Recommended wine for today’s entry: As we enter the 10-day countdown to Christmas, I say treat yourself to a good bottle of port wine, and each night, to reward yourself for a full day of accomplishments, pour a small amount in your most multi-faceted wine glass and sip it while appreciating the lights reflecting on the glass. An excellent and therapeutic waste of time. The Wall Street Journal’s Tastings column reviewed a number of ports recently and I am going to try Quinta do Crasto, which they described as “Best value. Absolutely lovely wine, with remarkable drinkability. Soulful and satisfying.” Sounds like the price ranges quite a bit, but averages around $50. Remember, with port, a small sip goes a long way.
Has the stress of the holidays gotten to you yet?
You would know if it had — you would have screamed at the cat, withheld dinner from the dog until his manners improved, or gritted your teeth and growled at your teenager. Luckily (for him) my husband has been out of town for a couple days. Unluckily (for him) it was a high of like 7 degrees where he went, while we had 64 degrees yesterday. But it wasn’t like I could lounge by the pool.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, don’t get me wrong. I just seem to handle it poorly.
I’ve decided that I am the single most inefficient person on Earth. I’ve been observing my friends — especially my friends who work — and they accomplish SO much more in a given day than I do.
Who am I kidding? People in retirement homes accomplish more than I do in a day.
So this morning, I spent valuable time evaluating the way that I waste time. The irony of this inefficient use of time is not lost on me. I learned it from observing our government at work.
Let’s look at the last 24 hours.
I needed to mail one more package to out-of-town people. This was going to Connecticut; I had mailed one to Florida and one to Atlanta last Friday. Because there was no line when I went on Friday, I decided to go to the same UPS store on Monday. So I loaded it in the car and drove 8 miles to the “tried-and-true” UPS, passing not one but TWO other UPS stores on the way.
The young guy who had waited on me, very efficiently, on Friday, was busy, so a crusty man who smelled like an ashtray came out of the back. He had a glob of yellow mustard by his mouth and it was 10 a.m. I don’t know what he eats for breakfast but none of the options I thought of sounded very good.
So he measured the box, whipping his tape measure faster than my eyes could register, put it on the scale and pronounced that it was gonna cost me $32 to send it to Connecticut.
“Huh?” I said, “I don’t want any insurance or anything.”
“None on it,” stinky man said, grabbing the debit card I was holding.
“Hold on. I mailed two boxes to Florida and Atlanta on Friday and they were $12 and $13. And one of them had an iron candleholder in it. This weighs four pounds less.”
“Huh,” he said. “Oh, yeah. This place is really off the beaten path.”
“WHAT?” I was getting bitchy and it felt good. “It’s not going to freakin’ GUAM. Every town in Connecticut is just behind a stand of trees off of either I-95 or the Merritt Parkway.”
“Let me measure it again,” he said, whipping the measure around like a rodeo cowboy.
“It’s the same box as the others. I bought them all at once.”
So he gives me this crap about how he’ll round down the measurements and a quarter inch can make a huge difference. And the whole time, he’s got one of the ends at least an inch past the end of the box. Bottom line is, it cost $7.80 … and I know why there were no lines there.
What should have taken five minutes took 25 minutes. Not my fault.
Then I needed ONE thing at the mall. I hate the mall. But I found a good spot, parking next to a car with a giant Grinch sticking out of its sunroof (not in any way related to this story, except to illustrate how easily sidetracked I am). I found the item immediately. Then I decided to check out a store halfway across the mall, looking for something for my niece. Well, two and a half hours later, juggling packages, I was cutting through a store on the way to my car.
I spotted something that looked great for my daughter. After careful deliberation, I finally just decided to go for it. I put down the one that I’d been looking at, thinking that because it was in the front it was probably worn out from people’s eyes (like how you never buy the front magazine in the checkout line, duh) and grabbed the one behind it.
Except when I got home, the one behind it was a large and she needs a small.
To be smart, I called the store and had them put the small behind the counter and headed back to the mall. Excellent. Rush hour. It took me a full hour to get to the mall. Now I was pissed at glared at stupid Santa on my way past.
On the way home, I stopped at the grocery to get all the non-perishables I’d need for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners! Aren’t you impressed? But it took me an hour and a half to get about 25 items. And if I hadn’t found my friend Molly there, I would’ve looked for the water chestnuts for another 15 minutes. Now that I think about it, I hate water chestnuts. Texture like cartilage and they squeak on your teeth. Ick.
Then this morning, I was determined to recover the seat on my daughter’s desk chair because the pink, lime and orange stripe looked like crap in her green-and-black bedroom. I’ve been meaning to do for two months.
Should just take a minute.
I went downstairs, out to the garage, got the staple gun, cut through the kitchen for the scissors, upstairs to the chair, oops, forgot a screwdriver to get the seat off, back to the garage, grab the Phillips, back upstairs, damn, need a flat screwdriver to get the old staples out, downstairs, step on something really squishy in the garage, chant “not a spleen, not a spleen, not a spleen,” while limping to the laundry room, put socks in the washer, start it, back to garage in shoes now, get the screwdriver, upstairs, remove staples, except a bunch just straightened and I couldn’t pull ’em out, garage, needle nose pliers, upstairs, successfully change the cover. Return all materials to the garage (in one trip!) … total time elapsed: 55 minutes.
See what I’m saying? And my legs are so freakin’ sore, between my little jaunt to the mall and the treks up and down the stairs, that it’s no wonder I snapped at the dog’s bad manners.
And there are still 10 days of this madness ahead.