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a price below rubies

Yesterday I had one of those mornings of shopping planned that required a lot of pre-game thinking, scheming, and generally mumbling to myself like a crazy person. Someday my kids will have lots of material about me over which to bond with each other.

This trip was special enough to plan ahead for because Nate was tagging along with me to BUY ALL THE THINGS! He’s the type of no nonsense, strategically driven shopper who wants to get from Point A to C via B with no zig-zagging or redoubling our path, so I deemed it important to get the logistics right. I’m not a logistically minded person by nature. Add to this scenario that I had enthusiastically signed up Charlie for the after-preschool program for the first time–so we could get in some extra shopping and a lunch date–and you may be able to guess what I did next after waking them for school and discovering they both had a cough……….

Did you guess that I medicated them with ibuprofen, antihistamine, homeopathic cough syrup, and Vick’s VapoRub and went on our merry way? Yup. But y’all, I needed to get to the stores before the crazed Thanksgiving shoppers arrived. And the kids both seemed okay enough. Go ahead and slide another bead on the parenting abacus toward mother of the year.*

Nate ended up needing to be on a work call in the morning, so I did some of the more practical running around alone. I brought Vivi to school at 8:15, then went to Trader Joe’s for holiday eats (PEPPERMINT JOE JOE’S!!), then to Stop & Shop for the cord of wood and seltzer that were on sale, then to Charlie’s school at 9, then to Costco, where I cursed that they don’t open until 10am, and then to Home Depot for an amaryllis bulb and new Christmas lights (after standing there scratching my head for an interminably long period, I settled on one of those nets of small white lights for the front bushes).

Then I drove back to Costco to wait in a line of angry lady shoppers who were all aggressively armed with their carts waiting for the doors to open. I was rethinking my decision until I found the big container of mejool dates for cheap, a $3 pineapple, and cozy new dearfoam slippers for $10. They had me at “machine washable.” Then I stood in the book section and tried to decide whether to get this Roald Dahl collection:

I still REALLY want it, but Vivi’s not really old enough for them yet probably, and I promised myself that I’d reign in holiday spending. “We already have nice things” and all that.

Then I drove home to gather Nate, and we headed back out for a sushi lunch date. Green tea, miso soup, seaweed salad, vegetarian rolls and a spicy tuna roll make me a happy girl. Then we marched onward to the mall. First stop was Banana Republic, where we managed to find much of what we were collectively seeking. Nate got a few sweaters, non-iron slim-fit work shirts, and the ever necessary orange argyle socks, and I got a cocktail dress for his holiday party!

At this point I could give much more backstory on why it was such a coup to find a dress on the first go–that story involves the purchase and return of two holiday party dresses last year–but this olympic-distance post can only handle one story. What I will tell you though is that I got that dress at 40% off, and it wasn’t even Black Friday! Nate and I were nearly the only people in the whole store, and they even gave us free chocolates when we were leaving. This, people, is how I recommend shopping for deals–in the middle of a Tuesday when your children are being cared for by other adults. If I hadn’t backed into the great savings I experienced, I might have even more detailed advice than that.

Then we went home and I stood over the sink, methodically removing pits from mejool dates and stuffing them with cream cheese, and eating them one by one while I reviewed the triumphs of the day. Happy Turkey Day, everyone! I hope your holidays are full of dates and deals and red dresses. xoxo, J

*I borrowed the idea about a life abacus from this dooce article. So funny.