So husband and I got off the ranch this weekend to get a handle on what I am sure all of you have finished and wrapped up tight and beautiful under the tree weeks ago– the Christmas shopping.
Now, I have a bit of an excuse for my delay in completing this all important task–I have been ringing in the holiday with music every weekend this December and haven’t had a chance to use those Saturdays to pick out the perfect pair of earrings for my sisters, a giant bag of M & Ms for my dad, glamorous leopard pajamas for my mom and that ridiculously expensive rifle husband has only hinted he wants for the past three to five years.
Don’t worry, I didn’t get you all any of those things…or did I?
Anyway, after we pulled the Schwan’s man out of the giant snow hole he dug himself into at the top of our approach (twice), we disappointed the flustered southerner by just saying no to more pies thank you very much, please come again–with chains on your tires–we were off.
So after my last Christmas song was sung on Saturday night, I told Santa what he should bring me…
..because for sure he will make a the trip to the ranch this year, seeing as he can spot our Christmas tree from space…and husband and I loaded up the pickup with our lists and made our way to town.
And then promptly realized that this was the last shopping weekend before the big birthday of birthdays…
Can you say that before Christmas?
Well, I am reserving the right because what we witnessed is what I am sure many of you have witnessed this year if you are lucky enough to have a little chunk of change to use to buy gifts and sugar-coated things to make cookies.
And it deserves a Holy Shit.
So we arrived at our shopping destination and pulled into our perfect parking spot in the very last slot available at the end of the lot and entered the war zone blissfully unaware of what was to come.
But it soon became quiet clear what we were dealing with.
See, there was a shortage of sweatshirts. A limit on the variety of the particular shirt we planned to purchase for one lucky relative. So we watched for a minute while mothers and daughters and dads and grandpas scrambled to find the correct size in the perfect color, with no avail…
We watched as the store clerk waited on flustered customers, trying to suggest alternatives, a different color perhaps? A different style?
And after we were done witnessing the panic that ensued after the one and only idea the rest of the world had for their brothers and dads and uncles and cousins was not available, we quickly snatched whatever we could find and ran for our lives, sweatshirt strings flailing behind us.
Whew, one down, how many more to go?
We moved on to the next store carefully, holding on tight to one another, mouths agape, dodging strollers and moms with hot coffee and kids flinging stuffed animals and toys around at crotch level. I whispered to husband to stay aware, stay focused, because one misstep could lead to being trapped between the linked arms of two “in-love” teenagers, resulting in a slingshot to certain death under the stampede of desperate shoppers.
Focus. We must focus. We stepped softly past the half-mile line of kids in khaki pants and Christmas sweaters holding on tight to the hands of loving parents, waiting to see Santa Clause and get in that one last request.
We contemplated entering the furniture store to wait it out on the plush furniture we can’t afford because we have to go Christmas shopping…
…and then we split up.
Good Lord, we split up.
And when left to my own devices on the brink of a holiday with so much glitter and glitz and products that promise to make the days merry and bright, I cannot be trusted.
So, trying to curb my enthusiasm for all things red and green, I elected, in this big store with aisles filled with music and jewelry and hair product and Christmas lights and inflatable Santas and toilet paper, and sunglasses and underwear, to not get a cart.
I would not use a cart and only buy what I could carry in my little basket and the one arm I had left over.
Turns out it’s a lot easier to carry a 16 x 20 frame, a Santa shaped cookie jar, three tutus, a giant bedazzled reindeer, four packages of cookie sprinkles, six boxes of candy canes, ten Lords a Leaping and a partridge in a pear tree when you have a cart.
I cursed my turtleneck as it began to shrink, constricting my airwaves causing sweat beads to form on my forehead.
My eyes darted back and forth from shopper to shopper, searching for an escape route that included bringing my dignity with me. The people turned blurry and I suddenly became paranoid that they were moving in close to fight me for the last Santa shaped cookie jar.
I flung my scarf to the ground in panic, put the frame in my mouth and the reindeer under my arm and dialed husband.
In .3 seconds husband came screeching around the corner and without a word, pulled the cookie jar from my white knuckled grip and gently nudged me, blinking and stammering, toward the automatic doors….
…toward the sweet oasis in the cold winter landscape where they serve tequila.
And after a few sips and the joy of making little check marks by the items on my list, we were back to our old ways.
Me: “If you were reincarnated as a plant, what would you be?”
Husband: “I think I would be a fruit tree…like a plum-tree or an apple tree…”
Me: “I would be a yucca plant.”
Husband: “A yucca?”
Me: “Yeah, a yucca…’cause nothing would eat me and I could live for a long time in the badlands on the edge of a cliff, or maybe someone would use me for landscaping… Why do you want to be a plum-tree you weirdo?”
Husband: “So I could feed things and no one would cut me d…”
Me: “…if you were a plum-tree you would get pooped on by birds…like all the time…”
Husband: “If you were a yucca you would get peed on by dogs and one cow plop would really ruin your things for ya…”
Husband: “Yeah, one wrong move and you could spend your entire life hanging out and growing in the middle of a cow pie…”
Me. “hmmm…yeah, I guess I didn’t think about that…
Husband: “Guess you didn’t…”
Me: “I think I want to be a plum-tree too…growing right underneath your branches…you know, so you can shield me from the poop….”
And all was right in our world again…
Wishing you a hazard free last-minute shopping experience…
and a partridge in a (poop-free) pear tree.