This year has been a challenge. I might post more on that sometime in the next couple days. Suffice to say, as of last Monday we had yet to buy a single Christmas gift this year. As someone who, at one point in the past, was known to get virtually all his Christmas shopping done by the end of October, the realization that I was halfway through November without a single gift purchased was a bit disheartening to say the least. The past 4-5 days that followed weren't much better, although we did manage to buy one actual gift and a couple stocking stuffers. I looked at our schedule for the next month, then talked to my wife on Sunday and suggested we try to get every last bit of our shopping done by the end of the day on Tuesday (which was today for me as recently as an hour ago). We realized it would be difficult, but after a planning session we figured we had a decent shot at it.
I ran out early Monday morning and bought a huge stack of gift cards. I thought I had budgeted everything fairly well and wanted to get the fuel points. I then ran home and we did the bulk of our online shopping. It took far longer than expected, mainly because Toys 'R Us has the worst website on the planet which is so criminally inept in every aspect, someone should be boiled in oil for concocting such a travesty. We then picked the girls up from school and tried to get as much done as possible that evening, but one mishap after another kept us from making much progress. By Monday night, with only one additional present in our possession, I had little hope of finishing by Tuesday evening. I tried to remain positive, but I wasn't succeeding.
I woke up this morning with a fresh outlook, however, and after dropping the girls at school and having a decent breakfast at Subway, I started feeling we still might succeed. The next six hours were a mad dash from one store to another. Each one took longer and cost more than expected, but the free space in the trunk kept shrinking while my optimism kept growing. We rushed home and I had just enough time to drop everything off and check a couple important emails before rushing back out to get the girls, then back home so I could drop them off with my mom and pick my wife up so I could take her to a doctors appointment. This proved to be a huge road bump and we got home much later than expected. A big part of my plans for the day was to take my son out and let him pick out a couple items (mainly gloves). The delay at the doctors' office meant that we left the house for our evening excursion about an hour later than planned. Still, we'd made great time during the day so all I really needed to do was get my son squared away then get home and make a couple more online purchases in order for the day to be a complete success.
To give a little background on the glove situation, last year our son told us that the gloves he had just weren't cutting it. He was coming home with 12th degree frost burn most evenings (not really, but if you'd heard him tell it you'd think so) and he feared for his fingers, if not his life as a consequence. He explained that he needed not just any gloves, but the warmest gloves we could possibly find. I searched locally but nothing seemed up to snuff. I then checked Amazon and found a pair that sounded like they'd fit the bill. They had nearly a perfect 5-star rating and just looking at them made me feel warmer. They had several layers of proprietary, top-secret, patented insulating fabric and were water repellant as well. They also had sets of drawstrings--one at the wrist and another halfway up the forearm--which not only helped with the insulation but I'm pretty sure resulted as them being rated as scuba gear as well. I spent a small fortune on them, and when they arrived I gave them a try. As luck would have it, it was bitterly cold that day. I stepped outside and strapped them on. While the rest of my body was painfully cold, my hands were almost uncomfortably hot. They were great! I figured this would go down in my son's Christmas annals with as much fondness as Ralphie's Red Ryder BB gun.
No such luck. Here it is a year later and he's yet to wear them. He has all manner of complaint about them, but I think his main beef is that they're not black and don't mesh with his brooding ways. He still complains relentlessly about not having a good pair of gloves and after a healthy dose of persuasion from my wife, I finally decided that gloves would make a perfect gift this year. We tried Dick's Sporting Goods and quickly decided that instead of trying to pick a pair on our own only to have another $50 go wasted, I'd take my son out and let him pick. My wife told me I was brilliant, then gave a little additional detail about what our son was looking for. She said he wanted a pair of ultra-thin yet fully water repellant pair of gloves that would let him pick a dust mite up off a needle while keeping his hands nice and toasty even when encased in a block of dry ice. I told myself it couldn't be as bad as all that. Boy, was I wrong.
Standing in glove aisle at Wal-Mart (I'd made a judgment call against the sporting goods store, figuring that if the situation was as bleak as my wife had let on we'd be wasting any money we spent on the darn things), I found the situation growing ever more dire as I argued pointlessly with my son about whether the gloves he wanted could even exist without breaking at least 23 laws of physics. I guessed that even if I did manage to talk him into a pair of gloves, I'd either be too tired or it would be too late to get anything else done afterward. He wouldn't budge, though. He wanted nothing short of the unobtainium specials and I couldn't talk him into anything that, you know, actually existed. He finally clued me into the fact that these mythical gloves he'd been dreaming of were (in his mind's eye, at least) identical to the gloves used by NFL wide receivers. I tried to explain that, regardless of how he wanted to imagine things, the wide receiver gloves aren't much more than ultra-thin gloves covered with an adhesive surface which allows the wide receiving to get a better grip on the ball. He wasn't buying it, though. We wandered throughout the store discussing this as my headache grew and at least 14 new gray hairs appeared. I finally led us to the sporting goods department where we found some wide receiver gloves. When he saw I was right about them, he finally relented and I was able to get him to pick out a pair.
The fortuitous stumbling-upon of the football gloves allowed me to not only hit the other stores I had to go to, but I got home in time to get everything put away and all but two of those other online orders placed before midnight. As it stands, I have two gifts to order for my wife, one each to buy for the kids and then a pair of gifts for whomever my wife & draw in our family exchange (she still has to buy for her mom, but that's her domain). I'm beat, but I'm thrilled that I'm almost done and that I got everything done that I'd set out to do this morning.