Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas 2012 Non-Shopping Trip

One night last week my brother and I met up for our annual Christmas non-shopping trip. It’s a yearly event that I wrote about here last year. To set the scene, I must remind you that I don’t shop much. I can’t drive and I have twin three year-olds; we don't spend much time in stores. There’s the occasional rush into the grocery store by our house, and the hectic trip through the craft store (No, we do not need a shopping cart full of yarn! Or ten mini Nutcracker dolls!) and the family trip to Costco, but overall I don’t hang out in stores often. So when I am in places like Target or the grocery store without children I experience an eerie, otherworldly feeling that can either be super empowering or completely terrifying.

My brother Aaron lives in DC and also doesn’t do much shopping— certainly not much shopping in malls or big box stores— and since we both share a dislike of shopping in general, he’s the perfect company for me. We wander around amazed at the bright lights and loud whistles of robust consumerism. We either eat ice cream or drink beer, depending on my pregnancy status, and we don’t get much done, other than spending time together. We try not to make lists of things to do so that we can’t fail. Anything we might come away with is a bonus!
Aaron came over, we had dinner at our house, and then the two of us headed out for our night of not accomplishing anything more than hanging out and having quality sibling time. I had one thing I needed to do; I needed to pick up our Christmas cards at Wal Mart. Aaron hadn’t done any Christmas shopping, so he was asking about what the boys would like for Christmas. I said something about Duplo blocks because they’re really into them lately, and Aaron saw a Toys R Us sign. I’d only been to a Toys R Us once or twice. Aaron had never been to one. We weren’t in the lane to turn but we made an exciting, fast lane change and swung over to make the turn. A snap decision! We were off to the most exciting start to our non-shopping trip that we’d ever had!  

After we made the quick turn we saw the store was actually a Babies R Us.

False alarm.

False awesomeness.

Then we couldn’t make a U turn and we had to drive onto a deserted and closed satellite college campus. It was quite a letdown. We drove toward Wal Mart, feeling cheated.

We promptly took another wrong turn or two before we actually walked into the blazing lights and dancing colors and curious smells of Wal Mart. We quickly took care of the only item on my list and picked up our cards. Then Aaron realized he needed printer ink and we were off to get swallowed up in the madness. He sat down with the ink cartridges for a long time while I just thumbed through the bins and bins of CDs and DVDs. Alas, the giant aisle of print cartridges did not have the one Aaron needed. However, he remembered that he needed some batteries, so he got those, and that made us feel oddly productive.
Aaron, lost amongst the cartridges
We found a puzzle for our parents and looked at some of the toys and games. Weirdest among them was the board game based on the A&E TV show about storage. Really? It all just made me so tired. I found a couple more little things for the boys in the art supply section. Aaron was approached by some missionaries! This was new. What a crazy mission field Wal Mart must be.

I nudged Aaron away from the candles this year, and we also avoided the deodorant aisle. He likes the scents but also the names, like Freedom and such. (What might Freedom smell like? It's intriguing, but can take up all evening if we're not careful.) 

After we paid, we ate frozen yogurt and headed to World Market. Reminder: I’m 11 weeks pregnant and have been an exhausted heap quite a bit during the past weeks. After we wandered around a little, this fog of tiredness settled over me. There are always amusing, eccentric trinkets to be found at World Market, but after awhile it all runs together. Lord of The Rings Pez dispensers? Check. Bear keychains that poop? Check.

Aaron once again was caught up in the olive oils section and I finally succumbed to my exhaustion and sat down in an abandoned corner nestled up with some pig-shaped roaster crock things. That's what happens to me lately when I spy those enticing flat surfaces of any type. Even a cement floor gave me some rejuvenation. After ten minutes or so I stood up and we left the store. It was nearly miraculous: Aaron had found some gifts for his girlfriend! I found a few stocking stuffers.

View from my delightfully flat surface
We swung by a real Toys R Us (wow, what a place) and Aaron got some blocks for the boys while I tried to keep my eyelids from closing while plodding through rows of Barbies.

We had more good sibling conversation on the way home and I sent him off to Chicago and Idaho for Christmastime. It was a remarkably successful Dawn and Aaron non-shopping trip. And I curled up in my coat in the fetal position on the gloriously flat dining room floor for the night.

Just kidding. I went to real bed. It was hard to shuffle down the hall, but I made it.

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