Monday, December 25, 2006

Jingle All the Way

Christmas 2006

…the joy bubbles start to form on Monday Dec 18. I drop the high school kids off at school, come home to apply a sloppy first coat of make-up to my wrinkled and baggy face, get Drew to school then join my brother-in-law in the line-up at Future Shop for the gift of the year; the Nintendo Wii.
I am the third in line.

More folks come and Daryl greets them all with a friendly smile and “hi, what’re you here for?” By the time the store opens at 9, there are more than half a dozen of us, agreeing that we are numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 and so on.

However, as the doors are being unlocked, budgers start to descend on the store from all corners of the parking lot and our neat and well behaved line up crumbles.
We ask as we enter, “Any Wii’s?” to any and all clerks, but no one seems to know for sure if any had been received during the night. Turns out none had.

I leave shortly after that to go home and redo my face and to get dressed properly for work.

At lunch time, I think about zipping out to grab a bite to eat when I realize I’d left all my cards (Visa, Bank, Driver’s License, Gift, etc) in the pocket of my track jacket. Not wanting to be encumbered by something I could potentially use as a weapon, I had left my purse in the truck that morning. So. No lunch for me. I pop some emergency popcorn instead and eat at my desk.

At 2:30 I start to pack up. Drew’s school lets out at 2:45, and I didn’t want to be late as I had made plans to do some shopping with him and Max at 3:00. As is typical, something needs my attention at 2:30 and I don’t make it out to my truck til 2:50.

While sitting at the light at the intersection of 192 and the #10 Hwy, ready to head south, my sister calls.
“Future Shop has 3 left. Get there now.”
“Are you there?”
“I just left. I’ve got mine. I’m over at Montana’s getting a gift certificate.”
“Go back! Save one for me. Grab it off the shelf and just hold it til I get there,”
“I can’t. They know I’ve already bought one. Just get here.”
I hang up, and turn left to go east once the light turns green abandoning my plan to pick up Drew. I’ve got two more major intersections to get through, plus find a parking spot, then run into the store… I call her back.
“There’s no way I’m going to find a parking spot! That mall is so busy…!”
“You probably aren’t going to get one anyway; the store was packed with people…but just drive up to the front of Future Shop and jump out. I’ll drive your truck around the parking lot…”

We hang up again and I get stopped at the busiest intersection in the lower mainland; 200th and the Bypass.
I call her back. “Shit! I have no way of paying for it! I have no cards on me. My Visa and Band card and driver’s license are all in my other jacket pocket. I can’t pay for it!”
“You probably aren’t even going to get one, they’re probably all sold.”
“Lend me your Visa. I’ll fake your signature. OK. I’m here. Where are you?”

She walks up to the driver’s door, and hands me her Visa. “It’s brand new. I haven’t even signed it yet..” I hop out and run to the back of the middle section of the store where the bottom shelf is empty. Panicked, I ask the young female clerk tidying the sale bin in the centre aisle if she knows if there are any Wiis available.
“I don’t think so. We didn’t get any today. But let’s go ask.” I follow her to the front of the store, praying. “God? Can there be one for me? Would this be a good thing? I’ll leave it in Your hands.” “Are there any Wiis left?” the young clerk asks the manager-type-looking male behind the customer service counter. He looks at me and nods. “I think so. Let me check. It should be locked back here,” and he disappears into a room at the front of the store.
“Here you go,” and he hands my Wii to the clerk who walks me over to one of the cashiers.

"God? Please? This Visa? No signature…? Please don’t let me lose this Wii because of this Visa…”
We make lots of small talk as we wait for a cashier to ring through my sale and give her her well deserved commission. The line up we’ve chosen has not moved at all, the one person in front of me has a multi-level type transaction and is driving the cashier nuts with details.

After a few minutes, the gal who’s babysitting me says, “Let’s try Fred. He doesn’t usually work the cashier, he’s in appliances, but maybe he can help us.”
“God? P L E A S E?”
She hands my Wii over to Fred, “Can you ring this in for us?”
“Oh, wow! A Wii! Aren’t you lucky?” he exclaims as he scans it. “How will you be paying?” “Visa.” I say as I hand him my sister’s unsigned, never used, virginal card.

He immediately turns it over to look at the back side.
“Shit, oh shit, shit shit …” I say to myself.
He punches in the three digit numbers, swipes the card through the reader and hands it back to me with a flourish, “Here you go...”
I sign my sister’s name on the receipt and dash out of that store grinning like I’ve got a bag of fresh homemade chocolate fudge.

Jul is parked just over there and she calls out my name.

Victoriously, I lift the bag over my head and yell, “I got one!” I feel like Rocky Balboa holding the Christmas Gift Championship Prize for the world to see.

I can hardly wait to give it to the kids.
I can hardly wait for Christmas. Christmas is about giving, and this year, I’m giving the mother of all gifts. I am going to nominated Mother of the Year. Well, so is my sister. Actually, maybe her more than me, because she actually was instrumental in me getting it.

Regardless who gets the honor, I am just thrilled about being able to surprise my kids with something as rare and coveted as the cabbage patch dolls were in the 80’s and Tickle Me Elmo was in the 90’s.

That evening, plans were finalized for our use of the Hemlock Condo and I was filled with Christmas cheer. Christmas (even though not on the 25th for me) was going to be awesome. Simply fantastic.

On Wednesday afternoon, Drew and Max wanted to finish up their Christmas shopping so we went to Best Buy. We split up as we entered the store, with me going to the camera department and the two of them going to look for Max’s friend who works in the gaming section.

“Mom!” Max was smiling from sideburn to sideburn. “Brian says they’re expecting a shipment of 3 dozen Wii’s on Thursday night! I’ve called Auntie Julie and told her. If you guys can’t line up on Friday morning, Mandi and I will! Isn’t this awesome? We can get a Wii for Christmas!”

A few minutes later my sister calls me. “What are we going to do? Mandi’s friend Nick works at Best Buy too, and he just called her to let her know about the shipment. Our kids are determined to camp out overnight to get one…”

We had no choice, really. None at all.

On Thursday, I phoned Brian from the IGA parking lot to ask him to call Max and do some Academy Award worthy acting. “You have to let him know that the shipment arrived early and has been unpacked. Tell them that no Wiis were shipped. Please, you have to convince him there is no reason to stand in line all night.” Julie called Nick and asked him to do the same thing.

“Mom?” It was Max on my cell, “Brian just called. He said not to bother…”
He sounded so sad.
I did a little happy dance.

All Thursday evening, Clint, Max, Julie and Mandi Instant Messaged each other about the lack of Wiis. And how unbelievable it was that we, of all people, were going to have a Wiiless Christmas.

Friday could not come soon enough.

Happy, Happy Joy, Joy
Merry Christmas

Drew, unwrapping the Wii. Can you see that look on his face?

Clint and Max realizing what Drew is unwrapping...

A happy boy.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. God cares about things like Wiis.
2. God cares about things like keeping us safe on stupid roads like that one to Hemlock. Even though I lost control and went forwards and backwards and did circles, He got us there undamaged.
3. God cares about us. Why else would He have sent His son?
Peace to you this day, friends -

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