tasty. Mmmm, love those. So perky.
But no. I'm talking about a real honest-to-goodness blizzard, where the snow blows sideways and you end up with almost three feet of the white stuff in your driveway.
1. The packages that you mailed out on Tuesday, the last day to gamble on Priority mail, likely spent two extra days in Colorado and have nary a shot at arriving by Christmas. (Sorry family!)
2. John's little commuter car was no match for the snow and he was stranded for hours trying to get home from work on Wednesday. A friend with a 4-wheel-drive truck was finally able to make it to him, but the process of pulling his car out of the snow ripped it up, so ol' Blue is going to have to visit the car doctor this week.
3. The last of the shopping that you had hoped to accomplish prior to Saturday, the biggest procrastinator shopping day of the year, was not completed.
Which brings us, naturally, to Saturday.
The biggest procrastinator shopping day of the year.
John and I started out early. So early, in fact, that we arrived at the bank at 8:45 am, eerily reminiscent of a previous post in which I jumped on the automatic door openers for several seconds before cluing in that the bank didn't open until 9:00 am. Care to guess whether I did the same exact thing again?
Oh come on! Do you really believe that I would make the SAME.BONEHEAD.ERROR twice in one year?!
Yes, yes I did.
I jumped on that sensor pad with gusto.
The bank employees stopped, stared, spat their coffee and choked on their Danish butter cookies. John was spared the embarrassment by taking an inordinately long time getting out of the van and navigating the ice skating rink that was the parking lot. So long, in fact, that I had already come sliding out to him, hissing "Not open! Not open yet! Run! Run!"
So we went to the post office instead to, yes, mail our Christmas cards. Who doesn't enjoy getting Christmas cards on New Years, I always say. Actually, I never say that.
John was putting stamps on the domestic cards while I waited in line to mail a card to our friends in the Czech Republic. A mail carrier walked in and started trash talking with the guy behind the counter.
MAIL CARRIER: You call this a snow? Geez! You guys got a DUSTING compared to what we got up north. If I knew conditions were this good I'd have been here yesterday!
COUNTER GUY: (for some reason feeling the need to defend their snowfall) Well the sun's been out and a lot has melted off.
LADY IN LINE: (for some reason feeling the need to be included in the conversation and to defend their snowfall) We had THREE FEET of snow in our driveway!
MAIL CARRIER: Three feet?! That's nothing - I couldn't get out my front door.
COUNTER GUY: Front door? I had to climb out a window!
LADY IN LINE: I had to ski off the roof!
OK, so maybe I exaggerated those last few comments, but they were seriously bickering about who got more dumped on, when, at last check, none of them were on Mother Nature's advisory committee.
John and I slid back the bank and then it was time to hit the stores! Our main objective was Emma. Right around Thanksgiving when the big toy ads came out I realized that we had a problem. I gave each kid a different colored pen and asked them to circle anything that caught their eye. It would have been much more ink-conserving to tell Karl to circle what he DIDN'T want, since there were only about three items not circled in his color. From preschool toys to Dora cash registers, my son made it inkingly clear that he wanted it all!
Emma circled one My Little Pony. (And, side note, she has half a dozen of those ponies and you can't tell the pink one from the purple one under all the dust!)
Over the last month I've periodically asked her what she wants for Christmas.
ME: Emma, isn't there anything specific that you've been wanting for Christmas?
EMMA: Not really. But I know I'll like everything I get!
Yeah, yeah, and "God Bless Us Everyone", Tiny Tim - HELP OUT, would ya? (Obviously I didn't say that out loud)
We had a couple of ideas, but basically we were relying on wandering the aisles of Toys R Us until something caught our eye. Us and every other blizzard-frazzled resident of Colorado, that is. It was crazy, to say the least, but we persevered, seeking temporary refuge in the clothing section. Apparently nobody is getting clothes for Christmas.
They were out of the dance moves thingie that hooks up to your TV and teaches you to move like Napoleon Dynamite, so it was time to face an uncomfortable scenario . . .
JOHN: We're going to have to try Best Buy.
ME: Noooo! We have no provisions! We only have half a tank of gas. It can't be done, man!
JOHN: But we must.
It took us twenty minutes to get into the parking lot.
It took us another fifteen to get parked.
It took us about ten to discover that the dancing game was sold out.
Didn't see that coming. (Sarcasm)
An employee saw us staring blindly at the spot where the dance games used to be and asked if she could help us. I asked what the possibility was that the game was available at *shudder* another location in town. She said she'd check. She also threw in that it was a great toy, that she'd bought one for her daughter for Christmas, and that she hadn't seen one on the shelves in two weeks! (Thanks. That's helpful.)
We followed her to the computer, our eyes darting to every shelf and the unmistakable scent of desperation wafting through the air. Mental soundtrack: Would she like a crockpot? Weird Al CD? Compressed air to clean out a keyboard? Oh wait - I need that. Do I need the monitor wipes too? Is the value pack better? No, I'll just stick with the junior can. Would she like a Hello Kitty mousepad? Disco ball? 1001 great fonts? Binocul . . .
SALESLADY: Hmmm, that's weird.
JOHN & KAREN: What?
SALESLADY: It says we have three more of those dance games here in the store.
JOHN & KAREN: WHAT?!! Where? (Picture John and Karen running around in little circles)
SALESLADY: Well I'm not sure. I haven't seen them in weeks (we know!) but let me look around. I have an idea.
I couldn't stand the suspense. I went in search of a wireless router for my parents while John waited for the search results.
As I stood in front of a wall of routers, a salesguy wandered by.
ME: Excuse me . . . which of these brands of wireless-g routers do you think is best?
SG: Well, if you really want the best quality you should go with a wireless-n.
ME: Oh we're up to "n" now? So out of curiosity, why isn't it "wireless-L"? I mean, we skipped from b to g, which was 4 letters, so why not skip 4 again? Why 6? If we skip 8 letters next time and then 10 . . . well you can see how quickly we'll reach "wireless-z" and then where will we be? Somebody should probably do something.
SG: (staring at me blankly) So . . . yeah . . .wireless-n. But it's very expensive.
ME: g's good.
As I strolled back through Best Buy, clutching my obsolete router, I spotted John. As if in slow motion, parting the sea of people, he was approaching me. He tossed his curly locks. His eyes gazed at me in triumph. For there, swinging jauntily from his left hand, was . . . the dance game!!!!
ME: Oh my gosh! You got it!!!! YOU GOT IT!!! Squeeeee! (And then, noticing all the people looking at us, probable coveting the dance game that hadn't been seen in weeks) Augh! Don't let them see it! Run! Run!
We had another excellent success story at Best Buy, snagging another supposedly sold out item, so that, by the time we made it back to the van, and then out of the parking lot, we were on a shopping high the likes of which hadn't been seen in ages.
ME: We SO conquered Best Buy!
JOHN: I can't believe we snagged TWO items that were GONE! All those people are still back there, wandering around like zombies, whining "I don't shop good!" while we speed away with the treasure! Suh-weeet!
The presents are wrapped and under the tree. Emma has already sorted, counted and developed a game plan. Mom's cooking a pie (and by "cooking a pie" I mean "flaunting her kitchen") and I have a date with two eager children, fresh in from playing with Poppa in the snow, to make a gingerbread house.
The router is working quite nicely and I think any Christmas Eve that finds me still in my pajamas, smelling Mom's cooking, clicking away on my laptop while snow-intensified sunlight streams through the windows, with nothing much else to do . . . to be quite a blessing.
RKQOTD (Karl: Mom, now that we have the router can you set up Dad's laptop for me and connect it to the Internet? I'll unplug Poppa's old computer. Me: Do you have to unplug it? Karl: Yes. There are only two outlets and they're both being used. If I don't plug in Dad's laptop the battery might run down and I'd lose all my work. Me: (laughing) What "work" is that? Karl: Well, I guess I don't mean "work", but just the stuff I'm playing. I only said "work" because if your battery runs down a message will pop up that says "You should switch to AC power immediately to avoid losing your work".)