This has been a pretty good weekend. A bit too short, but that’s the nature of most weekends, isn’t it? We just have to learn to appreciate what we have and live in the moment. And that’s what I’m trying to do here.
I got up at about 7:30 on Saturday morning. I had hoped to sleep later than that, but it wasn’t to be. I actually woke up at 6:45, and I tried to go back to sleep. But after half an hour, I decided that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. Not only that, the longer I stayed in bed, I realized I was just going to make myself feel tired. So I got up and got dressed. I took the extra time to spend some time with my sister and her kids, as well as having a small breakfast of toasted homemade bread and peanut butter. And then I got on the road between 9:00 and 9:15.
I actually got to the meeting place later than normal. I usually make sure I get there a half hour early. That’s an almost obsessive trait I picked up from my parents. “It’s always better to be way early than a few minutes late.” That’s not an exact quote, but you get the idea. So I was only about ten minutes early for a change. I had to run to the bathroom, so I ran over to Cracker Barrel and made quick use of their facilities. When I came back out and walked over to the car, Mike was there waiting for me. He got out of his car and we chatted for a few seconds. Then we hopped in my father’s car (I borrowed it just so we knew we had a card that could make the 100 mile round trip without incident) and headed for the Carousel Mall.
Now, I’ve driven four or five cars with standard transmissions now. I’ve never been a fabulous driver when it came to driving standards, mainly because I lack the consistent practice it takes to learn to shift perfectly smoothly and all the other minor details involved. But I can generally manage a trip without grinding the gears (or at least not doing so too badly). But I have never driven a better stick shift than this one. I could just about convince myself to offer to trade cars with my father — if it weren’t for the minor detail that his car is only a two door. I have to have a four door just because it means a slightly larger car.
I even managed to drive through the construction zone between Cortland and Syracuse with a certain grace. I was quite impressed, to be honest. I figured that being on a slight uphill grade and going six feet before stopping, I’d have all kinds of problems. But I actually managed to keep things going well and didn’t stall too bad. Though there were a few points where I should’ve shifted gears a bit sooner. Mike even commented on how calmly I handled the driving and even my few mistakes (I did stall at a few traffic lights). But that’s something I learned back when I took the trip down to Delaware with K. Getting frustrated only makes things worse. You make more mistakes just because you’ve allowed yourself to tense up and get your mind all worked up. So I’ve slowly learned to keep myself relaxed. Well, at least when I’m driving stick.
At the mall, we had a pretty good time. We had lunch at Uno’s, which we finished at about 1:30. And then we spent the next four hours walking around the mall and shopping. We had a great time. We just chatted and went through stores. Mike hassled me about how he knew I was going to spend money, though. I really didn’t know what to make of that. Do I really spend that much money? Of course, at least I didn’t buy the Vaio desktop I was looking at. Mainly because I didn’t have enough available credit on my credit card, but that’s beside the point. I’ll just have to wait until after Christmas.
While there, I also learned about the joys of the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Now that is an absolutely awesome store. I’m hoping to take my nieces and nephews up there sometime in the future. I think that it would be fun to take each one through the store to make and dress their own stuffed animal. I thought it was an incredible idea. I almost made one for myself, but decided against it.
Speaking of stuffed animals, I also seriously considered picking up a present to send to Marisa (or maybe it would’ve been better directed to her littles). We went to the Disney store and I got looking through the stuffed animals. And I found some small stuffed Eeyores — with removable tails! But I figured she already had one. Had I had her number, I might’ve considered calling and checking. It was just too cute. Of course, I’m an Eeyore fan myself.
Mike looked around for a shirt for his nephew. His nephew needs a light-colored shirt for band concerts. We looked all through JC Penny, but he really couldn’t decide on what he should get. While there, though, I found the perfect Christmas gift for my father. They have remote “weather stations” that record the temperature and relative humidity. My father being the major weather buff he is, I figured it’d be the perfect gift for him. Apparently, Mom agrees, because she just about gasped when I sowed it to her after I got home. But this makes me happy. Dad’s usually one of the hardest people to shop for when it comes to gifts. So it’s nice to have one already picked out for him. And this is the first time I’ve started my Christmas shopping so early. I usually wait until December.
We finally headed home at about 5:45, stopping in Cortland for supper. We had a nice meal at Friendly’s. Mike ended up getting ice cream. Personally, I thought he was nuts, but it was his stomach that would hurt afterwards (and actually, it didn’t). Then we went the rest of the way home. I decided to get a hotel room in Binghamton, since it was getting so late. That and my muscles were getting terribly stiff. Between that and tiredness, I decided that I was real close to becoming a dangerous driver. I couldn’t get Mike to spend the night with me, since his nephew was staying over (especially since he and David had been fighting the night before), so that was kind of a bummer. And I ended up having to search for a hotel. A lot of them were booked, apparently due to a college sporting event or two. It seems like I’ve run into that problem the last few times I decided to get a room at the last minute. Apparently, I have perpetually bad timing. But I finally found vacancies at the Holiday Inn.
Today, I came home and spent most of the afternoon napping. I decided that I needed it after this weekend.