Thursday, November 23, 2006

I Curse The One Dollar Bill

Kendrie -- Day 342 OT

Blaine -- His arm looks like something out of a horror movie, I'm not even kidding, and he had about a gallon of fluid drain out of his neck today, but hey, his primary doc said all looks good!

You know those people? Those people who will hit the stores this Friday at 6am, loving every minute of The-Day-After-Thanksgiving-Sales? Loving the crowds, thriving on the chaos, eagerly searching for the best prices??? Well, I am not one of them.

I am also not one of those people who wait until December 24th to begin Christmas shopping. I hate rushing; I hate long lines; I hate packed parking lots; I am definitely crowd-phobic. I HATE that feeling that all the best toys will be gone if I don’t push and shove my way to the front of the line, and I sure as heck can’t take the pressure of waiting until the last minute and hoping I will find the perfect gifts in a hurry. I cannot take the stress!

Instead, I am one of those people who shops periodically throughout the year, picking up a toy or book or game that strikes my fancy, or an outfit or shirt or jacket whenever I see a clearance rack. And along about mid-October, every year without fail, I drag out my stash of purchased-throughout-the-year items, take inventory of the things I have and the things I still need, for every single person on my list, and give myself until November 15th to finish. And in case of an absolute, essential crunch, I will extend my personal Nov 15th deadline to Nov 20th. I know. I'm a little OCD. I even carry around a mini-notebook with lists in it, with columns with headings "Already Bought", "Need to Buy", "Need to Mail", "From Santa", "From Mom and Dad", etc. But under NO circumstances am I to have a single thing left to buy after Thanksgiving ---- NONE!

Brad Pitt could be signing autographs, naked, at the mall, and I wouldn’t go if it was after Thanksgiving. Not even if he were swimming in a heart-shaped vat of Diet Dr. Pepper --- that should tell you how serious I am.

This year, knowing I would be in Seattle for most of November, I gave myself an earlier deadline -- November 1st. That was pushing things a bit, even for me. Only two weeks to catalog the items, make my lists, and do all the shopping. But I accomplished it. Because I am nothing if not anal. And it was a relief to be in Seattle and know that all the Christmas gifts were purchased and hidden away behind the laundry baskets in my closet, ready to be wrapped as soon as I got home and got the tree put up.

When the kids woke up Monday morning and realized we had made it home during the night, there were smiles and laughs and hugs, for about six minutes. Then, they started in with wanting to know WHEN WHEN WHEN would we take them to Target so they could spend the money Grandma Betty bribed them with while we were gone. Because heaven forbid they hold on to their money for more than a day, it was burning a hole in their pockets and they NEEDED NEEDED NEEDED to spend it, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can we go NOW NOW NOW??? I managed to put them off for two days, but quite frankly was sick of listening to them, so we went today.

Can you guess what happened?

With $32, $31, and $26 dollars, respectively, Brayden, Kendrie, and Kellen EACHED managed to pick out something for themselves that I had already purchased for them for Christmas. I tried as hard as I could to steer them in other directions, without actually spilling the beans that “No, no, NO you cannot buy a new (insert toy or movie or game here) because I already bought you one and it’s waiting to be wrapped and put under the tree and if you buy **that** one then MY present will be redundant!”

And you know what this means?

Not only do I have to return the duplicate items, and buy replacement gifts …….. it will have to be done AFTER THANKSGIVING ….. egads. I will be in Target and Toys ‘R Us with the other 72 million people who are shopping for Christmas items. Something I try to avoid at all costs .... I’m feeling a little claustrophobic just imagining it.

Of course, I can't really blame my mom. If I were being honest, it’s all my fault. If my children weren’t such hooligans, my mother wouldn’t have needed to bribe them with money.

I curse the one dollar bill.

Kendrie, toothless. How cute is she? Please take note of the new soccer ball she is holding. There is a matching one behind the dirty underwear in my closet. (sigh)

You know what? After typing this entry, I realized the solution to my problem is to donate the duplicate items to Toys For Tots and be done with it. Like my kids are going to notice ONE less present each under the tree????? Giving to charity, and avoiding retail stores at the same time. Truly, a win-win situation.

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