Friday, December 2, 2011

Fridays with Fabulous Franny

((Hello everybody! Today I would like to introduce to you a character of mine. She is the main focus of my side project and has been itching to be featured here! Her name is Franny Byrd, an overweight, middle aged mother of two with a rather unique way of viewing the world. Her charm and wit surprise even me! I do hope you'll enjoy this little tidbit she's written up for you about the holidays.))

I love Christmas! The food, the family, the gift exchange, I love it all. The decorations and the lights. (Green is so very "my color.") I don't even mind getting up at five in the morning to start cooking for a Christmas Dinner! Christmas has got to be my favorite holiday of the year. But there's a catch. Christmas shopping! I swear, it's like one day someone looked down at Christmas and decided that this season was just too happy. So to fix it, they made shopping malls and traffic jams!

Really though, Christmas shopping has got to be one of the worst things one has to do during the winter season. Skipping over the trouble of fitting behind the wheel of a car you share with a rather short-legged sixteen year old, since that's an entire story in and of itself, just the shopping alone is hard enough. First, you get to the store and because you weren't part of the mob that camped out the night before, you're forced to park in a spot so far away from the mall you wonder if it's not supposed to be for the Pup and Kitty PetPet Beauty Salon just a few feet away. Then you have to journey through that sea of cars, walking for what feels like days until you reach the nearest store. But hey, a little exercise never hurt anyone right? Look on the bright side....right? Once we get to the building, we do a little (or a lot) more walking all around the mall just to find the store we wanted to go to in the first place! By the time I get to the store I forgot what I was supposed to be looking for because ten minutes ago I'd started looking for a bench just so I can catch my breath!

Second wind caught, there is then the trouble of having to drag along my bouncing six year old who likes to think he knows better than his own mother about who would like what for Christmas. He'll go from shelf to shelf, grabbing the thing he'd most like to have for himself, then holding it up proudly and announcing "Dad would love this!" Oh, I'm sure he would. He'd just love a new video game or plastic Star Wars helmet barely big enough for his fist to fit in. But by that time I'm too tired to remember what my own husband actually would want and too out of mind to remember I wrote it down on the back of a receipt somewhere in my bag.

Plastic helmet in hand, we trudge through the endless sea of people, looking for someone, anyone, who could help us to find the price. Of course, though, we find no one. All the clerks want to help the nice pretty, thin customers, not the old fat ladies with bouncing ten year olds. Our only choice is to wait in the mile long customer service line. And so we wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.

Half way through the line my son has run off somewhere to play with something or other and I've begun a conversation with the woman behind me. "Oh yes, it's so much trouble trying to get the weight off. It's my son's fault you know," I tell her, unable to stop what my daughter refers to as my "TMI mouth." (Sadly, sometimes I have to agree with her.) "Yes, you see, I gained it all while I was pregnant, and now it just won't come off no matter what I do!" The young lady, so very patient, nods and smiles.

"Oh my, that's terrible. How old is your baby?"

"Uh..." Oh dear, I hadn't thought she'd ask that. Now that I think about it, the story sounds so terribly ridiculous! But she asked. I can't lie to her. Especially not when my son has apparently found something interesting and is running towards me. "He's...uh...ten..." I just see the ladies eyes widen (along with the eyes of three other ladies in the line). With a (only half) pretend look of horror I turn to my son. "What? Timmy's caught in a well? Okay! Let's go!"

Once we've made it successfully out of the store without any further embarrassment, it's only a matter of moments before I realize I'm still clutching tightly to that stupid, ugly plastic helmet. Blaring sirens have started screaming at everyone that a thief has just left the building and would they kindly please all caught her before she does something truly stupid! I run back to the store, trying desperately to explain, then am forced to explain the whole story to the young security guard, who keeps asking me to repeat myself because he can't hear my story over my little boy's screaming. "Moooom!! I need that!! That's Dad's Christmas present!!! What am I going to give to Dad now?" Flustered and frustrated and wanting to forget the whole thing ever happened, I agree to pay for the helmet, if only to make my son stop crying! We leave the store with all eyes on "the fat lady and her screaming brat."

We make it out to the car in mostly one piece, and I quickly shove my child into the back seat and hurry to get myself behind the wheel. The parking lot is even fuller than before (something I never would have thought possible!). Flustered and embarrassed and trying to get out of there in a hurry, I back up out of my spot THUNK! and right into another parked car!

Horrified I rush out to check the damage the ugly little pink think did to my car. Then for the next several minutes I panic over the large pink paint smudge on my beautiful brown SUV. Then my wits return to me and I realize that the tiny sports car that dared to mark my baby happens to also have a rather large dent in its fender. Panicking all over again, I call my husband. In tears I relay the entire story of the day to him, including my morning cup of cold coffee and the trouble I had reaching my feet over my belly to tie my shoes! Bless his heart, he sits and listens to the whole thing. (Or at least I like to think so. Though in reality he was probably checking email until the part about the car.) He tells me to go back into the store. Back into that wretched store! And give them the license plate number so the owner of the car can come and meet the delinquent who backed into it.

After sitting there for an hour waiting for no one to show up, we finally give up and return to our own car, only to find the Pepto-Bismol car is gone, exposing a sign at the front of the space that says "Reserved for PetPet Customers Only."

Utterly frustrated and humiliated, my son and I drive home. Waiting to meet me at the door is my dear, sweet husband with a handful of flowers and an invitation to the nicest restaurant in town, just to cheer me up. (Just what I need. More food) But I love eating out, so I squeeze into my nicest dress (holding my breath and swearing to only eat one piece of bread) and leave my daughter to babysit my son, praying all the while she doesn't burn my house down! We arrive at the restaurant and to my pleasant surprise he remembered to make reservations! Huzzah! We are seated, given water, and left to go over our menus. In the hushed murmur of elegant crowd, I happen to overhear the conversation of a very snobby sounding gentleman seated in the booth behind me. His eerily feminine voice relays to his dining partner "Then this crazy weirdo backed right into my brand new car! Poor Fifi was horrified!" I grab my husband's arm.

"Let's go!" He gives me a weird look and asks me why. "No questions! Just run!"

After a long day of Christmas cheer, I'm ready to go home. I had to pay twice what it was worth for that dumb helmet. My husband didn't get his fancy steak. And my daughter (though she kept the house un-singed)  managed to tear apart the entire place "looking" for her brother! Safe to say I'll be doing the rest of my Christmas shopping online.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Everybody! Happy shopping!

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