Saturday, November 26, 2016

A different kind of Black Friday experience

Yesterday, I read on my friend’s Facebook page about how she didn’t take any pictures on Thanksgiving because she was too busy cooking and enjoying the day with her family. That was me on Thanksgiving, minus the “too busy cooking” part because my husband was cooking, too. (We had a really nice and blessed Thanksgiving!) And that was me again yesterday, on Black Friday! (Also minus the "busy cooking" part, because the only thing I cooked yesterday was rice!)

Now I normally don’t do Black Friday, because I prefer to shop online. I know, I know. I should support local businesses. But I hate going out and being around a bunch of strangers, dealing with traffic and dealing with the crowds. (And I guess long lines, too! My husband was going to buy something at Best Buy that was on sale for a really good price on Thanksgiving, in the afternoon, but when he got there, there was a looooong line stretching all the way to another store!) That’s pretty much why I stopped doing Black Friday on my own. But this year, my daughter wanted to go shopping on Black Friday. At 15, it would be her first Black Friday experience! So I agreed to take her shopping on Black Friday. I am not doing anymore Christmas shopping for the kids, as I have been doing Christmas shopping for them all year long and my husband is getting their December gifts, so I’m done shopping for them. But I DO need two more gifts for two other people, so I made a mental note to keep my eyes peeled for those things. (I’ll be sharing my experience of Christmas shopping for the kids all year long shortly after Christmas. It was the first time I have ever done this!)

So, we decided to plan for it. We got a newspaper on Thanksgiving that had all the Black Friday ads in it and went over which stores we would go to. I told Jen we would have to leave really early. Like at around 5. (Most of the stores we wanted to go to were opening at 6.) I warned Jen about the long lines and that some people might go crazy while they are shopping, grabbing things and pushing people around to get through. There might also be some trampling as some people got through the doors finally opening. (Yet another reason why I don't like shopping on Black Friday!) Jen was nervous about this but we figured we would be okay. We figured out what time we should go to bed on Thanksgiving in order to get a sufficient amount of sleep and I decided on 10 for me, to wake up at 4.

But what happened was, I woke up at 3! I actually woke up from a bad dream and decided that it was probably better to stay up now, because if I went back to sleep, I might end up being too tired to get up when my alarm went off at 4. I was wide awake at 3 a.m., anyway (this actually happens a lot!), so I decided to just stay up. I was in the shower by 4 and tried to wake Jen up at 4:30, but she wouldn’t wake up. When she DID wake up, she told me she didn’t want to do Black Friday this year and I said that was fine, we can just go out to breakfast like we usually do every day after Thanksgiving. She went back to sleep and I headed out to the couch to watch Star Trek. But later, I fell asleep. When I woke up an hour later, Jesse was awake and playing computer games at the desk.

So Jen and I went out for our annual “Black Friday breakfast” (too bad restaurants don’t have Black Friday deals, too!). I usually get coffee with my breakfast, but this time, I ordered hot chocolate, just like Jen did. It was very good! As we ate breakfast, Jen asked if some stores would still be doing Black Friday sales. I told her that some of them probably were. We both knew all the good stuff would probably be gone, but hopefully there were still some sales going on. So it was decided that we would still hit some stores!

I got my husband some breakfast to go from the restaurant and went home to drop it off. I told him about our changed plans and so Jen and I headed out again. The first store we went to was Target, and while a lot of stuff was indeed gone, Jennifer still found some good deals. She was VERY happy with what she was able to buy at Target! Then we stopped off at home so that I could grab some more coffee and she could drop off her purchases. Next we headed out to Barnes & Noble and Jen found a good book to buy there, too – plus, B&N was still offering 30% off purchases! Sweet! That extra money we saved went towards the kids getting hot chocolate from Starbucks on the way home. (I ordered one for Jesse and took it home to him.) That was the second time Jen got hot chocolate that day – and I also had a second hot chocolate later on, when I made some in the kitchen. (Jesse also had a second serving of hot chocolate right along with me.)

In all, my daughter and I had a good, enjoyable and PEACEFUL Black Friday experience. I am glad my daughter’s first Black Friday was a successful and injury-free one. And I am glad that stores still had Black Friday deals and specials going on later in the day. If stores continue to offer Black Friday deals later in the day, I just might change my mind about not shopping on Black Friday! 

Jen and I also had a really pleasant time together. I really enjoyed the mother-daughter time I had with Jen when we went out for breakfast and while we were shopping. (And the ONLY pic that I took and shared from that day was of what I ordered for breakfast at Ye Olde Pancake House!) Jen later said that she felt bad for not getting up so early and she apologized to me because I got up so early just so I could get her up so early, but I told her it was okay. I had some alone time, and that was really nice. (It really was! I got to enjoy my first cup of coffee, read, get on Twitter, and watch Star Trek while I was at the desk, tweeking a new book outline. I should get up at 3 a.m. more often. LOL)

The rest of the day was a good one, too. I chatted with my sister through text messaging, did some more reading, finished writing that week's short story, spent time on Facebook and ate some of the Thanksgiving leftovers (like pie!). We also watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and started planning for when we would do Christmas decorating. (It’s not happening this weekend! Foo!) So it was a good day and I am glad that it all went well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Keeping my end of the deal

Last night, Jesse twisted his ankle in his gymnastics class. I had to carry him to the car because he was in so much pain and because I was parked alllll the way on the other side of the building and I didn’t want him to have to hop all that way to the car. Plus, it was all wet and rainy, which made it too dangerous for him to hop to the car. (Sidenote; Parking at the Gymnastics Academy is usually CRAZY and I’m lucky to find a parking spot anywhere next to the building at all.) I told him I would give him Tylenol at home (which I did) and that we’d treat his ankle with heat/ice (ditto) and that we would wait and see how it was tomorrow. If it was worse, he’d stay home from school, OFF of that foot, and, if necessary, get medical care. We pretty much decided to take a “wait and see” approach with it.

Thing of it was, last night I was thinking how nice it would be if I could get a little extra sleep this morning. Jen gets up later for school on Wednesdays because it starts later on Wednesdays and I’m always looking for a chance to get a bit more extra sleep on a weekday. Even if it’s for a half hour. (I REALLY need to stop going to bed so late!) But last night I knew I still had to get up when the alarm clock goes off at 5. (Even if it’s 15 minutes after I wake up – I often lie in bed thinking about things before I get up. I don’t jump out of bed right when the alarm goes off.) So, that’s what I did this morning – at 5:15, that is. As far as I knew, Jesse was going to school today, so I had to get him up at 6:30. So after my morning routine and shower, that’s what I did.

He took one step on that foot and cried out in pain. I tried to get him to walk with a bandage on it but it hurt him too much. The pain drove him to tears. I told him he could stay home from school today and that he had to stay off of his foot. I gave him Children’s Ibuprofen for the pain and helped him to get comfortable.

So I guess I really didn’t HAVE to get up so early this morning. But did I regret it? Absolutely not. I was not disappointed that “all that was for nothing” because I had still done what I was supposed to do. I had followed the same routine I have in place for school mornings to make sure I’m dressed and ready for the day (and had coffee!) before getting the kids off to school in time. (I have my first cup of coffee before I take Jesse to the bus stop and my second cup, and sometimes even breakfast, when I take Jen to school.) But the important thing is that I stuck to my part of the plan. I kept my end of the deal. I did what I what I was supposed to do on a school morning.

And, really, that’s how it is with a lot of other things in life. A lot of other things that have happened in my life that DIDN'T turn out the way I had hoped or planned for or wanted to happen. If I make an agreement with someone and the other person does not follow through on what THEY say they will do or if they bail, I can walk away from it with a clear conscience because at least I kept my end of the bargain. If I still do what I said I would do, put in the time and effort and all that, and then the other person changes their minds, or gives up, or lets barriers hold them back, or has problems to deal with, or decides it’s not worth it anymore and things don’t go the way WE wanted them to or something does not happen that WE tried to create or make happen or become a thing, then it is THEIR fault and not mine. It’s all on them! It’s not on me, because I kept my part of the deal. I did what I said I would do or what I agreed to do, so there’s nothing I have to feel bad about there.

If I keep my end of a deal and things don’t work out, I must accept things not happening how I had hoped and move on. Because life doesn’t stop for ANYBODY. Life is a constant process. Life really DOES go on, and you gotta go on with it. You really do. There’s no time to wallow in disappointment, seek revenge or get on the Internet and cry about it. No, Life is MOVING FORWARD and you gotta move forward with it!

So even if an agreement goes south or even if someone doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, I’ve got no regrets if I held up mine. I did what I said I would do or I kept the agreement or followed the routine. I kept my end of the deal and that’s really all that I CAN do even if things fall apart. And when things DO fall apart, sometimes, that is out of my control and I can't change it or fix it but at least I did what I said I would do.  I did what I had to do and even if that’s not enough to make an agreement come full circle or that’s not enough for someone and they bail, it’s enough for me.