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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Real Test of Survival

Is Target right after they open for Black Friday shoppers.

Here is my tale of survival.

I crossed the border without incident in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 22nd.  That in itself was oddly disconcerting.  As I drove away I was left wondering what just happened.  No border guard ordered me out of my vehicle, inspected my underwear for weapons or grilled me on my intentions.  I was confused.  This was a new experience for me.  I made my way to the Spa to enjoy a massage and to kill a few hours before check-in at the hotel where my shopping experiences would begin at 10pm that evening.

Mid afternoon I made my way to my hotel in Burlington just an hour or so from the Border and checked in.  I settled in and went in search of food.  It was not to be had.  It was the US Thanksgiving holiday and the streets were dark.  I ended up having a dinner of candy dispenser junk food.  Stale junk food.

I left my hotel at 9:30pm and started to make my way as per the directions of the desk clerk - "the outlet mall you seek is about 15 minutes down the road on the right hand side - you can't miss it".  I headed out the doors into the dark, windy and rainy night in search of the outlet mall armed with a list and the sizes of my grandchildren.

After driving for about 12minutes I noticed the bright lights of Target and people going in to the store.  I thought this was the outlet mall and Target was part of it.  I found a parking spot and ran towards the store as the rain was coming down sideways and the wind was almost knocking me over.

I was deceived right from the start.  There was no line up of people so I thought I was doing pretty good......until I actually stepped more that 3 feet into the store.  It was utter maddness.  I had never experienced anything like this before.  I felt the walls closing in around me as screaming children, angry husbands and demanding women were pushing and shoving and in a hurry with their baskets and buggy's overflowing with goods.

Since there were no baskets left, I grabbed a couple of gift bags off the shelf and started to wade into the fray as I headed to the children's department in search of deals.  I must admit, it was pretty good.  The deals on kids clothes were quite remarkable.  As were the deals I found on household items (I cannot mention them here as those reading might be the recipients of those deals).  However, after about 30 minutes I could not go on any longer.  I had only made it to one corner of the store and I had to leave.  The experience was sucking the life right out of me and I had to escape.  Having gotten totally disoriented and quite frankly, a little frightened, I tried to make my way to the check-out counter.  I had no idea where it was so I stopped the first clerk I found and he took me to the end of an aisle and told me this is where the line started.  It was aisle 33C. 

As I began my winding journey through Target's maze of aisles in search of a check out, I mentioned aloud that I suppose I could handle the wait through 33 aisles.  The lady in front of me laughed.  She said I was in section C and still had to wade through the aisles in Sections B & A before I could make my escape.  OMG!!! Was she kidding?  Was it going to be worth it?

We started a pool.  You could get in for a loony.  We were betting on the time I would be at the front of the line and headed to my car.  It began at 10:40pm.  As we wound our way up and down each aisle I continued my shopping.  I got wrapping paper, christmas candy, a book, some make-up and a few other odds and ends.  THEN we arrived in the booze aisle.  We had been in line for about an hour.  Someone grabbed a bottle and cracked it open.  It got passed down the line.  I grabbed a bottle of water and drank it in almost one fell swoop.  Another 15 minutes and we made it to the hard liquor aisle.  A bottle of vodka found its way down the aisle as well as a bottle of orange juice,  These avid, industrious shoppers were mixing the drink right in their mouths before passing it along.  We were a pretty happy bunch by the time we made it to aisle 25B.  However, after the bottle of water I had to pee.  I had no idea where the bathroom was and no way was I going to start this line all over again if I left it now.  Plus, I would lose my loony.  I had to hold it in and do the pee pee dance the rest of the way.

A guy tried to cut in line - first about 10 people ahead of me and when that did not work, behind me.  Women are mean.  I thought this group of rather overly "healthy", rubenesque women were going to snap him like a twig.  I wonder what happened to him.

I lost the pool.  I had figured I would be at the front of the line by midnight.  I made it to my car by 1:20am.  I spent $248 and had 6 bags of goodies. 

Turns out, I was not at the outlet mall.  After asking questions as to it's location, I headed south in search of the elusive bastion of deals.  I went about a block when I noticed a sign that said MALL (turns out the upper portion of the sign was burnt out otherwise I might have noticed this was also NOT the outlet mall).  I pulled in and right away noticed MACY's.  Cool.

Things were not as wacky here.  I think the longest I waited in line was about 10 min.  People were more refined here.  There was no pushing and shoving.  No yelling and name calling.  I found some more good deals. 

I headed back to my hotel about 2:30 in the morning having given up on the outlet mall.  I was exhausted and hungry.  I would try again in the morning when it was light out and I could actually see where I was going.

I was woken up at about 10:45am by the sounds of knocking on the door by housekeeping.  Holy crap!  I slept in.  I had only 15 minutes to check out or my card would be charged for an extra night.  I was racing around in a bit of a daze packing and brushing my teeth and hair at the same time.  By the way, do not try this at home.  I almost lost my left eyeball. 

I found the elusive outlet mall first try.  Turns out I was so close the night before - less than a block.  I found a couple of my best deals at this mall,  It was so cool (again, cannot say what I got lest those who will be in reciept of said deals is reading this).  After a few more hours of shopping I was done.  I had no more energy and my credit and debit cards were almost on fire from the number of times they had been swiped,

Late afternoon and I was on my way to the Spa/Casino again where I was to meet up with my aunt and cousin for dinner.  It was great and we had a real nice visit.  We had a nice evening and met again for my birthday breakfast before I headed to the border.  After a brief stop at the Duty Free store for my bottle of Bailey's, I drove right up to the guard.  Again confusion ensued.  He askd where I had been and for how long before letting me pass right through.  What on earth was going on?  What was happening?  Had the world gone nuts in the last 48 hours?  How come I was not subject to my usual security checks?  It must of been because of my birthday.  I am sure that my next crossing attempt will make up for it and I will be back where I normally am being searched and patted down.  All will once again be right with the world.

I was home by noon exhausted but pleased with my purchases.

I am such a party animal that I spent my birthday napping on the couch and sharing a chinese food dinner with my brother before  heading to bed at 9pm.

I was a good wee holiday but remind me to NEVER see the inside of a Target store on black friday again.

I still have two days of holiday left.  I plan on doing laundry and buying groceries and finding hiding places for my purchases which right now are piled up in the hallway and my bedroom so deep that I can barely move.  However, they have to be hidden before the wee ones come over next weekend.  It is the Santa parade again and time for help putting up my tree.

I will keep you posted on the happenings of the annual santa time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learned a valuable lesson

Well, I returned safe and sound from another week long trek across the country.  It took me 2 days to warm up from my time in the prairies. 

Toronto was wierdly warm.  Winnipeg was cold and snowy.  Regina was cold, clear and snowy.  I was cold, cranky & freezing with a perpetually runny nose.  When I arrived at each of my meetings I was met with scorn and derision as I shivered through each one.  It turns out it was not even the cold season yet and I was what they considered a wuss.  Is it really my fault that I have become aclimatized to the wet and rain of the west coast?  I do not even own winter boots or coat.  However, I have three trench coats and enough umbrellas to cover my entire family.

I considered this trip a success.  Aside from the standard searches in the airports, I made every flight - and they were on time.  The only issue came on my flight from Toronto to Winnipeg.

First let me say that I do accept full responsiblity for what happened.  This is where I learned my lesson.  Keep my mouth shut.

I made my way to my seat on the plane and found myself sitting next to a Rabbi.  He was in the middle seat and I had the window.  He asked me to trade places.  I said no as this was my only flight with a window seat and I wanted to be in it.  This started the discussion.  I cannot prove that the next 2 hours was a result of my refusal to change seats but I have my suspicions.

Was I aware of how the Jews were treated during world war 2?  Did I know that the oil that burned for 8 days came about just because the original oil was unclean?  Do I know what the 7 sins are?  Do I understand what it means to live Kosher?  Do I pray on a regular basis?  Do I go to church?  It went on for quite sometime with me just smiling and nodding.  Round about when he began on the promised land and what is happening in the middle east, I think I snapped.  I said "isn't it so sad that the number one cause of death on the planet happens to be religion? "

Picture a 60ish full orthodox Rabbi pulling out a prayer robe and his prayer book and go all red in the face before turning to me and exclaiming "Surely you are not accusing my people of causing the misfortune of everyone on the planet due to our religion! Because let me tell you young lady (liked that part) we have faced persecution throughout history and survived."  On the upside, I finally got to put my earphones on and watch a little TV but not before the flight attendent asked if either of us wanted to change seats.   OY Vey!
I really did not mean to start a religious battle in row 13, seat F.  I just made a little comment.

It took me 2 days to warm up and refresh from an exhausting trip but I was good as gold by Sunday so I headed out to meet a friend I had not seen in a long time so that we could enjoy a nice long lunch. Back to the office on Monday to try to cram in everything I had to do before taking time for a wee break.

I am now officially off on holiday until next Wednesday.  I am going to do Black Friday again this year.  I have my hotel in Burlington reserved and plan to arrive mid afternoon on Thursday.  I have a map of a nearby outlet mall, printed off some coupons and will be ready to go by 10pm that night when they open.  The following night I will be back at the Silver Reef.  I plan on spending my birthday on Saturday enjoying a full body massage and facial (assuming of course I did no blow everything on Friday).  I will return home Saturday night in time to order in a birthday dinner of chinese food which, if my brother behaves and does not mention my age, I shall share with him.  I had also planned on purchasing one cupcake and putting a candle in it while singing happy birthday to me but decided that was rather pathetic.  Instead I am going to order a whole cake.

I will then take a couple of extra days off to recover from I hope will be a whopper of a black friday blow-out.  I will keep you posted on what happens.

By the way, in case anyone was wondering what happened to my coffee date a few weeks back.......it never happened.  He cancelled.  This was not my fault.  He "apparently" got into a car accident.  Still not my fault.

Stay tuned.  I will keep you posted as to what happens on my wee holiday


Thursday, November 1, 2012

I will never know if I lose my mind

Because I live each day with little pieces of my mind dribbling down the side of my neck and soon it will be all gone.

So, it has been pretty busy lately.

I decided to forgo dealing with the insurance company when I went out to my car, parked on the street, to find yet again, that some nimrod has no idea how to park.  She (I know it was a she and a discredit to my gender), came in too close, took out my side mirror and left a nice deep gash of blue and red paint along the side.  When I mentioned this to my brother, he took a look and for the first time let me know that he too has trouble parking as he was pleased to note that the red and blue gash covered up his incident with the post in the garage quite nicely.  Yeesh

 Last weekend I had Christmas.  Ok, perhaps you are thinking the mind is already lost but in fact, my family tries to get together each year before the grown-ups head off to spend the cold months staying warm in Mexico.  We had a nice dinner, lots of laughs and exchanged gifts.

We exchange names and have a $30 limit (at least that is what I thought).  My older brother had my name this year and thankfully, he is married to a wonderful woman who shops for him and signs his name.  Thank you again Angie for the spa certificate.  The $30 came into play as we all watched in wonderment as the baby of the family got spoiled.  I now have to revamp my thinking from believing that the first born was their favorite to the youngest.  The $30 limit doesn't count for him.  I want Dad to draw my name next year and I want a bike :)

After returning from the Christmas on the island, I had to pack up and make my way to the Okanagan.  It was a whirlwind 2 day adventure where I flew into Kelowna, picked up a rental car and made my way to Penticton and Kamloops before returning to Kelowna for one last meeting and the flight home. 

After my usual pat down at 8am in the airport, I made my way to my seat.  I was settled in nicely for the 1 hour flight when I was served apple juice as my beverage of choice.  We hit an air pocket.  I wore my juice.  I wore my juice while wearing my very best power suit.  They didn't go together as well as one might wish.  Upon landing, I raced to the ladies room with my suitcase to change.  I had packed one suit, two tops, nightie, two undies and my toothbrush and make-up along with my travel home comfort clothes.  Well, I thought I had packed 2 tops and my nightie.  Turns out there were still on my bed.  I had a choice - change into my comfort travel clothes or appear at the meeting in stained and sticky ones.  Either way I would lose my power.  Oy Vey.  I decided on the comfort travel clothese because there were clean and I could explain my loss of power.  With dirty, stained and sticky clothes I would just look like a slob who cannot hold onto a glass of juice.

After that meeting, the plan was for me to drive to Kamloops from Penticton and meet up with my oldest friend (that doesn't look right - she's not my OLDEST actually but she is my longest?  that doesn't look right either - sorry Brenda) for dinner or dessert - depending on the time I arrived.  Turns out 18 wheelers - every single one of them in BC, found out that I was on the road and in a hurry and decided to work against me.  What should have been perhaps 2 1/2 to 3 hours at the most turned into a 4 1/2 hour drive in the pouring rain.  I missed dessert - dinner too for that matter.

Up the next morning and off to the first appointment.  All fine and dandy.  Back to Kelowna for one more and the flight home in time to give out candy to the wee ones.  Holy crap on a cracker - the big rigs were back.  I had to pull over and contact my appointment and let them know that at this rate I could only give them 30 minutes or I would miss my flight. 

I arrived at the airport with 10 minutes to spare.  I parked the rental car, ran inside and took off my coat to put in my suitcase and hand it over to the luggage lady before commencing to AVIS to return my car.  Oh oh.  My car keys were in the pocket of my jacket.  Thank goodness that the Kelowna airport is small.  I won't repeat what I overheard the handlers say about me because I am too much of a lady.  I got the keys back, paid my bill and  was very red faced as I sprinted like OJ only to have my plane be late and I had to sit in the waiting room where I was sure everyone knew how stupid I was.  It might have been me that made the plane late if they had to dig around for my suitcase.

I was privy to one last exciting event in Kelowna that caused me a bit of concern.  The Tin Man, wearing his captains hat and identification, passed in front of me to board the plane.  My pilot was the Tin Man.  He has no heart.  Could this day get any worse?  Seems so.  It was so windy, rainy and miserable that turbulance made it a rollercoaster ride from hell all the way home.  I had to pee.  They wouldn't let me up.  The lady beside me spilled her bottle of water all over my legs.  I forgot my credit card in the car service on the way home.

I had tried to get home in time for the tricker treaters.  I love when they come around.  I was expecting a big crowd as I ran out of candy  last year by 7pm.  No one came.  The storm kept them away.  I now have $40 worth of candy sitting on my kitchen table.  I have decided to just buy bigger pants as I am determined not to waste $40.

Stay tuned - off to Toronto, Winnipeg and Regina on the 11th.  Yeeha - the life of a jetsetter.  I need to nap now.