Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and a Black Friday Flashback

As I sit here being eternally thankful that my parents' house didn't burn down around us today (despite the oven's best efforts. But that's a blog for another day. With pictures!), and sharpening my elbows in preparation for the execution of my Black Friday shopping strategy (which begins in just under an hour and a half from now), I decided to pull an old blog from the archives to repost. It's a retelling of my adventures from Black Friday 2008. I promise to be back soon with tales of more Black Friday shopping tomfoolery. Lord willing.


Friday, November 28, 2008

I Braved Black Friday Crowds and Lived to Tell the Tale

As everyone knows, today is THE biggest shopping day of the year. And could I even pretend to claim shopping as my spiritual gift if I were unwilling to venture out pre-sunrise on Black Friday? That would be a negative, Ghostrider. So after 3 stops last night to locate a newspaper for the ads, I finally got my hands on the ads and planned my shopping strategy, which began with getting to JC Penney at 4:00 AM. I cannot tell you the last time I saw 4:00 AM willingly. Or if I've EVER seen 4 AM willingly.

The line at JCP was pretty short when I parked at 3:40 AM (WHAT?!?!). So I waited in my locked van (Have I mentioned that, due to my stranger phobia, I rarely, if ever, venture out in the dark alone? Let's just say I've seen 1 too many TV shows where fake crimes have been committed against fictional characters. I'm a little jumpy in the dark. Today was a real breakthrough for me.) until 3:50 and then got in line to wait. To my supreme luck, it began sprinkling. But seriously, due to my bad habit of neglecting to clean out my van of all the extra crap that accumulates over time, I was surprisingly prepared with a waterproof pull-over.

I got into JCP at 4, and went straight to the toys where I was hoping to score a Batmobile for Cade for the low low price of $15. Too bad it was a remote-controlled vehicle, which was not what I was wanting at all. I browsed the jewelry section briefly, until I noticed a Chester Molester looking fella who seemed to be following me around (paranoid, much? I told you- it's a real problem). So I hightailed it out of JCP and drove to the-store-who-must-not-be-named, where all the great deals started at 5:00.

Apparently, our store-who-must-not-be-named is open 24 hrs. Which means that, rather than everyone waiting in line outside, these same crazies were INSIDE WITH THEIR CARTS clogging up the aisles. It was ridiculous. I could barely get down any of the aisles to figure out where the cheap crap I wanted was located. I was on a mission for the $29 bike and parked my own cart right next to them. I befriended 2 ladies who were shopping together and they shared some Black Friday secrets with me and 1 of them even kept an eye on my cart whilst I mapped out the remainder of my plan of attack. As I was standing in the Crayola aisle examining an art set, a kind lady politely informed me that I had put my top on inside out. Nice. It was one of those longer tops (a friend of mine calls them "shresses"- is it a shirt? a dress? It's a shress!) and I did have a sweater over it, so I don't think it was too obvious. In my defense, I got dressed quickly AND in the dark, so it was an honest mistake, to be sure. I made a mental note to turn it the right way once I was safely back in my locked van.

At 5:00 store-who-must-not-be-named time, someone must have blown a whistle or threw down a flag or something, b/c all of the crazies simultaneously began lunging toward the pallets loaded with merchandise. I quickly got my bike and even scored the Batmobile. I was checked out and loaded back in my van headed to Toys R Us by 5:10. Not too shabby.

By the time I got to TRU, there was no waiting in line. The crazies were inside the store already. Thankfully, my children are not of the age that electronics are the order of the day, so I was able to steer around those crowds and head straight to the Iron Man dress up costume that I think Micah giggle with delight over on Christmas morning. Actually, I had one helpful associate help me locate my item and the poor guy got accosted 4 different times with various questions while trying to point me in the right direction. I hope those employees got holiday pay or a back massage or something extra for helping all the crazies today.

I was out the door of TRU by 5:30, so I scooted on over to Target for the $15 Air Hog helicopter, which is the ONLY thing Micah has asked for this year. Cade, on the other hand, wants one of everything. When I took him to TRU a few weeks ago, his pure unadulterated joy at every item on the shelves (Wrapping paper! Awesome! Transformers! Awesome! That dino thing! Awesome! That unidentifiable toy! Awesome! Literally this is how it went until I threatened to take him home if he didn't stop making me look like the mom who keeps her kid locked in a closet with little to no contact to the outside world.) was endearing and yet disturbing at the same time. Either we need to teach him more about thankfulness and appreciating what you have or this kid needs to get out more.

ANYWAY, when I got to Target, the line was wrapped around the building. Obviously, I missed the memo that Target had some not-to-be-missed deals, b/c I was just there for a flimsy plastic helicopter. I conducted an informal poll of people standing in line near me and the general consensus was that no one was there for any one thing in particular. Except me. By the time I located the Air Hogs, there were only 3 left. I picked up one to look at it and while I was examining it for suitability, the other 2 got snatched up. So I decided to purchase the one I was holding by default.

The checkout lines at Target weren't too intimidating either and I was back in my warm (locked) van by 6:20. My next stop was Kohl's, but I knew I needed some edible reinforcements before I braved the looooong lines that Kohl's is notorious for every day of the week, not to mention Black Friday. To my credit, I went to Kohl's on Wednesday and put the toys I was purchasing on hold. Now, my friends, aren't you glad you've read this diatribe thus far for that little tidbit of info? Yes, it's true. If you do holds on Wednesday, they will still be waiting for you at the customer service counter on Friday. It took no time to get the goods, but it took forever to check out. 20 minutes. By far the longest wait to checkout, hands down. It was 7:30 when I drove away from Kohl's.

I made a couple of other superflous stops on the way home, including a stop in the McD's drive-thru for breakfast for the children. I was home by 8:00 AM on a major shopping high, just 4 short hours after beginning my excursion. Once the kiddos were seated around the table chowing down on their eggs and sausage, I went back to bed.

For the most part, my Christmas shopping is complete!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Google feed questions

I realized recently that my blog only shows up as a partial feed in Google reader. Is this a completely annoying turn-off for blog readers?

I've had a continuously burning mental struggle considering the merits and drawbacks of partial and full feeds. Which probably means I need to get a real life.

On the one hand, I feel like a partial feed makes my stats more accurate because it pushes my traffic to the actual site so I can see how many people actually read my blog. Or at least navigate to it, even if they did find it by googling "I'm a very humble person t-shirt."

And let's be honest- I'm no Pioneer Woman. If my blog was getting zillions of hits daily, I don't think I would really care about stat-counting anymore. I would just know people were reading. I'd know it by the fact that my blog would have hundreds of comments. Because I'm intuitive like that. But if I get 20ish hits in a day, I'm pretty pumped. 30 or more and I'm ready to break out the good wine. The one you drink from the box.

On the other hand, I prefer to be able to access full feeds through reader which makes me a hypocrite, plain and simple. There are few blogs I find myself interested in enough to click through the partial feed to the original post. I try to leave comment love on all of the smaller blogs I read (which means accessing the original post), but the others, like PW, I just peruse in my reader because I'm lazy.

So, what say you, readers? Both of you. Partial or full feed? Or Choice C, which is "I think you should just shut this whole operation down, stat!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I have a confession (Alternate title: The Dumbest Reason Not to Blog)

I haven't blogged in almost a month. Have I been busy? Absolutely. But has a tiny part of me just been avoiding blogging altogether? Absolutely.

See, I have a serious case of blog envy. Serious. Because my blog doesn't have a niche. I've faced this before. I tried to pretend it doesn't bother me. But lately it's been paralyzing to the point of avoiding the blog completely.

I don't have goals for my blog. I never really figured I needed them. I was blogging because I liked it. But somewhere along the way, I realized there's so much more that REAL bloggers do that I don't. I don't have a niche. I can't take pictures worth beans. Based on the number of meals I've burned/overcooked/otherwise rendered inedible lately in my lifetime, there's no need to be tuning in for the debut of my cooking blog. I work full-time, so I'm not writing a homeschool/preschool/mom-blog. I consider myself successful when I access wireless internet on my iPhone without imploding the universe, so I certainly can't add anything to the tech blog scene. Of course, there's nothing like good writing, and this is nothing like good writing. And have you read Boomama and Bigmama? Wit that cannot be matched.

So, what exactly am I doing and why would anybody want to read (besides you, mom)?

I considered participating in NaBloPoMo just to get back on the bandwagon, but seriously, NOVEMBER? That's like saying, "You know what's brilliant? For me to impose completely unnecessary and arbitrary stress into my life really close to the holidays when I'm already thisclose to needing a dose or ten of Prozac in order to manage all the gift-buying, menu-planning, schedule-juggling, budget-drafting, house-decorating, school-partying hoopla that accompanies this quarter of the year!"

So, maybe I'm having a tiny identity crisis. An itsy bitsy pity party. If you want to join me, I'll bring the black balloons and you bring the snacks. You definitely don't want me cooking.