Hey 2012—you’re off to a lame start

So I didn’t have any big plans for New Year’s Eve this year. I just wanted to hang out with my family—maybe take my kids to a movie, do a little shopping with my husband, sit back and enjoy the last day of what really was a great 2011. So sometime after lunch, during a two-hour time span when my husband was busy with work stuff, I loaded my four kids in the car to begin the first leg of wherever our journey took us.

Ten minutes later, our journey took us to me getting pulled over by the police.


And here’s the thing: when I finally noticed the blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror, a white pickup was passing me on the left side! A red sports car was spraying its obnoxious dust on my windshield as it disappeared to nothing but a speck in the distance! Traffic was whizzing by as travelers rushed to whatever sale beckoned them. (For me, that destination was Target. Because I needed some half-off wrapping paper, and I was gonna save me some money). So what did that policeman find so threatening about a white, old-ish minivan when all these other discount-crazed drivers were speeding like maniacs down the freeway??!?

He didn’t seem to appreciate it when I asked him.

Nor did my husband appreciate the humorous irony that I got a big ol’ ticket in my rush to save money.

But he’s a super-forgiving guy, and by the next day the ticket was nothing but a blip on my lead-foot radar. So when he suggested hitting a New Year’s Day sale at Dillard’s, I jumped at the chance. I’ve never been to this shop-fest before, but I’d heard stories of people buying new cars for hundreds and diamond rings for ten bucks and leather jackets for mere pennies. Of course I never believed these tall tales, but I thought I should check out the sale just in case.

So we went. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember thinking, “Should I shower first?” “Should I change out of the oldest sweatpants I own and do something with my hair?” I also remember thinking, “That’s stupid. Who will I possibly see this time of day?”

So I shrugged off those pestering thoughts and hopped in the car.

I’d no sooner walked into the front door of the department store when I heard this: “Amy Millsap (maiden name)! Is that you? I haven’t seen you in forever!” I froze, then turned, then stared in fake-smile horror at the face of an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in—well, forever—in all my It’s-Christmas-Break-And-I-Haven’t-Showered-And-I-Don’t-Normally-Look-This-Bad-And-Here-Let-Me-Show-You-A-Picture-Of–Myself-On-A-Regular-Day glory.

Of course I didn’t really say these things, but inside…Oh, inside, I was screaming them. Along with a few choice words to myself. Things like, you KNEW this sale was big, and you KNEW it was, like, half of half of half off and of course everyone would be here, and you KNEW that every time you do things like this you ALWAYS run into someone from high school. Remember the Hobby Lobby fiasco from 2002 when you were seven months pregnant? Will you never learn???

I tend to yell at myself a lot.

And the Dillard’s shopping trip only went downhill from there.

“Hey, Amy, bought anything yet?” (friend from the neighborhood)

“Amy! Is Doug here with you?” (college friend)

“Didn’t feel like getting dressed today, huh?” (my mother)

“Whoa! Look who skipped church today!” (four different people, dressed in their church finest, totally calling me out. Which I deserved for my church truancy)

Needless to say, fifteen minutes into our trip I was punching numbers into my phone to locate my husband. “Get me out of this store now,” I said when he finally answered. “Hang on, I’m not done,” he responded. So I kept wandering the store, kept running into people I knew, and despite my self-consciousness, all in all started to feel a little better.

After all, they had boots for fifteen dollars! And sunglasses for five! And earrings for two! And an empty bin of Michael Kors purses, which totally made me cry. But super-determined to show up to next years’ sale on time.

And eventually, I totally forgot that by the looks of things, it wouldn’t have been out of order for people to offer me money. Or a free hamburger. Or a place to live. Because when designer merchandise is 99% off, you tend to forget about things like appearance and grooming and hygiene. Pretty soon, I was just another face in a sea of bargain-hungry shoppers who were bumping and grabbing and rushing in their frenzy to snatch the last pair of dollar-priced ballet flats.

I didn’t get them, by the way.

But the day was fun. And we left with a few things. And all in all it was a great day. Until I offered to drive home and my sweet husband laughed at me.

“I’ll drive,” he said. “You don’t need another ticket.”


Happy New Year!


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