En route to Pier 1, I realized that I really should get a gift for the boys' retiring kindergarten teacher. Desired that she would appreciate a chalkboard carafe as well. Thus, it was necessary for me to make a trip to the chalkboard carafe section, notwithstanding calling ahead on the first such item. Got to the checkstand, the salesperson eyed my carafe rather oddly, and I said somewhat apologetically, "Yeah, I reserved one online, but then I decided that I needed two."
"Okay. I'll go fulfill your order now."
"Wait, really? No. I need to go back over there, anyway, to look for something else. I'll just grab another carafe."
And so it was that I fulfilled my own online order. Except . . . when I got back to the register, a THIRD carafe had magically appeared on the counter. I paid for two of them and left, mentally rating the social utility of the online reservation process as "meh" or "meh-ish."
At least I had gifts, and cards, for both Ms. T. and Ms. S. Ms. S. was such a great teacher to both boys. WAIT - I HAVE TWO BOYS. AND THE OLDER ONE HAS TEACHERS. TEACHERS FOR WHOM I HAVE DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Called home in a panic.
Put your son on the line. I need to know the protocol for middle school teacher gifts.
What was I thinking, asking a twelve year-old boy ANYTHING about ANY KIND of protocol? I got the verbal equivalent of a shrug and then, finally, "I don't think we're expected to do anything, but if I had the option I would kind of like to do something for my homeroom teacher."
Homeroom teacher is male, with a wife and two kids. We already did a Target gift card for him. Big Kid suggested Movie Tavern - JUST AS I WAS CLEARING ONE INTERSECTION PAST MOVIE TAVERN. Figures, right? And then I remembered that we purchased a Movie Tavern gift card at a charity auction, so problem solved. (AND, in putting the craft closet back together, I unearthed some of those little cups that look like popcorn containers, so there's your gift wrap. Done, and done.) Nothing was written on the little card folder (in terms of who the gift was "to"), so that was a plus; minus was that they hadn't filled in the amount, either. I suspect that it was $40 or $50, which is maybe a bit of a windfall for Mr. H., but hey - the man teaches accelerated middle school math. No movie theater gift card in the universe would adequately express my gratitude to the guy.
So, to sum up: one end-of-the-year teacher gift purchased in a rational fashion. One purchased semi-last minute but without a lot of fuss. Third gift only somewhat wheels-off.
All in all, not too shabby.