One Crazy Lady

M. Nickelson is standing outside in the cold in a long line of people waiting to get into WalMart. Some of them are prepared to spend hundreds of dollars. It’s 2 a.m. It’s Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving has been considered the kickoff to the Christmas season since the start of the Macy’s parade in 1924. The term Black Friday is a more recent addition, but refers to the massive amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic for some. For store owners, it means the beginning of the season when they are in the black, as in black ink, meaning profit.

Store owners all over the country offer desperate deals, some of them extreme loss leaders, to bring consumers in the door and hopefully send them back out with full carts. Consumers are hoping to fill their carts without emptying their wallets.

“I waited 35 minutes at midnight and then 4 hours at 1 a.m.,” said Nickelson, who ventured out in the cold for a shot at a steeply discounted Nintendo DS. Nickelson said she wouldn’t have come out at all if the stores hadn’t offered big discounts to make it worth her time. Other shoppers echoed her sentiment.

“It’s the excitement of getting a great deal,” said Don Johnson, another shopper.

“I saved over $300 for 5 hours of time. That is $60 an hour in savings. I can’t make that much working!” Nickelson said.

For several years, stores have been opening their doors and starting sales earlier and earlier, constantly trying to beat the competition, and attract customers. Toys R Us gave out free Crayola crayons and coloring books to the earliest shoppers this year. WalMart gave away energy drinks and donuts to their customers who were waiting in line.

The mass of people pushing and shoving to be the first in the front door is an issue store owners have attempted to resolve as well. After a mob of shoppers trampled an employee and busted through the front door of a New York store in 2008, attempts have been made to keep things more organized. Security is tighter and single file lines are more enforced. This year, one WalMart was open 24 hours, but draped black tarps over the items to be unveiled at the start of the sale. They have started to form organized lines within the store, and put up signs directing shoppers to line up for specific items.

This is the final article that I wrote for Journalism j315. Thought I would share it with ya’ll, so you could see what I’ve been up to.

“When they advertise ten available, and I can see twenty people in line for it, I know I don’t need to bother waiting,” said one shopper. The limited availability is the driving force to get people out of their beds and into the doors early. Nickelson didn’t get up early, she was still up from the night before, shopping at midnight for one deal, and back in line at 1 a.m. to wait for a 5 a.m. sale. This is her first year shopping Black Friday sales.

Johnson, who’s been searching for deals for years, went to bed as usual, and got up at 12:30 a.m. He visited 4 stores, didn’t wait in line at any, and only bought the bargains he had set out to get. He was home and back in bed by 4 a.m. He suggests studying the ads in advance and being prepared. He says in his experience, the items that people fight over just aren’t worth it.

Local restaurants offer breakfast specials in hopes of luring tired, hungry shoppers in for a relaxing meal. But, Black Friday shopping is exhausting. Nickelson “went home and crashed into bed.”

IN A SIDEBAR:

Ten practical things I’ll do to SAVE money this year…

  • I’ll wrap presents in paper that I have saved over the years, by very carefully unwrapping gifts that I receive, folding and storing the paper.
  • I’ll ask a friend to take a photo of my family with my camera as we arrive to church. I’ll upload this photo to a discount printer like Vistaprint or WalMart photo center and order the sizes I want.
  • I’ll buy nice frames at rummage sales and thrift shops to put the photos in as gifts for grandparents.
  • I’ll keep the thermostat at 60 (unless we have company)
  • I’ll knit slippers for everyone in the house.
  • I’ll sell stuff we no longer use on Ebay, and I’ll search there for great deals on auction – such as a power cord for my daughters cell phone ($20 at Best Buy $4.36 on Ebay including expedited shipping.)
  • I’ll buy textbooks and educational materials that we all need at Amazon, Half.com, Half Priced Books or Goodwill.
  • I will walk or carpool whenever possible. I may even take advantage of the Citilinks FREE Saturday rides this year.
  • I will sew hems in pant legs so they can be passed from one child to another.
  • I will ask for practical gifts, as in things I would have bought for myself, like a year’s supply of toilet paper, or coffee and coffee filters – writers go through a LOT of coffee.
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I’ve been a lazy blogger, and I blame it on Facebook.

Whenever I think of something interesting to say, it seems so much simpler to just update my Facebook status than to actually write enough stuff to justify a blog post.

Little things like my daughter is getting glasses, my son was top seller in his Cub Scout pack fundraiser, our vicarage interview is tomorrow.

Then, I show up here and find that I haven’t posted a blog since the middle of August – and now it’s November. Why? Because I’m lazy, I take the easy way out, and post single sentence announcements instead of thoughtful and thought provoking paragraphs via the ‘blog’

I called this blog One Crazy Lady because it started out as a place to post my ideas too crazy for the liberal college environment. But, now I’m thinking maybe I should have called it the Lazy Blogger.

This post is for all of my friends who have been pregnant three or more times, and have heard comments like, “Don’t you know what causes that?” “Don’t you have enough children?” or other not so polite remarks while carrying a child.

I would like you to comment with your worst rude remark and/or your best response to such questions. I know it’s been done before, but it will feel good to share. Make sure you come back later to read the comments of others.

Thanks for participating.

Having six children means finding UNO cards in your bed, while your making love, at 11 o’clock at night, and your 3y0 is watching Care Bears in the basement because otherwise he would be in your bed with you, and your 7yo is asleep on the floor in the hallway outside your bedroom because he had a nightmare that he was locked out of the house, and thinks that sleeping on the hallway floor will somehow prevent that from happening, and you don’t dare try to move him to his bed because if he wakes up he will cause a commotion that will wake up the 1yo in the next room, who will cry and wake up the 9yo who shares his room and is VERY grumpy if he doesn’t get enough sleep, and you don’t want that because you already have two hormonal teenagers that give new meaning to the word grumpy.

My husband is way cooler than I am, and way more brilliant.

Okay, honestly, I don’t always feel this way, but sometimes he has great ideas.

Like, when the kids started arguing about who should have to do this or that, who’s turn it is to take out the trash, or change a little sibs diaper, or put away the milk…

He said, “Enough. Rock, paper, scissors NOW!”

They played, and the loser did the job. Today, I tried it, and it worked again.

LOVE IT!

So, here’s my crazy idea. Is it too much?
I am hosting a Baby Shower, and decided to make a Dirty Diaper Cake.

First I made two 9×13 chocolate cakes. You could make any kind of cake. I stacked them on top of each other.

Then, I made brown sugar frosting. This is from an old Joy of Cooking cookbook. It is 1 to 1 sour cream and brown sugar. Mix together, let sit so all the lumps can dissolve, then stir until smooth. For this cake, I use 3 cups sour cream and 3 cups brown sugar, but I plan to have leftover for something else.

While my frosting is sitting, I cut half moons out of each of the long sides of the cake, so it is shaped like an open diaper. You could trace an actual diaper and make a pattern if you wanted.

Then, I removed the pointed ends off of the moon shaped pieces, and stacked them next to each other to make a box like shape (I’m going to try and make this look like a wipes box)

Here is a picture of where I am so far.

Shaping the cake

Next, I frosted the cake ( I used less than half of the frosting that I made- we will use the leftover to top pancakes, waffles and french toast)

I then took five mini snickers, and melted them in the microwave (about 20 seconds). Then, I mixed in a few cake crumbs: these came from the moon ends that I cut off. I just rubbed a piece between my fingers to get crumbs.

Then, I spread the “poop” on to the diaper.

Frosting the Cake

Almost done, just a few finishing touches to go.

I put it in the frig for a couple hours, which allowed the cream to be absorbed by the cake. This made for a very moist and rich cake, but if I was going to do it again, I would finish it and serve it right away because it looks better when first done. OR I would plan to touch up the frosting.

Anyway, I added little hearts to the corners and wrote WIPES on the little box. Overall, I think it was a pretty great idea.

The dirty diaper cake.

The Dirty Diaper Cake

So, if you’ve read through the other posts on this blog, then you can see that I started this blog as an assignment for my Women’s Studies class at IPFW. Now, I decided about half way through that I would continue the habit of posting something once a week (or more? -HA)
Well, obviously, since my last post was two months ago, I’ve not kept my word. So, here I am again, begging for forgiveness from my readers; both of you, and asking for some help in identifying this disease that I seem to have.
First, I am generally ambitious, punctual, intelligent, and honest.
I do what I say I will do, I show up on time, I work hard and I can be counted on to get things done. I also excel in my course work.
But, here is a list of items that I intended to do, some that I’ve started; all remain incomplete:
1) Make beautiful, original, scrapbooks for my 6 children (one for each of them). The supplies are packed away in storage tubs under the basement stairs.
2) Digitize all of my written work (take buckets full of paper and turn it into a MS publisher document) Use this raw material to write another book
3) Organize thousands of digital photos into a very cool presentation that will make people want to hire me as a photographer
4) Build a drama ministry with my family based on my writing and their talents
5) Sew matching dresses for myself and my daughters
6) Learn Spanish
7) Learn Sign Language
8) Build my Ebay business into a self-sustaining enterprise (I buy stuff, I list half of it, I make a little money, I go buy more stuff)
9) Learn to play a musical instrument
10) Write an interesting blog post every week, then every day, then several times a day so that people will just keep coming back for more and more.

Now, there seems to be a label for every personality type, so I’m sure there must be a diagnosis for this psychological disorder that causes me to be so ambitious and yet unable to bring these wonderful ideas to completeness. Comments welcome!

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