Did you all have a nice Christmas?
We did. I daresay we had the best one we’ve had in years. The weather was unseasonably warm, so we took lots of walks (and even rambled cheerfully through the park one day). The kids got a nice mix of foolish toys I will be picking up off the floor for months – oh, Lego, I wish we could quit you! – and longer-term project toys that will be very welcome come February.
They also got the newest Skylanders game, which… dear me. I love that they love it, but holy shit this fourth version of the game is expensive. All of the figures cost more. And you need eight different “Trapmaster” figures to open all of the special side-quest gates. Oh, and eight villain traps. And a partridge in a pear tree, probably.
Anyway, Christmas was delightful, right up until we caught a stomach virus from my brother’s family. George, Ron, and I all went down in rapid succession. Vomiting! Fever! Joint aches! Lethargy! It was just awesome. George scared me half to death, because for the five hours of active vomiting, he wouldn’t wake up. He was quite literally vomiting in his sleep, and I’d drag him out of bed, fighting him to tilt his head forward lest he choke.
The kids bounced back fairly quickly; it’s taken me longer to recover. As soon as the stomach virus was banished, I picked up a nasty sore throat / head cold combo, which I still think could be the same bug in mutated “mom who couldn’t slow down” form.
Yesterday I was feeling a little better, and with a winter storm in the forecast for today I knew I had to go shopping. We needed groceries for the week, and presents for George’s third birthday, and with everyone back to school & work on Monday there was literally no other time I could do it.
I girded my loins and headed out. To a grocery store. On the day before a storm.
YES I KNOW WHAT WAS I THINKING SNOWPOCALYPSE!!!!
The grocery store wasn’t terrible, all things considered. I was able to get everything on my list. I only had to murder three little old ladies and two men who smelled like they haven’t bathed since November to get through the aisles. A note to Sobeys – stop putting all your discounted Christmas merchandise on pop-up displays at the ends of all the aisles. The congestion! my god. Especially in the canned goods aisle, which was jammed full of panicky people bracing themselves for a week without power by, apparently, buying all the Campbell’s they could lay their hands on. I slalomed around carts parked askew, weaving in and out, thinking of all the people I’ve seen virtuously posting on Twitter that they resolve to “be kinder” and “less judgmental” and “stop the negativity” in 2015.
Mazel tov, folks. I haven’t got the intestinal fortitude to stop thinking “holy jesus man you are choosing between brands of instant coffee, it all tastes like fried tree bark, JUST PICK ONE AND GET OUTTA MY WAY“. I’ll try being nicer when my fellow humans try being smarter, is what I’m saying.
Groceries packed in the trunk, I headed for Wal-Mart. That’s when the wheels came off.
The head cold is making my ears congested, and it seems to be blocking sounds in the low registers. High-pitched noises are getting through in deafening fashion. The store music system was blaring a weird, crazy-making mix of 90s pop tunes – oh, Spice Girls, please no – and 60s surfer rock. I could actually feel myself getting stupider the longer I stood there. The store was crammed full of people. The shelves were largely bare, sadly picked-over from the last-minute pre-Christmas buying frenzy. The longer I wandered around, pushing the last available shopping cart with its one wonky wheel, trying in vain to think of what to buy my holiday baby who really needs nothing after the orgy of giving 12 days earlier… I could feel the panic coming on. Then I started to feel feverish. I ended up calling Michael and having him walk me through what to buy, because I just couldn’t think.
Oh, and I bought the kids some really great compartmentalized lunch containers, not stopping to consider if they fit in their lunch bags. (They don’t.)
Finally made it to the checkout line, and that’s when I lost my will to live. I stood in that line, no word of a lie, for FORTY FUCKING MINUTES. The woman behind me kept bumping me with her cart while muttering about the line not moving. Mountains rose and fell. Continents drifted. The Spice Girls kept singing. The only person in the whole store I felt sorrier for than myself was whoever was standing by the jewelry counter, because this announcement blared over the store P.A. system every two minutes or so:
“Would the supervisor with the key to the jewelry case please call 212? Supervisor with the key to the jewelry case call 212.”
If I needed to buy a piece of made-in-China jewelry so badly that I tolerated standing next to a locked case for 40 minutes, well. I cannot even.
Anyway, by the time I got home I was D-O-N-E. Suffice it to say I am not going shopping again for anything for at least a couple of weeks. And this is a reminder to myself to do George’s birthday shopping before the holidays, not after.
After all, it’s hard to start the new year on a positive note when you’re fantasizing about living in a cave on a mountainous peak.