Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Greetings and a Funny Story

Well, I think it's safe to say that winter definitely made a grand entrance this year. I don't know about anyone else, but here in the midwest, the temperatures have been bitterly cold with a fair amount of snow and ice accumulating on the ground.

I spent three hours yesterday chopping ice in the driveway. Three hours. And I didn't even finish! There's still about a 6'x6' section that I just didn't have the energy to finish. The ice was about two inches thick and it covered the entire length and width of the driveway. I was out there, pounding and chopping away...for three hours. Did I mention that part already? Yeah, three hours. In the cold. In the wind. With ice falling out of the sky and pelting me. Three hours. Today, it's a wonder that my arms can even move. Actually, they're not moving well at all. I think I may have pinched a nerve or something, because periodically, I get this weird zinging pain in my neck and then my right arm and hand start to shake.

Okay, I'm done being whiny about that. For now.

I'm a woman on a mission today. I'm not normally a last-minute Christmas shopper, but this year, I kept putting off finishing and today is the day to be done! The waiting was pretty lame on my part, because it was all of three gifts that I had left to buy, but the thought of traipsing out in the nasty weather, trying to find parking and then navigating through the crowded stores was too much for me to handle. Have I ever mentioned that I hate large crowds of people? I'm a pretty low-key kind of person, not really bothered by much, but I've worked in mental health long enough to know that I experience occasional panic attacks--listen to me, diagnosing myself! But really, I do! It only happens a few times a year, but when it does, believe me, I make it count.

The best example was a few weeks ago in Wal-Mart. It was a Sunday afternoon (and that was my first mistake, going into Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon) and it was terribly crowded. People were bumping into each other, there was barely room to navigate my shopping cart, it was hot in the store...a perfect set up for a bit of anxiety. It started the way it always does...I got a little sweaty, could feel my heart starting to race, followed by a feeling of dread, just knowing that I needed to get out of those cramped quarters right away. I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my chest and I started getting dizzy. The worst part was that I was getting nauseous--and it's not like Wal-Mart has easily accessible bathrooms. There's one bathroom, and of course, it was clear on the opposite side of the store from where I was at. I started heading that way, trying to move my cart around the throngs of people wedged in the aisles, but there was no way I was going to make it in time. There was a garbage can in the middle of the aisle, and I just thought, "Oh well..." as I started heaving into it.

I've never seen a horde of Wal-Mart shoppers scatter so quickly. I was trying not to laugh as I was throwing up, but I couldn't help it. People don't respond at all to a simple, "Excuse me," when you're trying to move past them, but if you hang your head in a garbage can and start retching, they all get to running. The only person who stayed behind was a kind Wal-Mart employee, who quickly donned a pair of gloves and stood right next to me while I finished. When I was done, she calmly asked me if I was okay and if I needed anything, and when I politely declined, she grabbed the garbage can and started walking away...but not before she gave me a really friendly smile and said, "You're the fourth person whose done that today. Don't worry about it."

Shopping in Wal-Mart during the holidays...brings out the anxiety in everybody! They probably shouldn't use that as a sales motto. I was totally fine after that. I don't know why, but the worst of my anxiety is always accompanied by a brief bout of barfing, and then I'm okay. Right now, I'm mentally preparing for an excursion to Toys R Us. I hardly ever shop there, but there's a particular gift I need to get and none of the other stores around here sell it, so I'll be heading there shortly. Perhaps I should bring a barf bag with me, just in case.

Ah well. C'est la vie.

FYI: I'm on vacation this week. I probably should have taken two weeks off for some mental R&R, but I'm on call the week of New Year's, and I couldn't see the point of taking vacation time if I had to respond to crisis calls, so it'll just be this week. It will be a busy week, no doubt, but there will be some fun stuff, too. Today, I have to finish sewing a quilt; Monday (tomorrow), I go to the dentist; Tuesday, I'm taking my kiddo to the museum; Wednesday is cupcake-baking day for baby Jesus; Thursday is Christmas/family party day; Friday is recovery day; Saturday is my one-month follow up from my eye surgery and probably visiting the in-laws; Sunday is visiting grandma, and then Monday is back to work. Whew!

The good thing is that since I'm only taking a few days off, I'll have some time to use in March and still be able to take time off during the summer. And speaking of summer, I went into Kohl's on Friday (after being sent home from work because of a power outage) and they had tank tops and sandals on display! I went in there to buy boots and was assaulted by displays of sandals!

Okay...it appears I'm trying to make up for the irregularity of my blogging lately and this post is getting rather lengthy. I'm going to stop for now, but I'll be posting about my week. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, no matter which holidays you choose to celebrate!

Oh yeah...my hubby just granted me a reprieve and is going to Toys R Us for me! Woo-hooo! No barf bags needed!

1 comment:

jAMiE said...

Awwww, poor you...i've been at Walmart a few times the last few days and the crowds were crazy.

Have a very happy holiday season Martha...

Merry Christmas!