Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Christmas shopping

I do my Christmas shopping early. It's peak season for my company. The first year that I worked there, I was working 5 10 hour days a week, and 2 8 hour days on weekends. That year I did not get a tree up. Christmas shopping was a marathon 'get it done' completely lacking in joy. I vowed to never have another year like that.

So, I do my Christmas shopping early.

This year, the perfect gifts just seem to be jumping out at me.

The other day, I was talking to a friend on the phone. She was telling me about a snowman she saw at the local animal shelter thrift shop. She said that it was about 16 inches tall, glass. She fell in love with it as soon as she saw it, but it was $24.99.

"Mary!" I exclaimed.

But I couldn't blame her. It's been a rough year for her. Her husband was the one so badly injured when a truck lost control on an icy curve, swung into his lane and hit him head on as he was coming around that same curve in the other direction. There have been a lot of bills, the driver of the other vehicle was very under insured and that insurance didn't even cover the first week in ICU.

Danny operates heavy equipment, and his job won't take him back. His leg damage makes him a potential liability and they don't want the risk.

Lots of financial insecurity that is slowly sorting itself out, but still, I can understand why she wasn't going to pay $24.99 for a snowman.

The next day, I headed over right after work to see if I could find that snowman. Much to my horror, I walked in there to discover that the store was almost nothing BUT Christmas. Table after table after table. I died a little.

There were a LOT of snowmen mixed in there.

Resolutely, I began walking along each table, one at a time, scanning the displays when I came to this. I knew as soon as I saw him that this was what she'd seen. I picked him up and sure enough, he was $24.99.

I carefully picked him up and headed to the register. Mary and I have been friends for 50 years. I know a lot about her, but I didn't realize that I knew her tastes in snowmen too until that very moment. 

Remember the old mercury glass ornaments? This is glass and designed to look like that, but he's pretty heavy. He's also a collectible. 

I honestly haven't been so excited about a Christmas gift in a long time. I can't wait for her to unwrap it.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


The concert was great. It wasn't really what you'd call a mega concert, being held in a gorgeous historic theater in the town of Erie, which is roughly an hour and a half from here.

We got there a half hour early and were ushered to our seats. It was a lot of fun to watch everyone coming in. Most of us were (ahem) pretty mature. Lots of bald or gray heads, wheelchairs. There was one bald head with a very large tattoo right in the middle of his forehead. I have no idea what is was. He didn't look like a dangerous sort...more like a harmless goofball sort. A bunch of people were standing there talking in the aisle not far from us, and one very overweight fellow lifted his arms high as he talked animatedly, his saggy jeans exposing a bright red thong to the crowd behind him. We watched a couple with their four kids come in and head right up front. The seats up there were $125 each, and there was no discount for children. That was $750 for that family, which I found fascinating. (They all left as soon as they heard Dust in the Wind) Mostly though, the folks filing in were plain ol' oldies, the sort of people you'd find at your high school reunion.

Tim and I were sitting comfortably in our comfortable seats, people watching, one of our favorite activities. The concert was well attended, but there were plenty of empty seats,

At the last moment, the people sitting on the other side of Tim were ushered in. I thought it was another mother/daughter duo (plenty of parents introducing their kids to the classics last night), but lo, I was wrong. The younger girl was in a very short skirt, very high heels, and a faux leopard print coat. Her seat mate was very stylishly dressed. She could barely talk, but the younger girl was pretty manic. She struck up a cheerful conversation with Tim right away at the top of her lungs.

Tim, who is very shy, looked as if bolting might be an option.

The music started, and it was great. Tim got a very pained expression on his face as the screamer screamed. Over and over and over. She was very excited about the music, she was very excited about her 'beautiful high'. Tim said that her seatmate said that she had washed her pills down with alcohol.

We figured out that this was not a mother/daughter duo when the girl began gyrating in front of the older woman who  grabbed her and stroked her.  We briefly discussed moving to some of the empty seats, but we were in the middle and couldn't figure out how to do that in the middle of the concert without disrupting everyone in the row.

"Oh, boy," Tim said a couple of times in my ear. "Oh boy."

She attracted quite a bit of attention and every time that the lights swooped over the crowd, she was up and screaming and gyrating around to the pleasure of a row of fellows behind her.

In the end, their 'highs' must have worn off simultaneously. The older woman sat slumped in her seat looking sick (which was a bit worrisome). The younger woman slouched over her phone on facebook.

The music was great. It really was, and we enjoyed it very much. We're not sorry we went.

At the end, the band thanked us and left the stage. Like a flash, leopard coat girl flung her coat on and began to complain about how hungry she was and how she wanted a hamburger. With cheese. And a tomato. She was starving. The older woman still looked as if eating something, ANYTHING, might not be a good idea. They left.

Tim stood and reached behind him for his coat. "It's not over yet," I said. Tim looked surprised. "They have not played "Wayward Son" and they won't get away with that."

The applause went on until the band did return. They said they had one more song, and that the crowd probably knew what it was.

We did.

It was worth waiting for.

At the end, they thanked us for 46 years of support and begged us not to die on them.

We all laughed.

A highlight for me was those 'aha - I remember THAT! - moments when they played some of their songs that do not get a lot of airplay, like this, a song I'd forgotten completely, but remembered just as soon as the introduction began.

We both enjoyed ourselves.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Silver lining

It's snowing.


It was snowing when I headed out for work.


Leaf collection was not finished, so the roads are a mess.


Was offered the option to leave work early since a truck did not make it in.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Tim and I were watching Jeopardy. A commercial came on for the Warner Theater in Erie. Kansas is playing there Saturday night.

Tim's a pretty low key type fellow, but right away he sat straight up and said, "I want to see that." I've never seen him get excited about a concert before. It's always me. I got very excited to see Jethro Tull. I got excited to see Christopher Cross. He generally tags along because he is a good sport.

Anyhow, he was excited. I went into the office and brought up the ticket information. He said, "I don't know. Those are pretty pricey..." and he stood there undecided.

I said, "Do you want to see them?"

He said that he did.

I pointed out that we had the money.

He stood quietly staring over my shoulder at the computer screen.

I waited.

"Let's do it!" he said.

And so we are.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Contractor.

Our new roofer guy just got back from Virginia. He called Tim yesterday and asked him if he's got any work for him. He lives across the street from the Wayne St house, and is hoping that Tim picks him up to help with that project. Tim said, "Well...there's this roof..." and told him about the leak discovered in the rental down the street.

The guy showed up yesterday morning to look at the roof. It's a matter of  taking out a chimney, and sealing a vent. He's also replacing the back half of the roof, just to be on the safe side. Discovering the problem has not adequately been addressed in the dead of winter makes an even BIGGER problem. Tim left it as, "Get an estimate to me when you have a minute."

The guy came back at lunchtime with an estimate. Tim wrote him a check for half the job, and told him to start when he was ready.

He'll be here today.

He was such a lucky find for us.