It’s Christmas Time…

…so, Merry Christmas!  Before I go any further and forget, I wanted to let you guys know that Grace Engineered Products will be closed on the following days so our employees can enjoy the holidays with their families:

– Friday, December 23 in observance of Christmas Eve
– Monday, December 26 in observance of Christmas Day
– Friday, December 30 in observance of New Year’s Eve
– Monday, January 2 in observance of New Year’s Day

I, however, will be gone the entire last week of December, so boys and girls, that means I will have 11 days off in a row.  In a blessed row!!!  Woo-hoo!!  Sorry, I probably shouldn’t be so thrilled, but it’s been quite a year and all the time off I’ve had this year has been because of crazy, not-so-fun reasons.  I am so grateful to have these days off to spend with my son and do exactly what I want to do and not at all what I need to do.  And, after you read this story about my shopping excursion yesterday, you might understand why…

Every year, like most places, we take up a collection to buy the boss-man a Christmas gift.  This year, we decided to use a portion of the money collected to purchase gifts for the elderly in nursing homes and donate them on his behalf.   We called the activities director at a local nursing home and got a list of suggested items.  I was in charge of picking up the various gifts for the nursing home residents.  Thus begins my hour of H-E-double-hockey-sticks…

I went to K-Mart, which was my first mistake.  I rarely go to K-Mart so I don’t know where anything is, yet I never remember that until I have found a parking spot, picked up a cart and start looking for the first item on my list.  Then it hits me and I ask myself the same darn question, “Why do I come to K-Mart?!”

My trip was over my lunch hour, so time was a concern.  I had in mind I would find the gift boxes of lotions and potions, locate the blankets and note cards (with stamps!), and clean the shelves of the Sudoku and Crossword books (which I couldn’t find to save my life.)  It only took me about 20 times around the store to locate everything else and I decided a trip to another store was in my future to get the books.  Oh well, such is life.   So, I head to the front of the store to get in line, which – and I’m not exaggerating here – only had TWO registers open.  TWO!  The week before Christmas.  At lunchtime.  Oh my dear Lord… **eye roll and frustrated huff**

A couple others at the end of the line with me commented on how ridiculous it was that they had only two registers open when the little old lady at the jewelery counter behind us said, “I can help someone over here!”  Well, that little group I was talking to ran like cockroaches in sunlight.  I was ahead of all of them, but that didn’t matter.   They turned on their heals and suddenly I was at the end of this line, too!  Well, Merry Christmas to you!  Where I come from the person who has been in line the longest get dibs on being first in the new line formed.  Right?  That’s how it’s supposed to be…

Exasperated and running out of time, I felt like this was going to end up being a wasted trip.  I needed to go to another store anyway to get the books I couldn’t find, so I figured I would just cut my losses and redo all the shopping after work at another store and get all the items on my list.   So, I abandoned my cart full of blankets, note cards, and toiletries (with the secret hope that the K-Mart employee who found it would know I left because they didn’t have enough registers open) and started for the door.  Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw the Sudoku and Cross Word books!  Oh…a light!  A shiny, glimmer of hope!  I am now rethinking my plan to redo the shopping later that night.  Instead, I grab a bunch of books, reclaim my cart full of goodies and snag a spot in one of the newly opened lanes!  Hooray!!   Things are looking up!!

I get to the register in about 5 minutes or so and begin unpacking my cart.  I mention to the woman that we have a budget of $100 for these gifts and I think I’m pretty close, but if I go over we may have to put a thing or two back.  I do very well…we only need to put back one blanket!  I reach into my bag for my wallet when this sinking feeling hits me.  My hands rummage around furiously desperately searching for my wallet when I remember I took it out earlier when I bought my sandwich and I didn’t put it back.  It is sitting on the front seat of my car…  Doh!  At this point I may need to hyperventilate…

I glance behind me and see the 4-5 people in line and I grimace.  I sheepishly whisper to the cashier that I left my wallet in my car and I need to go get it.  I whisper because I don’t want the people behind me to hear.  I mean, it’s 4 days before Christmas.  Stores are crowded, bins are empty, people are testy (I know…I was one of them just 15 minutes before!).  I am a little afraid for my life at this point if the people find out that they are going to have to wait for me to go to my car and get my wallet.  The cashier said she would hold my order if I promised I would run out and come right back in, but I refused.  I wanted her to let the people behind me go and I would just stand in line again.  So, I apologize, grab my purse and run out the door toward my car, dodging the advances of the Salvation Army Bell Ringer…

I get to my car, grab my wallet, again dodge the Salvation Army Bell Ringer (I feel so guilty not putting something in the kettle when I walk by, which I think is the purpose of those condemning bells!) and I rush back into the store.  I find the lane and the cashier motions for me to come up.  Apparently, she had to call a manager to void the order and I actually beat the manager to the register!  I cringe as I walk past all the shoppers waiting in line thinking they are going to string me up by my thumbs for being so dumb as to forget my wallet in my car.  I humbly apologize as I walk past, with my head hanging down to show I am truly sorry I was inconveniencing them like this.  I pay the bill and put the things in my cart when I notice the two little things I picked up for my niece and nephew still in the cart.  I looked back at the lady behind me and said, “I am so sorry, but I have these, also.”  She was so nice, however, and told the cashier to ring me up.  I paid for those, grabbed my goodies and high-tailed it out of there.   The moral of this story?  Shop online! 🙂

So, transitioning a bit, I have a favor to ask you.  We are having an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest and we were hoping you guys would help determine the winner.  Below are 10 of our employees donning the ugliest Christmas Sweater they could find.  The person voted by HumpDay readers to have the ugliest sweater is the winner of a $25 gift card to Best Buy.  So, whaddya say?  Click here to vote!  Be sure to do it before 12PM CST on 12/22!!!

Thanks guys!!  We appreciate you helping us out!!  Now, we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  This is our last HumpDay for 2011!!  I can’t believe it!!  Thank you all so much for helping me make this a fun Blog.  We have lots of awesome things in store for next year…so stay tuned!!  🙂  We believe 2012 is going to be the best year yet!!

Happy HumpDay, everyone!!  And as Phil says, “Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours in 2012,