Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Harry Connick Christmas

Another year, another SIL shopathon – but this was one was a little different. To recap, every year, A, B, C, and me go shopping at the largest mall on the East Coast, then the outlets, all in two days, all on a weekend during December. We shop until we drop starting from the moment the first doors at the first anchor store open and ending only when we have run out of money. There are preplanned routes, routines, and rules to follow. This year, we broke them all.

It all started with C. Four months ago, we booked our shopping weekend. Four weeks ago, C wound up with a work commitment. No matter how we begged and cajoled, she could not be induced to possibly lose her job and career to go shopping with us. Rescheduling was out of the question due to everyone’s already crowded calendars. A then asked to limit us to one day of shopping due to her work commitments. Down our fearless leader (and greatest shopper) and facing a severe time crunch, I advocated hitting the stores in reverse order to get more bang for our bucks. Rules, what rules?

As always, in times of change, there are design flaws that had to be worked out. Without the tiniest bladder in Christendom to keep us merrily potty-breaking along, we hit a crisis moment where kidney failure was imminent. In the rush not to wet ourselves, we actually didn’t use one of the pre-ordained bathrooms (high-end anchor stores only) and had to deign to pee with the downtrodden masses in the food court restroom. There were multiple White Rabbit moments as B would start sprinting through the mall madly checking her watch and trying to hurry us along to our next destination. And, without the Buddy System in place, we couldn’t split up into pairs and every store (excluding Sephora which makes me itch) required the attendance of all three of us.

But all was not lost. Williams Sonoma took quite a lot of time and money, but allowed me the opportunity for a mid-morning snack. One pre-packed oatmeal bar (thanks A!), some free peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream to wash it down, and a dollop of free peppermint ice cream for dessert and I left that store sated and sugared. This helped me deal with the usual shenanigans at the plus-sized lingerie store, though to give credit where it is due, A did not walk around with a bra on her head (per usual) but did actually get me to purchase some sassy undies. This made her (and I imagine my husband) very happy. In fact, a ridiculous amount of time was spent mentioning ladies unmentionables, shopping for them, and discussing when and where to take them off. There is always something new to learn about the sex life of my SILs (much to my BILs chagrin).

After exhausting the mall (and the patience of those in the parking lot who wanted our spots but didn’t seem to understand that they needed to let us OUT of them in order to get IN them, the outlets proved to be a veritable goldmine of bargains and though it was damn cold outside, we kept warm by constantly exercising our wallets. Sheets, slankets, and snack food all added weight to our arms, and by dark, we had crossed the last person off the last list and were trudging with heavy bags and light bank accounts back to the car. It was at that very moment when I spied the cutest purse ever and broke the last and most pivotal rule. C, thousands of miles away in a world where a bright shiny orb filled the sky and air with warmth, must have felt her heart grow three sizes as I, the thriftiest of thrifty, bought my first real Kate Spade bag.(In my own defense, it was 80 perent off.)

And thus ended this year’s annual SILS. C was dearly missed, B actually found this year’s impossible-to-find item, A realized that she has been wearing the wrong bra for fifteen years, and I, I found that Christmas indeed, can be found in a store.

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