Uh-oh, I missed an important date this year.
No, it wasn’t my anniversary or Mrs. Christopher Capelle’s birthday (normally I have to remind HER of those dates) or tax day (one of the four I celebrate yearly – one of the perks of being self employed). Instead, it’s another date unique to our household, sort of our version of Festivus.
For lack of a better name, it’s the Capelle family “Cash in the Gift Cards Day.”
Over the course of the year, particularly at Christmastime, these cards pile up and we simply stick them in a bowl (along with our spare keys and foreign money) on a shelf in the kitchen. These are various gift cards we get from friends, relatives, bank rewards programs and (hopefully) appreciative Patch readers. So I usually pick a day, always a Sunday around the Ides of March to handle the job of turning those pieces of plastic into some tangible (and hopefully useful) items for the family. Mid-March is a good time to perform it because it’s too late in the season to do any skiing or anything like that and too early and messy to do much outside in the yard. Any other time of the year I feel like I’m wasting a perfectly good day I could be doing something more productive and/or fun.
So armed with the stack of cards, I usually motor north up Route 7 because Danbury has one (or more) of every type of store we have cards for. (Stamford and Norwalk get docked a point because there’s no Lowe’s down there.) And due to my style of “getting in and getting out” of the stores, I have to leave everybody else at home otherwise a two-hour expedition turns into a full-day marathon, including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner on the road along with lots of coffee, bathroom breaks and at least one fill-up at the gas station.
But for whatever reason, I didn’t cash my cards in this year. I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t go or if there was a good excuse why I blew it off, but now there’s a larger-than-average pile of cards for Lowe’s, Lord & Taylor, Gap, Bed, Bath & Beyond, among others. Sure, I could go online and order stuff that way, but what the heck fun would that be? And now that were deep in the grips of August, I have better things to do on Sundays than going shopping. Plus the idea of purposely going to the mall in good weather is the equivalent of strapping headphones on me, and forcing me to listen to Phillip Glass.
This time I’m putting it on my calendar with an alarm.