Friday, December 31, 2021

Good Start


Filled with the excitement of a woman freed from the bondage of work, I found myself chained to the house. I started in the kitchen, happily scrubbing away, mopping and polishing the hardwood floor, scrubbing cupboards and suchlike. It felt good to watch it all come together again. 

Something to make the rest of you feel much better about yourself: As I worked in the kitchen, I popped open the microwave and discovered a baked broccoli-cheese dish. I know you have questions. I have the answer: Christmas Day. Thank God no one else was there. It would have been mortifying. You all just keep this little tidbit to yourselves, okay? 

I moved straight into the livingroom. The tree, tree, tree came down, down, down...We had bought a steamer trunk last summer: 

I thought I had saved a picture of it post cleaning, but alas, I have not. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was trucked home from a dusty storage area. After cleaning,  it was tucked away in a corner of the second floor landing under a grandmother clock. My plan was that after Christmas, I would pack the decorations away in the trunk, instead of hauling it all back up to the attic. Much to my delight I was able to store not just the ornaments, but the gift wrap, tissue paper, gift bags, boxes, and tags in it as well. That will make decorating much easier next year. The only thing that we'll have to go to the third floor is the tree and the nativity. 

I have one more big job to do this weekend: sorting through clothes and taking things to the goodwill. It will have to wait. 

Quite unexpectedly, our quiet pork and sauerkraut dinner for two has gone to a pork and sauerkraut dinner for 7. Tim went out and bought four more pounds of pork and another two packages of sauerkraut. One set of guests are providing the vegetable. Another, cheesecake for dessert. I'm sure it will be a nice catch-up. 

The best part of it is that tomorrow is only Saturday, and I have a whole 'nother day to pull it all back together before I go back to work on Monday. 

That, my friends, is a good start to the new year. 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Happy New Year

 Today, they came around and told us we could leave at 11:30. It's hard to know what's going on, but I did not look a gift horse in the mouth. I have a 3.5 day weekend, I'll spend part of it undecorating the house and getting everything back to rights, but it will also be nice to have some true R and R. 

Happy 2022. Don't let it scare you that it sounds like '2020, too', when you say it. 

At our house, the traditional New Year's day meal is pork and sauerkraut. I do not know why. Tim doesn't LIKE pork and sauerkraut despite his German name.

Levi tells us that it is their traditional New Year day meal as well. The Amish also explain it. Pigs nose forward, and you should always move forward in the New Year. He cautions that you should never eat chicken on New Year Day. Chickens scratch backwards and that is a bad way to start a new year. 

What are the holiday traditions in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Riddle Me This

 This morning, early, I was awakened by the phone, and because I'm not one of those people who wake up wide awake and ready to think, I laid in bed logic-ing it out in my head...'there's the's 4 AM...I wonder who would be calling at 4 AM...' At some point, it occurred to me in my fog that it might be important and that I should get to the phone and find out who it was.

Of course, by the time I got that far along in my thought process, the phone had quit ringing and gone to the machine, and the caller hung up. 

I looked at the area code on the caller ID and thought it was my son's and daughter-in-law's area code, although the number wasn't familiar. Was my son traveling this week? Had something happened? 

I re-dialed the number, and got a incoherent grunt into the phone. The person on the other end of the line was also not a person who wakes up wide awake and ready to think. 

I did not fall back asleep before the alarm went off and it was time get ready for work. 

So I was extra tired this morning and that 10 hour day loomed larger than usual. 

Except...there's a problem with the trucks, and we got in very little work today. They announced that we were only working 8 hours today, 8 hours tomorrow. I was a happy little camper, believe you me. 

I sat down on the couch at about 6:30 and that is the last thing I remember. I fell so soundly asleep, such a deep and sound sleep and it was all I could do to get me off the couch. 

So why is it, once in my cozy flannel night gown, teeth brushed, I climb into my comfortable bed, with my two pillows just perfectly arranged...why, WHY is it that I am suddenly wide awake. I grumbled about it to Tim and he laughed. "Maybe we should just move the sofas into the bedroom."

And it was an eyeblink, and he was snoring. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021


This whole Christmas story started at the beginning of July to be exact. We had been nosing around an antique store and Tim saw this: 

It is cast iron, heavy as...well...a chunk of cast iron, and he stared at that for a long time. 
I said, "Well, if you want it, why don't you just get it?" 

I could see him waffling about it, but in the end, he decided against it. 

But he came home and googled it and discovered that it was from the 1920s and they sold for as high as $1600 on line, which was a shock. 

(I don't understand it either, but I've got a nickel plated grill for a Model T commercial truck in one of the guest rooms and I don't know why, other than 'isn't it pretty?')

~answer: 'not to me, really, but to each his own'~

Anyways, he cogitated on that sign for a couple days, saying, "I should have just gone ahead and bought it...." but would always wind up with why it wasn't sensible. 

(Side note: there was no discussion about this while he was looking at a nickel plated grill for a Model T, but men's minds are a strange and twisty thing, sometimes) 

Anyhow, I pulled my sister aside and told her I was going to buy it for Tim's Christmas. 
It was very carefully planned out. I borrowed the money from her and paid it back over the course of a month, sneaking it out in dribs and drabs. If Tim had noticed a $250 withdrawal from our account, he'd have put 2 and 2 together and guessed what I was up to. I messaged the dealer, and told him that I was coming for it and not to sell it. I told Tim I had to work overtime when I didn't, and my sister and I drove to Corry to pick it up. We dropped it off at her house where it was hidden away, and despite a major road detour, I managed to get myself home at the right time. Tim suspected nothing. 

Which is why he announced the very next day that he'd decided to head back to Corry and get that stop sign. I was horrified. I messaged the man once again and said, "Listen here, when he shows up, you lie to him just like I've lied to him multiple times this week!"   When Tim walked up to him and told him what he was there for, I stood in the background giving the man major stink eye. But the shop keeper was obviously a puller of legs too. He said, "Oh, that's gone. Not too long after you looked at it, a guy came along and bought it." Tim was very disappointed, so he bought a weather vane to make himself feel better. Then the helpful shopkeeper said, "I got some more traffic signs if you want to look at them..." and Tim did and found another one he liked though not nearly as much, and...then, 'say, what's that over in the corner, there...which led to another story, and another addition to the pile up front. 

At that point, I gave up and bought myself a clock to make myself feel better.


I sent Tim out to bring in something from the trunk of my car Christmas morning. My trunk popped open and he stood there for quite a while. 
 From the look on his face, I had managed to pull off an actual surprise, 
It does not often happen, but oh, how I love it when it does!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Merry Christmas

 A friend re-posted one of those facebook memories, something she'd forgotten. The gist of it is that her family was home for Christmas, and she was happy and just filled with Christmas joy. When her phone rang, she picked it up and greeted the caller with a 'Merry Christmas!' and was met with silence. Finally a voice said, "I think that I have the wrong number." 

She laughed and wished him a Merry Christmas anyway, and went on about her business. 

Her phone rang again, and she repeated her greeting. It was the same man. She laughed and said, "You again???" and he confessed that he was having a tough year getting into the holiday spirit and that her greeting was so joyous that he had felt more cheerful just for hearing it. He just wanted to tell her that. 

She took a moment to talk with him, and discovered that he'd lost both his parents in the same year, and when his sister became quite ill, he'd taken on a lot of responsibility in caring for her. He was overwhelmed and not feeling very Christmas-y. 

Pam listened and offered up small encouraging words. When they hung up, she told him that he was welcome to call her on those difficult days when he just needed to hear a cheerful voice. 

Her point was that the small things matter. 

Today was also the last day of school before Christmas break. At school,  kids collect tokens for good citizenship and for helping others. William is always flush with these tokens since he is a good kid who loves to be helpful and is really unfailingly kind. The tokens can be used to 'buy' treats. He saw two kids that did not have treats, and so he redeemed some of his vast token wealth to get treats for them too. 

The small things matter. 

It's been a grueling few weeks at work. Tomorrow is an eight hour day, and then I'm off for three whole days. I'm so glad for that. I've been struggling to be merry myself, and these little stories really lifted my own spirits.

May your holidays be filled with all sorts of small joys, the kind of small things that really truly matter. 

Happy everything, everybody!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Oh. hey...

The shortest day of the year! My seester's birthday! Christmas around the corner!  

So much excitement. 

There's another one...Tim's last day of work will fall between March 11th and the 18th. 

He's as happy as he can be. Come January 1st, he'll have enough vacation to turn those weeks into four day weeks. 

He's as ready to be done as I am. 

By the time you read this, I'll be down to 24 days. 


Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas Spirit

 William came into the house clutching a candy cane. His mother and Don had taken him out to see the Christmas lights. Two houses in particular have gone 'all out'. One has a broadcast on a very local radio frequency. You can tune in as you approach the house and listen to Christmas music as the lights blink on and off in time to it. There are a lot of lights. 

Another family begins decorating as soon as they take their massive Halloween display down. Lights and various tableaux. This year there were even people dressed up as characters from favorite Christmas movies. The Grinch. Ralphie in his pink bunny pajamas holding his bb gun. Santa Claus. The cars made their way through as the characters waved, and at the end, they handed out candy canes. 

Sort of the opposite of a parade, I guess. The spectators moved through, and the activity played out along the side lines. 

What a great gift to the community's children in these dark days of covid! 

Sunday, December 19, 2021


 Interesting how things read, isn't it? 

That candle factory in Kentucky

Now it is facing a lawsuit

The New York Times wrote an article on that candle company too, their focus being that the tornadoes had destroyed the community's major employer. 

What is the truth of the matter? I think the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. 

From my own experience with mandatory overtime, I can tell you for a fact that there is something called implied threat. You are told it is mandatory. You are told that you have to be there. You will written up if you are not. You know that those write-ups can lead to termination. That threat is held over you. If the company is one of the major employers in the area, that's a big threat, losing a job in an area where jobs are hard to come by. 

How do you explain the two divergent views from employees? Some employees talk about how the people you work with become family to you, and what a wonderful place to work it was. Others speak of it as a sweatshop, concerned only about getting the candles out the door. 

I can explain that. 

Remember when I stood in a meeting and said that suddenly deciding on mandatory overtime was unfair during a holiday weekend? 

How I got called into an office? How the main thrust of their outrage was at me for 'ridiculing a supervisor'? Their claim that other employees were outraged at me for my comments? 

That is the way it is. When you work in a company like mine, you get additional training, you get opportunities based on the choices of your supervisors. Period. It is not skill or talent. It is whether you are liked by your supervisors. Under these dynamics, there will always be those folks who will ingratiate themselves to their company no matter what. No. Matter. What.

This is a company with a long history of labor complaints

Even though the company says that any employee was free to go, "the company’s chief executive officer, Troy Propes, told Fox News on Sunday that workers were told to shelter inside the factory’s bathrooms, which had window-less concrete walls and a steel roof. Management did not want to evacuate the building and send workers out into the approaching storm, Propes said."

Note that the company had a two hour warning that dangerous storms were due to come through. Two hours! Even as it denies that the company refused to let people leave, its CEO is saying that the decision to keep the employees was based on their concern for those employees. Whatever spin you want to put on it, it is clear to me that the employees were being discouraged from leaving. 

I will also bet you bucks that there were midlevel supervisors who were telling people they'd be fired if they left. I guarantee it. Know why? Because those midlevel supervisors got their positions by pleasing the powers that be. If the CEO isn't going to close down the factory, the job of the midlevel supervisors is to make sure the company continues to run. End of story. 

Watch these things unfold with an open mind and eyes, because you will see the reality of millions of Americans in low-paying dead end jobs. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021


 After the third week in a row of 10 hour days, I began to hear that we would, once again, be working Saturday. 

I was tired. Just plainly tired. Tired of trying to fit everything into one lone Sunday. While I'm grateful that I am an early shopper, still, there were the little things that I was not able to do. I haven't sent our Christmas cards. I have not baked one Christmas cookie. William and I have a tradition. He and I go out to do the Christmas shopping for his mother and Don together. We come home and we wrap those things, and it makes him very excited to sneak them under the tree when he thinks that no one is looking. 

But this year, I just haven't had the time. 

I kept thinking, 'only one more weekend...if it doesn't get done this weekend, it's not going to happen', and that made me determined to (at the very least) get our shopping tradition done. It's a big part of William's joy. 

But then, I heard them regretfully discussing the fact that we would be required to work Saturday again, on top of those 10 hour days, our third 58 hour week. I mulled it over and then I went to talk to my supervisor. "I'm sorry," I told her. "I have plans and I cannot work Saturday. Truth be told, I don't think I'll be working the two hours overtime Friday night." 

She didn't say anything, but she did not look happy with me. To be honest, I was beyond caring. I'm tired to death. A little boy (he would hate to hear me call him that...he is almost a teenager in his mind) would be missing out. I went back to my desk and returned to work. 

Later that day, she let me know that my time off request was approved. In my mind, their approval was merely a formality, but I thanked her anyway. 

So I left work Friday on time and I came home. William got dropped off and he was excited to do his Christmas shopping. Quite surprisingly, Grandpa even joined us. William carefully selected his presents. We also got the makings for our Christmas cookies. 

Saturday morning, I slept until I woke up (8AM) and then made french toast and sausages for breakfast, and we quickly got that cleaned up so that we could begin our baking day. We made four batches of cookies: iced sugar cookie cutouts, molasses cookies, date filled cookies and chocolate chips. 

Once that was done, William and I sat down and wrapped his gifts together, and he curled the ribbons, tied on the candy canes and carefully filled out the labels. He lay across the carpet when we were done, dreamily watching the bubble lights. As he played with some gold garland, it reminded him of Jacob Marley who wore the chains he forged in life and he explained to me what that meant. 

I listened, acting as if I never properly considered it before. 

I'm glad I put my foot down. I didn't lie. I had plans. Important ones. More important than work.

Because one day, I too will wear the chains I forged in life. 

Christmas Shopping

 Tim is a good person, but he's never really mastered the art of gift giving. It's not for lack of a teacher. Lord knows, I've tried. But despite all that, there's still those bright and shining moments when (Tada!) I open a gift bag (he also hates to wrap) and pull out my bright and shining new can opener. 

He's getting better. He knows how I love my earrings, and so he will buy a half dozen pairs of them and call it good. The same with candles. 

This year it began once again: 'What should I get you for Christmas?' 

This year, buoyed by the fact that he actually participated in decorating the tree, I tried again. "Tim, look at me." 

He looked.

"What are things that I like?" 

And he looked.

"We've been married for 24 years. Surely, you can think of things that I like."

He looked. Cleared his throat. "Sweaters?"

"Yes! I do like sweaters. Big bulky ones, no turtle necks or cowl necks..." 

"What are those?" he asked in a confused sort of way.

I sighed (inwardly). "Don't get me anything around my neck. I hate things around my neck. What else?"



"Scented lotions and soap?"


And he looked. 

"What about long flannel night gowns?" I asked him. 

He nodded.

"Warm socks." 

He nodded again. 

I said, "Now think of the things that I use," and I began to list of necessaries, providing him brand names. 

I said, "That's how you Christmas shop, Tim. You don't wander around stores looking for things that I might like. You pay attention to me and NOTICE. You have some ideas before you even walk in the store."

Tim took Friday off. He has vacation to burn off before the end of the year. He announced he was going Christmas shopping. Friday night, when I got home, he was a very happy man. He got his Christmas shopping all done. He was smiling little secret smiles all night long. At one point, he said, "Can I give you your main present now?" 

I looked at him shocked. "NO!" I said. 

He said, "It's so cool..." and smiled again. 

I said, "I know what you're up to, mister!!! You're trying to get out of wrapping." 

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 I was working and listening to a podcast when suddenly I heard a loud wail, followed by sobbing. Startled, I turned around. The guy behind me was surrounded by people and he was crying hard.

I kind of knew, in my heart, but I waited quietly, holding my earbud in my hand. 

My co-worker was taken off life support. 

At lunch time, another friend, looking at her phone, said, "Debby? She's gone." 

We sat quietly, teary eyed. 

Suddenly, with great emotion, the woman blurted out, "I don't understand the anti-vax people. I never will. The statistics don't lie. She died because she didn't get the shot. People just need to shut up and get the damn shot." She collected her garbage in a rush and headed for the trash can. 

Not one person argued. 

At random times this day, I found myself crying over something that suddenly popped into my head. I would stop to wipe my eyes. I didn't feel self conscious about it because I was not the only one. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021


 Yesterday, I heard that a coworker had been transferred to a big city hospital. She is on a respirator and in a medically induced coma. 

On the heels of that, I had to listen to the Covid Air Quote man. He was just back from a two week break due to his positive covid test. I put in my ear bud and listened a DateLine murder mystery. It was preferable to hearing his complaints about any person could have covid and not know it, so it was stupid that he had to stay home. 

I don't understand the logic. The self centered thinking. The only thing that mattered was that he lost two weeks of pay. It never once crossed his mind to think, "God, I hope I didn't give Covid to M."

This morning, I heard that her kidneys have failed and that it looks pretty bad for her. It made me teary to think of it. We sat, socially distanced, but beside each other at lunch. We talk.  She's a very kind person. 

Did she catch covid at work? Who knows? 

But what I do know is that I'm very tired of hearing that it's a violation of privacy that we be told officially about the covid cases instead of rumors. When I was in the Army, I did some work with epidemiology and did contact tracing for STDs. When someone was called to be told they had been exposed to gonorrhea, they figured out in pretty short order who had clap. 

Public health and safety take priority over privacy. It has always been that way. 

Lazy Day

Me, on Sunday. After two long work weeks in a row, 

And so, Sunday morning, I got up when I was done sleeping. 
I drank my coffee in a leisurely way while reading blogs (gosh, I missed you all!) 

I also decorated the Christmas tree because I need a good jolt of holiday cheer. 
Tim even helped. He was excited because over the summer I scored two strings of bubble lights when two friends moved into a smaller house and began jettisoning things.

I wrote about Tim's 'thing' for bubble lights last holiday season. He's no less pleased with them this year.  As soon as I came down stairs with the lights, he was off the couch and helping. He even got rather fussy about making sure that the different colors were not positioned right next to each other.

 I enjoyed having him take part. 

Other than wrapping a few gifts, running the vacuum, and doing a few dishes, I did not do doodly squat and boy did it feel good. Back to work Monday morning, another 10 hour day, but at least I felt like I've had a break. 

Late Edit: When I got home from work, Tim had the tree plugged in. 

It tickles me how much he loves those bubble lights. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

The Great Coffee Crisis

There's got to be a morning after...

AC? When you discover that you have run out of coffee at 5 am while you're standing in your jammies in the middle of your kitchen, and you still have a husband to get out the door to work before you have to be at your job at 6:30...well...not a lot of time to be waiting at the local Tim Horton's. 

All was not lost. I could have had a vending machine coffee, but...ack....

So on that bleak morning, I dumped all the remaining coffee into the little brew cup, and I made the weakest cup of coffee ever. Still it was enough caffeine to get me where I needed to be. (Just barely...)

Andrew? Of course there was coffee for the next morning! What do you take me for? I would have walked 2 miles, in a blowing blizzard, up hill both ways to get coffee. I didn't need to, mind you. I just left work that night, drove to the local store and bought some on the way home. (But if it had been warranted, I'd have totally trudged through that blizzard). 

Now, I did not go to my local Aldi's. I was tired, and I just wanted to get home, so I just stopped at the grocery store in the middle of town. I don't usually go there. Once when I went to buy some wine coolers on a hot day, I stood in line. They had warm wine coolers that you could buy for one price, while the ones from the cooler were higher priced. Since I was headed to camp, I didn't need them cold. The cashier rang me up at the higher price. I pointed out that I had got them from the rack. He pulled a bottle from the 4 pack and cupped it in his hand. "This is a cold one. I can tell," and he looked at me like a liar.

It's the principle of the thing, plus the fact that if you really want to fire me up, imply that I am dishonest. I'd gotten them all from the rack, so I refused to pay the higher price. I also complained to the manager on the way out.  He agreed that the employee had behaved badly, and that he would be talked to, and I left knowing full well that it wasn't going to happen. So I boycott the place as much as possible. 

However I needed coffee. And I was tired. 

Which was how my work weary, sleep deprived self came to be standing in the middle of an entire aisle of coffee. As far as the eye could see (disclaimer: I am near sighted) there was coffee. Probably 50 different brands, each with their own blends and flavors (ick!) and strengths. The prices were as varied as the brands. 

It's been a while since I've bought coffee anywhere but Aldi's and my choice is really no choice at all: Fair Trade German Roast. It's what I always get, and at this point, I don't even think about it. Even if I did though, the choices are confined to an endcap display, and once you weed out the k-cups and the flavored coffees, you are left with a pretty limited number of choices. (Fine by me.) 

I wandered along that vast collection of coffees and began to winnow down those choices, and finally got things down to a manageable selection. One brand stood out. It was a familiar name, one that I've always associated with 'luxury'. I had never actually tried it before (at least as far as I knew). It was not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be. I grabbed the gold bag and headed to the checkout. 

The next morning, I opened my bag of Swedish coffee and emptied it into the canister. It smelled nice, but I shuddered a little to read about the light citrus flavor with just a hint of caramel. What on earth had I done?  My cup brewed. My milk frothed. I suspiciously took my first sip and...

...I didn't notice any real difference in my morning cup. 

Thank goodness.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Christmas Miracle

 When my children were little, it was a 'thing': Every year we brought them an ornament, and every year they hung their ornaments on the tree. When they were old enough to strike out on their own, the ornaments were given to them for their own tree, so that they had a collection of ornaments that came with happy memories already attached. 

Grandma Violet made one of these toy soldiers for each of the children. 
They were tags on gifts.


My son sent me a video. "How long do you think the batteries last in these things?" 

The answer appears to be 'up to 31 years...' 

She was a wonderful grandmother. A wonderful great grandma. I am sure that she would have been just as wonderful as a great great grandmother. 

Friday, December 10, 2021


 I got up this morning and headed for the kitchen and coffee. The canister was nearly empty so I opened the cupboard to grab the next bag of coffee. But there wasn't one.

I survived this catastrophe. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

This Week

After a spate of 10 hour days and a mandatory Saturday, I had one day to get the house cleaned and the laundry done and the groceries bought...Except that there was a retirement party for my brother in law, and I was making macaroni and cheese for 100, and the party was so much fun, but that meant I did not get the house, laundry, groceries, etc. done before it was a new work week with another spate of 10 hour work days. They announced that we are working Saturday today. 

So. I'm tired. 

You know how I know I'm tired? I know I'm tired when I look around and see how many clocks have stopped because I've forgotten to wind them. 

That always makes me grumpy at myself. 

But today at lunchtime, the local high school put out a bulletin that any student that felt the need to leave school could, but they were suggesting that parents make sure the kids were not alone, and that grief counselors were at a local church. 


Startled, I began scrolling through social media and found out in pretty short order that a 14 and a 15 year old student have committed suicide in unrelated incidents in the past two days. 

Now I am just sad. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021


 You know how facebook comes up with their 'on-this-day-memories'? Here is mine from 5 years ago: 

One of William's favorite things is slime. We make our own. When I found a recipe for gingerbread slime, I decided that it would be a nice project. So yesterday, he was at our house for a few hours, so we whipped up a batch. He poured in the glue and water, added the ginger and cinnamon, stirred it all up and began to add the glitter. He was shaking it out, and it was coming out very slowly. It would have taken an awfully long time I was off to the side mixing up the borax solution, and so I said, helpfully, "If you want, you can unscrew the top and dump it in, if you want." With his keen ear for rhymes, he said, "'Screw' and 'you' rhyme!" 

Wincing a little, I said, "Yes, they do. Well done," and as he stirred the glitter in to his mixture, he began softly chanting, "Screw you. Screw you..." 

I said, "What rhymes with yellow.?" We came up with fellow, hello, bellow, jello... 

Crisis narrowly averted.


Last night after getting off work at 5, I was rushing. I had to get cash out of one bank account and deposit it at another. The banks close at 6, so I was cutting it close. I also had to pick up some pearls that I'd gotten restrung as a Christmas gift. It was one of those things that turned out to be pricier than I expected, but I knew that it would be a big deal for the recipient, so I went ahead with it. 

I am seriously out of my element in a jewelry store. I am not a jewelry person. I never have been really. I love my earrings, but other than that, I don't really wear jewelry, ordinarily speaking.

So there I was, in the middle of one of these high end jewelry stores, where people glide by on little cat feet, and the music is muted, the lighting tasteful. Standing there tired from work and hungry to boot, I was anxious to get home, but this was not something that was to be rushed. There was photo ID verification and then the pearls were brought out and they had to photograph them to be able to match it to before and after pictures if necessary.  Of course, she has having trouble with the tablet. 

I really try hard to be patient. I am not the most technologically proficient person in the world either, so I wasn't faulting the girl. It's just that I was sooooo hungry, and I was tired, and I was cold and achey, probably from my booster. All I reeeeeeeally wanted was to head for...heeeeeey! Startled, I leaned into look at the pearls a bit more closely. 

I said to the girl, "These pearls aren't graduated," and I pointed out the mistakes. There were 3 places where small pearls had been tucked in between noticeably larger pearls. 

The girl said, "No. They are not. I am really surprised WE didn't catch that,' and she called an associate over who looked at the pearls and agreed that the mistakes were pretty obvious. I groaned inside,  because I still had one more stop to make and I had to be there before six. 

They said that they would contact the repair company and send them back out to be corrected. They assured me that they would be back before Christmas. They asked me to wait as they called the repair company. 

I did wait, hands in my coat pockets, listening while she spoke to 'Ray'. She explained the problem and Ray evidently disagreed. She examined the pearls and listened intently, holding them to the light, and making squinty eyes. Much to my surprise, I heard her saying, "Yes. I agree with you" and "No. You're right" and words that made it quite clear to me that nothing was going to be resolved. 

By the time that she hung up the phone, I could tell that this was not going to be resolved to my satisfaction, so I said, "They're not going to make this right, are they?" 

She defended their work. 

I said, "What really bothers me is that two employees here looked at the pearls. You agreed with me, and made the call, and now suddenly, you've decided the job is satisfactory. I'm not happy with that change." 

She said, "We can send the pearls out to be restrung." 

I asked her what the point of doing that would be. They were not to be held to a standard this time. I couldn't reasonably assume that it would be any different the next time. 

She looked uncomfortable. 

The store manager glided over. The discussion had been a quiet one (I am not a fan of big noisy public scenes) but it evidently disturbed the feng shui of the gracefully elegant shop. I don't know.

She asked if there was a problem. I told her there was. I explained that two people had agreed that my string of pearls had been restrung out of sequence until they spoke to the repairman who had changed their minds. I was quiet but firm, "This is unsatisfactory, but there is no point in debating it, because at the end of the day, you have my pearls and I will need to pay you to get them back. What I do know is that I will never do business here again." 

She said smoothly that she was sorry to hear that. 

I paid the bill and I left. 

Oysters turn their irritations into pearls. Me? I drowned mine with a hot cup of soup and two ibuprofens and reminded myself that in the grand scope of the world's problems, this was not a biggie.

Friday, December 3, 2021


 Mandatory overtime for Saturday AND ten hour days next week. 

This is not cool. 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Decision is Made

When we work 10 hour days, we have the choice of going in at 6:30, a half hour early. The benefit of that is that you get to leave at 5, instead of 5:30. Since I am a great fan of getting out of Dodge just as quick as I can. I invariably go in 1/2 hour earlier. 

This morning, I got Tim out the door and then, with my coffee, retreated to the computer for my 20 minutes before I headed for the shower. I sipped my coffee, browsed, but then, all too soon, it was time for me to head for the shower. 

I looked at my half cup of coffee and decided that it was a full cup day. I drank my coffee and went in at 7. 

I don't really notice the extra half hour in the morning, but believe you me, it drags at the end of the day. 

Covid booster tonight.

Tomorrow is Friday.


 Well, yesterday at morning meeting, they gave the 'covid briefing'. In the middle of it, one of the scoffers who happened to be standing next to me began scoffing (as they do) when they spoke of the social distancing. His wife works there, and he began his rant, 'We sleep in the same bed. We live in the same house..." He is a bit of a brownnoser, so he was not being loud enough for the supervisors to hear, but he wanted to make sure that anyone in his vicinity knew what HE thought about covid. 

I turned to him and said plainly, 'They have already addressed the issue of people who live together."  I stared at him. He stared at me. He muttered. "Yeah, I know." I said, "Well, it sounded as if you missed it." He was quiet for the rest of the meeting.

During the course of this meeting, they also said, "There are not any cases in our department." 

Listening, I thought, 'Well, that's nonsense. When they are sending people out to be tested, there HAS to be positives in our group.' 

At break, someone said that what they had actually said was "There are not ONLY cases in our department." 

That makes a lot more sense. 

There are two people out with covid. The two people they sent out to be tested Tuesday did not return to work yesterday. I'm not sure what's going on in the rest of the building. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


Remember the fellow who put 'covid' in air quotes when asked about a co-worker who died from it? 

And, do you remember how I told you all (probably multiple times) that I can be a pretty oblivious person? It's worse now. My life has been changed at work by podcasts. I plug something in and I listen and I work. 

Anyways, on break, I became aware of some chatter. Two people who came to work were shipped out for covid tests. They haven't come back to work. They were told to get tested or to take the next two weeks off. One of them, ironically, is 'Air Quotes'.

That's certainly a change from when I was sick, and was handed a document I was supposed to sign (but didn't) for missing two days of work, a violation of the attendance policy. 

I commented about that change to the person talking. "Something's up," I said. "Are there people missing from work?" 

She looked at me as if I were stupid. "Yeah, that whole back corner..." gesturing. 


I thought they'd all taken a long weekend. 


...maybe not. 

Tim and I have appointments for boosters this week. 


 It was a day of getting ready to go, getting everything packed up. We are headed east to see Iris' ballet recital.  I picked up some la...