Monday, December 31, 2007

A Stupid Story About A Coat

Last winter I retired my old full-length black wool coat. It was horribly out of style with it's bulky shoulder pads, and it was much too big for me in general since my mother used to be convinced I was a size 12 even though I'm not. And it was wool, which is not cat-hair friendly and highly impractical in South Texas winters where 28 degrees is considered a "hard freeze." (Note to locals -- It's going to be 27 tomorrow night. Better wrap those pipes!)

So this winter I went on a hunt for a cute, fashionable, well-fitted coat. I spent a depressing hour at Burlington Coat Factory trying on a b'jillion coats when -- ta da! -- I found it. The perfect coat. Black weatherproof material, knee-length, little silver closures instead of big buttons. I loved it.

It hung happily in our coat closet until I finally had a chance to wear it on our anniversary, when I treated my hubby to a dinner at Ruth's Chris. We feasted on high-falutin' food, saw Gregg Popovich, and enjoyed an evening of grown-up conversation.

When we left the restaurant, I realized that my coat did not have pockets. Why would a coat have no pockets? I was most bummed since I really loved this coat but, come on, pockets are kind of a necessity, aren't they?

The cynical side of me thought, "I bought this at a discount store. I bet this was a second-quality coat. I bet the seamstresses accidentally sewed the pockets shut and that's why it was so cheap." So I went online and found the exact same coat at Macy's, where the description clearly stated the coat should have on-seam pockets. Darn! So I ordered the more-expensive Macy's coat and planned on returning the Burlington coat.

The Macy's coat arrived. I opened the box, looked at the coat, and thought, "Where are the stinking pockets?" Seriously, it must be a conspiracy. I must have gotten two defective coats from two different stores. (Yes, I'm that paranoid.)

Upon careful inspection, I realized that the coat did have pockets; they were just partially sewn shut. I guess this is common practice in the fashion industry, but these pockets were not just basted shut, they were full-on sewn shut. So I got my Burlington coat, inspected it, and saw that yes, there were pockets after all. I just needed to get my handy seam-ripper and carefully opened the pockets. Voila, my perfect coat is now, indeed, perfect.

So here's the stupid part of the story. Because I didn't figure out the pocket problem on the original coat, I wasted $13.95 in shipping to get a replacement coat that I didn't need. Aargh! Fourteen bucks down the drain, and I have to fight the after-Christmas crowds at Macy's just to return the darn thing. Double aargh!

I wish there was a moral to this story other than my own stupidity. But there isn't. Like I said, it's just a stupid story about a coat, which I will happily wear for many years to come.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blah Humbug

I really do love everything about Christmas -- the twinkling lights, pine boughs, freshly baked treats -- the whole Advent season is usually a joyful time for me.

Not this year, though, and I don't know why. I'm not feeling the usual post-Christmas letdown; this year I never felt the Christmas spirit at all.

I did all the right things: I sent Christmas cards (partially homemade), I baked pumpkin bread, I put up the tree and reminisced about all the ornaments, I bought all the gifts (including the gifts from one of the grandmothers, who wasn't able to shop this year), I wrapped all the gifts, I hand-stamped the annual calendars, I did the nightly nativity reading with the kids. So why is it so blah humbug?

Part of the problem is logistical -- I put the Christmas tree upstairs this year and haven't spent one evening up there enjoying the lights. The gameroom is a bloody disaster because the attic ladder is still broken and we have an over-abundance of Christmas tubs and junk cluttering up the room. And I don't deal well with clutter so I'm just avoiding the upstairs altogether.

Part of it was familial. The kids didn't get out of school until December 21, so life was going at breakneck speed until then with school functions and parties. Then we had to pack up the van and truck over to Houston since Kevin's mom can't travel post-surgery. We've never shared Christmas Eve and Day with them before. It was nice, but not what I wanted. I wanted our old traditions and our own quiet family, but instead I got thrust into a huge celebration of people I haven't seen since our wedding 12 years ago. The introvert in me wanted to run and hide, but I put on my game face and did the best I could.

Part of it was just the fact that I'm the grownup now. I really miss the magic of Christmas, where my parents surprised us with unexpected gifts and where the traditional foods just appeared on the holiday table. Now that I'm the mommy, I have to do all the planning and shopping and cooking and, well, all of it. I think I'm mourning the fact that I'm in charge and if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. (Hint to husband -- I'd like a surprise under the tree next year.)

Of course I know that the season has been over-commercialized and over-Americanized and overblown entirely, but I'm still a sucker for all things traditional and familiar so I like the festivities and gifts. And I'm not taking down the tree until I have some Christmas joy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Christmas Medley

This one is guaranteed to brighten your Christmas spirit!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Queen of Klutz

For the record, I've always been a little accident prone. When you've got a 5'8" girl with size 11 feet and abnormally long limbs, accidents are bound to happen. But this week has been worse than usual.

Incident #1: I sideswiped Kevin's car. OK, this has nothing to do with my gangly arms and lack of coordination. But my klutziness certainly carries over to my driving. I have, after all, backed up into a CLOSED garage door because, when I looked over my shoulder, I saw sunlight. Only problem was that the OTHER garage door was open, not mine.
At any rate, last week I left to run an errand after Kevin had gotten home. I was backing out my minivan when I felt some unexpected resistance. Immediately I panicked and thought I'd run over the cat. So I pulled forward, opened the driver's door, and discovered that no, the cat was fine, but Kevin's car not so much. Kevin had parked his car in the driveway, which is not quite wide enough for two cars unless one car's nose is touching the garage door. Kevin's car wasn't. It was parked several feet back because he was planning on hitting the gym later. I didn't know that, I didn't notice that his car wasn't in the garage, and I certainly didn't see his midnight blue car parked in our unlit driveway.
Maybe this was a subconscious plot to make Kevin's nearly-new shiny car more like my beat-up embarrassment of a car. Maybe I'm just a bad driver. Either way, this was my first act of supreme klutziness of late.

Incident #2: I walked smack dab into a tree branch. Again, it was dark. We had just gotten home from our Thanksgiving road trip and I was walking next door to retrieve our mail from our super-nice neighbors. Again, our driveway and their sidewalk is unlit, and I was walking rather quickly since it was cold, when WHAM! I impaled myself on a crape myrtle. Right in the eye, no less. I'm sure my neighbor thought I was winking at her, but I couldn't open my eye. When I got home I had to pluck out several thorns from my eyelid, and the next day I had to visit my ophthalmologist and have her remove the remaining debris. Classic.

Incident #3: I caught my hand in the ladder going up to the attic, which resulted in the world's worst blood blister and an inch of missing flesh. How's that for a visual? I was super-motivated to get going on Christmas decorations this morning, and I must have climbed that attic ladder a dozen times in an hour. The pull-down hinge on the ladder is acting funky, though, so I hit it with my hand to pop the hinge back into place. Not smart, since the hinge closed right onto my palm. I screamed rather loudly, cried for about an hour, and haven't quite recovered yet.

I'm really praying that I don't have any more incidents, but maybe I need to review the 911 drill with the kids just in case.