Mother returned from Walmart with the Christmas lights early Thanksgiving evening with the Christmas lights announcing, “We’ll have to go back at 9.” The thought filled me with dread: “What I want doesn’t go on sale until 10.”
I knew I wasn’t going to get out of it. I could already tell she was determined. I was going to participate in Black Friday, on Thursday, at WalMart.
Lord, help me.
Until that point, the pounds of sale fliers that came in the day’s papers remained unread. I dug through them to find the one for Walmart — there were actually three. Three different sales, at three different times: 8 pm, 10 pm and 5 am.
Casually, I flipped through, looking through a large number of things of no interest to me until I saw the triple crock pot for $20. Not something I wanted to fight crowds for, but something of interest if I was going to be there anyway. Something worth mentioning, which I did.
“They have a triple crock pot.”
“That’s what we’re going back for, I want two,” Mother said. “I saw them when I was there earlier, and they wouldn’t let me have them. She told me they weren’t available until 10, so I want to go back at nine.”
I looked at the flier, in the upper right corner. “This says they go on sale at 8.”
“WHAT?” She asked. “They told me 10.”
At that moment, it was 10 minutes after 8.
Within five minutes, we were in the car, on the way.
The Walmart there is right next to the mall, which was closed, being a holiday and all…. And yet, the parking lot on the Walmart end was full. And as we drew nearer, we could see why — the Walmart parking lot was beyond capacity. Though the guards kept the firelane open, out into the lot area, cars were parked on berms, in the grass, in any space available, whether a marked space or not.
“Please don’t make me go in there,” I asked.
“I’ll get out at the door and go in,” she said. “They’re right there in the aisle.” I jumped in the driver’s seat when she got out and carefully navigated the tight space and idiots of the parking lot for ten minutes until my phone rang. “I’m done,” Mother said. “They’re all gone.”
Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m not a Walmart fan. And this experience — has made my disfavor even worse.
It’s one thing to offer items on sale starting at business opening at a certain time. People can camp out, form lines, attempt to be somewhat orderly. But when the store stays open, and certain items go on sale two hours apart, here’s what happens. People arrive at 7 hang around until 8, and then wait until 10. They don’t leave. They keep shopping, take a break, go outside and smoke, walk to get something to eat, but they don’t lose their parking space, and they don’t leave.
Meanwhile, time passes. And at 9, the folks wanting to arrive early for the second sale start arriving. There’s no where to park. Some circle the lot waiting for a space to open, others navigate through before seeking parking further away at the mall,some (like us) drop a person at the door and go around and around (with no choice, because there’s no where to get out of the way) until the person they dropped is ready to go.
I can’t imagine what it was like inside that store at 8 or 10. We were in and out before 9:15. But what I’ve seen from video, folks gathered around the displays of items about to go on sale, and the second the sale started, it was a free-for-all.
Of course it was! But it’s not truly the people who are to blame – for they have been thrust into a situation that invites mayhem.
And while I was relieved to have missed the inside essence of the sale, Mother was quite upset that more than one Walmart employee told her the wrong time for the crock pot sale. I, on the other hand, can’t even imagine my elderly Mother and myself in a crowd of 50-75 writhing and thrashing to grab $20 crock pots the second they went on sale.
I’m quite sure the chances of me losing my cool would increase 100 fold in such a situation. I cannot imagine anything more humiliating for one, but also, I can’t imagine what I would do if anyone were to shove or push my mother.
I later heard that the triple crock pot at Walmart was junk. The crocks were too small to be practical, and those who made the effort to actually get them were disappointed.
I’m glad we missed it.
The following is an excerpt from a report put out by the American Trucker Association entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops“….
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage
The first 24 hours
• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.
Within one day
• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.
Within two to three days
• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.
Within a week
• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.
Within two weeks
• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.
Within four weeks
• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.
This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my recent column in the print edition of Two-Lane Livin’, “The Perfect Season for Planning Winter Projects”, has given a rather false image of my existence.
During delivery of the print copies, I was introduced to someone new who happened to have just finished reading my winter To Do list. A rather blunt and to-the-point woman, after telling me she just read the installment, she immediately noted, “I hate you. You make me sick,” with extremely dry humor. Extremely. Dry.
I was taken aback. Yes, I have made such a winter To Do List (actually it’s even longer than what I mentioned), but the reality is that I’ll likely only finish half of it. I’ll get sidetracked to other projects, give up on some, decide that others are not so important after all.
In fact, a friend who knows me well laughed hysterically after reading the column. “You crack me up,” she said. “We’ll see just how many of those things you actually get done.”
What we printed though, as I mentioned is actually only part of the BIG LIST. Truth is, at almost 46 years old, I believe what I’ve made is The Mid-Life Crisis Reinvention List. I think most of us whose lives don’t follow the planned path (if there ever was a plan) come to this point. It’s a shift from “How did this become my life?” to “What am I going to do to make it better?”
Frank and I have been reinventing our lives since we started Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine. Over the past 5 years, we’ve made great strides in increasing our self-sufficiency and independence. It’s been hard work. HARD WORK. Lots of work with little play. It takes a toll. Though we have achieved many of our goals, it seemed that most of them were externally focused. We wanted to change our lives, and we have. But this fall, after five years of hard, hard work, I found myself asking, “Where’s my joy?” Even though we had met many of our goals, we weren’t feeling the rewards as fully as we should be. But why not?
Because the next step, inevitably, comes from realizing that you can only get so far changing the world around you. At some point, you have to change yourself.
So, let’s review the WHOLE list, items printed and those not, with updates from the 2 weeks since I wrote the original column:
1. Quit smoking. As of today, I haven’t been smoking for 32 days. I have a nicotine vaporizer, which I love and will review at a later date. This is a life-changing change.
2. Take my vitamins. A multi-vitamin, zinc, and Vitamin D. I take Vitamin D each fall/winter for seasonal depression. Frank decided on the Zinc, and the multivitamin is a new thing for us. This could also be a life changer. The ailments of Vitamin D deficiencies are common in society, and parallel some of the early-aging aches Frank and I experience. Zinc is another common deficiency in our society.
3. Convert my entire album collection to mp3. This is an ongoing project, with about 3 albums processed a week. I’ve already done more than 30 albums. I need/want more music in my life. It’s therapy. It’s joy in sound. It’s creativity in the air. Having the music I love and know in a format that will go with me anywhere I go will be a true life improvement.
4. Finish last winter’s quilts. I sewed two quilt tops last winter – but never finished them. So this is proof I don’t always accomplish all that’s on my lists. I started quilting one of these, but halfway through, had to tear my stitching out because of a wrinkle. This project is now set aside until I feel less — discouraged about it.
5. Fill out recipe cards. I do this every winter. I hate sorting through all the notes, napkins, and loose pages I gather all year. At some point, I might even cook some of the recipes I’ve collected. When Frank and I married, I knew how to cook about 3 things. While my skills have expanded, I do get into recipe ruts. I’m hoping to change that.
6. Develop a system for the freezers. This is already falling to the bottom of the list – nearly forgotten. But the current non-system leads to a lot of waste. Remedy definitely needed.
7. Organize “the crafty space.” This is a HUGE project. Currently in total chaos, waiting for inspiration.
8. Return to daily yoga. Haven’t really gotten this going yet. I do have a workout routine I have developed for my personal aches and pains, but always get away from it in summer. I can tell the difference. Tight muscles, tight mind. I miss the meditation time just as much.
9. Redo the closet. I have way, way, too many clothes/shoes/coats/bags/etc. Many which are not – uh, fitting – for a woman my age. The wardrobe and closet, needs and entire overhaul.
10. Learn to play guitar. So far, I bought the guitar, and have learned to string it, tune it, and play a G Chord. I’m working on the G scale, and the F and C chords. I can tell it could be a long (life-long) learning process on this one. Again, part of the goal to bring more music into our lives.
It’s obvious that these are personal goals for the winter – not business goals. There are several of those as well, including blog more, build our twitter output since FB has made our FB Page almost pointless, and launch the mobile app, which I thought would be done by now.
So, don’t hate me because I set goals. All it means is that I’m fed up with “this as it is” and am making a change. A list for planned change. A quest for improvement.
Want to see where I succeed and where I fail? Follow along here on the blog. I hope to update on these personal projects, with photos and all, over the winter. We’ll just see how much I get done.
Life has been a handful lately, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up any time soon.
More than two years ago, Frank stepped up to help his father through some health issues. Of course you expect improvement, but sometimes it seems it’s one thing after another. Complications, reactions to medication, tests, follow-up tests, appointments, follow-up appointments, therapists… And then of course there’s the paperwork that comes with each and every little thing. You look for every step to get you moving uphill, but in many cases it’s more like a roller coaster — up, down and sideways.
In the meantime, readership of the magazine just keeps growing. We became the largest independent publication in the state without even knowing it. We simply kept trying to meet reader demand with the budget available from our advertisers. As the magazine grows, it needs more of our attention, but right now, our attention is often elsewhere.
It’s all been very challenging, to say the least.
The world of health care and elderly services is daunting and frustrating.What is covered, what isn’t. What is necessary, what isn’t. What’s been considered, what hasn’t. What meds have been taken, what needs to be taken. What’s the symptom, what’s the cause. Many days the question simply stands at, “What now?”
And delivery — even with school letting out and gas prices dipping a little — is always a challenge. It takes six days to get each issue delivered, (rain, hail, sleet, snow, flood, etc.) and it seems as though there’s a crisis of some sort around here every four days or so. Funerals, flat tires, the flu — just to name a few.
This week we missed a day of delivery waiting for a stool sample. That should explain the ebb and flow of our lives right now.
I don’t share this information to say, “Woe is me.” I share it to explain:
We’re not currently at our business best.
If you call and get our answering machine, please leave a message. We could be as close as the garden or hay field (if the sun is shining), or as far as Morgantown Medical Center or a clinic outside Columbus, Ohio.
If I don’t return your call or e-mail quickly, or seem a little distracted or rushed when I do, please don’t consider it my typical behavior. It is possible that a day or two might pass before I get to even catch up on phone messages, and I might not check my email until 11 pm.
If you miss seeing us on delivery and tire of finding bundled copies have been left on your doorstop in the night, please don’t think Frank and I are avoiding you. We enjoy visiting with our friends on delivery routes, but it takes less time and less gas to deliver them in the middle of the night than in the traffic of the day.
If you are wanting to pitch a new column, request my help or services on a project, or ask me to volunteer, or research or direct my attention to something new — forgive me if I cringe or duck and run for cover. Now just is not a good time. (Please check back later.)
We’re juggling at maximum capacity, and though we’d love to do more, deliver more, add more, sell more, post more, market more, network more, serve more, reach more, harvest more — right now we’re focused on what we have at hand -
Family, home, garden, clients.
And with that, we’ve got our hands full.
Several years ago, for a short time, Frank and I lived in the house my grandfather was born in. Only one of his siblings remained, but she had fallen and broken her hip and was then living with her daughter. The house remained, just as she left it.
Alone, at her age, she had not been able to maintain the house and farm as she once had. Frank and I, living there, began to clean, clear and organize.
In sorting through the spare bedroom (which had become a storage room of sorts) I found an entire box of elastic bands cut from little boys’ underwear. In another box, I found a collection of dry-rotted thread pieces.
At first, I was confused. Then, I remembered. Elvie, my Great Aunt, had survived The Great Depression….
(To see the full article, click below.)