Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Shopping Day--Bad Shopping Day

Tomorrow me, and my writing partner, Faye Hughes, are guest blogging over at the amazing Margie Lawson's blog. We'll be giving away a copy of the The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel. So pop on over tomorrow!
Margie's blog.

While you guys read this, I’m belted to my seat, sitting next to a stranger, probably trying to sell her a book. Yup, I’m jetting off to Columbus, Ohio to attend the Romantic Times Convention. Can you say PARTY? RT conventions are one big sun-up to sun-down party. I’m talking wine, chocolate martinis, hot shirtless cover models, and that’s before breakfast. The party doesn’t end until the wee hours of the morning after dancing, and more wine and martinis. And I’m good for about a day of it. I have no idea what I will do the other four days.

Of course, I have been in training this last week for the event. Serious, hard-on-the-body, rigorous training. It’s called shopping. And that gets me to the subject of this blog. I know, you’re probably thinking you prefer me to blog about the hot shirtless guys. Maybe I can cover that next week. I’ll even try to bring back a few pictures. It all depends on how many of those martinis I have.

Before I get into my shopping adventure, let me make a confession. I was born with a handicap. I was born without the shopping gene. Basically what I’m saying is that not only do I not like to shop, I dread it. I personally think what happened is that my mom sucked the gene out of my DNA when I was in her womb. She is a shopaholic to the max. The woman lives to shop. Just last week, I got a whole box of new clothes from her because she went shopping and didn’t need anything herself and decided to just shop for me instead. Hey . . . I didn’t complain. She actually sent several items I’m taking to RT with me.

Ahh, but I still had to do it. I had to leave the comfort of my office, had to explain to my characters that they were going to be stuck in a scene for a few days because I needed to venture out into very dangerous territory. So I left them kissing. I even gave them instructions of what to do if I didn’t come back. Hey . . . The Mall is very scary place for me.

Of course, I also had to set my very frugal hubby down to give him “the talk.” I explained what I was about to undergo. I reminded him how much I hated doing it. I reminded him how little I did it. Meaning, I needed a lot of stuff. I’m talking shoes, knee highs, underwear, pants, shirts, jackets, make up, make-up bags, and even some new luggage. Then I warned him--warned him that I hated shopping so much that I simply could not add to my burden by bargain shopping. If I saw it, if the item caught my eye or called my name, it was coming home with me even if I had to handcuff it and drag it, and I probably wouldn’t even check the price tag. After he regained consciousness, and had some time to think about it, he wished me luck. You gotta love this guy. Hey . . . he really is a keeper and looked kind of cute hog-tied to the chair while he contemplated the right thing to say.

So, I made a list, a very long list, and while I knew I was probably being optimistic, I hoped to get it all done in one day. Then knowing how stressful this whole event was going to be for me, I did the ultimate. I dangled a carrot out in front of me, hoping to inspire me to live through the event. I made a four o’clock appointment to get a massage.

Carrying a bundle of stress in my shoulders, I hit the pavement as soon as the doors opened. The first place I went I found exactly what I was looking for and in my size and on sale. Wow! The stress in my shoulders lessened. The second place didn’t have what I wanted, but I found a good alternative, again on sale. Oh, and the store clerks were all so friendly and helpful. Double wow!

I even stopped off and got a large diet Coke and a chicken sandwich. I moved from store to store, marking off items on my list as I went. Amazingly, I was having fun. Maybe, I wasn’t so handicapped as I thought, maybe I had just a bit of my mother in me after all. But I wasn’t half way through my list when I realized the time. I rushed away, bags hanging from my arms, my muscles slightly sore, and went to get my massage.

Ahh, heaven.

Then the next day arrived. I was optimistic that my luck would hold. Not so! It was the shopping day from hell. You know when you can’t find anything in the right color or size? When, there isn’t a person in the store to help you. And when you finally find someone, they’re on the phone chatting about their date last night. She really needs to drop that boyfriend!

Oh, and let me tell you, I will probably be the only woman at RT wearing a navy suit. How do I know this? Well, I ordered the suit online from Travel Smith (I love their clothes by the way) all I needed was a shell to wear under the jacket. Guess what? There isn’t a shell with navy in it in Houston. Navy’s not the in color this year. And finding a pair of navy shoes was like finding a decent guy in a titty bar. There just weren’t that many to be found. I don’t want to tell you about the search for my bras. I mean, at the prices they charge to support my girls, it looks like it would behoove them to have my size available. Three stores I had to go to get my girls the support they needed. Of course, they were on the opposite sides of the mall. And it’s a big mall, too. Then the ultimate happened. I forgot where I parked. Oh, and then I thought I’d lost my keys, because I’d accidentally put them in a different compartment of my purse. Ever had that happen?

By the time I got home from the second shopping event, no massage this time, my feet hurt like a bear, my head was pounding, I think I’d sprung a muscle in my calf, everything I’d bought that day suddenly didn’t look good, one was in the wrong size, and the knots the masseuse got out of my shoulders had all returned with a vengeance.

How could I have one perfect shopping day and then one screwed-up shopping-mare? Any experienced shoppers out there have a bit of wisdom to offer a shopping-impaired writer with big blisters on her feet? Do you guys love to shop? Am I the only shopping handicapped woman out there? Thank goodness I do conferences better than I shop. Hopefully, I’ll arrive in Columbus soon and get connected to internet and be able to respond to all your comments.


Michelle said...

I'm slightly shopping impaired, in I do shop but like you it's very rare and there is always more than I needed bought at the time. I'm definitely not one of those women who loves to shoe shop--I never understood that desire, my friends have it but I don't. Unless I find a good pair of New Balance on sale, i'm fine with never shopping for a pair of shoes.

Don't get me wrong, I sadly do like to spend money--even when I know I shouldn't,lol. But it's not usually for me, so that's always my excuse for overspending. I hate the mall, course the fact that I worked there for 2 years in a bookstore--which we know those I love and could spend hours in, didn't help the matter.

But I hope you have a wonderful time at RT and someday I hope to get to an event when it's closer to New Jersey.

TerriOsburn said...

Have a great time at RT! I can't wait to see the pics you bring back.

I love to shop, but the difficulty in finding anything that fits me, forget about flattering, makes it much less fun. Oddly enough, my 10 yr old hates it more than I do. I'm enjoying it now since in 5 years (or less!) she's going to be asking for her own credit cards. :)

chey said...

Have a great time at RT.

I range from being slightly shopping impaired to being very shopping impaired. I seem to have the worst times when I know what I want. I can never find it. Very occasionally I go out when I'm not really looking for anything, and I find some great stuff!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Do NOT let me skip RT the next time it's in driving distance. Hear me??

As for those cover models, NO. Do NOT cover them next week. UNCOVER them, please.

I've seen them. In the flesh.


Gillian Layne said...

Christie, I love ya! :)

I do the panic thing once I'm in a large store. It's like I've never bought anything for myself before. I usually hate the entire experience.

I love ordering from Coldwater Creek, and I enjoy that Travel smith catalog. I'll be ordering from them soon, if they've got your vote of approval!

Have a rockin' time at the convention. :)

Refhater said...

I LOVE shopping! Only it's called "Retail Therapy" around here. Yes, it can be stressfull. But, I always look at it like a big treasure hunt. There's snags and perils along the way, but if you keep looking and looking, you'll eventually find the treasure.

I do all the supply ordering at work too. That's even better because I can shop til I drop (for work related stuff) and not actually have to pay for anything. Granted I am forced to adhere to a strict budget there, but it's still shopping.

Have fun at the convetion. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Suzan Harden said...

Screw the shopping! I want cover model pitures, please!

Have fun, girl! And don't let Faye get into too much trouble! Remind her to poke airholes in the extra suitcase so the cover model can breathe.