This is the fourth December I have written this statement here on the ol' blog:


Call me a miserable Scrooge; I DON'T CARE. December has utterly devolved for me over the years into just days and days of DO DO DO and GO GO GO, and not in the good DO GO way that I so love. It's just endless tasks and frustrations, long lines and long lists, crappy weather and crappy traffic, and sullen-eyed Salvation Army bell ringers who stare blankly through you into parking lots jammed with filthy winter-muddy cars and who grunt like grim Santa-hatted ogres when you put a buck in the red bucket. It's 900 emails a DAY screaming, "SAVE NOW! HOLIDAY! 40% OFF! FREE SHIPPING WHEN YOU ENTER CODE #CONSUMERWHORE-LIDAYS NOW!" It's getting invitations to cool parties and shows I CAN'T GO TO because I have to devote every December day and night to MAKING IT ALL HAPPEN!


I should have figured that today was not going to be a particularly tolerable December day right away. If you know me, you know that I am more or less not available in the mornings because I try my very best to remain unconscious at that time. I often don't go to bed until 3 or 4AM and I am a fan of sleeping. So, when I got a call this morning at 8:15AM telling me that MissNine had forgotten the book-exchange gift she was to bring to her classroom party today, the one that we had both purchased and wrapped and was sitting about 4 feet from the door as she went out this morning, I was not very happy to hear that another trip would have to be made today.


I sort of went back to sleep but it wasn't high-quality snooze and I got up around 10AM, bleary and with eyes so bloated they looked like tiny pufferfish hanging out on my face. A cup of coffee and a shower didn't improve the situation.

Off to pick up Mr13 from school midday. He pattted me on the back as he scrambled into the back seat and said all chipper-like, "Hi, Mom! Wow! You look tired!"


Off we go to Target, busy as hell, to get him some winter boots so he can go snow tubing on Monday. "Can't you just buy them? I don't want to go in," he whines.


His cheeriness faded rapidly. He hates shopping. It's like dragging along a reluctant puppy with big mopey eyes who keeps glancing to the doors wondering when he can escape. We find the boots, then continue on with a few more items for Christmas until the cart is somehow filled with $300+ worth of crap.

Checkout lane #13 is open.

Dummy. Don't pick 13! OF COURSE, after I loaded all the crap onto the belt, the price scanner STOPPED WORKING COMPLETELY. This sent several Target employees into a tizzy, entering supervisor codes, clicking uselessly on the scanner gun, and the checkout lady yelling at everyone who tried to put their stuff on the belt behind mine,


Mr13 looked at me like he was being sent to Guantanamo. One by one, the item codes were entered by hand, but the checkout lady's eyesight was not so great, or perhaps her fingers were too fat. Time after time, she entered the wrong numbers.

I had no food to eat yet, just the coffee, and considered grabbing the screaming toddler in the next aisle over to take a good meaty chomp.

Many years later, the checkout process was finally finished, we drove the gift book over to MissNine's school, went home and dropped off the Target stuff and Mr13, noted that my $2430 CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF HARD DRIVE CRASH RECOVERY was left in a box at the doorstep, left again to pick up MissNine, came back, made dinner, then took Mr13 to martial arts class. On the way back home from dropping him off, I stopped by discount store Tuesday Morning, thinking perhaps I could get a few more little items for Christmas for my mom before I shipped a box off to her. I poked around, not seeing too much, when I noticed that I was feeling increasingly IRRITATED. Over the store PA system, this song was playing:

Alanis Morissette, "All I Really Want"

Now, I've had my share of moments listening to bad piped-in store music; we all have. But as this song kept playing, I kept getting more and more MAD, although I don't think you could have seen it. Well, OK, if you were around when I muttered "Jesus F-ing Christ! This is horrible!" you might think I was having some issues. It kept going. This, I thought, is possibly the worst professional million-selling female vocalist in the known world. Her wildly off-key pitch and harsh nasality combined with that INTOLERABLE GASPING AND HICCUPING YELP SHE DOES was enough to get me to do something I have NEVER ONCE EVER done in my whole life.

I took my shopping basket and made my way to the counter. I looked the clerk in the eye. She was about my age and looked similarly tired. I spoke, making the same sad puppy face Mr13 had made in Target.

"This terrible. Would you mind changing it?"

She looked a little shocked. I made my face look more pathetic. Then she leaned over the counter closer to me and replied quietly, in a husky voice whose patina was surely honed by 30 or so years of whiskey and Marlboros,

"It IS terrible, hon. You got it!"

She walked to her left through a door that led to a side room, and instantly, Alanis was replaced by Patsy Cline. Ahhhhh. "Thank you so much," I grinned.

I continued my shopping, got a few more things now that I could be Alanis-free, checked out and drove home, where MissNine promptly asked,