Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday wrap-up.

I wasn't going to go out today.

I used to love (and I mean LOVE) going out on Black Friday. I'd plan my strategy, set the alarm, get a cup of coffee, and out the door. Park away-out-on-Pluto. Stand with the madding crowd waiting for the doors to open. Get my stuff (I was always fairly successful in getting what I wanted), and off to the next store. I usually went two places, and then home by 9 am or so. It was fun. It was an adventure. And I was in my thirties.

About ten years ago, the appeal just wasn't there anymore. I went a couple of years ago to the fabric store with Lily. And it was there that I developed my Fabulous Black Friday Strategy. (yep. I went all those years without it.)

[I will share my fabulous strategy in a minute.]

So, after waking Charming at Two A.M. (he now works retail, and his store opened at 3:30 this morning), I went back to sleep and woke up at 6:30. I got up to a quiet house. Kids asleep. I fixed coffee, wrote my sister a letter, picked up a few dishes that were laying around. Charming had to take my car to work, because the heat is out in his. I figured to have Joe Hardy take Blackeyed Susan to work at 5 pm. I would Stay Home All Day.

But Joe said he couldn't take her. He could, however, take me to get the car at Charming's store.
We went at 10:30.

Wow. Every parking space filled. Cars waiting while "done" shoppers made their way to their cars to steal their spaces. I figured that while I was there, I might as well go into the store.

The line to the registers went from the front of the store to the back, all the way across the back, and three-quarters of the way up to the front again. That's when I remembered my Fabulous Strategy, but I didn't have a partner. (darned teenaged sleeping people.) Here is how it goes:

When you walk into a store on *those* days, one of you gets a cart and immediately gets in line. (my line was 45 minutes long, but remember, I went late morning. Charming said the early lines were 2 hours.) Certainly you can shop in two hours, right? Well, one of you stays with the cart. The other shops for a few things, brings them back to the cart, and then the other person shops. Tag-team it all the way around the store. Your waiting time is almost down to nothing then!

The way it works in the fabric store is this: when you go in the store, you get a take-a-number from the cutting table immediately. When I got mine, there were fifty people ahead of me. Fifty. Five-oh. By the time I finished shopping, I had just a ten-minute wait for the cutting table.

I watch the morning news during the school year, for weather and other things. Every morning for the last two weeks they have featured a story on Black Friday shopping. How to plan your trip. How to get the best deals. How to whatever. Not one time did they give a strategy for reducing your wait-time in line. So I just did it for you.

There you have it. I got exactly what I went in for: gifts for the four grand-boys. I got just what I wanted, and Charming's 20% discount. Like I said, I didn't bring a partner, so I had to wait the full time. But I got to share my strategy with the two carts ahead of and behind me in line. And they took opportunity to do more shopping while we queued around the store, using my strategy. So I was able to increase sales for Charming's store while I was at it!

The only bad thing was that I Had To Go Out Today. But that's okay. I got four gifts with not a lot of grief. Got to share my Strategy with several women. (as I was leaving the store, a pair of ladies asked me for my cart. I told them about the Strategy, and one of them volunteered to stand in line while the other shopped!)

Yep. My good deed done for the day. *and* I got a nap!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wow. Thanksgiving.

That is, Thanksgiving already.

It is so exciting this year, because all eight of my children, three spouses, one boyfriend, and eight grands will be here. That's twenty-three for dinner, folks, and it is a good thing.

Since all good and perfect gifts come from the Father, it is easy to have a heart full of thanksgiving. I find myself saying "thank You, Father," all the time. Yesterday we had an incredible sunrise here. Many facebook friends mentioned it, or posted a cellphone pic. I thought, how wonderful! God can get everybody's attention, all at once! "The heavens declare the glory of God." I could never, ever list all of the things I'm thankful for (so I won't try), but will name just one or two, if it's okay with you?

Thankful, of course, that we will all be together this day. Informal family photos planned. Gift exchange names...exchanged, for Christmas. Delegated the food this year, so all I'm making is turkey (carved by Charming, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy (made by Charming.) I did throw together two pumpkin pies yesterday, because Blackeyed Susan said I had to (even tho' two other desserts are coming). You know, even with all of the Food Network shows "steppin' it up" with the Thanksgiving menus, that. never. works. Don't mess with the basics.

One of those desserts is a Birthday Cake (made by Forget-me-not). My baby boy (Alvin Fernald) turns sixteen today. I'm not dealing well with it. Just like two weeks ago when we ordered graduation announcements and cap-and-gown for Susan.

Alvin was born the day after Thanksgiving, on his due date. The doctor didn't want me to go over, because he was so honkin' big. (ten pounds, five-and-a-half ounces. Charming asked me once, "why do you add that half-ounce? It doesn't matter!") Any of you who have had a baby, especially if you had him naturally, and pushed for an hour and ten minutes, knows it-certainly-does-make-a-difference. So there. It's my WarStory, and I'm stickin' to it.

Alvin (my "sweet Baby James") is a lovin' boy. There are so many things I could tell you about him. He is talented (and coming along amazingly on the guitar), smart (wish he'd show it more often), a good worker (ditto the former comment), loyal. And, he is finally bigger than his brothers, who are eleven, fourteen, fifteen, and seventeen years older than he.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I thank God especially for you today.