so i was in the town two towns away that i don't spend time in but just happened to have been in twice in one week. the reason why this time was that wingman LOVES nutcrackers. and he loves that santa brings him a cool nutcracker each year. and i figured since santa is so busy these days that i'd help him out and scout around.
i went to the various thrift stores in this town two towns away in search of vintage (read cool and cheap) nutcrackers. and one of the thrift stores is in a strip mall with a grocery outlet and a dollar store. there's also a store there called 'stupid prices.' but it's out of business. i wonder if the prices were too stupid or just the name.
anyhow, i checked the thrift store and didn't find anything. then i headed next door to the grocery outlet. it's got to be a chain because i remember this store from when i was little growing up in california. the name was slightly different, maybe 'canned food outlet' or something like that? but i remember the same rainbow logo. i also remember it was on one side of the freeway overpass and 'budget meats' was on the other. this was a convenient A to B for shopping in my household.
good lord, 'budget meats.' as you may imagine, this was a no frills concern that sold meat. cheap. it didn't smell particularly good, not bad, just not good. especially so during the scorching valley summers. and given its location, it was always an adventure as to who would be hanging around out front. who hangs out in front of 'budget meats?' and, it was not lost on me as a little kid that not only was 'budget meats' NOT a particularly reassuring name, it also had an unfortunately close proximity to a veterinary hospital. as an imaginative child this really gave me pause.
anyhow, so this 'grocery outlet' is supposed to be groceries on the cheap. i heard from a friend that they had an inexpensive wine section, too so i thought i'd go in and check it out. what's the big deal? i didn't think the groceries in this place were all that cheap, a LOT were regularly priced. certainly not something for me to drive two towns away to get to.
oh sure, unless you want "juice." oh, and it's in quotes on the bottles, too, because it's not actually juice. for some reason the 'grocery outlet' had fake juice up the whazoo. and chopped nuts, too. only they are chopped nuts packaged as "nutmeats." and i just can't. i don't care how good a deal it is. i just can't.
oh, and the wine section was a bunch of wines i've not only never in my life heard of, they all had suspicious labels with fake sounding 'fancy names.'
sure, some cheap wines can be very good. okay, drinkable at least. but these were REALLY cheap, and sort of 'off' looking. like something that inmates from an asylum would make for both a therapeutic activity and fundraiser for the facility. but not surprisingly, because i'm me and therefore cannot resist a good wine deal, i started to gravitate towards some label with elaborate swirls and something like "falalalaulia," and i was only saved by the fact that right then over the loudspeaker the song that was playing ended and the new song that came on was 'the christmas shoes.'
ARRGH! 'the christmas shoes!!' look, i love christmas music. secular, religious, churchy, all out god is our savior with the big chorus, i don't care! I LOVE IT! and often the sappier the better. BUT this song, every.single.time.it.plays. i get all weepy and cry!! but not in the good kind of way because it's such a terrible manipulative tear jerker! it's a bad sad cry. in fact it's nearly UNFAIR how it makes me cry. so i hear the opening bars and i immediately make for the door. whew, thank god or i might have actually purchased the "falalalaulia" or whatever it was for 1.99. because i know just by looking at it it was NO two buck chuck. okay, sure, it *might* have been on par with two buck chuck. it *might* have been the best wine in the world, but i'm kinda glad i'll never find out.
so i go next door to the dollar store. because it's there. and because i'm looking for red tapers for my winter solstice advent wreath and you'd think this being the season of red tapers and all that i'd find them easily. not so much. oddly enough, i cannot find red tapers to save my life. so i go in and what is on the loudspeaker? 'THE CHRISTMAS SHOES!' i kid you not! it's a wonder when these things happen (with alarming frequency it seems) that there really isn't a hidden camera crew when i look around for them.
anyway, so i spy candles right as i walk in. of course they aren't red tapers, because that would be too easy. BUT they are soy candles in their own glass holders, a nice brand i remember ordering OFF THE INTERWEBS FOR A RIDICULOUS SUM a few years back. and here they are! for ONLY 1.00! i am a cheap bastard so this at once makes me terribly angry that i didn't think of patronizing dollar stores more in my past and completely gleeful that this fabulous deal has come my way!!!
so i bought 1.
okay, i bought 4. and yes, because i have issues, i felt terribly bad about the extravagance! but they are so wonderful and i'm not getting out and going two towns over anytime soon AGAIN just to buy candles. to balance it out i did briefly think of gifting one or two though...sigh.
then i see the christmas section. and i have to look. and i'm in a crowd of people looking at the ornaments when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this older gentleman, wearing a beret and tweed no less, comes up to me...
okay, can i interject something here? in this town two towns away people don't wear berets and tweed. they are sailors, and steel workers, and meth heads. this is the same town wherein i got hit on at the stop light by the two gentlemen, one with a mullet, in the jacked up whack 4x4 with the handcuffs around the mirror and the suggestive bumper stickers on the back. where i was graciously invited for a 'few beers' at the 'drift inn.' and no, they were not wearing berets or tweed.
oh and another thing, while i'm already off track...
older men love me. and this isn't me tooting my horn (which due to a large ego gets more use than it should) it's just fact. men in their mid 50s to be exact. which, as i age, isn't terribly 'older' anymore. but it's 'older' than me. there's just something about me that they like. it happens where ever i go, but ESPECIALLY so in co-ops and health food stores. and i don't even go to co-ops and health food stores a lot since we don't have co-ops and health food stores out here BUT WHEN I DO it's like the pied piper of the saw palmetto set.
okay, so out of this whole crowd of people this older gentleman walks right up to me and says
"do you know where i can get some hanukkah candles?"
and it must be him or what he's asking or who knows but all the people in the crowd stop what they are doing and are now looking at us.
and i say
"as a matter of fact i do. i just bought mine."
and i tell him where to go. there aren't a LOT of choices where we happen to be, so he's thrilled.
and if there's anything odd about an older gentleman wearing a beret and tweed in the middle of the dollar store in a town two towns away filled with sailors and steel workers and meth heads coming right up to *me* and picking *me* out of a crowd while i am perusing the CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS and asking me where in the county, not in the store but the county because they don't sell HANUKKAH candles at the dollar store in the town two towns away, where he can find HANUKKAH candles and then ME KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE even though i'm perusing CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS because i just bought MINE for HANUKKAH well then i wouldn't know what it is.
because if you look up 'par for the course' in the dictionary you would see a picture of me that is captioned 'whenever she leaves the house...' and a place to fill in the blank of everything that ever has and ever will happen to me when i leave the house.
and this being such a big deal i have to blog about it just serves to illustrate that i need to get out more. if only it weren't such a hassle.
all right, i've got work to do so i'll wrap this up. but not before i leave you with this gem.