December 1st, 2008

Black Friday Fatalities: at least three

2 in a Toys R Us in California

Argument over toys between women accompanied by men leads to shots fired by the men at each other. Sounds like they killed each other, but I'm open to other interpretations here.

1 in a Long Island (NY) Wal-Mart, a greeter trampled at the door

I heard about the second one while I was hanging out at C.'s house. I was skeptical and the people repeating the story had heard about it from a friend on FaceBook or Other Unknown Source so R. checked it out and found the NYT article. I just now ran across the Toys R Us article courtesy DaddyTypes Freakout Friday. Which I recommend, as always.

The stores, needless to say, are attempting to claim It's Not Their Fault. Well, I, for one, kinda question that. You create a situation with an expectable result, it seems like you bear some kind of responsibility. Albeit I think more in the WalMart situation than in the Toys R Us thing.

R. and I went out to brunch at Michael Timothy's (where everyone oohed and ahed over A.). The chef produced a written list of everything I could have on the buffet so I had a fabulous time. It Was Not Cheap (turned out to require most of 4 yuppie food coupons, instead of the expected 3, but we did both have coffee and alcoholic beverage) but it was really excellent. If you find yourself in Nashua, NH on a Sunday morning or early afternoon, it would be hard to over-recommend it. I asked R. if he wanted to go to the mall after (I asked before we left the house to determine whether we should bring the stroller base) and he looked at me as if I were deranged. I probably was.

Lessons Learned from This Past Travel Weekend

First, my bet that we didn't need to worry about traffic (supported by google, mapquest and other traffic sites) was borne out in practice. Yay, bad economy (for us).

Second, the sleeper sofa at the Homewood Suites was broken. Sleeper sofas are rarely a great experience, but this was remarkably awful. We'll be getting either two connecting rooms or a two bedroom suite next time. We need two separate rooms for sleeping to isolate the snorer from the nursing newborn. They wake each other up and antagonize me. Antagonizing me is Bad.

Third, we only used the microwave, toaster and fridge. So we could probably not get a full kitchen and be just fine.

We had a lot of fun at C.'s house. C. is not drinking (we're coming up on a one-year anniversary of that, IIRC) and this seems to help her stress levels. When you're hosting close to two dozen people for T-day weekend, this is important. The entire R. family showed up, except M. who was headed to Singapore after some of her plans in the region got a wee bit derailed by way too much excitement elsewhere in the area (fortunately for all of us, she wasn't ever planning on being in Mumbai). This is unusual, because normally J. is on call and thus not available, and often S. has a game, ditto. Nice to see everyone. R.'s brother and his wife also appeared on Friday, which was a lot of fun.

In general, there was a lot less drinking. Alcohol was kept in the basement (you could bring up glasses, but not bottles, which slowed everyone down substantially). The effect was nice -- I had a drink each of a couple days, but avoided getting really dehydrated or headachy or queasy, and without feeling like I was missing out on the inebriation occuring around me. I don't know if extended families and social circles ever cut back simultaneously this way, but I have to say I'd strongly recommend it.

The food, as always, was excellent. J. and C. both made a concerted effort (with additional lobbying from A. as well) to keep things low sodium for me, and non-dairy for me and fellow no-dairy-dude O. (altho he gets to try dairy at the New Year -- hope it works out for him; he's been growing out of every other allergy which is very exciting and wonderful all around). We had a very traditional spread: turkey, stuffing, gravy, pies (lots of pies! And they got vanilla Soy Delicious for me. Yum!), carrots, three different kinds of cranberry relish (one canned, one not, and one not with lots of citrus), zucchini and pumpkin breads, green beans and I'm sure I'm forgetting things. It was very easy to get plenty of vegetables.

Everyone oohed and ahed over A., who is quite happy to hang out with just about anyone as long as she is fed often. Her aunt A. improvised a SPOC (in this case, a scarf) into a baby sling, which she had learned to do in Africa; I was extremely impressed -- she has Mad Skillz at teh babywearing. When I quit asking people if they wanted baby time (I was feeling a little guilty about handing off all the parenting responsibilities to other people), several of them took to loitering in hopes of grabbing her in a handoff, so there's reason to believe I didn't wear out our welcome.

C. has a _very_ steep driveway, sloping to the street -- exactly the scary configuration I was glad we didn't have. But she does have a nice sidewalk at the bottom. T. apparently took a couple of bad falls before he figured out how to skid his heels down the hill. Someone convinced him to limit his forays down the sidewalk to a reasonable distance. We were all very impressed by how fast he got the hang of a steep hill.

One of the games T. and I have played for at least a year now is stairway catch: I throw a soft ball up the stairs, he retrieves it and rolls or throws it down the stairs. Because the stairs are a pain, he's less likely to resort to fetch (picking it up and carrying it back to me) and because he's at the top, the ball will tend to come back to me even if his throw is really lousy. His throw has gotten much better over the last couple months and he played stairway catch with several members of the extended family.

I didn't have a single meltdown. T. had a couple and he had to take naps a couple of days which is a little unusual (they were long, too -- 2-3 hours each time). I think the takeaway there is that when he's in a different place with different people -- even if he's having a good time, and he likes them -- he gets worn out and needs down time.