while it is my favorite time of the year, thanksgiving is one of the best things about it. instead of trying to coordinate a gathering at christmas, in my family it is the one true time of the year that we get together. we have been going to southern california to my grandparents forever, the only time i remember anything different was the year we went north, and it felt really weird. we drive down late wednesday night once dad got off work and stay until early sunday. when i went away to college i always flew there, no question. once i started working in retail it all changed. the first two years i would literally went down for about 24 hours, long enough for the actual day of thanksgiving and then quickly came back for black friday. last year i started at a new store the week of thanksgiving and couldnt go down to california at all. so this year i was so excited to finally see my whole family again.
this year was also going to be interesting, because richard was going to come with me and meet the whole family. he had met and spent time with my parents a ton. and had met my dads parents, but this would be the first large family gathering he would participate in. my family is a little nuts, as are all families. i would leak a little bit of information here and there to richard as thanksgiving got closer, just enough not to scare him. we decided that we would drive down early thursday morning and be there around 12 noon. he had to work the night before and it seemed silly to drive down and midnight and be tired the whole next day.
i was really nervous to take him down there with me. this would be the first time my family would meet a serious boyfriend i had been with for a significant amount of time, and we lived together. as if i wasnt nervous enough, we had been fighting what seemed like more than normal that week. it was just little things that didnt even matter, but for some reason that week they did. i snapped at him about stupid things. so he would get mad and i would just get more mad cause he was. then i felt like an idiot for even snapping and it would take me a long time to apologize. and being the amazing boyfriend that he is, would always tell that it was ok, when i knew it wasnt and i was just being mean for no reason. i was almost afraid he was going to say he didnt want to go and would just stay here. thank goodness he still went.
this thanksgiving felt very different for multiple reasons. i was bringing a boyfriend, we were staying in a hotel, we didnt all drive down together, grandpa and myrna were doing thanksgiving and saturday dinner at their house, and still grandma was not here with us. she passed away in 2004 and whenever we go down, it still feels weird she isnt there to celebrate. luckily grandpa found a really great new partner named myrna, who definitely keeps him on his toes.
once we finally got down there we went straight to grandpas house. we arrived just about the same time as everyone else. as we went in, i was getting really excited to show off my boyfriend, and i think richard was just getting more and more nervous. the family took him well and never really drilled him with questions. he spent a lot of time watching football with the guys and i spent a lot of time with my other uncles, aunts, and cousins. there was lots of new family drama to catch up on. i kept checking on him to make sure he was ok, and he did really well holding his own. which i by the way, never had a doubt.
the next morning at 3am the alarms started going off so we could get up and start the shopping! this was going to be quite the adventure, number one it was my 1st black friday on the customer side. number two he and i were going by ourselves. number three 2 of my other aunts, mom and cousin all decided they were now going to go experience black friday since we didnt let them go with us. we left pretty close to 330am and after getting lost and having to turn around and miss the 4am opening of target, we made it to the costa mesa target with a pretty empty parking lot. we were stoked, thinking we had found the best target. turns out that store specifically didnt open till 7am! this meant we were already late and now were going to definitely miss out on the $3 grill cheese maker i desperately wanted at any other target. we found another one super close and actually closer to south coast plaza. we entered and made mad dashes to the electronics and kitchen areas. my mission was to see the tv on dvd sales and his mission to find the $3 grill cheese maker. i found sex and the city 2 for $10, but no big bang. he came up empty handed with a grill cheese maker. we were trying to decide whether we were going to brave the line for sex and the city 2 when we saw a huge george foreman grill on sale for $28! we definitely decided to stand in line after that. then while standing in line i found big bang season 3 for $13 along with 2 other movies for $4 each. i also found the entire series of friends on sale for $10 per season and legit had all 10 boxes in my hand with richard looking at me like a crazy person, i realized i may have gotten a little caught up in the craziness. i put friends back and joined richard back in line to pay for our awesome finds. target was definitely successful.
we moved on to south coast plaza where we really didnt find that many lines. i think the line i stood in at starbucks was longer than any line we stood in for a store. i made great purchases at victoria secret and h&m where richard said the best thing to me, "you can never have too many coats." (i think you may need to understand my obsession with outerwear to fully know why i loved that so much, but its ok.) many stores werent even open and the line at gap looked like a club with a bouncer to get in. we made our way across the street to old navy where i just shook my head and chuckled the whole time we were in there, reminding myself how glad i was to be on the other side. we even braved best buy, which by 9am wasnt even bad at all. we walked to our car with our fantastic purchases we damn near could have sold our rockin parking spot and gone back shopping for more.
our next stop realistically was phillys best for the most amazing cheese steaks and chicken phillys on the planet. we just had to make a walmart detour, it was only 930 in the morning. on our detour though, we ended up buying a christmas tree. it was just like the one we had been looking at in vegas. richard kept saying we can just go buy it on sunday when we get home, but i kept saying, why go out when we can buy it now and be done. in the end the tree rode all the way home in the backseat.