Ah, the holidays. Oh the joys of shopping. All I can say is ‘THANK YOU ONLINE WORLD” because I no longer need to go to the mall for my holiday shopping. It gets delivered to my door and usually, it’s on time and in the same number of pieces it started out its journey. Sometimes, change is good.
Originally posted on Stuff my dog taught me:
I know that everything in your store has been designed to fit and flatter my teenage daughters and that my presence is an unappreciated reminder that you will all someday sacrifice beauty for comfortable footwear. However, as the woman with the VISA, I have no choice but to lurk around the racks and there will be occasions when verbal communication between you and I will be unavoidable.
To reduce my stress levels as well as yours I plea with you to consider lowering the music volume and perhaps turning up the lighting. I could potentially lip read over the pounding, highly-synthesized rhythm, if only there was enough light for me to make out your facial features. Alternatively, I could have my children verbally guide me through the store if I could make out their voices over the dance-party “mash up” that is playing at a stadium-concert…
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I’m sitting at a café when a stranger approaches me. He asks my name. “Marilyn,” I answer.
The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.”
I gaze into his soft, brown eyes “Well,” I reply, with a hint of teasing, “I’ve been looking for you, too. Do you come here often?”
“Not nearly often enough, it would seem,” he says, juggling the bags he’s carrying. He pulls me to my feet and loops an arm through mine. “I think there’s a burger joint over there. I’m hungry. How about you?”
As I rise to my feet, he continues: “You were supposed to meet me by Kohl’s. Where were you?”
I organize my own packages. “I’ll never tell you. You’ll have to kill me first.”
Garry and I go hand in hand through the crowded mall. He says: “I hate shopping this close to Christmas. It’s a madhouse.”
“I know,” I respond, giving his hand a squeeze. “But it’s worth it … because I get to meet such a handsome stranger.”
It’s final clearance sale time. It may be the middle of summer according to the calendar, but in retail, summer’s over. Time to clear out and make room for the new fall fashions. Which is why I’m wearing my new orange dress from J. Jill.
Given my druthers, my entire wardrobe would be neutral. Dark, preferably black. Orange makes me feel as if I’m wearing a neon sign, though Garry thinks it looks cute. Not that he would ever wear this color. He’s even more New York than I am. His favorite color is (wait for it) … gray.
When I said I can’t go out in public in anything this bright, Garry said “This is Uxbridge.”
Uxbridge. On the way to the grocery store, we spotted her. A lovely, plump young thing. Wearing very short, tight, purple spandex shorts. With an over-sized bright yellow tee-shirt. Large bouncing breasts and obviously, no bra. But the thing that brought it all together, that made her larger than life, was her long, electric-blue hair.
She was walking while texting, the epitome of fashion in Our Town. Garry and I discussed the possibility she didn’t own a mirror, but decided she probably thought she looked really cool. I suppose that’s why Garry thinks an orange tee dress is no big deal.
The two colors you can always get at clearance sales are orange and purple.
End of the season shopping provides a limited choice of colors. Purple, orange. Beige. Ghostly white and unhealthy green. Also special colors which were supposed to be hot but weren’t. Named after food, you’ll find cantaloupe, mango, kiwi, aubergine, honeydew, sugarplum, pumpkin, mocha, and vanilla bean. In other words, purple, beige, and orange. Renaming does not a fashion trend make.
I shopped final sales and closeouts long before I was strapped for cash. It’s tradition. My mother raised me to hold fast to one unyielding principle: “Never pay full price.“
You aren’t supposed to brag about how much you pay. You’re supposed to brag about how much you didn’t pay. The less you pay, the greater your bragging rights. I was astonished to discover some people are proud of paying a lot when they could have gotten for half off if they’d waited a couple of days. They might have had to get it in purple or orange, but think of the money they’d save!
Would I have different attitude towards shopping if I were richer? I don’t think so. To put it in perspective, in the early 1990s, I got into a tug of war with Carly Simon for possession of a 70% off final clearance silk blouse in a chi-chi shop in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. Neither of us was poor. It was principal. It was orange. I won. It was a fantastic blouse.
Bargain hunting is not just for people on a tight budget. For some of us, it’s a contact sport. Somewhere in the ether, Mom is smiling proudly.
Sleepy Time – More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?
I blame you, WordPress. Until I started blogging, I’d go to bed, read a bit, then clutch my pillow and be off to dreamland for a few restless, miserable hours. Now, I have to check (and recheck) my blog. See how today’s offerings look on three differently formatted devices (tablet, Kindle, small computer). Find the typos. There are always typos because I am The Typo Queen and no one can put more typos in a small post than I can. If typos could be made an Olympic event, I would have a gold medal — but I digress. What was I talking about?
Oh. Sleep. The whole “bedtime procrastination” thing. I don’t think we could be classified as a bedtime procrastinators because we have no schedule. As retirees, we rarely need to get up at a particular time. Unless there’s something on the calendar. The only other thing remotely time-sensitive is trying to shop for groceries on Tuesday when the supermarket gives its senior discount.
Personally, I think they should give us a discount every day. Tuesday is a mess of scooters, walkers, and bewildered people trying to remember why they are in the bread aisle and if they are lost or truly need bread. And where’s the list? They can’t find their money at checkout and are frequently confused as to where they left the car. Since we aren’t that far behind them, mentally speaking, we wait patiently as they work their way through the equation of life. Soon that could be us. I’m willing to bet this is unrelated to the hour at which they went to bed.
Hopefully, we won’t be stuck behind them as we exit the parking lot. They drive so slowly. If we had a manual transmission, we’d never make it out of first. They have to compete with the other slow, bad drivers who are decades younger. The younger folks can’t drive because they are too busy. Texting, talking on the phone, adjusting radios, yelling at kids (husband, dogs, themselves) while swerving all over the road.
It’s a nightmare out there and it has nothing to do with getting enough sleep, although it is possible that some of the slowest drivers are taking a nap, don’t realize they are at the wheel of a car and supposed to be moving.
Have I forgotten anything? Where’s my list?
Not just another day in the Life of Harold by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog
Upon awakening Harold went immediately to the window to check the weather. He was instantly aware that it was grayer than normal for that time of day. He needed to decide on his schedule for the morning.
There was no putting off decisions until later. His orderly life demanded plans be set and executed precisely. Since rain was falling, Harold knew that he’d follow breakfast and some newspaper reading with a trip to town for some shopping. His lists were made; he was ready to go.
When it was almost 9 am, Harold grabbed his lists, a light jacket and umbrella and headed for the back door to the garage. Just as he was about to grab the door knob he was startled by the telephone ringing. He could not imagine who in the world might be calling him. There were no friends or relatives to call. There were no appointments scheduled for someone to needlessly remind him of attending. He figured it might be a telemarketer and while such calls were a total waste of time to Harold, he decided to make sure that is who it was.
“Hello,” Harold said tentatively as if he was not sure anyone would actually be on the line. “This is Harold.” He automatically announced his name as it was an ingrained practice from his many years on the job.
“Hello Harold,” a cheery voice responded. “This is your neighbor, Bill. You know, the guy down the street.”
When Harold had first moved to the Florida community, Bill had come by and introduced himself. Harold had stood on the walkway watching his goods being unloaded by the movers. Bill offered to help anytime Harold needed it and suggested they exchanged numbers in case of emergency.
“Us old guys have to look out for each other,” Bill declared. So Harold exchanged numbers with Bill though he thought it most unlikely they would ever use the numbers.
“Oh,” Harold said hesitantly, “I was just on the way out to the store.”
“I recall you said Monday was for shopping and I thought we could go together and then you don’t have to drive,” Bill replied.
“I see, but I really need to go now as I have a schedule to keep today.” Harold had a schedule to keep everyday. It was the only way he could maintain contentment in his life –and contentment was everything.
“That’s OK,” Bill told Harold in a continued bright and sunny tone which bubbled over despite the unpleasant weather, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
Harold had no idea how to respond to that. It was so rare for anything to impose itself on the master scheduler’s day. “I guess,” Harold said with surprise in his voice, “But I’m really ready to go now.”
“No problem,” came the reply and Bill hung up the phone. If anyone had been present, they’d have seen a remarkable look of surprise on the face of a man who never did anything spontaneously, even when it fit perfectly into his rigid schedule.
In less than 10 minutes, Bill was in Harold’s driveway giving a quick blast on the horn of his brown Chevy Malibu. Harold emerged from the side door and moved toward Bill’s car as the light rain fell. “Where to?” Bill asked.
“I normally go to the Publix, but if you don’t want to go…”
“The Publix it is,” Bill said, cutting off Harold’s attempt to back out. At that Bill proceeded to talk his way to the Publix parking lot. He told Bill all about his first marriage, which ended after a few stormy years. Then he told of his long dedication to the love of his life, who was now gone but would always hold’s Bill’s affection. He talked about his dog, his friends, his family in Tennessee, his work life and a variety of topics that left Harold’s brain in a whirl.
From there the two proceeded to shop their way around the giant supermarket. While Harold worked on a shopping list laid out according to the design of the store, Bill seemed to wander aimlessly, picking up items at random. When Harold was finished and through the check out line, Bill was just getting to a cashier.
Harold looked at Bill’s cart and wondered how anyone could spend so much time shopping for so few items. Unless Bill had a good supply of food items at home already, he would certainly have to go shopping a second time this same week. To Harold, that seemed awfully wasteful.
On the trip home, Bill continued telling Harold the story of his life. Harold, on the other hand, couldn’t imagine he had anything significant to add to the conversation. Mostly he confined himself to monosyllabic responses to Bill’s stories.
Harold took his groceries into his kitchen with an assist from Bill, after which the neighbor was quickly on his way. “Perhaps we can do this again next week,” Bill said as he left. Harold had no idea what to say. He couldn’t imagine another such trip, though there was nothing wrong with the shopping adventure. It was just … different.
After putting away his supplies, Harold looked at the clock and to his surprise, he was right on schedule. It really didn’t seem possible, but Harold’s clock never lied.
Do you prefer shopping or going to a park?
Being poor has taken the sparkle out of shopping. I do most of it online. Shopping excursions are limited to buying groceries and other things that require putting in a personal appearance. If I had my druthers (whatever they are), I’d never go shopping.
So park it is. I can take pretty pictures in a park and most shopping doesn’t offer photo ops.
What is the highest score you’ve ever made in bowling? Actual or virtually played.
Bowling? Like what I last did more than 40 years ago? I think it was around 150 and that was a fluke. Never tried virtual bowling. I wasn’t that fond of the real thing.
Name the foreign countries you’ve been to.
- St. Martin
- Nassau (Bahamas)
- San Francisco
- Disney World
Do stopovers at airports count? If so, add France, Italy, Belgium and Greece. Also Las Vegas and Texas which are pretty foreign to me.
Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less.
We are all doomed, so let’s party!