Friday, August 21, 2009
The Saga of the Hostess Gifts
So I sprained my ankle in an incident that did not in any way involve the installation of Christmas lights, and now I own a pair of flats. I owned flats once before - in high school. They were red, and they went with a very specific red belt, which went with a very specific blouse/skirt ensemble. I found them at Sears after much searching for the just-right shade of red, and I remember feeling very, very deceitful every time I wore them and passed them off as something-not-from-Sears. I should mention that I went to a very snotty public high school, where girls were known to send their clothing to resale after one wearing. MUCH pressure to be posh, 24/7, and it took me many years to achieve some semblance of shopping normality.
I also had a pair of Cole-Haan driving moccasins in the mid-'90's. Do those count as flats? I actually don't know the answer to this question, since I. Don't. Wear. Flats. Ever. On account of how, in my mind, I am 5'7", and to achieve my "mental height" it's necessary for me to wear four inch heels - to work, to the pool, in the shower. Okay, not in the shower.
Notwithstanding my Napoleonic issues, I loved those moccasins - wore them until they literally fell apart. But I digress.
I finally broke down and bought some flats, because, while I'm off of crutches, the rational part of my brain recognizes that I still need some rehab time. (The part of me that enjoys being 5'7" is loudly protesting that my ankles don't know from flats, and I would be MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE wearing what my ankles actually know. And there may be some truth in that - but I digress again.) I wore the flats to work today, along with jeans and a cute top, and the upgrade from "frumpy girl with crutches and tennis shoes" to "stylish-if-you-squint, ALBEIT ENTIRELY TOO SHORT, girl, wearing flats and limping" inspired me to do some lunchtime shopping. Texas' back-to-school tax-free long weekend started today, and also I needed to buy hostess gifts, because five very sweet friends are throwing a slumber party in my honor tomorrow night. I won't divulge the overall concept of the hostess swag bags, because some of the recipients will read this before then, but I really wanted to include bags of "Frozen Rose" in them. (For those who are unfamiliar, Frozen Rose is a frozen wine beverage that is available in Texas and Oklahoma, and it's basically awesome. Gives the margarita a run for its money.) Frozen wine in a bag seemed slightly seedy - like something you would drink at a grown-up slumber party - and, also, the packaging is "adolescent girl purple." Win.
I have purchased the stuff at Central Market before, but I was trying to avoid that place (specifically, its nightmarish parking lot) because of my status as "temporarily handicapped person without handicapped tag." I recalled reading that Centennial Liquor also is a Frozen Rose distributor, so I headed down Camp Bowie way and was just about to pull into my local Majestic Liquor store when it occurred to me that the Majestic Liquor is, in fact, A MAJESTIC LIQUOR AND NOT A CENTENNIAL LIQUOR. (Let's refer to this as "Blonde Moment #1.") At this point, I'm at the intersection of Camp Bowie and Hulen, and I'm just a short jog through my neighborhood to Central Market, so I head south . . . and discover the cluster-you-know-what that is the Central Market Hatch Green Chile Fest. Query: Why do so many people feel compelled to stand next to an outdoor chile roaster at lunchtime in 107-degree heat (and after a morning rainshower, so it's a REALLY MUGGY 107-degree heat?). (Answer: The chiles are really, REALLY good.)
After several loops around the parking lot, I realize that this isn't going to work - we're talking Bataan Death March distances between the available remote parking spaces and the front door - so, cursing my ankle, I drive to the World Market in the same shopping center and begin the search for a reasonable substitute for Frozen Rose. After much indecision, I make a selection - then undecide again, call my spouse and tell him that I'm contemplating asking him to make a Central Market run for me, and then talk myself out of the asking while it's taking place. I finally check out - helpful World Market employee puts my bottle-type purchases in a big wine box along with the bottles of Liberty School cabernet that I picked up for myself. ($9.99 a bottle! Ridglea charges me $6 a glass.) I push the cart to my car, and simultaneously discover a couple of things:
1) The Chapel Hill parking lot is, in fact, constructed on a hill. (Blonde Moment #2.)
2) The wine box is (ironically enough, since it was a Cupcake Chardonnay box - maybe it was scratch-and-sniff?) a very powerful bee attractant.
I try orienting the cart several different ways, all of which involve it rolling downhill the minute I let go. I try positioning it so that the back door stops its movement, but that effectively blocks access to the back seat of the car. (Disclaimer: My trunk is always full - of sporting equipment, party centerpieces, outgrown kids' clothes destined for friends with younger children and/or Goodwill, you name it - so the cabin of the car is my de facto trunk. And, no, it never occurred to me that I could open the front door and use IT to block the cart. Blonde Moment #3.) While I am attempting to maneuver the cart, Aggressive Bee is crawling all over (and inside of) the wine box. He stops under one of the top flaps. I consider smashing it down on top of him and determine that the statistical probability of killing him is 99% - but the real-world "Kathryn probability" of bungling and getting stung is also 99%. In the process of trying to shoo the bee away, I let go of the cart, and it begins rolling towards the passenger door of a nearby (brand new) pickup truck. Simultaneously, I lose my grip on the (rather noxious) pomegranate/green tea concoction I am drinking, and the (fortunately plastic) bottle starts rolling downhill at a 90-degree angle to the cart. I run off after the cart, retrieve it, and then like one of Pavlov's freakin' dogs head in the other direction to retrieve the beverage THAT I DON'T EVEN LIKE. And then I remember that I have a sprained ankle, after a delay not unlike the one the networks wish they had during the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" incident.
In severe pain, I heave the box into the back seat, and at this point I have lost sight of Aggressive Bee (but, given his earlier interest in the interior of the box, odds are pretty good that he's stowed away), so I leave the door to the car open while I PUSH THE CART BACK TO THE WORLD MARKET INSTEAD OF ABANDONING IT ON A NEARBY MEDIAN. (Never made it past Brownies, so what is this Girl Scout-esque thing that I have about following the rules to the letter even when I clearly have a hall - or handicapped - pass?) On the way back to the car, now limping heavily (and quite obviously), a car almost runs me down, and the driver exhibits extreme annoyance that I am taking so long to cross the lane of traffic - and then he pulls into a handicapped space. Grr.
Now I REALLY have no idea where the bee is, so I roll all of the windows down and cruise out of the parking lot, hoopty ride-style, bound for home where I can drop the box off with my spouse who, thankfully, is self-employed and happens to be at the home place. In retrospect, rolling down the windows was Blonde Moment #4, because I live mere blocks from Chapel Hill, and my route to the house consisted of a short jog on the access road followed by a five-block jaunt through my 'hood. At no time did I reach a cruising speed that would create the wind-tunnel effect necessary to suck a stinging insect out of the car.
So, Ashley, Cathy, Melissa, Robyn and Sarah - you were supposed to get Frozen Rose. You ain't getting Frozen Rose. You're getting (in my mind) a pretty pathetic substitute, plus some tchotckes, but hopefully this amusing anecdote amps the gift attempt to eleven!