Thursday, December 23, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Up For Air 

Exams ended on the 21st. My last exam was for the ever entertaining Dr. Guy Carden who, for the first time in 15 years, was teaching the 300-level Syntax* class.

*Syntax: the study of how language is processed to which no one has any definite answers to yet. In any case, if they never found out the ultimate answer to it, nothing would happen.

The exam was remarkably humane. I didn't expect it to be. On the other hand, humane was not part of the general consensus about the exam and since it's graded on a scale, in a sick, twisted way that's really really good news.

After the exam, I got another haircut at Helmet Salon where I got my last cut. Since this was my second vist, I didn't get the gratuitious 50% discount, but the lady at the front desk was nice enough to give me the student discount although they only really offer it on Wednesdays. This haircut is really really different and I really really like it.

After a celebratory dinner with Jim at one of my favourite all-you-can-eat Japanese restuarants that night, we bought a box of L'Oréal Colour Experte and Jim gave my hair a colour treatment. You wouldn't believe, but it's really really awesome. The base colour is a really deep brown, such that you almost can't tell that there's a difference to my base colour. The streaks are a warm brown, distinct but subtle. The placement of the streaks are absolutely impeccable.

New haircut and new haircolour. I would post a picture but I have no idea where the camera is.

On Wednesday it started to sink in that my exams were over. Before the realization could take hold, however, another, more urgent and pressing realization grabbed me by the neck. Three days to Christmas and not only was there still a significant amount of Christmas shopping to be done, Lisa and David were arriving and something had to be done about the apartment to make it habitable. For one thing, we had over $20 in recycling lying about the house. That had to go. Also almost every surface was covered with the results of zealous food preparation. I think we really should develop the habit of taking care of the aftermath of meals after the meal. That's probably something to be dealt with through a new year's resolution, nonetheless, the mess could not wait for the New Year to be cleaned up.

We needed better trash management. We needed more counter space for food prep so that I could actually use my desk for studying. We needed something narrow at the doorway to drop keys, change and to put shoes that are used so often that it doesn't make much point to shimmy all the way into the coat closet to get them out of the way.

So we had a Plan. That's right. A Plan. We sat down to an absolutely unsatisfying and overpriced brunch at White Spot which is really a greasy spoon with fancy restaurant decor. Due to its deception, Jim and I fall for it occassionally, pay fancy restaurant prices for Denny's food and leave unhappy. Nonetheless, we wanted a nice sit down brunch and White Spot was the only place in the mall that wasn't a food court. The reason we needed a nice place to sit down and eat was because that's the way the best Plans are formulated.

Since we were at Oakridge Mall, here was our Plan:

1. Find gifts for Jim's Dad.
2. Find gifts for Jim's Mom and Husband (American)
3. Go to IKEA for affordable home organization solutions.
4. Never eat at White Spot again.
5. While trying to accomplish the above, also look at sweaters for Jim so that he can get the Christmas present from his dad that he's supposed to.

Central to our plan was actually knowing what we were going to buy as gifts. Jim's Mom and her husband (who is incidently a triathelete who just finished organizing this triathalon -- his name's Jon) was meeting us for dinner in a scant six hours. As things would have it, we were much more certain of what to buy Jim's Dad (who wasn't going to get his present until Christmas Eve) than we were of what to buy them. Card carrying genius that I am, I came up with the gift idea of the century.

They had just moved into a new place not too long ago. Gorgeous place with a backyard that opens out into a bay that opens out into open ocean. So something along the lines of home decor. On the other hand, a decor piece that is only good as a decor piece is a really lame gift. So I suggested a quality, hand crafted chess set. What we found was seven times better. It was a chessboard that was mounted on a heavy wooden box. The pieces were beautifully cast. Flip the board over and you have Chinese checkers. Underneath the board was a velvet lined place to put each individual chess piece. Pull out the drawer and you have a Backgammon board and a Tic-Tac-Toe (alright, that was a little wtf) board. Lift up that piece of wood and there is the storage place for a cribbage board, a set of cards, several sets of dice and all the relevant game pieces for the rest of the games. Gorgeous piece.

I can't say what Jim's Dad's presents are because I think he drops in on my blog once in a while.

Jim found a very nice Marimo Wool (dry-clean-only!) sweater at the Banana Republic. Yes we know that it's owned by the GAP possibly the single most evil corporation this side of WalMart but it was a nice sweater and we needed to get one before Christmas. Moving on.

IKEA is possibly my favourite place to shop in the world. I know that I should be embarassed to admit that, but oddly enough, I'm not, really. This time, however, I could not take the time that I usually like to do to look at all the interesting things that they have displayed in a distinctly pleasing manner. This is primarily due to the fact that our success in the mall earlier prompted us to allow me to take a two hour nap. With the dinner with Jim's Mom and Jon coming up, sauntering was rather out of the question. Despite the time crunch, I am pleased to report that everything went as Planned and we returned (miraculously managing to fit all that unwieldly lumber into the '95 Honda Civic 4 door) with all the neccessary home organization essentials.

I woke up this morning and realised that my exams are over. Christmas is in two days and it will bring Lisa and David with it. Wow. I had better start making this place fit for guests.

posted by Joie! at 11:01 a.m.


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