Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wait a minute... How did this happen?

Black Friday Shopping? Us?
I know, I know...we expected better of ourselves too. It just kind of happened by accident. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Indiana with Jon's family. Thursday evening we were putzing about when we thought we'd drop in Wal-Mart again, because we've been talking about using our Wally World gift cards from the wedding towards a new TV. We don't care about anything fancy or a having a screen as big as our bed. We'd be fine with the GINORMOUS dinosaur, boulder of a TV, Gill, but in his old age he's begun to let out an obnoxious squeal at random when playing. It really makes movies quite intolerable.
My version of the Target Lady (and yes I sat in the cart while we waited...)
So, again we stopped by the dreaded Wal-Mart and were checking TVs that were in our price range... but then we started talking... It was 8:30... At midnight sales began... At midnight we could get the 32" we were looking at for $100 less. Was 3 1/2 hours really that bad? So we walked to McD's for a cup of coffee (LARGE cup) and discussed...and what the heck! We're both down for adventures. Besides, the store wasn't too out of control yet.....yet...
Jon's reaction to Wal-Mart Black Friday Shopping.
I've been Black Friday shopping before. It was always with Jerusha for her kids and our main stop was always Toys R Us. (of course!) We'd wake up at about 2 am and drive an hour and a half to Lexington to stand outside in the cold, cold, cold. It's right next to Best TALK about ridiculous. I understand a good deal...but parking a tent 2+ days in front before hand...?! Really? Aren't you just announcing to the world: I don't have a job to be at and I don't have family I want to spend Thanksgiving with!

Off subject. My bad.

Anyway, my point is Toys R Us is very different from Wally World. Our Toys R Us Line got long, but not insanely. It was a rush when the doors opened. We never bothered with a cart because wheeling it through moms-on-a-mission just isn't worth it. We usually made pretty good time and then we'd head to the Fayette Mall (where most stores weren't open yet) and grab some grub and then relax and wait for the Disney Store to open. It was great to hit up all of the deals and steals and be out of there before 9 am--which is around the time most of the door-busters are over and it gets extremely crazy.
Toys R Us shopping in 2006.
By the time Jon & I returned to Wal-Mart the traffic was picking up incredibly. We are noobs at the Black Friday thing and didn't realize at first the GREAT deal TVs are so coveted that they are treated specially. First off, NOTHING is in it's normal department. You have to get a special map of the store if you hope to find any big sale items. TVs happen to be in the lawn & garden to the plants and trees we went. The line wasn't too long...probably 50 people (not 50 groups/pairs) were in front of us so I was guess that was about 15-25 TVs so we were fine. From that point I only took on trip away from the cart. Jon took multiple. Every time he came back he'd report how much crazier the store itself was getting and that the main aisle were cart to cart non-movement. The side aisle were blocked with STUFF that the Wal-Mart employees had moved out of the way.

Here's a bit of the fun we took in...spun out of your typical Black Friday Shoppers:
The Crazies
This lady (not sure if "lady" is the proper term based on my experience), ended up in line behind us for the TVs but that's not why I took her picture. In my one trip out of the line I ran to the car to grab our gift cards we were using. I happened to notice a LONG line of headlights down one aisle and realized it was because the front car was waiting to turn into a spot where someone was packing up to leave. A second later I realized that one lady from this SUV in front was outside of the vehicle trying to direct her driving to backing up because the car behind them was bumper to bumper with them and REFUSING to back up (even though the 3rd card had given it a good 4-6 feet to back up). So the woman outside of her SUV was helping her driver while cursing the 2nd driver and calling her the most ridiculous names. Now, given I hadn't been there for the beginning of this little situation and maybe Driver #2 had good reason to be a jerk, but from my perspective...she was simply doing that: Being a jerk and not back up. However, SUV Lady was looking like the bigger fool with the show she was putting on with her profanities.

So I went to the car, got my cards... By the time I was back at the scene (and what a scene it was!) the SUV had made it into the spot it had been trying for, but NOW the spot next to the SUV was freeing up, but you better believe SUV Lady was not going to let Driver #2 into this convenient spot. So what does she do? SUV Lady stands in front of Driver #2's car and is shouting, helping this innocent bystander who was now trying to leave, back out. They are also directing Car #3 around Driver #2 so Car #3 can have the new spot instead. So this leaves Driver #2 trapped and unable to even leave the scene and continue her search for another parking spot. SUV Lady is yelling and at this point just laughing while booty-shaking on Driver #2's hood. Wow. 'Tis the season!
The Traditionalists
Here is crew in much more of a TRUE holiday spirit! This was their 9th year of Black Friday shopping together (first year with shirts, though, haha). They were all quite friendly and just happy to be out. Wal-Mart was their first stop but they had several more in lined up. This was taken just before midnight...only the start of their night.
The "I'm Just Here For The Deal" type
This lady was in front of us in line for the TVs. She had several of her kids with her (adults, mind you) who kept running off to find other "great deals" to throw in the cart, but for the most part, this lady held her post. She mad her nest on a lawn & garden cart with some towels that were on sale and kicked her feet up for the multi-hour long wait...accidentally throwing potting soil all over at one point, but hey, she was in good spirits. That's all that really mattered.

I didn't take a picture, but of course we did have an encounter with the most common Black Friday Shopper: The Mom. Actually it was parents. The lady behind us had a fuller-than-full cart (her husband was there as well). To her credit, though, she said she buys many of the gifts each year after adopting an "Angel" and giving it gifts. They had a miscarriage at some point and said that she knows if that child had lived she'd spend lots of money on it all year so to spend extra money on another child whom she can bring some extra holiday cheer is the least she can do. Wonderful Christmas spirit.

The lines were at a standstill at about 20 til midnight. Everyone at this point had items that would not be on sale in the registers until the stroke of midnight...we waited anxiously.

I have to hand it to Wal-Mart, though... They have done this enough that things were pretty together. (Given I wasn't out in the madness of the store the 2 hours leading up to midnight.) Having you WAIT in a separate line (not grabbing your TV and wait at a register line) until 11:30 to even get your TV is smart. Some people were upset that they couldn't be doing other shopping, but I think the genius of Wal-Mart has learned a thing or 2 over the years and knows this works best. It was about 11:30 when we put our game faces on and decided to ditch the cart. Mike and Jenny had stopped by and grabbed these Elmo backpacks that Cassie had her friend had been in search of, but a neighboring Wal-Mart was out of, so on with the packs we went and goodbye to our cart.
Game Faces ON.
I headed out into the main-store-madness to snag us a place in line while Jon moved through the now moving TV line and carried the 32-incher to find me. Without the cart he was able to finagle his way to me no problem. We'd also snagged a small Eureka vaccuum for $25 bucks in the process (something else we'd planned to purchase post-wedding) and our only "impulse buy" was a dvd/blu-ray player someone decided not to get in the line. (Our dvd player is pretty worthless.) I'm proud to say we were out of Wal-Mart and in the car by 12:12 a.m. and in bed asleep shortly thereafter. Success.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Show 'em some grAtitude!

I don't want to seem UNgrateful, but I'm not going to call out the important people in my life for this post. I don't need a special season, time of year or holiday to tell those people in my life that they are important to me. I hope my actions and words send that message to them on a daily basis. Instead, I think this season of appreciation is a good time to remember the things we don't always take time to show the gratitude let me begin...

Eye Doctors
- I don't know this for a fact, but I'm 99% sure I'm legally blind without my glasses or contacts. I probably wouldn't be able to hold a job and would have had many, many obstacles in school if I didn't have contacts/glasses. Thanks GOODNESS!

Kentucky Weather
- People complain all of the time and I probably have too at some point. But wow do I love ALL seasons. Sure I get tired of the freezing cold and snow by mid-February but I still love the beauty of snow. I love the arrival of spring days and the coming to life of the world. Everyone loves a hot day at the pool or lake during the summer and nothing tops the radiance of colors along with the perfect weather of the fall. So grateful I can live in one place and experience ALL of that.

- I've gotten to see some pretty cool places and visit some great friends thanks to this speedy form of travel. The food may be crap but wow is the ability cool! We can FLY!

Coffee Shops
- I love the smell and the coziness. I've spent many a hour catching up with friends, reading (lame) text books and zoning in on school work and sometimes just for the comfort. In 2009 when the ice storm hit Louisville and my home was out of power (ie, WARMTH) I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee at good ol' Heine Brothers and used my laptop waiting for a friend to get off work who was supplying me with a hot supper. That coffee shop never felt more like home!

Adult-sized onesies
: Yes, the sell them. Yes, I have TWO. A purple one (of course) and a glow in the dark dinosaur one. Keeping the kid alive in all of us.

Valerie, Myself & Becky all sporting our trendy onesies!
Sweats & Slippers: I can't understand who wouldn't want to wear them all of the time. Sure it's fun to dress up here and there but man-oh-man, nothing tops my "simple pleasures" in life like wearing cozy clothes all day long.

: Some people don't find the appreciation in them. Amazing how if you embrace them, though, that they become an active part of you and/or your family. Someone to talk to when no one else is around. You never have to feel alone.

: I have a lot. I'd like more. I really don't think I could have enough. They're so warm.

Modern Communication
: I have friends all over the country and world. Jon's family lives 4 hours away. I live 1-2 hours from most of my friends. I am in touch with them all constantly. When my parents moved to middle-of-nowhere-Kentucky there was only the option of snail-mail or long-distance phone calls. Now we have cell phones, email, Facebook, text messages, Skype...the only people we fall out of touch with are those we choose to do so.

Hand-written letters
: I don't get many and I know i just thanked the opposite, but nothing excites me like REAL mail. Perhaps one of the best things that came out of Jon and I living apart for a year were the wonderful letters he sent in the mail.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hunting Season

I'm job hunting. I wouldn't describe it as "fun," but in my particular circumstances it is a bit exciting. I love my current job and the idea of not working for Todd after 3 years is sad. I have a feeling that throughout the duration of my career, none will compare to that of working through the evolution of Infominded to Member Minded to Try It Local with Todd. I was a bit spoiled with the type of "job"I've had for a three year period as someone in her mid-twenties!

Nonetheless, with the end of any good thing, is the start of a new adventure and only time will tell what is in store next. Perhaps the crappiest of crappy jobs. Maybe it'll take my six months to find one in this middle-of-nowhere Central Kentucky land. Maybe I'll have to take something that barely covers the gas to make it there everyday. Good or bad, I think we can all agree that sometimes it's the bad, ugly and unfortunate situations that are the most memorable and bring the best end results.

I don't want to give too much detail about my job hunt. I'll just say I'm looking constantly and doing my best to connect with those whom I believe know me well and can put in a good word or help network me if they happen to hear of any opportunities. There are some potential situations out there right now. One of which would seem almost too convenient and desired to work in my favor. (I figure Jon and I got our lucky break with his Tarter job this past spring.) But either way, these hit and miss hopeful opportunities do provide me with one thing: peace.

Whether I find a "dream job" or not...whether I find something tomorrow or in three months... Here in the middle of nowhere there are still opportunities and one will come about that is for me when the time is right.