I wish I could say that by this point in my Giveaway, I’ve become a real pro at elegantly matching gifts and recipients and smoothly executing the delivery. But, alas, a few days from the end, I’m as chaotic and disorganized as I’ve been for much of the year.
Most of my day was spent orchestrating an enjoyable, productive day with minimum screen time with our son Theo. We shopped for books at Barnes & Noble, visited the local Apple Genius Bar, where one of the genius baristas fixed his computer problems, and then tucked in to a late lunch of surprisingly tasty pretzels. Then, we headed back home for some reading and a little tv together. By 4:30pm, I was feeling relatively successful as a mother/entertainer, but I didn’t have a plan for my Giveaway.
I had been messaging on and off during the day with Jennifer, a lovely friend who I met when we overlapped for a few weeks working at Pacific Asia Museum just before I left. Her bright, sunny attitude to life almost made me change my mind about leaving the museum, as I knew it would be great fun to work with her. Although we weren’t able to stay colleagues for long, somehow we have managed to stay in touch as friends for nine years. She now works in media relations at the Skirball Museum (www.skirball.org) and I have visited her a few times there, most often with my sister Roshan and the kids. It’s shocking to realize that I haven’t seen her all of this year. She has been following my blog (bless her!) and I’d been sure I’d meet her and give her something. But yesterday on Facebook, I noticed that she and her husband Victor are in Hawai’i. It wasn’t looking like I’d be able to give her something.
When I messaged her this morning to ask her if she’d be back before the 31st, she said their flight would get in at 10pm on New Year’s eve, making meeting impossible. Undefeated, I asked her for her address in Pasadena, thinking I might stop by there this week and drop the gift off. But, at 4:30 today, I decided that I wanted to give her something today, which meant packing up the gift – a red flowy cardigan – and taking it to the Post Office, which is about a mile away and closes at 5pm. Not wanting to leave Theo home alone, I waited for my husband David to get home. He got home at 4:45. By the time I’d packed up the gift and addressed the envelope (no, for some reason I hadn’t done that already!), it was 4:53 and I finally got into my car at 4:54, giving me 6 minutes to get to the Post Office. There are about 7 traffic lights between out house and the Post Office, and miraculously, I sailed through most of them, giving me hope that I might make it before 5pm. But then I noticed there were several cars backed up in a line trying to get into the parking lot. I joined the line thinking someone must be leaving but when nothing moved in the lot, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to park in time so I drove on past the Post Office and pulled over at a parking meter. I fed the meter and half-walked, half-ran back to the Post Office, squeezing in the door in time to join the line, just as one of the staff walked over to close the door. He let two more people in behind me. It had been close.
It’s a bit embarrassing, but that’s how chaotic I was after 361 days of practicing this Giveaway. Fortunately, another of Jennifer’s attributes is a great sense of humor. And fortunately also, the US Post Office is slightly more organized than I am. The cardigan will land on Jennifer’s doorstep tomorrow and will be there to greet her when she arrives back from her tropical trip. It’s been unusually cold here in Southern California, so I hope it helps keep her warm on New Year’s Eve.