Dear Diary – We made the mistake of going to the Mall Saturday afternoon. The word “zoo” was fitting in some ways. The parking lot was quite full; cars circled like vultures hoping for a spot. Heaven help anyone who even considered swooping in to steal it. Cars crowded the entrances/exits to the lot from the main road and car horns punctuated like angry geese.
The tension in the air was palpable.
Inside, teenage girls in crop tops meandered in small herds like sheep, each one grasping bubble tea. They blocked entrances and aisles as they huddled around displays discussing the latest gossip. Shopping was a social event. A few shoppers reminded me of bison, as they bullied their way through the crowds, bumping and banging anyone in their path. While still others vacant-eyed with red, rosy cheeks and stooped shoulders from heavy winter clothing, and hands laden with coloured bags. They scanned shelves in desperation for one. more. gift before loping down the hallway, like injured rhinos.
We headed to the shoe department, where a weary grandfather nodded and grimaced like a hyena at his granddaughter as she fawned over little pink sequined shoes. Obviously the hordes were getting to him. Or he was tired of entertaining his granddaughter while Mom or Grandma shopped somewhere else.
Youngest Son needed winter boots. He’d outgrown his during Covid shutdowns, and since he had no need to go out (or even get dressed every day), we didn’t notice.
Youngest Son does not enjoy shopping, or crowds, or trying on boots. His feet are also a common size, so his options were limited. We found a pair. Then he tailed me like a baby duckling to the check out line at the back of the store, while Hubby went to look at winter jackets.
I should have known better.
It was the last Saturday before Christmas Eve day. The line was at least 30 people deep, some with carts piled high. Most only had a couple of items clutched to their chests. The only thing they all had in common were glazed eyes, like koala bears that have sampled too many eucalyptus leaves. We slowly shuffled forward like penguins in a line as the minutes ticked by. Slowly. Though dressed in a Fall jacket I soon too started to overheat.
Eventually Hubby came looking for us. He had been waiting “awhile” and thought maybe we miscommunicated where to meet. He texted me…but I forgot my cell phone at home.
After we purchased the boots, Youngest Son and I went to Indigo while Hubby ventured to the far end of the Mall to look at coats. Brave soul!
I purchased one of Hubby’s gifts when I purchased Youngest Son’s birthday present online. But I couldn’t find the gift. In the house. Anywhere. Online it said it was delivered with Youngest Son’s gift, but I had no recollection whether it had or not. The packaging box was still in the office but it was empty. I checked the bin where I hide gifts…for this very reason! I lose them. I didn’t really want to purchase another one because a) it’s not something you need two of, and b) I knew as soon as I did, I would find it.
I left the store empty-handed. It might have been in there, but my claustrophobia kicked in. Instead, Youngest Son tailed me as I slowly walked up and down the hallway waiting for Hubby. I desperately wanted to look at women’s clothing, but I couldn’t shake my duckling.
Once Hubby returned, after what seemed an eternity, I begged for one minute to pop into a store. My duckling followed me…closely followed by Hubby. I don’t know if you’ve ever shopped with 2 men who would rather be anywhere else, but it is not relaxing. I can flit through a store like a hummingbird when I’m short on time or I’m looking for something specific. Either they do or don’t have something that catches my eye. But with these two in tow, I was in and out of there like a hummingbird high on sugar syrup!
We made it to the car, although the guys had to wait for me. The number of predators circling the lot had doubled. So had the level of impatience. I was amazed we escaped in one piece. I was also thankful we had gone when we did, as hundreds of cars with Iranian flags and effigies, filled the main street in a peaceful protest. It was a good reminder that I live in a city of many cultures, and that we are blessed here in Canada in so many ways. We have much for which to be thankful as we gather with family and friends this season.
Dear Diary – I baked a beautiful pumpkin swiss roll for a Christmas party, which I did not attend.
My guys used the joke, “what’s brown and sticky?” Normally the answer would be: “A stick”. Their answer was “Mom’s log”. To which Hubby added, “and it has a nice swirl”.
After much discussion, I decided last minute that I didn’t want to risk getting Covid. I let the organizers know that I wasn’t coming BUT I would still deliver my dessert (and gift for the game) when I delivered Youngest Son at his party at the church. We were taking a chance there too, but after years of isolation, he needed to be there.
The plate (and my gift from the game) was returned on Sunday and it was empty. I guess it was good! 🙂
Now I have to make a chocolate one for Hubby’s birthday. He was born on Christmas Eve…so double the shopping. Just not this close to Christmas!
Dear Diary – Since Hubby is home all week on vacation, he’s been picking up Youngest Son after class. Yesterday I didn’t go with him because I was making our cranberry sauce (and measuring out the ingredients for the spicy cranberry sauce). I went ahead and made Kraft Dinner for lunch. Hubby surprised me by bringing home Wendy’s fries. Youngest Son piled both in a bowl. His reasoning? They both get topped with ketchup!
Dear Diary – I gave Hubby a deadline: clear the dining room table by 9 a.m. Friday morning. It’s covered in boxes and piles of paper and binders left from the months he worked at home. Post-Covid, his office also moved locations so he has less space for his stuff, which is why it’s still living here. But I need my dining table for Christmas dinner.
So far, he has emptied many binders but most of the paper has to be shredded. We have a shredder, also in the dining room, but it can only handle 1 sheet of paper at a time…and it overheats after about 20. Then it won’t work for an hour. We have enough paper to last all next year. Our home is small, our possessions meager, and at this point, I’m not sure the deadline will be met, but on the plus side, our kids will inherit a lifetime supply of paper clips.
Dear Diary – Hubby took his car to the dealership to get some work done this morning. He texted that the mechanics saw the mouse in his air filter. The mouse moved in during the months and months that Hubby was working from home during Covid. It left evidence of his presence last Spring in shredded napkins on the floor, a gnawed granola bar in the glove box, and poop in the coffee holder. With no new evidence we had assumed he moved out when summer temperatures soared.
I asked him if it was alive. He replied that “apparently there was some yelling in the shop”. Did that mean they got it? He didn’t know. I told him to find out. I might recoil if I encountered a snake, but with a mouse, I scream and flail like an inflatable windsock guy before I run away. I’m so thankful it never ran under my feet when I was driving. I have driven with spiders in the car, even stopping at a stop sign once and evacuating the car, much to the surprise of the driver behind me. I shudder to think what would happen with a mouse.
Apparently the mouse is now living in the car bay at the dealership. It ran away. The mechanics found a huge nest, as well as a dead mouse in the air filter. Perhaps there’d been a game of thrones scenario under the hood and dead mouse was a trophy? We’ll never know. The car’s been sprayed with mouse repellent, but I plan to continue avoiding Hubby’s car as much as possible. One can never be too careful!
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.Unknown
Dear Diary – This week has been all about food! With Christmas counting down and an edited baking wish list, I baked sour dough muffins with craisins soaked in rum. My father birthed the sour dough starter during the pandemic and he continues to supply bread, muffins and pancakes from it. He shared some with me a few months ago and I have kept it alive despite not using it as regularly as I should or feeding it properly. Between my last bake and this week, it has doubled in size inside the fridge. I’ve nicknamed it Frankenstein.
I baked more shortbread cookies…because we are all the others. Low on time, I opted not to decorate them. I used sprinkles instead. As they cooled, I remembered…I still have earl grey glaze in the fridge.
I made Salvation doughnuts yesterday, something I remember making with my Mom and grandparents, and something I have done with my kids. This recipe was used by Salvation Army volunteers in abandoned buildings near the front lines during World War I. They hoped to improve the morale of the soldiers far from home. In less than ideal conditions, helmets were sometimes used to hold the oil for frying. I used my Mom’s deep fryer instead.
I had to wait until Hubby got home. I couldn’t get the bottle of oil open. The lid just spun and spun. He tried that too…until he noticed…it just popped off.
Some would say love is the key. I say…it’s this:
Dear Diary – Christmas is only 3 sleeps away, and I hear Santa has the Blues.
Be kind to him and have a Merry Christmas!