First, I was counting on getting one gift at a particular store. It was the sure thing! I went to one mall, fighting crowds and sprinkles (of the rain type, not what you find on cookies and cupcakes) only to see the store's space was empty. Hmph.
I decided I'd check the other location on my way to work. I headed to the strip center, fighting traffic nearly the entire way, only to see that location was also dead to me (and anyone else who enjoyed shopping there). I was late for work and irritated when I went online to see the closest location was near an outlet mall - not a realistic option on Christmas Eve. This meant I'd have to find an alternative gift.
So, I went to bed, planning to get up and finish up the shopping. At 5AM, I heard the dog whining. I yelled at him to zip it, then just as I was going to sleep, I heard it.
I got up. I walked down the hall. Where the hell is that beeping coming from? I narrowed it down to the smoke alarms in my office and the hallway.
It was the hallway. Last month, I climbed the ladder and was trying to find out what kind of batteries I needed for the detectors (I have lived in my house nearly four years and have not changed them - I know, it's dumb). I couldn't find a battery hatch. I figured, since they're wired into the ceiling, maybe they didn't need batteries? Now, in a sleepy haze, I found the hatch. I don't have those square battery types in my house. Somehow, letting the alarm dangle from the ceiling got it to stop beeping so I could go back to sleep.
I slept a few hours, then got up to do some shopping. We haven't had rain in months, so I should have been excited about it - except that I had to walk in it. Not a mood lifter. I hit the first store at 9:30. It was calm and quiet - until they lost power for 10 minutes. It wouldn't have been such a problem except registers kind of need electricity since they're computerized.
On to the next store, which was super crowded. I went straight to what I needed, picked out a few items, then found the back of one of two lines. I stood there patiently for 20 minutes (yes, patiently). Then, just as it was my turn, a lady walked right in front of me and turned to put her items on the counter.
ME: The line starts back there.
LADY: I'm in a hurry.
ME: It's Christmas Eve. We're all in a hurry. The line starts back there.
STORE EMPLOYEE: Ma'am, you'll need to get to the back of the line.
LADY: But I'm in a hurry.
STORE EMPLOYEE: I understand. You still have to stand in line.
I was *this* close to throwing down my things and shoving the lady. But she rolled her eyes and moved to the back of the line.
I returned home with enough batteries to replace the ones in every alarm. I wound up replacing the offending one (which involved some expletives and bloodshed - mine, not the alarm's as it's not real, dummy). I'll get to the others later. Oh, if you're taller than me and not afraid of ladders, please stop by my house. I have two alarms that I can't reach. You're a peach!
I understand that shopping on Christmas Eve means crowds and traffic and people who have lost nearly all of their patience. It's also why I will pledge to start shopping at the first sign of Santa next year (stay tuned to see how that goes). But, I am done with the shopping. If you don't get a gift from me this year, it doesn't mean that I don't love you. It just means I was either too lazy or uninspired while shopping. I love you. I really do. And I'll make it up to you at some point in the year.
On a nice note, I did see my Christmas cactus, which I recently replanted in a much larger pot, magically bloomed overnight!