22 December 2008


From Wikipedia: "possessing an inward contentedness and joy that is not affected by the physical circumstances"

Saturday was a partly cloudy unusually warm day for December in Memphis. I got up early and spent some time reading e-mail, going over some paperwork, addressed some "straggler" Christmas cards that were overlooked during the first writing exercise and prepared three gifts for shipping to Biloxi, Orlando and San Francisco. It's amazing to me how quickly time passes when you're busy and under the gun to get things done. I think I made it to The Mail Center on Madison around 2:00 P.M. There, Mark took my three packages and packed them up and surprised me with stamps for the remaining eight cards I had to mail just as the USPS carrier came in. So far, things were going very well.

Leaving there I reluctantly headed east to BFE because Costco had something I wanted to get Cameron for Christmas. Close to my desination on eastbound I-40, about a mile from the Germantown Road exit, I was nearly rear-ended by a giant-white "schoolbus" (read: Chevy Tahoe) and the turquoise minivan behind it because the woman driving the Tahoe was talking on the phone and failed to notice that I had turned on my emergency flashers a mile earlier to indicate "pay attention, we're slowing from 85 to a dead standstill! Screeching tires on vehicles equipped with anti-lock brakes is very unnerving.

After reassuring myself that I hadn't peed my pants, traffic started moving again and I made it into Costco wondering if this whole retailer-driven side of Christmas is all really worth the hassle, safety risk or credit debt. In my heart I felt a resounding "no."

The "item" I sought was conspicuously missing from the shelves where it usually sits amongst it's overstocked siblings. I was mortified. In order to keep the trip from being a complete waste of time I walked back to the meat department and grabbed a package of generously cut New York Strips. Then cutting through the DVD and books section on my way to the cavernous cleaning supply aisles I picked up a "Jethro-sized" jug of Tide HE and made my way to the checkouts. I ran over a half-mile to the Hoover store and was surprised to see it plastered with "Going out of Business" signs. Inside it was nearly empty. There was a lone, white Constellation marked down to $99 among some random models which were also reduced. I knew I wasn't finding what I was looking for there. But I did manage to snag the last bag of Type "C" HEPA filter bags for my hovering wonder.

From the access road leaving the Hoover store I looked at the traffic on Germantown Parkway and decided to scrap my shopping plans for the day. It just wasn't worth the stress or irritation. Once I got home I was mentally worn out. I told Cameron I wanted to take a nap. Four hours later I woke up thinking it was the next morning. We made dinner and I decided I'd try my conquest for his gifts Sunday morning. I was content with that decision.

Sunday morning I got up and performed my rituals. Dog stuff. Cat stuff. Coffee. E-mail. By 10 A.M. I was headed back out to BFE to Best Buy. Looking very much like one of the people whose behavior I loathe, I called my mother from the "item" aisle and talked with her about which model she thought would be best since she has one of these things. Then, Carey called and we talked about the one which was available at Sam's and coordinating a purchase there since I don't have a Walton anything, let alone a membership card. Because Carey lives on the opposite side of the city in Southaven, I called David and John to see if they'd be up to meeting me -- they live on the north side nearer to BFE.

We met there and found that the one at Sam's was a "540", between the "530" and the "560" I was considering at Best Buy. The only difference I could see was an accessory that I can buy online for $40 if Cameron decides later that he wants it. So, all said, with help from Carey, David and John, I saved $80 on the first gift which made it much easier to buy the second while I was there, saving me a trip to the Apple store.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, Christmas Eve, and I am sitting here finishing this long overdue post while Cameron puts away clean dishes and reloads the remnants of last night's inaugural fruitcake baking. It's on to laundry, last-minute gift wrapping, a noon meeting, and packing.

Joy to the World. It's Christmas! May your days be merry and bright.

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