Achievement Unlocked

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a nice mix of online shopping and blast-through-the-mall shopping, and I can proudly announce that I am all done Christmas shopping, including teacher’s gifts and stocking stuffers. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. I think this is a new record for me, but I don’t think I’ll be breaking this record any time soon. November 4th is probably as early as I’m going to get.

One reason I wanted to get my shopping out of the way is that next week is the Scholastic Book Fair, and I am running it for the sixth year in a row, making this my thirteenth book fair. Thirteenth! I wonder if it’s unlucky. Maybe they’ll forget to send us the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or extra supplies of cake pop erasers. That would be unlucky indeed. In any case, next week is spoken for, and so this morning I had a little bit of time so I hit the mall with a vengeance. I only got distracted once, by the Sorel boot display at Town Shoes. If there had been a saleslady around to answer my question as to the cold-rating of some very cute and non-clunky boots, I would have been poorer in money but richer in boots. Alas, it was not to be.

My usual reason for getting my shopping done in November is that Christmas shopping in December is completely depressing and soul-destroying. It all starts with the parking. The mall parking lot is always full, with cars creeping behind pedestrians to see where they are parked and parking-lot-rage-infused people who wait with their signal lights flickering only to have someone else sneak in to the desired spot. There is always a lot of honking, and people wandering in front of cars, and a general feeling of “this must be what hell is like”. Actually inside the mall is terrible too: it’s freezing outside and so you have your winter coat and boots on, but the thermostat is set to “Hades” inside. There are insane lineups, crying children, and extraordinarily tense adults. It’s like all the bad parts of Disneyland without the fun of Dole Whip and the Jungle Cruise. It’s all the exhausted princess-gowned and mouse-eared children, sobbing in limp, over-stimulated piles, being dragged along by the arm by parents with grim, let’s-just-get-through-this expressions, and hour-long lineups and relentless heat, and tinny music on repeat, without the joy of churros and corny jokes about rhinoceroses.


Disneyland Joy!


Jungle Cruise Joy!


Pluto Joy!


Goddammit, why don’t they sell booze at Disneyland?

That’s what Christmas shopping in December makes me feel like.

Speaking of which, I was looking for blind bags for the kids’ stockings. Do you know what blind bags are? They are the plastic bags that have a toy – like Lego – inside and it’s a surprise as to what it is. Jake had wanted some for his birthday but I was unable to find them at Toys R Us, so I searched for some online. Online shopping – greatest invention ever, except for when looking for blind bags on the internet. For lo, what did my search results yield? A “Deluxe Grade Deer Carcass Bag”, complete with illustrated picture of a deer with x’s for eyes. “Holds one deer carcass OR one elk quarter!” the description added cheerily, and while I’m sure these are very useful items for people who hunt, it was not the kind of blind bag I was looking for. These are not the blind bags you are looking for. So, yesterday when I hit the mall I looked again for these apparently elusive items and found quite a number of them, so I’m guessing blind bags are a popular stocking stuffer, but less popular for those September babies. I also found this:


Bow chicka wow wow.

I did not buy it, but I did stare at it admiringly for a few minutes. Is it weird to have a crush on an inanimate object?

Last night the boys had a hip-hop performance at the school. Part of the funds raised by the Parent Association go towards artists-in-residency, and this year the school hired a fellow to teach hip-hop. The first time I saw this dance teacher, when I was doing some volunteer work at the school, I did a double-take. I wondered if he was a parent, and if so, for what class?


In addition to being an enthusiastic and engaging dance teacher, this guy has fashion sense.


Seriously, it takes a certain something-something to really pull this off!

Then I remembered about the residency and asked the boys their thoughts about this dance teacher. They were very enthusiastic, which isn’t something I normally say about their reactions to dance. The performance was unbelievably great, and involved a very cleaned-up version of Thrift Shop. (This smells like my…soccer cleats. What? It was 99 cents!) If you’re a Parent Association person in the area, and are looking for artists-in-residency options, have I got a recommendation for you! It’s not every day I get to see my kids throw down the moves like stars. It’s also not every day I get to see acid-washed jean overalls paired with a leopard-print shirt, and it WORKS. For some, it works.


  1. Came for the Disney references, stayed for the push to get my Christmas shopping going. We generally start immediately after my birthday in late September, but I’m all thrown off this year. If it gets much later, I’ll just buy everyone acid-washed overalls.

  2. Wow is that ever a cool program your school runs. Artist in residence. Wow.

    I was at the mall today to return some pants and get different pants and the crazy Christmas mall thing has already started. It was shocking. It’s Wednesday! Where are all these people coming from? If no one has a job why are we all at the mall? Anyway. Good for you on the shopping being done! I have started putting things away but this year I am for real writing a list of stuff I’ve bought already to avoid the dreaded “one kid got fifteen things and the other one got two” problem.

  3. If having a crush on an inanimate object is wrong, where do I put all these feelings for my refrigerator? I have a biggish chunk of Christmas shopping done, and am feeling singularly uninspired about the rest, except Eve just mentioned a Tardis hat, which sounds like a perfect gift. And there was a tweet the other day about what Satan’s disciple designed the new Bayshore mall parking lot. Seriously, WTF?

  4. Kind of dreading shopping too…

  5. Wow. You rock. I usually don’t start Xmas shopping until around Dec. 12th.

  6. I can’t believe you are finished Christmas shopping. I can’t believe it.

    There will be no frantic Christmas Eve scrambling? No fury over finding Furby? No mad dash to the mall for the latest tar tinker?

    *blink blink*

    You are amazing.

    Also, *fist bump* for the Book Fair awesomeness. You bring lots of joy (and books!!) to lots of people.

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