We all managed to sleep in a bit. I got my morning pieces written, pictured, and posted. We ate huge cinnamon rolls (except for Aunt Babe who had cereal). We then needed a plan.

We figured out what that mall over by where Cheri used to live was by searching on Google. I needed a better search phrase than that, but rather searched against Neiman Marcus, a store known to live in the mall. We then had a mall name, we could put in an address and get to the mall with the Garmin helping out.

We entered from a different direction and Pam couldn’t find her normal place to park. But since it was the weekend, we had the opportunity to park in an underground lot usually saved for people who rented space during the week.

We walked in via Anthropologie and figured we would never find our way back out. So I took a picture, just in case. We were going to leave a trail of gnomes to follow back out, but were too frightened we would lose our precious buddies.

The mall is built on several different levels. There is the Palm Court level, Level 1, and Level 2. Except that in a few places, rather than a full level up or down, you walk a half level up or down. We did manage to circle the mall from Barney’s of New York (where we had to keep Pam from buying a $1,900 purse) to Dillard’s. we did not stop in Macy’s or Nordstrom and stayed out of Neiman Marcus as well. They didn’t really like us at Barney’s as we kept gasping for air with each price tag.

A gnome at Barney's. This may be part of the reason they didn't really like us too much. Gnome discrimination.

While walking toward Barney’s we saw a Cheri store. We had no idea what was inside because we were not at the right angle to see anything more than the name of the store. But Charming Charlie seemed just perfect for our charming sister. When we got close to it, Cheri noticed an entire Crocs store directly across from it and squealed.

We went to the charming store first and it was an accessories store. Everything you might ever need to accessorize any outfit you might ever have. Each area was a specific color, rather than grouped by item. So if you needed something in red, go to the red section. Want yellow? Go to the yellow section. Very smart marketing. It made us wander the entire store.

I stayed strong for quite a while, but I finally caved and purchased some jewels. I got three necklaces for me (two with matching earrings) and a beautiful pink ribbon necklace for Morgan. I spent $25. Pam found a summer watch that wouldn’t be irritating. It was $15. Aunt Babe also found a necklace. Only the charming sister managed to not buy anything at the charming store. We put everything in one small bag, so it contained the family jewels.

Gnomes guarding the family jewels

Cheri happily shopping

We then went to the Crocs store and Cheri couldn’t find the very special Crocs she needed. As Pam and I were crawling  around the floor to get a picture of the gnome in the Crocs store, an employee came over to see if we were insane or in trouble. Once he knew we were just nuts, he shook his head and slowly backed away.

Gnome at the Croc store and attracting attention. I swear he has proper papers and should not be deported.

We were hungry. We went to the food court. There had to be 12 to 15 places to pick from. Three of us (the sisters) chose Paradise which is a sister store to Panera and had wonderful sandwiches which came with chocolate chip cookie. Aunt Babe got a spinach Stromboli from Sbarro.

Gnomes having their last meal together. At least for right now. Gnomes alone can be unhappy, so they need to plan another get together.

Next, we needed a pit stop and entered the coldest restroom this side of an open latrine at the South Pole in the dead of winter. Also good marketing. If you didn’t need to pee when you stepped in, you did after you stood there for a moment.

We continued down the mall and got to the anchor store opposite from Barney’s. We were much better at Dillard’s. We strolled around and looked at shoes with Aunt Babe while Pam went off to the lingerie department. Apparently, the big look for the coming year is “hooker”. We found lots of shoes with five inch spike heels, but they were sitting on a one inch platform, so that’s much easier. Why don’t they just sell stilts?

After we were done being amazed in the shoes, we joined Pam in lingerie and she was so happy. She had finally found 70% off jammies, just like she was looking for. They were so great, she bought five pair. She found some Yves St. Laurent jammies as we were leaving that were on sale, too. The ones she bought were buy one, get four free when comparing price against the YSL pair.

We did manage to find our entry point and got back outside to the hot (but dry) air. We found the car. Even though we had been inside for 2-3 hours, our ice water was still cool. The ice had melted, but it was still refrigerator cold. The power of shade. We needed the Garmin to find our way back to the main highway and home. We spent the rest of the afternoon just laughing.

I never in my life thought I would live to see THIS. Aunt Babe wearing shoeboxes. Wait, those are Cheri's Crocs

After we foraged for food, we decided to mosey on over to the pool for one last refreshing dip. We were packing up the towels when Jen knocked on the door. Aunt Babe was opting to revel in silence at home while the sisters went to the pool Jen had to go home to get her suit, but she then joined us at the pool. We were only there for about a half hour when it began to lightning. Even without a lifeguard present to save us from the elements, Mother Nature, and the fury of the storm – we were smart enough to get out of the pool.

The lightning was rare and distant. It then got less rare and less distant. We decided to get back home and began our walk. We could see where it was raining over there, but it was still dry right here. We got Pam’s chairs she had taken to a neighbor’s roof patio for the fireworks display on July 4. She now has her chairs back and we were home in plenty of time before the rain hit.

Cheri and I needed to print out boarding passes which sounds like it should be easy. I tried first and there was no printing going on. The printer was on and still nothing happening. I had to ask Pam. Well, you have to have the printer and computer hooked together or it does no good at all. After we fixed that little problem, I got my boarding passes and a pass for my luggage. It is $2 cheaper if you do that the night before. Cheri couldn’t find her Delta code and was near panic when Pam figured out a way to get her in and get her boarding passes.

My luggage is packed with room to spare. What I wasn’t really sure about was the weight. It weighs slightly over 30 pounds, so I have weight to spare, too. I still can’t put any of the candy in there, so my carry-on backpack is a bit heavy.

Pam and I played the last set of trivial cards with Cheri chiming in with “bowling ball” every so often. Aunt Babe was reading. We went to bed fairly early. I was up at 4.15 AM Arizona time. This may be a really good thing, because now I’m on South Carolina time without really trying.

I can’t believe my sister vacation is over. I don’t want it to be over. We had so much fun. Since I wrote this daily, we can even remember all the fun we had. Aunt Babe gets to stay until the end of the month and then she is driving up to Illinois. She and Pam will still have lots of fun. That’s a good thing. I just wish I got to share in more of it.

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