It's 11:30, and we have to be to church at 8 in the morning because Lori's singing in the choir.
Today was supposed to be visiting Santa in the morning, a quick stop at Babies 'R Us to look at bedding (I announced Friday on the dad2be blog that we've learned Rachel's sibbling-on-the-way will be a boy). Without going into a lot of detail, the Santa at the Westfield Shoppingtown Southcenter in Tukwilla sucked. We had been in line for 20-30 minutes when we heard rumors that Santa was going on break at noon. Not from the people working there, but just murmurs making their way down the line. About 20 minutes after that, the surly girl in the elf costume closed the gates and put out a little sign. Sorry, she offered without much of a care. The family at the gate protested and she suggested they could talk to her manager, not really offering to get the manager or anything. Several thoughts come to mind. (1) Publish the hours. Sure, Santa's gotta take lunch. (2) Put the sign out at the end of the line 30 minutes prior and ask that family to carry the sign with them as they move forward, like they do at the grocery store. (3) Have multiple Santas. I couldn't see him, based on the way the line was arranged, but apparently he was also just phoning it in.
So we left, went to Babies 'R Us, looked at some stuff and decided if we were going to try another mall, that we really needed food. I pulled out my Blackberry and looked up Baja Fresh. Hadn't had it in nearly two years since we left California. Truly, a pale imitation. The sign, the checkerboard floor, the microphone and kindly called out "21, please", the cash registers, all the same. The burrito, decent, but not served on a bed of chips. The salsa, not smokey. The chips ($2.50 for a small amount of chips and a big vat of salsa, which we tossed), heavy and greasy. It was like being in a foreign city where Judge Wapner comes on at 4 instead of 4:30. Disorienting. (If you get that reference, a million bonus points.)
And then we went to a different mall. The Santa set was amazing. The part where you sat with Santa looked like the back half of his sleigh, complete with a big bag above it. There were fake trees all around, and every so often, boxes tucked high in the branches spewed out fake snow. The staff were all excellent, the line moved quickly. They hand you a brochure ahead of time where you mark down which package you want. Our copy had the hours, including break times, hand-written on it. There was also a big sign that indicated when Santa would be "feeding his reindeer." They also said that everyone was welcome to visit with Santa, even if they weren't buying photos, noting, though, that you could only take personal photos if you were purchasing at least a minimum package. (Tukwilla said no photos.) The Santa was so cool. When he saw me snapping shots off to the side with my cameraphone, he turned to me and held a smile so I could snap off a shot. When he asked Rachel what she wanted for Christmas and she said a "jack in the box," he made the turning motion with his hand (like turning the crank) while doing the sing-song sound of a jack in the box, until he got to the end, throwing his hands in the air and making a loud whooshing/exploding kind of noise. And then he gracefully transitioned Rachel out, stopping when she asked if she could shake his hand. (She did this with the Santa last year as well.)
By then we had to rush home, get ready and get to a party. And when that was all said and done, there was no more day left. It was a good day, it was a nice day. I just didn't get to any of my plans. Maybe that's selfish. But I feel like it means so much more to do tomorrow.
I have had some time today while riding the exercise bike to read through the posts of the last year. There were some months that were pretty lame as far as what I got around to writing. I've posted plenty of things I found interesting, but rarely about my own life. Perhaps this has been a boring blog to read of late, if you were coming to find out how life was in my neck of the woods.
Well, I must be away. Cats to feed, a catbox to clean and bed to get to. Woo.
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