Posted by: deadmousediaries | December 2, 2016

I love these pre-holiday holidays! Starting the week of Thanksgiving, the days unfold for me like a long string of Friday afternoons leading up to the weekend. They are full of possibilities without making any withdrawals against the time available for the actual Big Celebrations. They are days filled with music, lights, magic, friends, food — and shopping.

   This time of year, shopping should be left to the pro’s. If you want to cherry-pick and gobble up the bargains, it’s a full-time job that can be overwhelming. It’s more than the crowds and costs and traffic; it’s those troubling questions like: did I buy him this same power drill attachment last year and why did I wear these shoes today. Although my Christmas list has fewer names on it these days, I continue to enjoy the thrill of the hunt. And I still have lots of questions.

   As we head into Shopping Season 2019, here are the top five questions on this shopper’s lips.

Question #5: Can I use my coupon? The answer lies in the fine print. Exclusions apply. Exclusions include the top 25 items on your shopping list. Also, there is a line at the bottom (written in invisible ink that requires the additional purchase of a special decoder pen) that reads: Our best deals were actually available yesterday, in our pre-sale sale. Sorry you missed it.

  Question #4: Does this shirt, sweater, nightie, etc., come in medium? Yes. It came in medium. It came and went in medium with 200 other shoppers who got here before you did. Sorry you missed it.

  Question #3: Where did I park my car? Ok, So I get distracted. It happens to any true shopper who has ever been on a mission. Deny it and you’re an amateur. Tip: use your phone to photograph the outside store entrance you are facing so you can reference it as true north when you emerge later. And remember, you’ll have to find your way back out of the store, too. Photograph the merchandise display as soon as you step inside so you’ll recognize your exit on your return. If you can’t take a picture, you could tie a big purple balloon to your car antenna but what if that catches on? Every parking lot will soon look like Barney is hosting a giant used car sale.

  Question #2: Where did I put that gift I bought on sale this summer? Summer logic does not apply in December so unless you’ve left yourself a clue (where you’ll remember to find it), you may be SOL. Tip: the moment you stash that first surprise, put a reminder on your phone calendar to pop up with a message around November 21st. Otherwise the holidays will come and go and you’ll be sorry you missed it. 

   And the #1 question on my lips this holiday is: Where is the restroom. There is no short answer. If you ask before lunch, the salesperson to whom you’ve directed this time-sensitive inquiry sends you winding through the displays of decadent chocolates and gourmet cookies in hopes you’ll give in to those impulse buys on your way back. If it’s after lunch when you’re weary and ready for a nap, your store tour guide sends you past the plumpest mattresses and softest sheet sets before branching off onto a side road into the open arms of all the comfy recliners. If you have a toddler in tow, the restroom is on the other side of the toy department, of course. In short, the only consistent answer to the restroom question is: you can’t get there from here. 

   The good news is, all this potty talk has inspired some gift giving ideas, too. I’m not talking about the toilet paper dispensers that play some tinny version of classic rock as you unroll, or the TP that’s printed to look like $100 bills. Below are three actual, great ideas that will surely work for someone on your list. 

    Let’s start with toilet lids that have a second little toilet seat latched inside. Yes, if you have ever traveled with kids or been through the ups and downs of potty training, you’ll be delighted to know one seat can now fit all. The smaller seat is secured in the lid with magnets and folds down easily to align perfectly over the bigger seat opening. That makes toddlers feel more independent because less parental hovering is required as they balance their tiny heinies. Kids also feel more secure when their little bums fit the brim better and who among us doesn’t remember at least one scary kid moment filled with the fear of being flushed away?

   Need stocking stuffers? Another potty product that’s been a long time in the making is the personal deodorizer. Although it’s a growing market, the first product to catch my eye was Poo Pourri. In short, spritz a bit of these natural oils into the bowl before being seated to create a barrier across the surface of the water that traps odors. Better yet, the family-sized product now comes in convenient, lip balm-size spritzers packaged in attractive little boxes that can travel discretely with you for any occasion. (And, gentlemen, you’ll note I said lip balm,-size not lipstick-size, which means you should carry them too.) With scents like Royal Flush, Lavender Vanilla, Poo La La and Merry Spritzmas, the next guest in the busiest space in the place will actually appreciate your efforts to turn their stop into a spa-like experience.

   And my final gift suggestion for just about anyone on your list? The motion-activated toilet seat light. That’s right. Finally, like a reassuring homing beacon, your toilet seat can now guide you safely across the room for that late night mission. It must surely improve one’s aim. I choose to think of it as runway lights for those who need external guidance to accurately hit the landing zone without skidding off the tarmac. And it’s great for those of us who, like the very best pilots, can immediately sense we are on target and could land our planes flawlessly in an open field in the dead of night. For us, this innovation answers the age-old nighttime question: is it up or is it down. It’s a great convenience feature and it protects us from that cold, ceramic reality of sorry, you missed it. Happy shopping!


  1. I just had quite the hearty laugh at this. Ruhe looked at me very concerned, I think she thought I was choking. You are such an inspiration to me as a writer. You have a way of seemingly running off on these tangents, and just when the reader thinks “She’s completely lost it, she’s just rambling now!” you bring the whole thing back around full circle and drive the point home. Please keep up your posts, you give me a goal to strive for: “To one day be as good a writer as you”.

    • Aw, Shucks! ; ) Thanks, Gary! I appreciate the compliment — even if I am jealous that you are the one getting the writing intensive, not me.
      You know the best way to really absorb what you’re learning is to teach it, right? I’m here!!

      • I’ll be sure to share once I get into my core classes. Just taking some gen-ed type stuff this month.

  2. Another smile brought to my face……and a chuckle to my lips. Merry Christmas dear lady………Merry Christmas and Blessings in the New Year.

    • Thank you, Karin! I can always count on you to pop in immediately and have something nice to say. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  3. Can’t wait for our lunch date to share shopping experiences!

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