my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Monday, February 18, 2008

A new rhythm

Like Friday, we got up early today and got out of the house shortly after 7. This was so that I could leave work at 4 when I went to pick G up from his art-camp and not return. This early thing is new to us and it works well. It does leave me exhausted by evening time, though. I had to decline to go to my hockey game on Friday, having realized the previous Friday that I am toast by 8PM, much less ready to play a vigorous game by 9PM. This will end in late March (unless we sign up for another class!).

It is a little unreal to be up at 5:30 in the morning, and my early-bird boss is still a little tripped by me being at work at 7, but being done with work by 4 (today) or 3:15 (Fridays) is absolutely priceless. (Being tired by 8, not so much.)

Tonight, he'll go to a second martial arts class, this time in his new gi. He went to the regular (mixed age) class on Saturday and not only did he love it, but when I returned from picking up dog-allergy meds, I saw him doing great personal-safety stuff with an instructor and a slightly older student--"No! I don't know you!" and hold-breaks etc. Too. Cool. Makes me kinda want to sign myself up, too. The studio is run by Louise Rafkin, whose name I recognized from her Street Smarts book. I signed up for a first-month, unlimited classes, plus gi for $99. It's also in the area of IKEA, JoAnne, and Michael's, so I'm not complaining.

Saturday afternoon, after the class, I headed home to drop him off at a playdate. Close to the freeway, the car gave that sickening, all-too-familiar shudder. The 'gas' light had been lit for a few days, but I drive so little that I hadn't really thought about it. Crap. We were near 7th Street in West Oakland, which is very high on my list of places where I feel unsafe. Crap. I turned onto 7th, not knowing of a gas station on 5th, which was where the freeway would have put us, and drove along, coasting when I could and driving only when necessary. Just after the West Oakland BART station, a little mom-and-pop station showed up. I pulled in and hopped out to pump the gas. An older Asian man walked out and started to pump it for me. I panicked a bit and re-checked the sign to make sure I hadn't pulled into a Full Serve pump (when was the last time you saw Full Serve?). I hadn't. OK.

I asked him for 5 gallons and waited while he pumped it to go inside with him to pay. As I left the little office, I made a guess, and said "Gung hay fat choy" to the man. His head whipped up, smiling, and he wished me a happy new year, too. Then he called something to his wife, and she came out, broom in hand, and wished me a happy new year herself. I love it when I guess right. That was fun.

We made it home only 30 mins late for G's playdate, and I went off to Broadway Plaza to get a bunch of shopping done. I had a knitting book to exchange (Christmas gift from my stepmom, but I already have it) and a $50 Macys gift certificate to spend. I also wanted to poke my head into Pottery Barn, and as I drove in, I noticed the huge Cost Plus in the area.

I decided to exchange the book first, and after I'd finally found a place to park in the parking garage (which was free, at least), headed over. It seemed odd to exchange a book without checking in with the register right as I entered, so I walked over. The woman confirmed that it had been bought at a B&N (how do they do this?), but also said that if I didn't exchange it today, they'd have to, get this, mail me a store credit. That would be WTF? number 1.

WTF? number two was the absolute disarray in the knitting-book section. No rhyme or reason (by author? by knitting topic?), and lots of quilting and crochet books mixed in. There were a lot of books, which meant browsing was actually a total PITA. Great.

I grabbed one book I'd been interested in, and for balance, headed back downstairs to grab some knitting magazines to leaf through. There were a bunch of people looking at magazines in the Starbucks cafe upstairs, so that seemed like a good idea to me.

WTF? number three was that even though there's a huge sign that says "Starbucks," I could not, in fact, use my Starbucks card to pay for my iced latte (no decaf Frappuccinos today--annoying, but not a WTF?, quite). "No, we're a cafe serving Starbucks. If you have an account with us, you can use it, though." An account? Geesh.

I selected one magazine and the book, and headed downstairs after I finished my iced latte. Waited in the longest line in the world, and when I finally got to the front, oh my! was the cashier irritated. I explained that I was exchanging the one book and getting the other, and even that didn't seem to sit well. Then she went on to explain the new return policy that B&N will be using starting mid-March:

No returns without a receipt, and all returns must be done within 14 days of purchase.

How completely unreasonable. (WTF? number four, if you hadn't guessed). This means you cannot buy a Christmas gift before December 12, and even then, your recipient only has Boxing Day to return the stupid thing.

I expressed my annoyance, and the cashier said that some people treat the bookstore like a library. "There can't be enough abuse to warrant this kind of return policy," I protested. "You'd be surprised," she said. Bull.

I finally said that Cody's had changed their return policy to something completely unreasonable, too, and I've never shopped there since. (Theirs was 24 hours. Yes, really. If you bought a book at 7PM Tuesday, you couldn't return it at 7:01PM Wednesday. That's like having no return policy at all.) I asked her to relay my disapproval to those who made those sorts of decisions.

Then lovely Ms. Cashier got totally snippy with me. "We don't even talk to them; they're in New York." (which I believe has phones and email and even is open for a few hours while we are open, last I checked.) Oh, for Pete's sake.

It's not like I was a big B&N fan before. This did not help.

But I did get a book I wanted.

Next, well, let's just say that a giftcard to Macys was not the best choice. I'm just not a Macys shopper these days. I finally found a down comforter for $69.99. I'd brought in my Macys card and a printed coupon for 15% off almost anything if I used said card. I figured that even if I was charging the leftover $10 of a purchase that that would count. The very kind older woman who helped me jumped through hoops, I jumped through hoops, and she jumped through hoops again trying to reactivate my long-unused Macys card. I can't believe the information I had to give up (I do not like to use my SSN as identification; I think it's unsafe as ID and practically illegal for them to ask for as ID). And then, after it must have been 30 minutes of trying to do this deal, they finally said they couldn't charge it. A measly $14. Sheesh.

Kind Woman let me charge it on my MasterCard and still gave me the 15% off, bless her heart. (And the comforter is really great, so that's good.)

I didn't get to Pottery Barn (just wanted OUT of there by that point), but I did stop at Cost Plus to get more of the hobnail glasses I had bought and liked. A great afternoon off, courtesy of G's friend, and when I offered to take the friend for the evening and return the favor, she waved it off, as they were heading out to see Spiderwick with some friends. We had a casual evening of a little Wii and a little movie watching.

I like casual weekends.


Post a Comment

<< Home