If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Friday, November 25

Black Friday

I love all of my crazy, midnight shopping, bargain hunting, deal finding, black Friday crowd fighting friends. Really I do. But I will never, ever be on enough of a budget to make me do that. Ever. But then, I don't have kids. So if I don't have money for Christmas, I just don't. The end. 

I've never ever experienced Black Friday. Not at Wal-Mart, not at the mall, not anything. On the Friday after Thanksgiving I am normally enjoying leftovers from our turkey dinner or working. The closest I had ever gotten to Black Friday in the past was getting up early the day after Christmas to hit Target for the sales. That's MY favorite shopping day of the year. Clearance. 

So having said all of this, last night my intention was to experience some of the "goodness" that was black Friday. First hand. Up close and personal. Because I really believe you can't judge someone until you've lived their experience. So there's a little girly shop down the road a bit that I really like. They were having a "football widow" open house on Thanksgiving night from 7-10. OK, I thought, I can do that. That's not crazy. 

So I told my best-friend-since-8th-grade-Amy that I was planning to go and she said she'd like to go along too. She was meeting her daughters later for a trip to Wal-Mart and a nearby mall at midnight and asked if I would want to join them. I thought, "Maybe I will! Old Navy is giving cameras away and I do need a camera. I think I can stay up until midnight. Why not?" Wal-Mart madness started at 10pm and I thought I really could make it for some of that. Maybe even go to Old Navy. Or Best Buy, be out until the wee hours of the morning. It all sounds fun in theory, doesn't it? Kinda like sneaking out of your dorm room to see the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show with a group of your friends and then having to sleep in the airport because the dorms are locked until 6 a.m. Not that I've done that. 

So we met up at 6 and drove to the open house. Now, this shop is in an old house that has been made into a store. It has separate rooms and not the best "flow". You have to enter and exit some of the rooms through the same door. Every time I've been there in the past there have been less than 5 people in the store. 

We got there and stood out in the cold in line for about 20 minutes. They were giving freebies to the first 50 people who showed up and we figured we'd hopefully get something. When they finally opened the doors, everyone started pouring in and the house filled up quickly. Most of the ladies started making a bee line for the items they were most interested in. We collected our free gifts and tried to push through the crowd to find items we wanted that were on special that night. 

Inside the door was a huge display filled with items for $5 on special for that night. This immediately clogged up the entryway. I fought my way through, wishing I hadn't brought in my purse, as it was impeding my "pushing through crowd" progress. I couldn't get close enough to the display to see if there was anything I wanted so I let the crowd push me back into the other room. I couldn't even get out of the way. I was being pushed and pulled and everything else you could imagine.

I tried getting from one room to the next and couldn't because someone's husband was standing in the hallway blocking traffic. I stood behind him for what seemed like 5 minutes before I realized, Good Grief! He isn't waiting on the crowd to part, he's just standing there!!!!!!! 

"Argh! No unnecessary people need to be in here right now! It's crowded enough with people who are shopping. GET OUUUUTTTTT OF MY WAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!" I said inside my head

Out loud was just a small "excuse me" as I pushed past him. I ended up in a small hallway where a tiny bathroom had been set up for displaying mongrammed towels and the like. I stepped in there to quell my arising panic. My friend saw me and came in too. 

"omg this is crazy!" we said to one another. Then she looked behind me and exclaimed "Is that MONOGRAMMED toilet paper!"

I noticed she already had her arms full of stuff. I just walked out.

Back to the front room where everyone was pushing and shoving to get to the $5 monogrammed lotion. OK no M's or H's so. Moving right along. By now the lines for the checkout were stretching across the front room. I want to get in there to see the purses but it seems all but hopeless. 

At first I think I see my friend, she's made it to the $5 table. She waves me over and as she is digging through the baskets, thrusts a nightlight into my hands with an H on it. 

"AWESOME!!!" I say, as if I have been looking for this all of my life. 

As we stand digging through monogrammed mirrors, brushes, nightlights and hand painted christmas glasses, my friend says out loud "What the hell is going on? WHY did everyone bring their husbands and kids??? They are just taking up space that those of us with credit cards need to shop!!! They should leave the husbands and kids at HOME!!!"

The girl standing next to me giggled, and I said to my friend "OMG that is why we're friends, I was thinking the same thing. They are just standing there blocking the shelves."

I picked up a couple gift items, which weren't on sale at all by the way, and just tried to make my way into the other room where all the kitchen stuff and candles were. It seemed to take forever. I didn't see my friend, the lines were getting longer, and I just couldn't think straight enough to know what to grab. 

I hear someone in the crowd say "Oh, LOOK! A monogrammed flask!" and when I look, there is a bin full of silver flasks positioned directly over a sign that says "We have great gifts for all the teachers on your list!" 

I had to smile at that and if I could have reached my phone I would have snapped a picture. But I couldn't, I couldn't even raise my arm. So I decided to call it a day and get in the long, long lines that had formed erraticly across the front room. 

Then I get a text. "I am in line, bring me your stuff and I will pay, not too far from the front." I look across the room and my friend is in the line on the other side of the room. Not even 20 feet away, but blocked from me getting to her by dozens of people.

I look at her and shrug, then text "I don't think I can get there, I'll wait." She and I text back and forth while we're waiting in line. 

Moments later when we've checked out and struggled our way back through the store to the front porch, she picks me up outside the store. When we look at the clock she says "Oh, my gosh. It is only 7:35 we were only in there for 35 minutes!"

I laugh and say "Well, that answers one question....how long does it take for me 
to work up to a full blown panic attack?"

It really did seem that we were there for hours. I decided right then and there that was the LAST time I'd ever participate in anything remotely related to black friday. When we got back to Wal-Mart Amy dropped me at my car, took  my front row parking spot, and went in to stand in line for a great deal on a television. Then went to the mall and got home at 2am. 

I? Went home, put on pj's and ate dinner. 

You guys are so brave. And so crazy. Honestly.

Thursday, November 24

The Giving of Thanks

So today, in my country, it is the designated day for giving thanks. A day to be spent with family and turkey and dressing and pies. The third Thursday of November.

Many of my friends have been engaging in "Thirty Days of Thanksgiving" on Facebook, each day posting something for which they are thankful. It has been incredibly interesting to read each day the items posted by everyone. I think it is important for everyone to realize that there are so many things to be grateful for in all of our lives, even when things aren't going 100% to our liking.

I haven't been participating in it because I already list for myself things I am grateful for each and every day in my gratitude journal. Four years ago I picked up the book, Simple Abundance. I came to this book more than 10 years after its publication date. I can honestly say that when the book first came out, although it was wildly popular, I wasn't in a place in my life to read it.

But when I found it second hand and picked it up, I had been through so much in the in between years, I thought I was finally ready to read it. I wasn't. It took me two more years to make the commitment to read it and really think about it and take action. One of the things you are asked to do in the book is to keep a gratitude jounal, and make an entry of 5 things you are grateful for each and every day. That's right, I said every day.

At first it was hard, and I couldn't come up with new stuff. In the beginning it was big, broad stuff like "family" "husband" "the trees" "the good weather" I mean seriously, 5 things every day? After a while, several months, I learned to go through my day looking for things to be thankful for that evening when I wrote in my journal. I began looking for and recognizing small moments, small things that really changed my day or the way I viewed myself. Eventually I began to expect these moments. And I wasn't disappointed.

During the time she was writing the book, Sarah Ban Breathnach speaks of hard times going on in our country, how the markets aren't doing well and how to deal with being OK with what you have. The first time I was reading through the book (I began it in Jan. 2010, 15 years after it was published) I couldn't remember things being bad in the country, or the country going through such a crisis in the early 1990's. I also thought how interesting it was that such things were still relevant to us today in this economy.

So the point of all this chatter is this. It finally dawned on me, 3/4 through my 2nd reading of this book. For the past 2 years, husband and I have been going through the worst financial time in our 18 years together. Or maybe it just seems that way. He's been laid off, I can't find a job, we moved, our home lost value and we lost our equity, we are in more debt than we've ever been. I spend so much time being sorry for myself over the way life used to be, and how we could afford anything we wanted and how those days are over.

But the realization I had in the shower this morning? Is that this is the FIRST time in 18 years together that we've been through something like this. Yes, it sucks, and yes, it feels like it will never end. But there have been some pretty big financial crises and hard times in our country over the past 20 years. And this is the FIRST time we've really felt it.

So that is what I am thankful for today. That and pecan pie. And pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!

Monday, November 7

The Times They Are a'Changin'!

This weekend was the ending of daylight saving time (DST). I am not a fan of it. Not at all. I understand the origins, and that it was used to extend daylight hours for farmers and make full use of the sun during the growing season. I just don't think it makes any sense. 

To me, the result of DST the way it is is that we have these enormously long summer days in which it's daylight until like 9pm or so. Then when they take it away, it's dark by 4:30 all winter. Wouldn't we want more sunshine in the winter? It already gets dark earlier in the winter as it is, but that extra hour just pushes it up to a ridiculously short day! I really don't get it. If I could ever vote to get rid of daylight savings time I totally would. 

It seems to cause confusion for people, and it has always served as an excuse for people to show up late, whether the time is going forward or back. But for me, it hit new levels this weekend. I was in another time zone when the time "fell back". At no point during the day on Sunday did I ever know what time it really was. I spent the day in a fog. "Is this our time or their time? Did this change automatically or do I need to change it? What time should we be there? Oh, just call me when it's time, good grief." What. a. nightmare.

When I got home, I thought it would all be over, but no. Some of the clocks had been changed and some not. Maybe by Tuesday I will have it cemented in my brain, but for now my body is totally confused. I went to bed at 8:30 last night, tried to read my way through a few more pages of a Tom Wolfe novel (has anyone ever used so many words? So many unnecessary details like ever?) fell asleep within 20 minutes and woke up at 3:30 am wide awake. Now, 8:30 would be 9:30, which is my normal heading for the bed time, but why I was up at 3:30 am is beyond me except for the fact that I would have gotten 7 hours of much needed sleep in my own bed, and my body isn't used to much more than that. 

It sort of reminds me of when I was growing up. My dad is a fanatic about being on time. He would go around on Saturday night and change the time on all the clocks right after dinner. So. confusing. Don't do this to your kids! All of our tv shows were off, the news came on at the wrong time, we got sent to bed and had no idea why since it wasn't really our bedtime. 

The result is that my younger brother would milk it for weeks. If it was 9pm and mom told him to go to bed he would say "but it's REALLY only 8 o'clock, REAL time, so I don't have to!" This would go on forever and then in the spring would change to "But it's REALLY only 6 am so I don't have to get up now!" Finally, his 9 year old older sister would get sick of it and say "See that clock? Whatever time that says IS the real time. The old time doesn't exist anymore, drop it, doofus!"

Aaaah. Siblings. Maybe I will call today and ask my brother what time it is, just for old time's sake.