This thing my mom discovered long ago: online shopping

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and P&G.

I remember the year my mom did all of her Christmas shopping online.

I was in college, so it was long ago (longer ago than I care to pinpoint here. Ahem). But it must have been so long ago, in fact, that I was surprised by the notion of someone purchasing every single item on her Christmas list that year without leaving her home.

My mom, who isn’t a huge fan of crowds or shopping malls or other places that are busy (really, who can blame her?), got all sorts of free shipping deals that year and was, well, happy.

Of course, I’ve shopped online over the years since then, but I’ve never done the bulk of my shopping online. I’ve never ordered things like diapers, batteries or makeup brands I could buy at the nearest big box store. I order things like personalized Christmas cards or curtains or … buttons (yes, I just ordered about 40 buttons. From Hong Kong. Long story).

BUT now that I live in a small town that doesn’t have a big-box store down any four-lane major street AND I know about P&G’s eStore?

Well, now, I may just start taking advantage of this thing my mom discovered long ago: the beauty of online shopping.

Check out these deals, from the P&G eStore:

— 15 percent off on a first-time order from a new customer, using promo code: A9Z-MN5-KY3-ISA

— Free shipping on orders over $25. ALL THE TIME.

— Free samples with every order. Again, always. (Boo-yah).

And here are some specific products on sale at the eStore now:

Crest Whitestrips. While I don’t use them often, I have used them for special occasions, and I’m a big fan. Whiter teeth with the ease of a gooey little strip? Yes, please!

CoverGirl LashBlast 24HR Mascara. Sometimes, I want to use mascara from a makeup counter or from Mary Kay or Avon or, you know, those sorts of things. But I can’t break up with my CoverGirl LashBlast. So it’s in my life to stay. This is a good price.

Duracell batteries. You know you’re going to need them. I’m OK with checking them off my list by ordering online.

There are more household and beauty products at the eStore, too. Give the site a quick check if you have time!

And happy almost Christmas!

 

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Filled with people’s lives

I’ve been thinking what the cold, musty-smelling storage place reminds me of this week as the little girl and I have carted four boxes at a time over there.

Ours is a giant warehouse of tiny garages, all filled with people’s lives, secured only by a padlock from the hardware store down the street.

What a strange thing we do: Pack up our stuff and put it in storage. I can’t help asking myself every second I’m packing, “Am I really going to want this four or five months from now when I go back to storage to retrieve it? If I’ve lived without it for that long, will I ever really need it?”

I know the answer, yet I pack up and haul it all anyway.

At our storage place, the ceilings are tall. The floors are cement. The lights are on some sort of automatic timer; they turn on only when you near the area right below them. So most of the time? You’re hauling your life on a squeaky wooden cart with a freezing metal handle that leaves your hands smelling like dirty copper IN THE DARK.

With a 2-year-old.

This morning, we took the little boy to first grade and skipped the gym so we could head directly to Storage (perhaps, these non-proper-noun places should be capitalized anyway for all their … glory?).

Usually, I pull up to the gigantic warehouse of beige and type my code into a wobbly keypad, which makes a garage door rise so I can pull my car inside to unload. Today, someone else was already in the small unloading area. So the little girl and I parked outside.

“Morning,” I said.

The man wasn’t rude but also wasn’t interested in engaging in any sort of small talk, which is fine. You all know how I feel about small talk.

But.

As I carried my boxes past this man (four trips), my daughter in tow, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. The ominous feel of the place, the not knowing what’s actually in all those rows of tiny garages … the idea that someone could easily put SOMEONE ELSE in one of those garages, back behind the rows of cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid totes and kids’ toys and couches you should just replace instead of carting around everywhere, and no one might ever know you were there.

The man, a heavyset guy in his late 50s, ignored us as he tied a queen-sized mattress and box spring to the top of his sedan, the white cushion billowing over the side of his car. The white rope he was using littered the ground. I pictured the little girl tripping over it, the boxes in my arms preventing me from catching her, if I even could anyway.

We loaded our rickety cart and headed into the dark, down the long hallway to the end before turning left, down another long, dimly-lit hallway. We stopped at our tiny garage, unloaded those parts of our lives and then headed back.

The man was gone. Somehow, that made it all even creepier.

We punched in our numbers, that giant garage door opened and we escaped back into the real world. Back into the real light and the real air, buckled safely in our car, headed back home.

Even if it’s not ours for much longer, that notion of home – even heading there – is a comfort I hope I can always find. No matter where home is.

No matter where we store those pieces of our lives, those reminders of ourselves.

New beginnings

In 24 days, my pretty yellow house will belong to someone else.

It sold.

On the market for 32 days – over the holidays – my two-bedroom Dundee house sold last week. We close on Feb. 1.

I’m excited and relieved and happy … and sad and melancholy and overwhelmed.

I haven’t packed a single thing. The Christmas tree is still up. The toys and gifts we all got are seemingly everywhere.

And, once again, I feel like I own way too much stuff. The urge to purge is running strong. (But can I really get rid of those boxes of childhood school papers? And high school cross country medals? And college newspaper articles? And what about my diplomas; what in the world does anybody do with those?)

Anyway, to storage it all goes (anyone have a good storage place to recommend?), while the kids and I stay with family for a few months.

Let the packing begin.

***

What I really want to be doing is thinking about the wedding.

I bought a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine the other day, though nothing in there is what I want. Seriously: Every dress pictured was huge and over-the-top and at least $4,000.

Same goes for most of the decorations and other ideas.

Our celebration will be simple. And beautiful. And perfect.

I can hardly wait.

It’s set for the evening of April 7. That’s only three months from tomorrow.

But it seems like forever. 

I’m excited about the small, intimate, backyard ceremony we’re planning. And, most importantly, about the real-life happily ever after we’ll all finally get to live, every day after that.

***

A song for today. It’s about a relationship ending, but it’s pretty anyway. And it somehow ties in with new beginnings.

“Country Clutter” by Delorean

The pretty yellow house

When I got to be a grown-up, I started thinking about things like houses and decorating them and what kind of floors they should have.

Wood floors was my answer, and it took me three houses to get them.

The light blonde wood floors of my new house are my favorite (though I can’t seem to keep them clean!). The painted-white trim around the baseboards, the windows and the ceiling are my second favorite.

The green-walled bedrooms upstairs are my third favorite.

And the master bathroom with the white wainscoting halfway up the walls and the white pedestal sink and the subway tile in the shower? My fourth.

The yellow walls? My fifth.

The house is sort of perfect for me.

But we’re moving out and that’s cool. It’s just a house.

Today, I’m going to rearrange some furniture, bring up a bright yellow flower picture from the basement and see what I can do about all those leaves outside (What? Rake them? Ohhhh…).

And I’m going to pull up a little nostalgia while I work. Ninth grade, anybody?

(Before they sold out. At least skip ahead to “Thunder Road.” Worth it).