Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Sales, shopping and meals with mates

Posted by Oli on Monday 29th December, 2008

Although we sleep in this morning, it’s still a wake-up dictated my alarm-clock, which is getting slightly tiresome for a supposed holiday period.

The alarm gets us (well, me) up at 10am and I make K a cup of tea and take my Fosemax tabs – horrible things I may have written about before, which are supposed to deliver calcium-enriching…things… to the body to help prevent loss of bone density and Osteoperosis (and I’ll thank the medics reading not to point out that they’re essentially the same thing) but that require the tablets to be take on an empty stomach with a full glass of water and not to be followed by any other food or drink bar water for the next hour or more. They’re pretty nasty things and my stomach isn’t a huge fan of having a load of water dumped in it unaccompanied first thing in the morning, so I always end up feeling a little squiffy until I can eat something. Mind you, it’s better than not being able to run or do fun stuff for fear of snapping bones all over the shop.

We’re up and out of the house just after 11 to get to my appointment in Newport for 11.20, where I have a hasty blood test to keep an eye on my CMV levels to prevent any recurrance, then we head off into town to hit the sales.

I hate sales shopping with a passion. When I shop I like to look around, take my time and not feel rushed, not to grab whatever I can as I’m bustled passed the racks of goods by the ebbing tide of the sales-masses. Still, K wants to hit them up to spend our Christmas vouchers, so I tag along.

We start by finding parking, which is a mini-epic of it’s own, but eventually end up getting somewhere near M&S, a minor miracle. We decide to start at the furthest place and work back towards the car, so we hit the O2 store to return my busted Blackberry, but it’s rammed and quite clear that customer service is going to be a while, so I give up on it straight away – I’ve been using my old phone for over a month now, so a couple more weeks to fix the new/old one isn’t a big headache.

We make our way round to the Apple store, my mini-Mecca, but without time or the cash to stop and fully appreciate their wares (re: to buy their wares), we hit them up for an iTunes voucher, which they don’t sell in the range we want.

0 for 0 from 2 shops, we hit the soon-to-be-defunct Zavvi to see if we can gather ourselves some bargains in the closing-down sales. It’s like a zoo where they’ve let the monkeys feed the elephants in there and we fight our way around the DVD racks hunting out interesting pieces and debating how much we can afford to splurge.

We come away with a stack of DVDs and a couple of CDs and break out of the madness before it consumes us. I shoot across the Place to Waterstones to see if they’ve got a book I’m after which they do, and reduced by half as well, but when I get to the counter, they tell me it’s not reduced at all so, with the flashing totaliser of the Zavvi spend in my brain and the knowledge of an impending Borders trip, I pass it up and move on.

As K heads for M&S for underwear shopping and voucher-spending, I make a dash to the bank to pay in a cheque, then catch up with her in the Minotaur’s maze that is the Lingerie section of the ‘Sparks. Slightly bored/self-conscious of being surround by women sizing up and purchasing their unmentionables, I opt to head to homewares to see what we can pick up with our Christmas vouchers.

By the time K’s finished up I’ve noted a few options and we settle on a 3-tiered hob-steamer and a blender. Once we’ve paid and got out to the car, it strikes us how upsettingly grown-up we are buying things that are actualy useful with gift vouchers and being genuinely happy and excited about what we’ve got. We resolve to correct it by buying something frivolous at Borders.

We hit up the Big B and grab some cards for impending birthdays and babies, then K hits the sales racks while I go off hunting for the book I missed out on in Waterstones. I come up with nothing, but very nearly bag a whole load more DVDs before thinking better of it and heading back up to the till where I find K with an epic bag full of stuff she’s just grabbed, so I jump in the queue to get my solitary DVD, impressed at my restraint, and manage to pick up the right-sized iTunes voucher at the till point as well.

We shoot over to Deanshanger to collect the couple of bits we left there last week, including K’s complete Calvin and Hobbes set Santa brought her, and Mama D, like the classic Ma that she is, provides us with nourishment in the form of bacon sarnies after which, like the ungrateful offspring we are, we jump straight back in the car and head off again (we did say thank you, though).

We make K’s day by stopping in at TK Max on the way home and she picks me up a cafetierre – a present she had intended to get me for Christmas but then a case of crossed-wires with other family members meant I ended up not getting one. We also grab b’day presents for friends and then head to Tesco over the road to stock up on all the New Year’s Eve party stuff we’ll need for our Wii Party – crisps, dips and softies for those who aren’t bringing a bottle.

We head home, unpack all the bags, then hurriedly change into our going-out gear and head down the road to a friend’s 30th. Being pregnant and newly-installed in their freshly extended house, it’s an open-house affair and we arrive in time to see her family off from their day in the den, but have enough time to catch up with them first, which is cool.

We can’t stay long as we’re then off to a big Chrimbo meal with our friends organised, bizarrely, by the only one of us who no longer lives in MK. It’s great to see the whole gang again though, minus the odd couple of peeps, and we have a good giggle over some tasty Mexican food, even if they don’t know how to make a Caesar salad.

Our friend plus baby is there and K goes into broody mode, taking the baby away so that Mummy can eat her dinner, but loving every minute of it. As everyone is taking the mick and pulling my leg about the impedning pressure for sproglets, I’m forced to admit that I’m actually on the same page as K right now and am loving the number of baby cuddles we’re getting.

I take my turn and we head off to investigate the flashing lights on the Christmas tree (we don’t like standing still), then find an interesting plant that has leaves that are rough and not like normal flower or plant leaves at all, which keeps us interested for a good few minutes while Daddy finishes up his dinner and gets the car seat ready.

With baby out of the picture, we’re forced to interact with our peers once more and continue to have a good giggle. The meal done, almost everyone else is headed across the way to the pub for a drink, but with the knowledge of an early start tomorrow and a long day’s driving, we call it a night and head home.

We get back in and empty out some more of the bags while we grab a cuppa and watch a bit of telly before quitting for the night and hitting the hay, where I desperately try to get into my slow-starting book which I’m praying will improve. After a couple of chapters with no joy, I call it quits for the night and put my head down.


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