Saturday, December 03, 2005


Shop til you drop...

Well, as anticipated, today was very busy...but I do feel a huge sense of achievement, and I love that!

We slept in a bit too, which wasn't entirely the plan - we had hoped to be up and have the grocery shop done by mid morning, so we could go swimming right afterwards, but it never happened. Instead we minced around the house until it was time to go swimming, and agreed that we should do the grocery shop immediately afterwards.

Swimming was great - at least I thought so, Martha was less impressed I think. Considering we didn't go last week Audrey was raring to go and right away, and for the first time ever jumped from a standing postion into the pool - previously she would only go from a sitting position. I was so impressed because she's finally catching up to the other kids in her class. What was even better was she couldn't get enough of it and must have jumped off the side of the pool half a dozen times in the whole half hour session! She got a bit tired and cranky towards the end, which is doubtless why Martha thought the session didn't go so well.

After our swim we headed to the supermarket, stopping briefly at a nearby Micky D's for a burger - McChicken Premiere and chocolate milkshake for me to be precise. The grocery shopping went well - we had to buy some bits and bobs for Audrey's upcoming birthday party - finger food, party favours and sweets - we seemed to manage to find everything we needed.

We then headed home and ditched everything we'd bought, turned tail, and went to a nearby garden centre to buy a Christmas tree! When we got married Martha and I bought a fake 6 foot tree which has served us very well over 8 years. It only sees the light of day every second year anyway, because we have always been in Canada for Christmas every other year and never really saw the point of setting it all up if we weren't even going to be there to enjoy it. However, this year we are in the UK for Christmas and Martha had requested that since Audrey seems to have already grasped the notion that Christmas brings Santa, presents and lots of other yummy things, that we should shell out for a real tree and make it extra special for her. I wasn't entirely for it to start with, but she didn't take long to persuade me using Audrey as emotional leverage.

When we got to the garden centre we were greeted at the entrance by Santa himself, who, obviously hard up for cash like the rest of us, was collecting money with a bucket. Of course it was for charity so we chucked some loose change in his bucket and he said "Thankyou" and googooed over Audrey. A while ago we taught Audrey that Santa says "Ho, ho, ho!" and she would dutifully repeat this if asked. Since meeting the man himself, she now responds to the question "What does Santa say?" with "Thankyou!"...gee, well done Santa, for not living up to your reputation. Next thing you'll be telling us you're not real!

Anyway, once inside the garden centre we found the Christmas trees and Martha started to check them out...I have to be honest that I wasn't really interested in being party to the picking out of the tree...I think Martha maybe sensed this, so kind of got on with it, occasionally asking what I thought. Eventually she found one she liked - I reckon it's pushing 7 or 8 feet in height - and we also bought a stand for it which is constructed from what looks like half a wooden cask with handles attached. Quite rustic and lovely I think.

So we made a quick exit - yes we did pay - and amazingly the tree fit into Martha's car (a Mercedes A Class) although we came prepared in two cars, and had removed all the seats from her car so it covered the floor pretty much from front passenger footwell to the back end of the boot (trunk to you crazy North American folk!).

Once we got back home we again ditched the tree and the tree holder, spun about and hit the road again for the big traders store Makro. We needed some extra decorations for the tree and more food and all the booze for the coming few weeks as requested by my sister. We filled a big shopping cart with everything we needed - I can't remember the last time I bought this much alcohol in a single trip - two cases of lagers, a case of bitter, a bottle of Baileys and on our earlier supermarket excursion a bottle of whisky. Anyone want to come round for a party???

Anyway, as you can imagine we came out of there somewhat poorer than we started, but I think we managed to get everything we need for the holidays, so we shouldn't have to venture out much for anything more than everyday groceries until next year!!!

By the time this was done and loaded into the car it was 6pm and Audrey's suppertime. Martha and I decided that, in spite of the fact we'd already pigged out on enough junk food for one day, we would head to the nearby KFC and get a bucket of chicken for the three of us. Back home Audrey had some leftover veg and pasta, so with some chocken strips and a few fries it was a done deal. As usual though I completely regretted it afterwards, and now feel like a fat bloater for eat nothing but crap all day.

Since we were behind schedule, we got Audrey ready for bed, and thankfully she went down quickly having barely had ten minutes sleep between car journies too keep her going today. That allowed me to unload the car of groceries since I'd left them there while we had supper, then get some fuel into my car down at the nearby petrol station. After that I set myself on the tree with a saw and some sharp cutters, to make it pretty for the stand.

Martha helped a little, but has been preparing for her UK citizenship test - yep, you heard right - Martha wants to become a British subject. It wont mean she renounces her Canadian citizenship, but that she would have dual nationality, which I think ultimately would be very cool. Anyway, the government just started running tests for people wanting to become British citizens, so Martha has had to buy a book which alleges to hold all the answers, and sits the test itself next Tuesday. I've been trying to surf the web for clues to what the questions might be like, and the closest I can get is this BBC quiz. Have a go yourself and see how well you score! Martha amazingly got 13 out of a possible 14 correct! As a "true" Brit I doubt very much I could have scored that well.

Anyway, back to the tree - it's up, and inside, but not decorated yet. I dug out all our old Christmas tree decorations but am buggered if I can find the lights. As already mentioned it's been nearly two years since they were last used, and I suspect with the house move they're packed neatly away somewhere completely out of reach. Therefore I've decided it'll be much easier to just go and buy some new ones tomorrow. Meanwhile gravity can take it's course on the branches of the tree which got a bit "upwardly" squished when it got packed with plastic mesh at the garden centre.

Tomorrow is another day, as they say. We are going to my parents for lunch, but not before we go get the lights for the tree and head out to a store called Hobbycraft to see if we can get any inspiration for an activity the kids can do at Audrey's birthday another busy day I guess, and obviously will want to get home in time to decorate the tree tomorow and watch Lost!

Man, I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

You certainly handle shopping and the like better than I do! I don't know if the stores there are like the ones here at holiday times, but here, it is wall to wall people.


Anyway, you should post a couple of pics of the tree - in progress (perhaps even nekkid) and all dressed up.

How many kids will be there for Audrey's birthday bash?

Nice post - and hopefully you are all getting over the sickness you were dealing with last week.

Deb - I don't handle shopping at all well, especially at Christmas, but yesterday was a necessary evil. Fortunately we knew what we wanted so were able to make a b-line for everything and get the hell out.

I have some nekkid tree photos, so I think I may well post them and ones of the finished tree later...

Audrey's birthday will host 7 kids so far (including Audrey) - oh joy!
I passed my test!

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