It’s no surprise that 2009 was the year from hell for a great many of us. As we prepare to send it packing and usher in not just a new year, but a new decade as well, my wife Apple and I are taking the opportunity to celebrate together in the form of a specially-prepared “cheer-yourself-up” day. And boy, am I ready for it.
Although we were certainly spared from the worst of the economic trauma that swept across most of the world in 2009, we’ve had our share of difficulties — including our continued attempts to conceive a child, efforts toward which have at times taken a harsh toll on us both. This, combined with pressures at work (including the impending shake-up or even loss of our health care benefits) and the home repair costs that we’ve had to eat over the last few months, has had us running a little ragged. But since the heavy load of sidework I’ve recently been engaged in has netted me a bit more money than I expected to make, we decided to take some of it and go shopping together, eat out at our favorite restaurants, enjoy some ice cream and do whatever else we wanted for one day. That day is this Saturday.
There are a number of very nice outdoor malls — of the typically southwest-Floridian upscale variety — within striking distance of us, but we haven’t been anywhere near one since we got back from Thailand in May. For the most part, we’ve had too much work and too little money to waste on mall trawling. Tomorrow we’re going to take our spoils of war and visit Coconut Point, where they’ve got just about everything you could want, for a little shameless retail indulgence.
After my usual Saturday afternoon acupuncture treatment, we’re planning at late lunch at our favorite Vietnamese cafe, followed by a leisurely jaunt around the Coconut Point campus. Between my games, videos and books and Apple’s fashions and housewares, we’ll undoubtedly find something fun to get ourselves for Christmas. We’re also likely to find some pretty staggering crowds, given that the last Saturday before Christmas is statistically the busiest shopping day of the year, according to what I’ve heard. However, after the week I’ve had, a bunch of people milling about hardly even registers on my give-a-shit meter.
For the latter part of the day, we’ll head further northward to Gulf Coast Town Center, another one of those outdoor malls that competes for the attention of regional shoppers and tourists. They’ve got a Carrabba’s Italian Grill there, where I’ve already made an 8:00 reservation. Blast chain restaurants if you must, but it won’t change the fact that we are both suckers for Carrabba’s. After ordering enough food to enjoy for two entire meals, I’m going to walk over to Cold Stone Creamery and see if they’ve got eggnog ice cream. I loooove me some eggnog ice cream.
We will probably not be stopping at The Dude Cereal Bar, a rather eclectic new addition to the Town Center lineup; apparently it’s a bar where you eat cereal. Yeah, like that kind of cereal — Count Chocula is their best-selling flavor. The proprietors of The Dude (yes, it’s named after the guy from The Big Lebowski) claim that their bar is a great place for folks to come and eat all the sugary cereal their moms wouldn’t buy for them. Okay, I guess I get that. But wow…a whole bar for cereal? In a way it’s strangely right up my alley, what with me being a cereal fiend, but I can’t see myself paying $6 or $8 bucks for a bowl of cereal. I’ve got plenty of the stuff in my cabinet at home.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a couple more quiet hours of writing this evening before hitting the sack. I’ve either worked or stressed over something work-related every night this week until nine or ten o’clock, and trust me, I’ve had it. And I am officially not working any more until Monday.
So now we really get into the greatest part of the month. This weekend it’s our own private Fun Time™, then next weekend is Christmas itself — and a day or two later, my parents will be arriving from Michigan on their annual road trip to Florida. We’ll undoubtedly get together and do stuff while they’re here, and so far, it looks like the weather will play nice as well — we’ve got a cold front moving in, and some comfortable temperatures arrive tomorrow and look to be staying for the foreseeable future. It’s about damn time.
That’s it for this post. Perhaps I’ll check in later this weekend to report if our first annual cheer-yourself-up day was everything we hoped it would be.