It’s hard to say this was the first week of the Christmas season – but it feels like it. Sure, Vicky and I have planning things for a while and, in fact, she already knows what she’s getting. A 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. That’s it. End of holiday.
Actually, that’s exactly why we had to get the holiday started. The last thing we wanted was to make it all about a car!
And so, Saturday afternoon, I set off for the Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, one of my new favorite places. The nice thing is that they have different things! That’s the key: different! Every mall is just the same, you know? With its same department stores and same book stores and same game stores, every mall is just a carbon copy of the last. (Go ahead. Go look up “carbon copy”.) But the Anti-Mall sells other stuff. And that’s what I wanted. Other stuff.
So, I ended up buying Vicky a couple gifts and Sean a gift and, cough, me a gift – and I didn’t break the bank, thankfully. I can’t tell what I bought for Vic but I will tell you what I nearly bought. I found this beautiful locket, the kind you put a picture inside of, that I thought Vicky would just love. The trick was that it wouldn’t close. I squeezed it close over and over but – no closey. The clerk came over, this tall beauty made for retail jewelry sales, and after I explained the problem she went to work on it. After several minutes of watching her work harder than she had all day, she got it closed.
… then, it wouldn’t open.
So, I went on my way… quickly.
At another store, the clerk ringing up my purchase asked me, “Did anyone help you with this today?” I wasn’t expecting the question. “Excuse me?” I replied. “Did anyone help you with this today?” he repeated. All I could figure is that he was told to ask this. I mean, surely he must know what kind of customer service minefield he was walking into. And, after all, nobody had helped me with that – nobody had helped me at all. So, I gave him a courteous, “No,” while thinking, “Guess that means you suck, doesn’t it? Happy you asked?”
Meanwhile, at home, Vicky was preparing to bake. I’ve come to acknowledge that Christmas baking is not a tradition with Vic, it’s a bodily function. Even if I’m already fat – oh, and I’m already fat – she’ll still bake. She’ll bake up a storm of sweet, tasty yummies and leave them out for me to eat. And, as much as I might love them, that’s beside the point! Every cookie makes me fatter, hon! But, seriously, I think she’s just trying to get rid of me and make way for a younger man who has better luck with lockets.
Our tree this year is recycled. How is this possible? Well, it helps when you have a friend who buys trees he doesn’t need. The story goes like this: Sean used to work at Restoration Hardware. He bought a big, fake tree with his employee discount for next to nothing, brought it home, and put it into storage. Then, he offered it to us. We, of course, took it – cause I’m a cheap bastard. What we didn’t realize was that Sean’s next to nothing price came with some interesting discoveries. For instance, the box states that the tree comes with lights. It does, but they’re not the kind you can plug in and light up. They are, instead, the kind someone chopped up and threw in haphazardly. Very strange. But Vicky got it assembled and looking good – if sans illumination.
This big tree came with a big necessity: ornaments. We decided to go out and get some ornaments. Where from? Costco, of course. (I admit it; it’s one of my favorite stores…) I found some very pretty ornaments that looked like hearts, which helped give our tree a love theme. Vicky found ornaments that looked like shoes and purses…
My wife, ladies and gentlemen.
We haven’t decorated the tree, yet, but the lights Vicky strung give it a simple beauty. Fortunately, I got her to abandon the shoes and purses.