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Black Friday

December 07, 2008 By: nooccar Category: holidays, Leisure

Four years ago our friends Ryan & Laura got us hooked on Black Friday. Before that I just knew it was some crazy day when everyone mobbed the stores. I just didn’t get it. Now I am the mob. Well, I am not crazy like the year Ryan went to stand in line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving after dinner to get those flat screen TVs, but I sure do enjoy my Black Friday now. My friends, with whom we spend Thanksgiving, think I am odd when I show up for dinner Thursday with my backpack full of newspaper ADs, a couple pens and highlighters, and a notebook.

This year we didn’t really need anything, but there were a few big ticket items someone else wanted us to pick up for them (vague on purpose since the recipient of one may read this). Two years ago Claire was so young that she mostly slept through Black Friday, weighing down our arms as we stood in lines all morning. Last year there was no way I was taking a 2 1/2 shopping. We asked our former school nurse to watch her over night, and that was perfect. This year Donna wanted to take her with us. Oh boy. I tried to get the regular babysitter to take her but she was busy with family, I wanted to call another younger sitter, but Donna said no. I even tried to leave her with friends, but Donna just said we’d take her with us. I wasn’t thrilled. I told Donna it was her fault if Claire flipped out, and that she’d have to deal with her. Donna agreed.

3AM comes early when you’re up at 11PM. I must’ve missed the alarms and it was after 3:30AM when Claire and I rolled out of bed. She was wide awake. Donna wasn’t. We dragged Mama outta bed and was out the door a little after 4AM. Our first stop was Walmart for those big ticket items. We pulled in and people were streaming into the store. The sale wasn’t until 5AM, but it was a 24 hour store. People were getting into lines and huge piles of sale items were being guarded by employees. At first, an employee had me in the wrong line for 15 minutes before I loved to the (much longer now) correct line. At 5AM a wave of rushing, ripping and groaning rolled across the store as people broke into the piles of good stuff. Black Friday had begun.

I stood in line for that big ticket item for 2 hours and it killed me to not be running around the store with everyone else. Donna and Claire were hiding with our buggy in the bedding aisle, near where a display with $30 bed sets was devoured in minutes. I began texting her to make sure to grab everything else on our list so we could run when we were done. I thought I was getting a good deal on these big ticket items, but later in the day I saw them in two other stores for the same price! Ugh.

We moved from store to store throughout the day. Occasionally we stood in line, and mostly the customer service wasn’t too terrible (except a few ladies in Walmart who spoke no English and had no idea where the sales were in the damn store!). We picked up 20+ DVDs that we didn’t need, and I got an awesome 16G USB drive for like $30 (the day after I saw the same one at Radio Shack for $150. WTF!)

In the morning we left the house in the dark, and by the time we headed home it was dark again. This was 14 hours later. Even though we really needed nothing, we spent a grand and partied like rockstars all day long.

Claire sings Christmas carols

December 07, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, holidays

Crunchy onions & bacon bits.

November 26, 2008 By: nooccar Category: holidays

The wife asked me to stop at Walmart on the way home to pick up some bomb green bean casserole someone told her about. Well, Claire and I searched every single aisle and it was terrible. I called Donna back and she said it was frozen, so we headed back to the frozen foods. I found the “Stock Supervisor” whose nametag said he had 10 years of service and experience at Sam Walton’s crazy blue box. This man walked the same aisles I just walked and shrugged his shoulders. I was outta luck.

I called Donna back to tell her the news, and all she told me was to buy the ingredients and make it myself. Damn. And I thought maybe I could get out of it. I wasn’t sure what was in this stuff and since I knew there was mushroom soup mix, I knew I would never ever be eating it at all. Fougeddaboutit! NO. But other people were counting on me including my ever increasingly 3 1/2 year old whine bucket.

As I walked the aisles aimlessly I saw a students of mine who’d not been in class earlier that day. Never one to miss an opportunity to catch someone try to pull the wool over on my eyes, I called out to her as I approached her in our aisle. She immediately began talking to me, and at first acted like she was caught. Then she began to explain that she didn’t have her homework because her stepdad was arrested and she couldn’t get into her house since the police were still in their with search warrants.

Damn, I’ve heard some good ones, but not this one. Somewhere while she was telling me this tale, I noticed crunchy onion strips in her cart and nothing else. I pointed to them and asked where they were. Her friend was with her (who I taught last year) and pointed back down the aisle. I told the friend to go grab me one, so she did. I told my student that I needed the same ingredients, and I said “Let’s Shop!” So Claire and I, my former student and current student went looking for groceries. We found the mushroom soup mix, and then I saw the bacon bits. I knew I needed them for a broccoli salad I wanted to make so I told the girl to grab them. She read the directions on the back, and we went on search of those ingredients, too.

Within 10 minutes we both had everything we needed, and I didn’t have to think at all! They picked out what they needed and grabbed an extra one of each for my cart! Claire and I were out of there and on our way home in no time.

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A toddler’s Black Friday

November 26, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, holidays, Parenthood

I love this time of the year. Until a couple of years ago I never considered shopping on Black Friday; I just knew it was a day to stay away from the stores. Three years ago, that all changed. Our friends, Ryan & Laura, introduced us to the whole concept and idea of getting really cheap, cool stuff. Ever since then, we’ve been shopping on Black Friday. Last year Claire at 2 1/2 was too young to go out, so our former school nurse watched her overnight at her family’s house. This year Donna wants to try Black Friday with Claire.

I’ve been going through the ADs recently, but I’ve not seen anything really cool yet. There’s not a ton we need, but there are some cool things we’ll probably pick up. We typically hit CostCo, Penney’s, Kohl’s (which we may skip this year!), Old Navy, Super Target, and Best Buy. Last year we shopped at Tempe Marketplace, and the stores are all in a circular pattern. We walked the circle; it took about five hours and then we were done. Took a nap, picked up Claire and counted our wares.

Watch for updates for this year, and the adventures of Claire, the 3 1/2 year old, on Black Friday.

Happy Birthday to Me!

November 17, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Friends, holidays

Yesterday I turned 34. It’s not the biggest of birthdays for sure, but it was a nice day. Nothing too wild, and I remember when it’s my birthday more when I am at work on a birthday (not again until 2010). The highlight of yesterday would be when Laura and Emma came to visit. I’ve not seen them since summer of 2007, and they moved away in December of 2006 to Portland. I can’t blame them since it’s so damn brown and dry here, but it sure was nice to see them.

Dan from Amsterdam Skyped with me, Alan from Iceland said hello, I talked to my parents, and I’ve not had a chance to talk to the in-laws yet (my fault).

We had the girls out playing in the backyard all afternoon before giving them a group bath. Laura’s birthday is tomorrow, so we hit Macaroni Grill for a celebration dinner. The Penn Rustica rocked as did the Tiramisu dessert, but the Sangria was nothing to write home about. It was bland, boring and expensive.

After dinner we hit a carnival that was in a local parking lot. Laura wanted to ride the Zipper and I love the Ring ‘O Fire, so we did both. Mind you this was after we gorged ourselves. We were fine until the Ring ‘O Fire person sent us through the ride twice! I wasn’t the same after that.

Laura and Emma ended up staying over last night, so we went to Cracker’s Cafe for breakfast before the drove across town to see other friends. Beautiful mild birthday with some thoughtful gifts from Donna and Claire. Really enjoyable.


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