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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real or Fake?

Get your minds out of the gutter! I'm talkin trees!
Photobucket2008 undecorated christmas tree
Since moving out to the burbs 3 years ago we have always had a real tree for Christmas. And every year it gets more and more ridiculous how much they cost. It's not just the cost, it's the mess. Every year I put my vote in for a nice fake tree. And I lose. This year with the cheapest real trees costing $35 and looking frankly pathetic, I WON!

On Black Friday Anastasia and I embarked on our hunt for the most real looking fake tree we could get on our budget. We were crazed and just would not even consider coming home without a tree. We went to Target, Michaels (twice), Kmart, Walmart and Lowes. We found our prize at Lowes and it was 25% off. Bonus!

Anastasia wanted a pre-lit tree with colored lights. I wanted clear lights. We ended up with clear lights only because the tree I found looked more real than the only other pre-lit colored light tree that fit our budget AND was in stock. (We had found the perfect tree pre-lit with colored lights at Michaels, but when we went back to try to buy it, they were out of stock.) We got the 7 1/2 Foot pre-lit with clear lights at Lowes has pine cones! Can't get more real looking than that!

Our cat thinks we got the tree just for her. She's lying on the tree skirt toward the back of the tree meditating...or something.

Anyway, the tree turned out great and I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

My Black Friday or How I know I’ve become my mother...

It’s interesting how the different stores chose to handle the Black Friday crowds. The Walmart I went to was open 24 hours so no lines. Sale items were sealed in plastic on pallets throughout the stores, with no regard to what actual department the items “normally” would be found in. People were staking claim to televisions by draping their bodies over the plastic encased stacks until the 5am sale time. It didn’t look like it was going to be pretty and since no staff was able to properly direct me to the $8 plus size womens jeans, I gave up and headed to my real destination, which was Target.

Bravo to Target. They had staff handing out maps to those waiting in line. The maps denoted where some of the more popular items were located because they were not in their normal departments. Staff had strategically placed rows of carts in the middle of certain aisles to slow down the shoppers and make maneuvering with shopping carts slower and difficult. It was impossible to break into a run because of how the carts were positioned. I managed to get what I set out for on that initial visit. Later in the day I returned with Anastasia and she picked out her birthday present and we shopped for a few more items together.

I waited outside in the cold for 50 minutes for Target to open. Herein lies my realization that I have become my mother, rest her soul. Strangers would always walk up to my mother and start conversations. This was facilitated by the fact that my mother never learned to drive a car, so anywhere she took us, we went by public transportation - bus. We met more than our fair share of strangers this way. We went to the movies, the zoo, the museums and shopping malls by bus. It never ceased to amaze me that no matter how briefly we waited for a bus, someone would strike up a conversation with my mother. I dreaded catching the bus at Paul’s Hamburgers on 27th Street and Forest Home in Milwaukee because we would inevitably run into people who were visiting family at St. Lukes Hospital. Those were particularly long conversations. I was a terrible little twerp and teased my mother incessantly, telling her she had too kind a face and disposition and told her she needed to discourage the chit chat. (I took my stranger danger indoctrination seriously!) My mother was pleasant and cheerful to everyone, no matter what their walk of life. It made me nervous. I was always scared she would get her purse stolen, but thankfully that never happened. I was always super vigilant, keeping a close watch on her when any of the more sketchy individuals struck up conversations.

Today after about 5 minutes of waiting in line at Target, the older woman ahead of me started chatting with me. I learned that her children were my age and that she was shopping for a television for her daughter who was home sick with a cold. I also learned that her 35 year old son surprised everyone at Thanksgiving dinner with his engagement announcement. She described the engagement ring with great detail. You could tell she was really proud of her son’s taste. I also learned that her youngest grandchild is 7 and she can’t wait for her newly engaged son to be married and give her more grandbabies. She said she will never visit her 2 spinster aunts for a holiday again because the one time she did she found it to be so pathetic because there were no children afoot and her aunts just treated the holiday like any other day of the year. She said you have to have young children afoot to feel the excitement of the holidays. We talked about the GPS’s, ipods and video games on sale. She marveled at the technology today and wondered what things will be like in 20 years. “Will we be watching television virtually by tapping in to a signal/channel of our own choice no matter where we are?”

As we talked and laughed the time passed quickly. I failed to notice my freezing face (now still chapped from the cold) and my sock-less feet freezing in my Topsiders. A few people cut us in line as the doors opened because we were still chatting. We wished each other good luck as we passed through the doors and went our separate ways in search of our bargains.

The time passed incredibly quickly and I have to say…

It was quite enjoyable.

It’s official.

I have become my mother.

And I have to say...

it's not a bad thing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I've been up since 7am with Turkey Duty. That wouldn't be so bad, but I'm still having insomnia. I went to bed around 1am, tossed and turned forever. I almost got up to start baking the pies, but I restrained myself.

Yesterday I did manage to get some prep done and I got the mashed potatoes done, so I think I'm in pretty good shape, but I do need to start the coffee.

How did I manage to get up at 7am after a late night? My ipod. Today will be a test of how long it will run on a charge. I usually just play it here and there, never playing it non-stop. It's already working great! I don't have to listen to the kids annoying video games, AND I don't have to hear them ask me what's to eat, because they have already given up talking to me because they can't be heard above my tunes. (Note to self: I should have thought of this much much sooner!)

The beginning of my playlist:
"I Get Knocked Down" Chumbawama
"I'm A Believer" Smash Mouth
"Mad World" (From the "Donnie Darko" Soundtrack)
"Breathe in Breathe Out" Matt Kearney
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" Green Day
"Better Now" Collective Soul
"I Am Superman" REM
"Because The Night" 10,000 Maniacs
"Goodbye Stranger" Supertramp
"All The Small Things" Blink 182
"Vacation" The Go Go's
"Shiny Happy People" REM
"Move Along" All American Rejects
Eclectic to say the least. I put earbuds in and hit play as soon as I hit the kitchen. (Singing along, of course!) I think the pots and pans clanging in the kitchen woke up my son whose bedroom is off the kitchen. Either that, or it was my singing. He came in and gave me a smirk and headed for the living room to plug in video games.

I have 2 Quiches in the oven. 1 for today's breakfast, 1 for tomorrow's. One is bacon, asparagus, cheese and green onion. The other is bacon, cheese and green onion.

As soon as the dishwasher is done, I'll start making the pumpkin pies.

Off to make the coffee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do you shop Black Friday?

A poll taken in Milwaukee says that only 22% of people intend to shop on Black Friday. Seemed kind of low to me. At the time of this posting, the poll was running 23% of people intend to shop on Black Friday.

I guess I'm just surprised. I would have thought more people would be planning on heading out before the crack of dawn to snap up Black Friday Deals.

I'm going to wait for the Black Friday ads to come out before I make my decision. I've seen the Walmart and Kohl's Black Friday ad previews and I'm just not impressed. My initial thought was that due to the economy, the crowds will be even uglier than last year. I hope I'm wrong.

Anastasia swore off Black Friday the first year we moved to the burbs. I dragged her out on my Black Friday run that year. I guess Black Friday shopping has to be in your blood?

I figure I'm in pretty good shape, gift-wise for now. I did have a bit of a panicked moment earlier this evening. My son was with me when I picked up some items over the summer and he knows the hiding place for those items. Tonight he says to me "Maaaahhhm?" in that long drawn out way that he says Mom when he wants something, or when he's being a smart aleck. "Maaaahhhm? Isn't it good that I haven't told anyone about the hiding place?" I'm thinking 'oh crap' and 'hush money', but I play it cool, "Yes that's really good dear". That was it. Phew! Dodged a bullet there.

Anastasia, don't even think about asking him! Besides, I've had plenty of time to re-hide them. :p

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Freakin’ Out about Thanksgiving?

I don’t know about you, but it’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I am seriously

Last night after 10pm I drove to Meijer to do my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I had my list and my coupons and my highly caffeinated daughter with me to help. We went late because I didn’t want to deal with the normal Saturday shopping crowd. I often shop at off hours for precisely that reason.

It took over an hour and half, but we managed to finish…minus Celery. Yes, Meijer was out of Celery! How does a grocery store run out of Celery before Thanksgiving? It’s Thanksgiving for cryin’ out loud! People need Celery for stuffing and vegetable crudite trays for their Thanksgiving table!

We were done shopping and headed to the checkout lanes and guess what? There were ONLY Self Checkout Lanes open! It’s the Saturday before Thanksgiving! And, I’m not the only one who decided to their Thanksgiving shopping after 10pm this Saturday! The Self Checkout Lanes have lines of people with overflowing shopping carts that have NEVER used a Self Checkout Lane in their lives! What were they thinking? I went and found a manager and he got on his walkie-talkie and opened up 3 Full Service Checkout Lanes. Poor kid, he was like a deer in headlights. He didn’t even see it coming.

Ok, that was HIS Freak Out.

This is MY Freak Out…this is my first year since…EVER that I am having guests for Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband are driving in from out of state. My partner has to spend the day with her family (it’s a caregiver issue, nothing problematic), so she will not be home to help…or referee. I say referee because I know going in that my kids will be arguing, fighting and trying to get out of helping me. My son will likely help, but will grunt and groan and complain incessantly about doing so. My daughter will likely ground herself to her room. Remember this?
I have my Thanksgiving Menu, and I know I need to get my game plan going, but I’m very overwhelmed. Instead of setting my plan to paper, I’M FREAKIN’ OUT!

**If anyone was playing that drinking game and took a drink every time they read the word “Thanksgiving”…you’re already under the table and you CLEARLY have nothing to worry about...Thanksgiving.
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