Tag Archives: shopping

Fires, Family and Furious Shopping

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend passed just as I had hoped, with food, family, fun, and ferocious on-line shopping.  And fire.  Don’t forget the fire.  

My mother and grandmother passed down the story of the twenty pound turkey that caught the oven on fire.  It was spoken of in reverent tones, tinged a little with fear, the perfect kind of cautionary tale.  The bird was simply too big.  The grease was simply too copious.  The oven too hot.  


The story never progressed beyond this, just somber and knowing looks all around. 

Did you buy a turkey this year?  Couldn’t find a small one, could you?  Me, either. 

So, an hour into roasting, and the house filling with smoke, I decided to have a look, and in so doing, adding the third element of combustion, oxygen. Up came the flames, and after a couple of boxes of baking soda, most of them were out.  But maybe not all.  911 and I discussed this, even as I heard the sirens on their way from the No. 4 fire station.

By the time the two policemen, the ladder truck, the pumper truck, and the ambulance arrived, everything was out.  Fire terrifies me, thank you “Wizard of Oz,” so I always err on the side of caution.  And such a nice bunch of young men.  Reassuring, helpful, opening windows and bringing in that nice powerful fan to remove the smoke. 

It scared my neighbors, but brought offers of another oven, offers of help and plates of food.  My sister always makes a turkey, too, so she saved the day and has called often to remind me of it.

We had a baby to pass around this year, but mostly I got to rock him to sleep and then hold him for the duration of his nap.  When anyone tried to relieve me of him, I jiggled his leg to make his startle, then told the interloper we best not disturb him.  He and I stayed like that until it was time to go home.  I looked all apologetic at his light sleeping habits, but I wasn’t sorry,, not at all.

My nephews were home with their dogs, who just love me.  I am not much of a pet person, so this guarantees no matter where I go, dogs lick my hands and jump up on me, cats rub around my ankles and silently hop onto the furniture when I’m not looking, the better to peer deep into my eyes. The toddlers I really want to play with?  I am dead to them.

Reading’s dog, Kobe, will stay with his grandparents for the week.  He pulled one of his master’s sweatshirts out of his bag, and flopped down on it.  I am told he will pine for Reading until he returns, moving from the sweatshirt to the front door and back again.  It’s sweet, and pitiful, and I don’t know what all. 

Friday I spent over an hour attempting to buy a 2022 planner on a Taiwanese website.  I am fussy about planners and am convinced the right one will change my life in all the good ways.  I will be taller, thinner, smarter, more accomplished.  This one has Tomoe River paper, of which I am quite fond.  Vertical weeks, month at a glance pages in a handsome grid pattern. 

A pal of mine likes calendars, too, whispering like it might be a great shame she gets new calendars all year long when the old ones get messy.  Oh, I get it. 

Somewhere in this calendar buying, she also posted on Facebook a photo of a new notebook she bought, something to give her that last little push to finish the semester and the year with success.  So, I had to check those out, too.  

They are Decomposition notebooks, made completely with recycled materials, which I often eschew because I don’t like the paper.  But these are great.  The size and shape of traditional composition books, they have wonderful covers and inside illustrations, and I bought several, to end my year right and organize me, too.

When they arrived I felt like John Boy on Christmas Eve with his stack of Big Chief tablets.  This friend of mine is cool, but she is starting to cost me money.  I admit I am “other directed,” a fancy term for being a follower, all shallow and insecure.   But right this minute, I am organized and creative, and too cool to hang around here much longer. And tall, don’t forget tall.

Winter Shopping

I am not a big shopper. Most often when I do get around to it, I am sitting in front of a keyboard, while sitting on my sofa and flipping through Netflix offerings will clicking on ads that entice me on Facebook.

I have never liked to shop, especially for clothes, and my forays into clothing stores are more about restocking inventory than shopping sprees. Shopping implies discovery and adventure, a certain excitement and delight. Restocking implies exactly what it is, a list that instructs “one of these, four of those, a pack of those unless they can be purchased separately, then get two.”

And let’s face it, customer service—remember customer service?—has died a slow and painful death, has been dying for years, and some days it seems that it is as dead and buried as our ancient forbearers.  Now there is much discussion about the death of “brick and mortar” stores, and we have a shuttered mall to prove it. It has orphaned brothers and sisters all over the country, and I have sat on my sofa and contributed to their demise, and chalked it up to progress, and congratulated myself on moving with the times.

But then, one day, my phone wouldn’t work. That very sophisticated and expensive bit of technology from which I am inseparable, had a malady, and there was nothing to do but make an appointment with a twelve-year old “genius,” who hangs out at his “bar” at the Apple store, and so I signed up—on line and with some complications—for an appointment, on Wednesday, at 1:30, in Nashville.

It was a cold and rainy day, the middle of the week, in the middle of winter, and we pulled into the Dillard’s adjacent to The Mall at Green Hills. My pal, Alice, was having Apple troubles, too, so we had dual appointments and some time to kill. I had a wedding coming up and, while I had ordered some clothes, and then some shoes, I thought, why not take a gander in Dillard’s, just for the fun of it.

Well. You all.

Shiela was there, folding clothes and looking a tad bored, and since I was only one of two customers who seemed to be on the entire floor, she made a beeline for me, and help me she did. She was great. It was old school customer service, with honest opinions, and multiple trips to get me different sizes, and I left with an armload of things, all giggly at my good fortune and with feelings of genuine warmth for Sheila.

On my way to find Alice, I passed the Bobbi Brown counter, and Elliot was there, fussing around with the displays in a half-hearted way. He perked right up when I asked about the pot rouge and he fixed me right up with color, and lipsticks and an expensive but magical brush. Then he spent a good fifteen minutes showing me how to use that brush.

I looked fabulous.

Alice was having the same kind of luck over at the Origins counter. We carried our treasures—for they were treasures, so small and dear—in their nice little bags and blew kisses over our shoulders. Elliot and Alice’s person blew kisses back. I swear, it seemed as if we did, as we floated toward the escalator in the embrace of such goodwill.

We got a bit lost trying to find the mall from Dillard’s, but no worries…Tate saw our confusion and walked us to the door, then over the pedestrian walkway and waited and watched to make sure we found the mall’s back entrance.

I swear, it was if they had opened Dillard’s just for us. And the service at the Apple store was superb, too. And the Cheesecake Factory. Williams-Sonoma. Lush. Sundance. Nordstrom’s. And all the shops we popped into.

And we didn’t even venture into the fanciest and finest. Those scenes from old 60’s movies finally made sense, the images of the idle rich shopping with abandon, think Mrs. Maisel sashaying through Manhattan with bags and boxes stacked taller than the doorman’s head.

They say that bricks and mortar stores aren’t dead, but are transforming. Shoppers—read that millennials— love to shop, but want not just for goods, but for experiences. I get that, too. Shopping as theatre, spectacle, entertainment. Let me say, if retailers can deliver that, all presented with the big bow of outstanding customer service, then sign me up.

I will take a second job just to be able to see Elliot again.