Today was the first "real" day of Christmas shopping for us. We headed to Texarkana around 1:30 or so. I usually do not enjoy the "shopping experience." I am one of those guys that likes to get in, get what you need, and get out. Today, however, the kids were with my Mom at her house, so Shan and I had the day to ourselves. We both had a lot of fun! We hit a lot of stores, even though we only browsed in most. We found a couple of things for the kids that we couldn't quite decide on, so we opted to wait and see. Other things we found, we scarfed up quickly! During the day, we observed a few things that made us go "hmmm..."
While in Sears, an older teenager (maybe in early 20's at the very most) walked by with his girlfriend (at least we presume she was). They were walking quickly toward the photo studio, and he was on his cell phone. This is what we heard as they rushed by: "Well, can you tell me if there is a 24-hour Justice of the Peace in (some town) or in Hot Springs?" Shan and I figured they were in some kind of rush if they were looking for an all-night JP! I also couldn't help but wonder what chain of events led up to them rushing through Sears, him on the cell asking for an all-night JP in a town more than 2 hours from where we were. Well, I hope it works out for them. Either way, they have one heck of a tale to tell to their kids and grand kids: "You see, kids, for Christmas one year...."
While in "Bed, Bath and Beyond," I spotted a beer-making kit. I do not drink alcohol anymore (not since college and one very bad night), so I was not interested in the maker itself, so much as what I found nearby. After I passed by, I spotted something interesting across the aisle from the micro-brewery: a self-breathalyzer test. I told Shan that would make a wonderful gag gift for someone: Beer-maker and breathalyzer all in one package! :-) Make it, drink it, test yourself before you wander out the front door... No getting run over by a reindeer for you!
I wore my "Where my Peeps at?" shirt today. I got several laughs, several quizzical looks (which I did not understand since there is a picture of a marshmallow peep ON the shirt, but whatever), and I passed by a teenie-bopper chick (no pun intended, but hey it worked) that was wearing the same shirt. I don't know if that makes me hip, old, old hip-wannabe, or if I have been watching too much TLC Network that I even NOTICED she was wearing the same shirt, and that I actually THOUGHT about it! Holy Crap!
At one point during our shopping spree, we stopped for a bite at Outback. Outback on a Saturday night is a dangerous proposition - you never know if there will be a billion people in line or if you'll actually get seated in a decent amount of time. Turns out, the parking lot was PACKED with cars. I figured we were looking at 20-30 minutes at the minimum. Instead, I was ushered right in (Shan had gone back to the van for her jacket). By the time we left, however, people sat on the benches inside, stood in the doorway, and waited on the benches outside. It was packed!
We had the absolute best service. In fact, we had just finished our pre-meal bread, and I told Shan, "I hope our guy is 'Johnny on the spot' because I'm hungry!" Not two seconds later, he shows up with more bread. His exact words were, "Man, those guys in the kitchen sure are 'Johnny on the spot' tonight!" It was so weird! He brought us refills at the right time, and everything was timed perfectly. We got done with our salads and cheese fries right as the main courses were brought to the table. It was how ALL dining experiences should be! He got a very nice tip.
After we ate, we went to Waldenbooks. While we were there, a boy about 9 or so was pulling his Dad away from whatever books the dad was looking at in order show off a Hot Wheels history book. Not a price guide, but a pictorial history of the cars, styles, models, etc, throughout the years. As I passed by, the boy was eagerly flipping through the pages, rambling excitedly about this car or that car and how he actually HAS that one, or that he SAW this other one. I couldn't help but smile, thinking back to sorting cards with Emily. The father looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and half-laughed. I half-laughed back and nodded in that "I have kids too - cherish this" manner that only parents can use with any authority and integrity.
After a few other stops, we ended up at Shoe Carnival. I am so out of touch with today's trends in tennis shoes that I failed to realize kids are BUYING shoes that have been intentionally ripped apart then patched back up with parts from other shoes. When I was a kid (and teen and beyond for that matter), having shoes like this were considered "bo-bo's" and wearing them guaranteed that you were essentially made an outcast.
Of course, we also did not realize that Shoe Carnival was a dating service as well! Yes folks, when you bought certain shoes, the box has a sticker on it. The sticker says, "Ask for a mate!" How do you explain that to your family? "Well, I went in for a pair of new, patched-up Converse, and I asked for a mate. They gave me one!" LOL, maybe THAT'S what happened with that couple in Sears! The guy buys shoes at Shoe Carnival, gets a mate, and decides he had better find a JP quick before the girl changes her mind! :-) (PS - for the record, I know the 'mate' reference is the fact the box only has one shoe in it because the other one is on display....)
On the way home, I saw a sign for something called "CYMA." I told Shan that must be a recreation center for dyslexic youths... (It'll hit ya soon... wait for it....
AH, there it is...)
In response to my Aunt's request: We did not take pictures at the parade. Our camera batteries died and we had not replaced/charged them... Tartar sauce!
Note: Shameless plugs for various retailers did not result in any financial gain on my part. What the heck is wrong with me!? :-) Oh, and any and all copyrights are property of the respective owners - just in case the "logo" police are watching. And by "logo," I do NOT mean the gay and lesbian channel... Though, really, the "LOGO" logo is the property of the "LOGO" network, I would guess.... Right? Of course. I don't know. "What? What what? Wait, what?" (that last bit a movie quote, or something not unlike one, anyway)