With the week being a whole post in itself (perhaps at a later date), my weekend was going to be very busy. Our annual 'Homeowners Association' meeting was on Saturday morning, and with the old board being ousted in what was described a 'coup', the new, and apparently improved, version were going to shake things up like they have never been shaken before. I had heard about the 'overthrow' before Christmas, and I did believe it was quite positive, but perhaps that is because I am more personally acquainted with the new structure, as they are, mostly, my immediate neighbours, and pool buddies.
Dana had gone into work at 5am. I had decided that my day need not start until 7, as sleep has eluded me for most of the week, and I was exhausted. I whisked through the housework, very methodically, so as to be finished by half past nine, and he called to say he would be home around 9:35, and we could go and 'register', which would enable us to vote on any items that were necessary, during the meeting. Unfortunately, I am a little cynical about such meetings, and my sarcasm reaches a new level, as we are in the same pecking order as a village hall assembly is to the National government. That being said, it is always a good idea to hear how your money is being spent, and to hear the board's intentions to maintain the glorious expanse. that is our little community. I believe that if you do not attend the meetings, or at least give your 'proxy', you are not really entitled to moan about the outcome. It is like not voting in a General Election, and then complaining that your party did not get elected because of lack of enthusiasm! However, at a quarter to ten, I received a call from a very frustrated Dana, to let me know that we would be one of those that could not express an opinion during the year, as he was stuck in traffic, unable to leave the downtown area. It would appear that the Boy Scouts were having a march, and they had closed the main arteries in and out of the city. As usual, there was no advanced warning, and the traffic had come to a standstill, with no one having taken an alternative route. As I have said before, most of the downtown streets are 'one way', so there is no turning around to avoid the jam!
Having sent Samantha a message earlier, to say that we would have to start our day slightly later than anticipated, I was now letting her know that I would be ready much earlier than usual. She had seen my original message, and decided to go back to sleep, and did not get my second announcement until much later. Dana arrived home shortly before midday, and Samantha came in about half an hour later. As my weekend plans had been re-written, time was not a factor, and the busy aspect was no longer!
Our first stop, on what was now going to be a leisurely trip, was to a new(ish) store. It was a 'household' goods shop, that has a number of similar rivals, and the type of place that I could spend hours browsing around. The inventory mainly consists of 'one-off's', and there are so many interesting pieces of china and glass, together with unique ornaments, that I have to be very strict with myself, and spent most of the time walking around with my hands behind my back. I did not buy anything. I was very tempted, but with my 'decluttering' still in progress, it would not have been a good idea to add a new selection of oddments to my collection. Samantha purchased a cookie jar, in the shape of a dog dressed as a butler.
As Costco was in the next block, we decided to 'pop-in', to get the dog some duck jerky, and check out the meat section; something which I had failed to do last week. I spotted someone leaving very near the entrance, and sat patiently until they vacated the space. Not wanting a repeat performance of last week's catastrophe, I made sure that I was poised for immediate entry. The car that backed out of the space was less precise. Unfortunately, the car behind him, that had just vacated the 'disabled' spot, was not going to reverse any further, and there was a bit of a stalemate. As they attempted to sort out their differences, a fourth car appeared, and angled itself to drive straight into MY space! 'No way!', I shouted, and praised the versatility and size of the mini, as I managed to squeeze between the exiting vehicle and the parked car to my right. We were out of the car and on our way to the front doors before the other cars had found enough mutual ground to maneuver their way out of their dilemma.
Lunch was delicious, and plentiful. We had obviously arrived at the right time, and enjoyed complimentary chicken legs, sausages, chips and dip, and even a non-alcoholic Martguerita mix. Surprisingly enough, there was no one to accost me at the check out, but the lady in front of us had succumbed to the sweet talk previously, and had upgraded to the 'Executive' membership. Apparently it had not worked for her, and she was now trying to get 'downgraded'. It appears it was not as easy as had been explained, and something that could not be done at the till, despite their being able to renew her membership at said counter, and so she decided against renewal. This meant that she could not purchase her wares, and we had to wait for the transaction to be voided, and the articles to be removed. It was very fortunate that the busy aspect had been removed from my weekend, as this all took quite a considerable amount of time.
Back in the car park, and all loaded up, Samantha took the trolley to its designated area, and a motorist waited for us to vacate our prime position spot. As I started to back out, another car came hurtling down the aisle, and stopped just behind me. It was clear that they had every intention of stealing the most sought after space, and as I was reversing out in a way that was blocking the initial car, it would not have been hard for the would be thief to just 'nip in', thus leaving the patient shopper to find another place to park. Not willing to allow my past experience to happen to someone else, I placed myself directly in front of car 'b', which prevented forward movement, and allowed car 'a' to take possession. Unfortunately, he decided to back in, which meant that I had to stay in place for slightly longer than anticipated, thus allowing several more cars to enter the petrol filling area before us, causing a further delay to our non-busy weekend.
With our Walmart shopping done, and time marching on, Samantha announced that she would like to look in Pier 1. Once again I was going to have to walk around with my hands in my pocket, and my eyes averted towards the ceiling. She asked her faithful phone for directions, and it replied that there were 14 shops near us, and suggested she pick the preferred location. The first verbal direction had us turning left on to the highway, and then right onto the next one. As we drove under the Interstate, it told us to turn left. We did not. The store was on our right hand side, and as we drove up to the entrance, the phone told us to 'do a u-turn'. Quite confused, I asked, 'Why?' Once again, the phone repeated its instruction. It wanted us to go right, along the highway, loop around under the interstate, and proceed to do a circle until we could enter the shopping area from a different entrance. 'But the shop is here. Show it the shop!', I shouted, and Samantha held up her phone and 'showed it', that we were, indeed, right outside. 'Turn around. Do a U-Turn', the phone continued to argue. 'Wont!' I said, adamantly! We parked outside and entered Aladdin's cave. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, I wanted to buy everything that was in the building, but would have settled for perhaps half of the merchandise, and on the other, I had no need for anything. However, my willpower was not as strong as it had been in the previous location, and I bought four stemless wineglasses, with the excuse that I do not have anything in which to serve the grape beverage, should I have guests! As I was deciding which style to buy, Samantha's phone decided to give it one more try. 'Turn around, now. Do a U-Turn', it croaked. My response was slightly louder than anticipated, and caused several customers to stare in my direction. 'We are in the shop! Tell it; we are here. Show it!', I wailed, not considering that the phone was not actually a person, but an electronic gadget that was not aware of my impending purchase. However, I thought it to be someone directionally challenged, considering we were actually in the building, and it should have picked up our co-ordinates. Perhaps it was just cross that we had found our own way into the mall!
We arrived home, unaided by the perturbed GPS unit, and Samantha took her dog, who had come over for a 'play-date' with Dana, and I put away my shopping, and washed my new acquisitions. After a while, Dana and I went out for dinner, and spent the evening watching television. I did see some neighbours, one of whom was a 'board-member' on the committee of our home-owners' association, and feebly gave our excuses for not attending the meeting. Apparently all went well, and they were sympathetic, having been in a similar traffic situation recently.
My busy weekend became less and less so, and Sunday consisted of a very lazy day, with very few plans. Make bread and watch the Superbowl! Although my life is certainly not in the fast lane, and a slower pace would be acceptable, I never thought I would end up on the 'hard-shoulder'! Despite everything, I am very content. However, I think it is probably within our best interest to perhaps attempt to restart the engine that was our social life, and make plans for a few soirees, if only to provide enough material for.................