A nick-of-time birthday gift save

All the Heathenish wanted for his birthday was a particular video game. He tempers his wish lists, so I wanted to make sure he got it.

“Are we going to go and buy it?” My Little Professor asked.

“Not today,” I said.

“Why not? We don’t have plans for today.”

This was one of those glorious, rare days during which we had no obligations and could stay home. I call these days “no-pants days,” because I could wear my pajamas all day. I am not allowed to use the term “no-pants days” around my Sassy Saint’s friends, as she finds it highly embarrassing.

“We’re not picking it up today because we don’t have anything planned for today,” I said.

“No-pants day?”

“You got it,” I said. “I’ll swing by the mall and pick it up after work one day.”

“What if work gets busy?” he asked.

“Work won’t get that busy.”

Work got busy.

Sunday – the day of the party – rolled around.

“You should have picked it up last weekend,” the Professor lectured.

“His party isn’t until noon. We’ll leave early and pick it up on the way.”

I got out of the house in reasonable time and snagged a great parking spot at the mall. There was barely anyone as we walked in, and I was buoyed. Any occasion I avoided dealing with people was a good one.

I should have known it wouldn’t last.

“The recruiting office is closed,” Sass observed.

“It’s Sunday. Of course it’s closed.”

“So are all the other stores,” the Professor said.

My heart sank.

“This says the mall doesn’t open until noon.” Sass pointed at the directory.

My heart was around the neighborhood of my shoes. I promised I would get this for Heathenish.

“We will go to the Big Box Store instead of the Video Game Store,” I said. “No big deal.”

But I had the tiniest flicker of doubt.

We hurried to the Big Box Store, where we scanned the shelves … and didn’t see the game.

I flagged down a store employee while dispatching Sass and the Professor to the bargain bin.

“Do you have this game?” I asked.

“You should have gone last weekend,” the Professor called from the bargain bin.

I gave him the evil eye.

“I could help you look,” the employee offered.

I had carefully eyeballed every game in the case; I shook my head. “We already looked.”

“Did you look in the discount section in the back?” the employee asked.

Discount section? The children and I booked it over there.

“I found it!” Sass screamed in delight.

Heart rising, I snatched it from her fingers … only to find it was for the wrong gaming system.

“Keep looking!” I urged the children while I rooted through stacks of games.

“Here it is!” The Professor thrust the game triumphantly above his head.

I braced myself for more disappointment, but it was just what we needed.

As we were checking out, the Little Professor reminded me, “you should have gone last weekend.”

Maybe, but I got it on sale, I was on time to the party, and no one was the wiser.

… until they read this, of course.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)