Sunday, December 17, 2006

A shopping day

We don't shop often. Oh, groceries, sure, sort of. But clothes? gifts? objects to fill household needs? Well, we pretty much do our utmost to avoid shopping, but sometimes it just needs to be done. And turns out to be rather fine, and even fun. Thus it was today.

Our plan: when dear husband returned from a prior commitment in the early afternoon, we would head out to Nearby City and shop our way homeward for the rest of the day. Yikes, you might say, but our itinerary was clothing surplus store, possibly Scout Shop, military surplus store, Big Box Store in our town, and finally our favorite Christmas tree lot. And that's exactly what we did!

Our main goal: to acquire at least some of the most necessary gear for dear husband and Son1 to survive and perhaps even be vaguely comfortable for the upcoming Dead of Winter Scout campout of four days and three nights. Our other goals: to, if possible, pick up a few leadership resources at the Scout Shop. To give dear husband his first look at the new Big Box Store in our town. To bring a Christmas tree into our home. Again, that's what we did -- whew!

We had a very enjoyable time over about five hours, all told. We saw a lot of Nearby City. We thoroughly explored every overstuffed aisle of the clothing surplus store and acquired warm socks, sock liners, glove liners, and long underwear for both guys, as well as a great hat for Son1... with earflaps! We also discovered Son1 really wants a neck gaiter in soft microfleece, hmmm.

Next, dear husband and I tracked down the Scout Shop, to which we had previously traveled separately and from different directions. We found it! and it was closed, oh well. Onward to the military surplus store, passing on the way an upscale mall and its vast parking lot that was very very very crowded. The military surplus store was oh so thematic, with lots of memorabilia along the walls, and mostly clothing. I could've picked up a copy of the book The Happy Handgunner, though, I think that was the title! The kids enjoyed exploring the store while dear husband and I looked for some wool pants Son1 might be able to wear. We found a candidate pair, and they could be cinched to fit somewhat, but in the end we decided to put that purchase off. We left with a new wool watch cap for dear husband.

Next, we bowed to kid needs and ate dinner at a fast food place, a somewhat restorative task. Time to drive back to our town for the visit to Big Box Store. Amazingly, the only thing we bought from that fine establishment was a pack of 4-Watt nightlight bulbs! Er, and I picked up a decaf peppermint mocha and a pound of whole-bean Starbucks decaf Christmas Blend coffee.

The final stop was our favorite Christmas tree lot. The boys, again, explored while dear husband and I told the tree lot guy our preferred price and that we were looking for kinda tall and skinny, looked at the two Michigan firs he showed us amid a brief lament that the rest in that price range had sold, chose one 'cause we liked them both fine, and bought it and a premade Noble fir wreath (a splurge this year!). The boys didn't seem to mind missing most of the process! We drove home with a bundled tree and a nice wreath, as well as our other purchases, and hauled everything into the house.

Now the kids are asleep in a bedroom lit by the very gentle glow of a yellow rice-paper star lamp I got for that purpose nearly four years ago when we moved into this house; they love it.

We have a pile of clothing that will go a long way toward keeping my guys comfortable even if they have somewhat challenging weather on their campout after Christmas. We also have made some decisions about what else to get for that. I'm going to dig into the long-forgotten box of my old outdoor and skiing gear. I know I have good long underwear Son1 can wear; possibly more socks and liners; and a monster pair of felted, super dense wool mittens. We're working our way with some success down the list of recommended gear.

A card table and various objects and piles that tend to come to rest on it have been moved or put away. The Michigan fir drinks water as it stands between the piano and the entryway, with two paper chains perched in its now-relaxing branches. The scent of fir drifts through the house along with songs such as "Coventry Carol."

It has been a very good day.

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