Is it Christmas yet?

the-mall

Because if I have to go to one more mall I’m gonna lose it.

This holiday season has been a particularly hectic one for my family. In addition to the usual festivities, we took a five day trip to Florida to celebrate my best friend’s wedding. We had a wonderful long weekend of extended family fun, but all of the stresses of the season were patiently waiting for us as soon as we got home.

I also contracted the plague on my way to FL and have been hacking up a lung ever since. That, plus the stomach flu I also managed to catch in the middle of all the mayhem, made for a rather unpleasant couple of weeks.

Thankfully, I planned ahead. I ordered a third of my gifts online, in one fell swoop, courtesy of Amazon.com and had them all shipped to my final destination (my parent’s house in MA.) The remaining two-thirds were organized (by store) on my Christmas to-do list.

Last Wednesday, when I was finally feeling well enough (and unmedicated enough) to drive, I headed home to MA. The next day, list in hand, I managed to finish all of my Christmas shopping – in one day.

I was on fire. I had to go to at least five different malls/shopping centers to find everything, but other than driving all over hell and creation, it was relatively easy. There was hardly any traffic and I even got a great parking spot everywhere I went.

I was smug as a bug in a rug, zipping around town, silently congratulating myself on my superior planning skills and laughing at everyone who got up at the ass crack of dawn on Black Friday. There would be no elbow-throwing over cheap LCD TVs at Walmart for this girl, no sir!

By the time I got home, car fit to bursting with Christmas consumerism, I was exhausted. I also had to pee, thanks to the three iced green teas I’d gotten at three different Panera Breads throughout the day. So, I brought in an arm load of stuff, took care of business, plopped down on the couch and said, ‘Meh, I’ll deal with the rest of the stuff tomorrow.’

And deal with it I did.

After leaving my trunk open. All night. In the pouring rain.

As you may have guessed, the next morning I awoke to a mess of epic proportions – piles of disintegrated shopping bags and sopping wet sweaters, mushy cardboard boxes and small electronics cased in plastic, bobbing merrily in the pond that was now the trunk of my car.

Cue frantic, mad-cap drying of ruined Christmas gifts!

I would never knowingly give anyone a gift that had been damaged in any way, but I had no scruples about returning everything to the store and buying new stuff.

So I hung up all the clothes and meticulously peeled away every speck of wet tissue paper. I took a hair dryer to anything in a cardboard box and thankfully, due to the ridiculous amount of packing materials in those things, there was no irreparable damage – though the boxes themselves were a little lumpy after a bout with the dryer. The DVDs and electronics were all so heavily encased in plastic that they probably would have been fine, but they were by no means airtight and there was quite a bit of condensation inside, so they got a blast from the hair dryer too.

Then my dad and I went out for chili dogs while I waited for everything to dry.

photo

The next several days were all about driving to every mall within fifty miles of central Massachusetts (including one in New Hampshire) to return all the water damaged items, then driving to the same store in a different mall to purchase the items all over again. Call me paranoid, but I thought it might look a little suspicious if I re-purchased the exact same stuff I had just returned.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and the rest of it… Suffice it to say I am now intimately acquainted with the floor plans and parking garages of more malls than is natural for any one person and the magnetic strip on my AMEX card is all but worn off, but I did it. My Christmas shopping is finally finished…again.

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags

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