To think, just a few days ago, I wondered out loud whether or not we’d even participate in our annual Black Friday tradition. Well, not only did we extend our Walmart streak, but we had what is possibly the most epicest Black Friday in Higa history.
Walmart: We left my parents’ house after lunch on Thursday at 3:30 in the afternoon. The Cowboys beat the Raiders and in an even bigger upset, I paced myself during Thanksgiving lunch. We drove straight to our home Mililani (because that’s the only one in which we know where everything is) in hopes of snagging the iPad Mini for Madison’s Christmas gift. She has no idea. Eventually, I’m going to have to return my iPad to the school. Between this Christmas and then, however, Madison won’t be asking to use mine anymore. As per our family tradition, Madison sat quietly in the cart and devoured a 4-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. Incidentally, Lynnette and I didn’t eat dinner. I’m so proud of us, we’re closing in on Cal Ripken, Jr.’s streak.
Macy’s: That’s hot chocolate and the face of someone who does not give a single shit about doorbusters.
Old Navy: I thought that Ala Moana was going to be packed and finding parking was going to be the kind of stress test that ends up as a soul-searching personal experience that years later is interpreted to say something about the indomitable human spirit. We found parking outside of Macy’s in 10 minutes and the mall wasn’t crazy or anything, probably because the mall had been open for 14 hours by the time we got there. It was busy enough, though, that just about every women’s restroom had a line steaming out of it. We’re not talking Ocean’s-college-Thursdays-women’s-bathroom-line, but it was still pretty intense. By the time Lynnette made her way down to Old Navy, I had already picked a few things out, tried them on, and taken a place in the checkout line. Said checkout line was a sight to behold: it started at the first register; extended along the display shelves holding all the cups, toys, and other nonsense; took a 90-degree angle toward the back of the store; got about half-way there before snaking into two hairpin turns. I don’t know how long I stood there, but I do know that Madison was a champ while we idled. We played the Disney Guessing Game (three clues for the other person to guess the Disney character) and we talked about her life. Mostly, though, she sat like this under shirt racks.
Bubba Gump’s: When we emerged from Old Navy – somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:45 – the mall was noticeably more crowded than when we went downstairs. Lynnette and I theorized that it was likely the fourth wave of Black Friday shoppers. The first of course, arrived on Thanksgiving evening when the mall opened. The second wave probably arrived sometime in the early morning hours of Friday. We (the third) arrived right around the time people would have started showing up at work. The fourth wave, then arrived around 10 am – probably because they had kids that precluded them from getting there any earlier. Look, we had a lot of time to think while waiting in lines. So getting back to lunch, by the time Lynnette wrapped up our transaction at Old Navy, my stomach lining was being attacked by my stomach acid. We picked Bubba Gumps because: A) there was no line; B) Madison will absolutely eat the fish and chips; C) I hate CPK. My cousin Alana came along with us and Madison loves her so much that she didn’t even put up a fight when Lynnette and I arranged ourselves in seats opposite her. That led to this:
(Photo Credit: Madison Higa)
Eden in Love: Lynnette was lucky enough to win a contest which afforded her 50% off items at Eden in Love all weekend. That’s why Alana came with. “The cousins are conspiring,” my aunt said when we arranged for Alana to come with us after Thanksgiving lunch. “Take your time,” I told Lynnette as Mad and I left the store. “Oh, I was going to,” she said. For some reason, her retort made me think of one of those serial killers featured on Criminal Minds. The kind that spends days torturing their victims and recording themselves on an obsolete tape recorder. Madison and I went back downstairs while my wife and my cousin traveled deeper into the heart of darkness. They found us 45 minutes later holding bags and wearing smiles. Lynnette is still asleep at this moment, but I am positive that once she wakes, she will try to think up reasons for us to return to Eden in Love at some point this weekend. Should that fail, she will suggest it without a reason. Either way, WE’VE GOT TO GO BACK, KATE! Wait- a Heart of Darkness reference and a Lost allusion? You’re damned right.
Nordstrom Rack/TJ Maxx: We checked out both because we were in the neighborhood and in full-on shopping mode. No one made any purchases, but Madison was enthralled by furry jackets, boots, and sweaters. Man, it’s going to suck when Lynnette has to have that talk with Madison where she’ll say “You can’t wear that in this climate, sweetie.” Also of note, I’d like to congratulate myself on adding the new Nordstrom Rack location to the list. Good form, Phil.
We stopped at my parents’ house on the way home to pick up the food we weren’t able to take with us on Thursday (because we went straight to Walmart). While we were sitting in the living room, I wondered aloud whether Office Depot might still have the desktop computer I’d eyed. They had a single one left. I’ve already set it up to replace my old Gateway – the Event Horizon III, from 2007 – in the computer room. I thought about saving this picture for a “Goodbye to You” post later in the week, but I’m not getting rid of it. The Event Horizon III will live out its final days in my classroom. My students will be able to type things on it until it quits. This purchase/replacement led to two of the highlights of the day: First, Madison asked what I was going to do with the Gateway. When I told her, tears welled in her eyes. I’m dead serious. She doesn’t want me to take it to work. She’s afraid she’ll never see it again. She took a picture of the tower with the Nikon. You can see how broken up she is. Holy Christ, I feared change, but Madison takes it to a whole new level. Second: my dad told my mom that Lynnette and I went off to buy a new computer. According to Matty, when my father revealed our computer chase, my mother replied, “They got another computer? How many computers do they need? They can’t even give me another grandchild, but they can get another computer?” Lynnette’s and my own baby-making parts are under a kind of pressure and scrutiny you can’t possibly imagine. Also, my mom is kind of a psycho. I’ve been saying it for years, and I feel vindicated since others can finally see it.
Some people just can’t handle Black Friday. Madison passed out. When she woke, we told her we’d be seeing Alana again. “For dinner?” she asked. “No,” I said. “For more shopping!” I broke out the Oprah voice for that one. Madison rolled her eyes. On the way home from Office Depot, Alana’s mom called and told us that they’d be going to the NEX that night and invited us. Of course we said yes. I simply did not want Black Friday to end.
The Navy Exchange: It was Madison’s first time ever, and the sea mural on the ceiling of the entrance blew her mind. She stood with her head bent back calling out different sea creatures. It was exactly like our sand crabbing adventure, only she wasn’t terrified by Lynnette. We knocked a few people off of our Christmas list, and I have to take a moment to congratulate Lynnette and I for showing a little discipline (first time all day) by not buying anything for ourselves. I had a little moment of weakness when I saw the Cowboys jerseys, but it passed. Thanks, Uncle Irv and Aunty Jess for bringing us along! On the way home, the three of us were beat from an incredible day of shooting money back into the economy. It was nearly 9:30 and Lynnette remembered Madison’s Saturday morning appointment at Home Depot. “Madison, do you want to build a tool box tomorrow? Or sleep in?” There was a silence in the back of the Highlander, then a sigh. “I want to do both… but how?” she said. Lynnette and I laughed hysterically. It’s almost 9:30 on Saturday morning and they’re both still in bed. I love Black Friday.