Anna is one of the flower girls...actually, she is the ring bearer. One of the things that I have enjoyed about getting to know Kate (my brother's fiancé), is that I am also getting to know her country and culture. Well, sort of. There is a lot to learn!
In Africa, the tradition is to have many flower girls, whereas in America, we usually only have one. I like Africa's way better on this tradition---just like you never can have too many flowers, you also can't have too many flower girls! Most of my nieces are going to be flower girls, and the older girls will be junior bridesmaids.
Ok, now here's where it gets a little confusing. There is one "lead flower girl" the one who proceeds in front of the bride, sort of leading the other little flower girls. She is dressed a little differently than the other flower girls, and she also walks up with the ring bearer. For this reason, she is also called the ring bearer. So in my mind, she is still "the flower girl" though I'm trying to adapt Kate's thinking and refer to Anna as "the ring bearer".
Anyway, Anna's dress is to be the bride's favorite color, which is a pretty sky blue. I ordered a very pretty dress that was actually really cheap---and I didn't realize that this dress was shipping from Spain. Even though I contacted the seller and asked him to expedite the shipping (while I paid the extra costs), it is still taking forever. I'm told that the dress probably won't arrive until after April 11th, which is the wedding date.
So while I've been waiting, I've been getting more and more anxious. I decided it might be smart to get a back-up dress, just in case the other one doesn't show up in time. You wouldn't think this would be such a big deal, right? Oh but it is, because it seems that to find any sort of blue dress that doesn't have "Elsa" on the front of it is impossible!
I have found floral dresses, pink dresses, white dresses, yellow dresses. But to find a formal solid sky blue dress has been nearly impossible. Over the days, I have looked at Khols, Target, Walmart, even Von Maur. And because we are so far out in the boonies, any time I need to go shopping takes a good chunk of the day, because everything is so far away. And obviously, I can't go shopping every day, so any time that I do take the time to go hunting down the dress, I take it very seriously!
Finally, yesterday I found a pretty blue dress online that was formal enough to be in a wedding. This was at Sears, of all places. I am not in any way dissing Sears, but whenever I think of Sears, I think of appliances, not dainty dresses, probably because appliances is all we've ever bought there.
I didn't want to take a risk with shipping again, so I decided to just do a store pick-up. I have learned from all my shopping exertions that what they have online, they don't necessarily have in the store (even if they say that they do.) Not to mention that this dress was only available in the Sears in Burnsville, which is a good forty miles away from here. So I paid for the dress by Paypal, thinking Dennis would be happy he didn't have to pay for another dress with his own money.
Then I got my confirmation email. This is where the craziness starts.
The confirmation email said I could pick up the dress with three easy options. Instead of good ol' fashioned customer service, I would arrive at the kiosk, and:
- Simply swipe the debit/credit card that I used and it would pull up my order, OR,
- I could print out my receipt and scan the barcode, and again, it would pull up my information, OR,
- I could simply show my drivers license to the person delivering my order.
- I had paid by Pay Pal so I had nothing to swipe.
- My printer is still broken (no ink) so I couldn't print out my receipt
- My drivers license does not have my current address (I know, I know) so it would not match my billing address.
I called Customer Service to explain my problem, hoping that they would say that it wouldn't be a big deal to show my drivers license without my current address, but apparently it is a big deal. They told me they would transfer me to the store to explain my problem, and while I was waiting on hold, they disconnected me. I had a feeling that this was only the beginning.
Thankfully I have one of those phones that everyone else has where you have the Internet on it, but I still don't know how to use it. I've had it for two months now and still haven't checked my email on it because it's too much of a hassle. But Dennis figured it out for me and got the email on my phone that had my confirmation email on it. One hurdle down, two more to go!
From there, we had to MapQuest how to get to the mall. I've gotta tell you, Burnsville is a pretty ordinary city, but it's big. And it's confusing. Everything is a cement median and full of one ways. I don't go out there often because its' so far away, but for the times I've gone, I get lost every time. Every time! So, I felt like I was gearing up for battle, making sure all my "i's" and "t's" were crossed before I ventured out in rush hour traffic to go to city that gets me every time. So with directions in hand, and my phone on and ready, I headed out.
The ride out there was actually really fast and easy. I didn't hit any traffic or anything! And so far, the MapQuest directions were clear and easy to follow. I thought my luck was changing. Until, my directions led me to a dead end, facing a park. Confused, I checked the directions again. I was on the road that it said I should be on, and according to the directions, the mall should have been right in front of me. And yet, all I could see was long grass and walking trails.
I called Dennis, who was on stand-by with his phone nearby. (He's been through this many times before with me.) I explained the problem and he went to check MapQuest. He said, "Oh, it changed your destination from Burnsville Center to Burnsville Circle!" (He had a good laugh over that one.) I looked at the sign in front of me: "Burnseville Circle". And yep, the dead end was a circle alright. Can't fault MapQuest for that one.
So now I was stuck in Burnsville with no directions. No, I do not have a GPS or anything like that. That would just take all the common sense and fun out of it.
One thing about Dennis. He's a good man and normally patient, but he is not a patient navigator. He does not like trying to direct me to a destination by using MapQuest. While I normally stay pretty calm, he's on the other end of line saying, "Stop driving! Stay in one place! I can't keep up!"
But I could not stay in one place because I had been trying to get back to the main road I was just on, hoping it would lead me to the mall. But when he asked me to find a place to pull over, I was led onto frontage roads and one-ways, because Burnsville city doesn't believe in actual streets.
I finally was able to pull into a gas station (believe me, it took me forever to figure out who to actually get there, since you had to drive around it--there was no way to actually just drive to it). I released Dennis from phone duty and told him that I would just ask for directions there. This in itself, was an adventure.
Me: Hi. Can you tell me how to get to Burnsville Mall?
Clerk: Yeah, it's easy. Just go up that street and you'll see the Mall right away. You can't miss it.
Other Customer: Hold on, she won't be able to see it because there is no mall there. There's Burnsville Center, though.
Me: Oh, yeah, that's what I meant. Burnsville Center.
Clerk: Hold on, that's Burnsville Mall.
Customer: No, that's Bursville Center.
Clerk: Then what happened to Burnsville Mall???
Customer: There is no Burnsville Mall.
Customer: (to me) Just go up the road here about 4 miles, take a left on 42, and you'll see it right away.
Clerk: Are you talking about all that shopping center just up the road??
Customer: Yes, Burnsville Center.
Clerk: Man, that's the Burnsville Mall.
Me: (Ducking out) Thank you!
Customer: That's not a mall. It's a center.
Customer: Well, I always call it Burnsville Mall...
And on and on it went.
So I took the customer's directions (he seemed like the more saner of the two) and sure enough, there was Burnsville Center--just to clear up the confusion on Mall vs Center.
I called Dennis to let him know I arrived (yay!) and hurried in through the appliance section. (See what I mean? Appliances!) And guess what I found?
Blue dresses everywhere.
They had the pretty blue dress that I found online, plus another pretty ribbon blue dress, and a rosette blue dress. They also had other beautiful dresses everywhere--all reasonably priced--and how I wish I had found this oasis of dresses earlier, before I paid by Pay Pal.
But, it would be silly to not pick-up the dress I had already paid for after everything I went through. So I found a willing salesman to help me find the kiosk, and he led me through a maze of twists and turns through a set of doors, near the warehouse section. They really like to keep those kiosks a secret!
In the meantime, I pulled up the email on my phone--just to hear it give two beeps. It read :"Battery 10%" Of course! I mean, this adventure can't just end with me simply getting the blue dress, right??? No, it would be much more fun to spur the sales man on by us both running down the aisle to get to kiosk before my phone died with the confirmation number in it. (Hmmm...it just occurred to me that we could have used that time to write the numbers down. Well, that would have just taken all the excitement out of it.)
So we get to kiosk to find an elderly old man typing in his confirmation number one punch at a time when my phone beeped again. It took everything I had to not push him out of the way or suggest to the salesman to please push the old man out of the way for me. I wasn't sure what I would do if my phone died, taking my only confirmation of my order with it. Thankfully, the salesman stepped up to help the old man and he quickly punched the numbers in for him. Once he got him taken care of, we punched in my numbers, and just in time. I'm sure he saw the relief all over my face after all it had taken to get this dress because he asked me, "What is the order? A TV? A Dryer? Do you need help getting it in the car?"
"No," I said, a little embarrassed, "it's a dress."
I'm sure he wondered why I went through the trouble of a store pick-up when I could have just bought the dress at the store, but thankfully he was too polite to say so.
My order was hand-delivered within the promised five minute wait time and from there on, things ended pretty uneventfully. I found my car without problem, found my way out of the parking lot just fine, and almost ran into the highway that would take me home without even trying. Apparently, the trial was over.
And all for a blue dress.
But, the smiles merited was worth all the craziness.