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Monday, November 19, 2012

Doughnuts and Black Friday

Why I would rather eat a doughnut at home than go out on Black Friday

I’ve written before on my distaste for early Christmas shopping. I’m literally still back in October basking in the leaves and pumpkins. Though I have to take away some props from my two teenagers at home who NEVER DID carve those pumpkins I bought for jack-o’-lanterns. Blah, blah, blah I’m too busy – I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s a sad day for the orange globes who now sit on my porch gathering a coat of frost and no eyes to see it with. Imagine if I would tell them I have been too busy to go Christmas shopping? It would be Armageddon part duex.

How I wish I could have meticulous lists categorized by size and color, likes and dislikes, what I can afford and what I can’t. We did exchange names for the family exchange on Christmas Eve, but those seem easier to go pick up. The older my kids get the harder they are to buy for. I don’t want to succumb to the perils of all gift cards. I feel like it takes away from the personality of gift-giving. That’s not saying I don’t ever buy them because I do. I just don’t make it the entire gift. For me, their tastes change quickly, so I never pick things up when I see them in June. Like I’ve said before, I’m a procrastinator. Why buy in June when you can get it in December? I will feel good if I start a bit of shopping now in November. I will feel in control. I will not panic.

I can’t say that I ever did panic for Christmas shopping. I believe that we focus so much on the gifts that we lose sight of what Christmas is all about. Regardless, presents need to be bought so I forge ahead. I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper. My temper runs too high to stand in line and battle all those people for the newest gadget. We usually end up going on the Saturday or Sunday after Black Friday and try to get any deals that are left over. You would be surprised how much is left – and all for the same price. Cyber Monday is another great day to shop. The deals online the Monday after Thanksgiving are stellar and all within the click of your mouse. I have found, as well as a few others I know, that if you’re online in the wee hours of Black Friday that you can nab those great advertised deals. Not everything is available, but TVs have been purchased, as well as GPS systems, all for that low, low price. 

Here is my plan of attack: Eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing. Lie down. Browse circulars with the family. Go home. Wake up Black Friday about 9 a.m. Make coffee. Do nothing. 

I’ve decided that if I can’t get what I want at a decent hour of the day I won’t get it at all. Kudos to all you avid shoppers who brave the lines of people, lost tempers, and displays of advertised items that run out after 10 items are brought out. It’s all about the bait and switch. The only thing I would go out for again at midnight? The towels I bought at our local Walmart. For $1.28 those were the best Christmas season purchase I ever made – even though I had to battle people putting 30 towels in their cart. Black Friday is a dirty business and I plan on engaging in it sound asleep.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election vigor and weariness

Election Day, party lines, and words that cut like a knife

I am a bit tired of this Presidential election and all of the things that go along with it. I hesitate to even write a column on it because of the animosity, hatred, and outright vile things I’ve seen and heard firsthand. It’s an election where you get raked over the coals for even saying two words to someone. It’s been more than I have ever seen and I’ve been around/voted for a few elections - my eighth Presidential election to be exact. I try to stay informed, keep my eyes open, and not run a tight party line. When you walk that tightrope your eyes never see anything outside your small world. When I was younger, I would ask my Dad or Mom this question: Who are we voting for this election? The answer was the way I voted – no question. I’ve come a bit farther than that now, and I will tell you that the children of this great land are growing up in a country that is much different even than when I was in school. I am quick to let my children know that their vote is their own, and when my eldest voted four years ago for the first time I quickly learned that they have their own minds. It’s the way it should be. What worked blindly for me shouldn’t have to be blindly followed by my children. 

When we run our households aren’t we given the task of handling the money, distributing the money, and/or saving the money? Sometimes we need to borrow money, make payments on loans, and at times get in over our heads. Our great leaders are no different. Presidents try to get a balanced budget for this country, although I’ve never seen one. They may promise one, but the reality is that it will never happen. Don’t even try to fight me on it. They raise taxes, lower taxes, try programs that benefit some and don’t benefit others. Some have had to make the decision to go to war and some have had to make quick decisions that don’t always turn out the way they were supposed to go. They are not infallible leaders and the harsh words and bile have been spewing forth – especially in this election. If we fail in the budgets, loans, and hopeful dreams we take on at home, then how can we expect any less from the leaders of our country? They have panels of advisors and cabinets full of people that can advise at any moment, but in the end, no one is perfect. The Oval Office doesn’t have a description that says, “Only enter if you’re perfect.” I wouldn’t want it to say that. I want someone that goes in hoping that they can steer the country, or at least try, for four or eight years – however the country decides.

I’ve made decisions in my life that have resulted in awful things. My head was turned and this or that made my life a living hell at times. We are an imperfect people because only God is perfect. Why then, are we so quick to judge our Executive in Chief? Present and past Presidents included. Is it because of a party line you’re holding to? Is it because you’ve always believed one way and can’t see another? Because you don’t like where someone is from or what color he is? How about his religion? Because he worships at his church differently than “our” norm should we hate him? Should we not back a candidate because his Bible has extra books added to it? What is the right religion? Or is that even a valid question? These are things that are swirling around us like a sea of vipers. I’ve been subject to unbelievable hatred and ugliness staring back at me from my computer screen – all because of this election. Election Day can’t come soon enough.

I get up every morning and put my jeans on one leg at a time. I pay my bills, take chances, and clip coupons in hopes of saving a bit of money. I have big dreams that I can hopefully make come true. We live in a country that allows our little bitty dreams to come to fruition if we try. I’m sure each President that has taken office got up, put his pants on one leg at a time and hoped to accomplish what he dreamed for this country. If he is anything like every other person, not every dream he had came to pass. The presidency only lasts four to eight years. Have you made a dream happen in that time? Or are you just living each day hoping it happens? We don’t have a timeline like the presidency does. I, for one, am trying to see past our candidates and look to where their dreams lie, what they want for our country, and their hopes. In the end God loves them too. He can see past their outward flaws and see the person inside. If only we could do that too.