Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Wry Shopping Trip

Tuesday night we had our annual Christmas shopping date. Every year we get a babysitter, go out to lunch, and then do the bulk of our gift shopping. We usually eat at the Hereford House, a Kansas City steak house that serves excellent food. While we are out, the Boss chooses one or two gifts that I buy for her and put under the tree. These gifts are in addition to the gifts that I buy for her that she does not choose. I look forward to this day every year. The Christmas shopping date gives my wife and I the opportunity to talk without interruption. Parents of small children know the value of such an afternoon. This year, it was pushed back to last Tuesday night.

I noticed that Christmas gift shopping is a very serious matter for a great many people. While waiting for the cashier to finish my transaction at a book store, I overheard a clerk trying to figure out how to give a teacher’s discount to a young lady purchasing a stack of books. She didn’t have a school I.D. and he didn’t know what to do. I looked at this woman who was easily in her mid twenties (I am noticeably older) and exclaimed, “Mrs. Jenkins! My third grade teacher! I haven’t seen you in years! How are you?” I smiled at the store clerk. “She’s a teacher. You can trust me. Give her the discount.” I was trying to help. They both glared at me.

I bet she ended up paying full price.

Not everybody was grumpy. A lady strolled past us as we stood in an aisle in Target and discussed a potential gift for the kids. We decided not to purchase that particular item, a variation on the old ring toss game, and I left the aisle observing that it was just a thought, and wasn’t it the thought that counts? Then I wondered aloud if that would work for the children.

“I wonder if we could get away with buying them absolutely nothing for Christmas,” I told the Boss. “The children would wake up Christmas morning with no presents underneath the tree. We’d look at them and say, ‘We thought about giving you presents this year but we decided not to. But hey, it is the thought that counts, right?”

The Boss thought I was insane, but the other lady was laughing. I think I gave her an idea. I’m glad that her kids don’t know where I live.

Since it was only a Tuesday night shopping trip and not full day shopping trip, dinner this year was at a Jason’s Deli and not at a steak house. We were both craving vegetables instead of the higher fat content of standard fast food. While gnawing on a seed embossed whole grain rye cracker (the Boss believed that while she had never eaten wood before she was certain that that is what it would taste like) I pitched my idea for Ye Olde Ruffage Shoppe. Would you eat at a restaurant called Ye Olde Ruffage Shoppe? I think that a chain of mega salad bars along America’s highways might be the perfect weapon in our battle against the effects of travel food upon the gastric systems of our citizenry. We only spent four days on the road last weekend. We didn’t eat out that much, preferring to purchase groceries and eat in our hotel room, but that didn’t withhold the dramatic effects of sudden dietary change on the family. It came to a boil Sunday in the car, when someone in the rear seat attempted a one cheek sneak that quickly became a one cheek reek, necessitating the rolling down of the windows at 75 miles per hour. After it became clear that this problem was affecting more than one member of the family, the Boss observed that we needed a vanity plate that read FRT CRT, and promptly promised me a sudden and very painful death if she ever returned home from work and saw that on the back of our van. Crackers that only a gerbil could love and a bowl a greens might be the perfect antidote!

You just never know where these posts are going to end up when you start them, do you?

Neither do I. 

Well, the shopping trip was a success. We made all of our purchases. The Boss managed to throw out her back executing a side snap kick on a body bag at a sporting goods store, necessitating this morning’s trip to the chiropractor, and I was able to stand underneath the motion sensor at the front door of a Target and offer to open the door with a sweep of my arm for passing ladies. Their bewildered expressions are hilarious. And we spent a few hours alone together, just me and my best friend, shopping for our three little blessings at home.

I hope everyone enjoys the Peace, Love, and Grace of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ tonight, tomorrow, and through the coming New Year.

Merry Christmas!


Linda said...

You sound like a very fun date. I like talking to strangers at the check out as well, and it's icing on the cake when they laugh instead of glare or threaten to call security.
Merry Christmas!

Kathleen said...

You guys are so funny. If it wasn't for the fact that I don't live in KS. And if it wasn't for the fact that a date is normally between 2 people, thus making me a third wheel, I'd love to join you on your annual shopping trip. It sounds like you make shopping a lot more fun than it is. Since my accompanying you seems a bit unlikely, thanks for allowing me to go along virtually!

And you're very correct: "You just never know where these posts are going to end up when you start them, do you?"

Merry Christmas!

jadedfellow said...

Hey Arby,

Praying you and yours have a Good Christmas.


Twisted said...

Oh, I like the vanity plate. I'm just afraid the three here would feel they have to live up to it every time we got in the van.

Oklahoma Granny said...

The house is now quiet. Having had Christmas breakfast with our daughter's family and not being able to travel to my MIL's for dinner I'm catching up on my blog reading. Due to our winter weather yesterday our internet was down. (That's what we get for moving to the country.) As always, your post had me laughing so hard there are tears rolling down my cheeks. If only everyone could see the humor in things this world would be a much happier place. Blessings to you and your family this beautiful Christmas Day!

TobyBo said...

lol, no, I never know where these posts are going to end up. That is why I love them.

Merry Christmas, Arby, to you and yours. :)

tsinclair said...

Sounds like a wonderful tradition. As for the "Ye Olde Ruffage Shoppe", a grand idea if you could just get past the name. :-)

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

GingerB said...

Can my three year old come hang out at your house? I'd like her to try to learn the art of stealth farting instead of constantly telling us "Claire farted!" And if you say yes, I'll give you a Tupperware container of my post Christmas split pea soup, sure to excite the whole family! Don't tell my husband I was over at your blog engaging in potty talk. I've spent years telling him it isn't polite.