Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: The Waitress at the diner where I had breakfast with my two younger children this morning. She brought the children extra crayons and coloring sheets and hot chocolate with cream as soon as we walked in. I was on the phone getting a car maintenance quote when she delivered our breakfast order. Without being asked, she sat down, buttered bagels and cut them into bite-sized pieces, moved all the hot drinks and knives, started the kids on their breakfast, and stayed with them until I finished my phone call. God bless you helping hands and kind souls of the world.

The Bad: The Stranger who cloned my credit card and charged $487 at a Walmart in California this afternoon. My bank is USAA, the military bank. My M.O. is fiercely watching every penny as we budget through graduate school. Stranger, you've messed with the wrong people.

The Ugly: My First 2009 Christmas-shopping trip this morning at TJMaxx. The heat is on, as I have one week to buy (on a budget) for many dear family members who we will see next week at Thanksgiving. Gift giving is oh-so-not my love language. It is 1 hour past naptime for my 3-year-old Bean and 18-month-old Angelina. Bean in the stroller handles porcelain trinkets as he uses his feet to push off the shelves and roll himself to the top of the staircase. I catch him just as he begins to head down. Angelina is back in the Ergo pulling my hair and tantruming, having just finished eating chocolate out of a display which I must now purchase. I am drenched in sweat, frying alive in a turtleneck sweater which I cannot remove because of said Ergo. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Maybe, just maybe, we can get this all taken care of before Advent.

For better or worse, there's rarely a dull day as a homemaker, wife, and mother of three preschoolers!


Mary Alice said...

Ugh, the time crunch, and ugh, gift giving is not my love language either. I am strongly considering giving everyone a barnes and nobel gift card this Christmas -- this is not a "thoughtless" gift card, it stems from the fact that everyone is so tight on budget this year, the chance to go and shop for yourselves is a treat, two hours guilt free in a bookstore is the gift that would mean most to at least some of the people on my list.

My goal is to do most of the other shopping either at local independents or online, but both of these require a level of planning that I am not sure I can muster.

One year my husband and I sat down the Saturday night after thanksgiving and ordered EVERY SINGLE ONE of our gifts for every one on our list online. It was done, and I forced myself to wrap as they trickled in, a few every evening, come to think of it, I am going to see if I can get him to do that with me again, and then try to focus on my Advent!

Hang in there!

Right Said Red said...

Our rule this year--if we can't buy it online, we aren't getting it! Paying the shipping fee is totally worth it. I'm almost finished all my Christmas shopping, without leaving the house!

Karen said...

I would strongly recommend shopping online, too. All of my shopping has been done either online, at Target or Kohls (with one or no children in tow).
Sounds like you had one amazing waitress at that diner.

B-Mama said...

JM, lol. As usual, I love your depictions here. I can envision similar outings on all fronts with my crew!

As to online buying, we are going that route too. How can you not with a houseful of children and very little time to walk idly amidst the aisles?? Just remember to Google "Promo Codes" for the store from which you are buying before finishing the deal. The codes can save you a bundle and perhaps get you free shipping. I never buy online without first checking them and we've saved a lot of money as a result!!

kathy said...

I think gift-giving *is* one of my love languages, and even I don't like shopping like that! Actually, for someone who really likes shopping for other people, I'm remarkably bad at official gift giving times (Christmas, birthdays, anniversary).

That waitress sounds amazing!

Kate E. said...

So I left my husband at home and in charge after bedtime since our stores are open late. I hit the local coffee shop first and then went to our local toy store. It was empty since it was lateish on a Thursday. I did all of my "kid" shopping. Did some labeling. They are wrapping everything for me and I'll pick it up tomorrow.
Tomorrow I am hitting a big craft fair in town and hoping to knock off most of the rest of the list. I am getting a babysitter to do this (newborn is coming with) and my husband is joining me so it's kind of like a date :)

I was determined to do it all online this year what with the newborn and all...but the truth is I just really believe in shopping local and in many ways it is easier especially if you make the process enjoyable rather then frenzied.

Note: I came to this conclusion after a shopping trip to Kohl's last week that involved a screaming newborn, a kid who opened 3 packages of toys and the family in front of us in line who hacked uncontrollably all over our stroller and newborn. I just decided that I needed to make the process more pleasurable or go crazy.

Mary Alice said...

Kate, I think you make a really good point. Shopping locally is a treat if you can do it by yourself, with husband or a friend, enjoy a hot cocoa and walk through town, see the decorations, etc. I think I am going to make a point of taking my kids also for a night of just walking around Princeton, because if we do it all online we do lose some of the JOYFUL part of the hustle and bustle -- but this has to be done in a VERY controlled way, as in not at the end of a long hard day, and with a limited agenda so that we can STOP prior to meltdown!

Kate E. said...

Yes yes have to carefully plan these outings to make them pleasurable...that was my Kohl's mistake.

The craft fair was lovely by the way and crossed some tricky names off the list!