Friday, January 27, 2012


There was an ongoing discussion on species and evolution on the radio this afternoon. It was a call-in show, and one caller brought up the "we're all black" theory. Another corrected him with the refinement of his idea that DNA shows we all have our origins in Africa, not that it had an impact on the question. Racism has been another ongoing topic on the airwaves, between MLK day and the presidential primaries with all the dog-whistles getting thrown around by candidates and supporters.

It occurred to me that it ought to be impossible for a fundamentalist to also be a racist. I only say "ought to" because I'm well aware of the propensity of the human brain to twist itself around so that people don't even notice that they're believing six impossible things before breakfast.

Here's the reasoning. If you accept DNA results, it is true that we are all from the same origins. If you accept the Bible, we are all from the same origins, namely Adam and Eve. In either case, we no longer all look like each other, and the differences we historically call "race". But if you believe those differences are somehow fundamental, then we've changed due to a process that can only be labeled "evolution." And since the fundamentalist evangelicals don't accept the concept of evolution, how can they believe in different races? Not to mention that some are better or worse than others?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

It was time for a new uniform shirt. They come in long or short sleeved, regular and tall. All men's only. All pale blue.

I picked one a size smaller than the one I was wearing, the one having the under-collar showing through in spots, the one where you could practically see through the fabric at the armpits. The epitome of "threadbare". She asked me if I wanted regular or tall. Actually, I plan to cut a good chunk of the bottom off and hem it across. No long tails to make it three times as hard to get to the bathroom fast. No long tails to take an extra minute tucking back inside the pants so there is no unsightly roll of fabric.

We got into a discussion about the guys who came in for replacement shirts. Some of them have to be encouraged strongly to go for the tall sizes. Nobody wants to see our drivers' butt cracks. Really. Or whatever isn't covered in front where the belt is fastened under the belly, and that means under all of the belly. And these, of course, are the drivers who wind up asking, "Does this make me look fat?"

She doesn't know how to answer them. If it were her husband, she'd know what to say: "Yes." But mostly these are strangers, and who knows how badly they want the question answered, or with how much truth in it?

I have some suggestions:

As opposed to what? Being naked?

No fatter than you looked before.

Only when you stand like this....

Try sucking it in and see if that helps.

Only in the belly. The hips look fine.

Of course not. Everybody gets fooled by that dropped belt trick.

Don't worry about it, everybody looks like that after 250 pounds.

Why? Cute girls on your route?

What makes you think you look fat?

It's just the lighter color, it fools the eye.

Nothing like the last guy who was in here for shirts. Wow!

No, but let's go for this larger size this time, OK? Keep those buttons from popping. Somebody could lose an eye.

No, just 8 months pregnant.

It's a medication reaction, isn't it?

You used to play football?

You look good in that relaxed fit. I bet suspenders would be more comfortable too.

And Now, A Shorter Honeymoon

Hey, it's all good. There's a reason we're choosing to have me take less time away from work, i.e., uncompensated. We're cutting back from three to two weeks. After all, we're no longer going to be spending a lot of that time house hunting. Instead, we'll be paying for living in both houses!

Yesterday was some day! It started with another quick look at the home offerings available, noting that another couple had fallen to the wayside, victims of other buyers. The buying of Sun City homes has certainly picked up since the new year started. Even the radio has commented on things starting to look up nationwide. Not only have some gone away, others show raises in price, not drops. It might be time to hop aboard while there was still something we could afford.

I took another look at one home that we'd considered above our top budget - by just $100! Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1365 sf, two (!) lanais, one with gas fireplace, fenced back yard, front and back tall pine trees, plenty of storage....

It was time to hop online with a query to our agent. I'd picked her because she was the listing agent on the very first piece of property we were interested in on line, and we stuck with her because she's been extremely helpful. She's half of a husband/wife team of realtors. Was this one still actually available or had the bank simply not de-listed it yet? Had they been in it and did they know if it stinks of cigarette smoke? And were my impressions right that houses were really starting to move?

Then after working half a (slow) day, I hopped on the phone as well, between jobs. This time I spoke to her husband, who was actually enroute to view the home for me. Another great idea popped into my head, with the potential of saving me about $800 in air fare in coming down to view the property myself. Yes, I know buying sight-unseen is risky. Some would say foolhardy. However...

I called Joan and Bob. Joan has been my best friend for many years, and has, to me , a great sense of how homes work well and what makes them livable. Being a former landlord of the other half of the duplex she lived in, she has a sense of repairs and maintenance, and has hands-on experience with many redecorating chores. Bob is a retired building inspector. Were they busy? And might they like to go view this house for me and give feedback on what's good/bad about it? Their opinions I trust way above any realtor hoping for a sale.

With a little back and forth calling to arrange a meeting, they agreed.

Twenty minutes after the appointment started, I heard first from the realtor. He mentioned that it was dated inside, and carpets needed replacing. Some floors were laminate, such as lanai, kitchen and master bedroom. Kool! Being somewhat dated myself, I can live with ugly while the budget adjusts and more money becomes available to make alterations. The pepto-bismol-pink kitchen walls can be painted fairly quickly, and holes in walls from pictures be mudded over easily. Dirty carpets will wait a bit longer, as will wallpaper removal.

Then Joan called, and we talked for over half an hour. She was overwhelmed by the size of the cleanup of dirty walls and ugly carpets, but again I expected to repaint and eliminate carpets. Bedrooms are big enough without being unnecessarily huge, kitchen is adequate, both tub and shower are walk-in. Some repairs are needed: a window is broken in one corner, a screen is ripped, some of the laminate flooring has water damage but I was planning to have tile in the bathroom and kitchen instead, being much easier to keep clean and undamaged in the presence of water. An awning over the front of the carport has had something tall back into it at some point, but that can wait a few years. The bifold doors for the third bedroom closet have been removed, but that can easily become open access den storage/shelving.

Two huge citrus trees in back have been removed, and the stumps will have to be dug and the trees replaced. Maybe one orange, one lime? The screen lanai is shaded by the back pine, and Steve is excited by having his own special smoking area. There's a dog door off the room with cupboards and a workbench, out to a section of the back yard that's fenced off from the rest. The old furnace has been replaced with a heat pump, the roof is about 5 years old, and so is the air conditioner thingy on top of it. Even with the trees there is room on the roof for solar panels to go in and function well.

They sent lots of pictures. So did the realtor. They are distinctly different, one showing everything good about the house, the other showing flaws. Funny. Predictable.

The upshot is: great bones, help from family with cleaning/painting/flooring, and a buy-now price. As a matter of fact, it's an approved short-sale, with a time limit expiring in two days before it would go in to foreclosure if there were no pending offers, at which point it would disappear off the market for months. It was time to decide.

I did.

We did.

A call to the realtor and documents were written up and send on-line, along with a link to a site where I could e-sign. Since there were only about 18 pages of them to be read, it took a while. By about 11:00 PM last night, the signing was done. Today I'll hit the copy machine to create copies of the statements which show where my cash assets lie, proof that I can, in fact, buy this property. I also get to cut a check for $2,000 earnest money and put them all in a Priority mail envelope to hit the title company tomorrow morning.

Assuming the offer's accepted, I close March 15th, exactly on time for when I can tap two of the funds without penalties for early withdrawal. On the plus side, I will close out the US Bank IRAs where they changed the rules on me and decided they were entitled to tap $30 a year from them for "managing my retirement account". Yes, there's a penalty. There's also an end to the aggravation of dealing with them. I call that a win-win.

I think I finally fell asleep about 2:00 AM.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whatever It Takes

Yes, it's been a mild winter - so far. For Minnesota standards, anyway. Then...

Last night was a brief stopover in Pine City. The cold front had arrived before I had, snow was blowing horizontally creating near whiteout conditions where no trees blocked its access to roadways. When the WalMart doors opened, the wind blew straight back into store over a hundred feet. My gas level was low, so I stopped for a fill before heading home, not wanting to run out if emergency conditions struck, like sitting along the road for hours. It was bitterly cold and my hands ached just putting the nozzle into the tank and setting the pump to start. The wind cut through all my layers like they weren't there.

Thinking longingly of never having to do this again once this winter has passed, my mantra became, "Whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever..." It didn't make me any warmer, but it did give me hope. Possibly tolerance for the next three months as well.

I blame my intolerance of winter on my almost four years living in Georgia. There I watched neighbors mow their lawns on X-mas Eve. Growing up in north central Minnesota, it had never occurred to me that there could be an alternative. Winter just was. Now I was living an alternative. Should nostalgia strike, well, we actually had two inches of snow once, and it closed down everything. It was fun!

And it was gone in two days

Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.

Monday, January 16, 2012


This past weekend was one of those busy-busy ones, knocking a bunch of stuff off the to-do list, getting closer to the upcoming deadlines of wedding, trip, house hunting. Four weeks left! Gulp!

We've started on the ceremony itself, along with working on vows. At least we settled on music, finally, and Rich agreed to be our official music person. He can put our selections on his laptop and cue them up - with good speakers - at the right times. We're going with "Here Comes the Sun" for a processional, with everybody heading up the "aisle" in pairs. Steph and Ben did that for their wedding and I liked that. There's nobody to "give away the bride" even if the bride agreed that it was proper to "give" her/me "away". This is me, my decision, and it's a joining, not a transfer of ownership.

And by the way, for anybody who's not caught on yet, it's a wedding without a marriage. No legal ties as far as the State of Minnesota is concerned. That's why we hit the attorney's office Friday morning, making sure we can legally share in what we chose to share in and keep separate what we chose as well.

But back to music. Steve loves Peter, Paul and Mary even more than I do, and insists on Paul Stukey's "Wedding Song" as part of the music. I agree, noting only that some of the volume is so low it might be tricky to hear. It'll be helped by being in the middle of the ceremony, when everybody "should" be quietly paying attention. For a recessional, it'll be "Our Hearts Will Go On" from "Titanic" from the soundtrack. I had thought over a year ago to use something from "Winged Migrations", beautiful music and a theme where the geese, mated for life, fly away together, but if Steve couldn't get it, I figured nobody else would either, especially in the chaos of a recessional.

So: music: check.

Start legal paperwork: check.

Apply for a loan: check. Of course, that took a couple long phone calls to the loan folks of my credit union, and a packet of paperwork to sign. They needed copies of 2009 and 2010 tax returns, and that was $.70 for copies just for 2009. I happened to have a spare copy of 2010 that the county never got around to asking for when they approved my Minnesota Care health insurance, saving a few more dimes. Since it's a home equity loan on this place, they needed proof of insurance including the replacement cost, which is over 5 times the amount of the loan I'm requesting. Note that the county assessor has its market value in this economy as just over twice the loan amount. That's one of the reasons I'm not selling now, but the same reason I'm buying now. It's easier to finance here than down in Arizona.

It took me about a week just to figure out the 2011 tax situation. I had to cross-reference a bunch of figures, with incomplete documentation this early in the year. Plus I managed to misplace the whole stack of cell phone bills after filing them along with all the other paperwork from last year in preparation for the task. At least those are available in other places. The loan folks made it more complicated by requesting a Profit and Loss record for last year. I had no idea. I mean, I know I've been paying my bills and managing to pay down my credit card bill while still earning little enough to have much of a taxable income after all the legal deductions on a Schedule C. I just haven't figured my actual expenses for over 20 years since going by mileage is so much simpler. After figuring them all out, I was pleasantly surprised. It should help me look capable of paying off the loan I'm asking for.

Besides just finding a place locally open on Sunday which makes copies, there was the half-hour hunt for the old tax returns. I knew exactly where they were before moving out of the new bedroom and back into my old bedroom. Where on earth had I put them during the move? With help from Paul, resident tall person, in getting stuff down from top shelves where they stay stored, including tax returns from 1995 (!) and 1981 (divorce year records), looking in any cranny large enough to hold the paperwork, and just plain stubbornness, aka desperation, we finally located them... still in Steve's room, high on a shelf in the back corner of the closet. They now reside in my room and Steve has a whole new half shelf to fill. It won't get his fishing rods off the floor, or the globe relocated so one can move through the closet, or the rest of his pictures hung up, but it's an improvement anyway.

Note to self for after return from Arizona: clear out all the old tax returns I no longer need, after pulling out documentation on capital improvements to this place. Owning two homes complicates the capital gains picture. Paranoia ought not to rule my life so completely when it comes to the possibility of an IRS audit. 1995!?!

Additional note to self: enjoy all the new space!

Last thing on the list that got checked off: do the headpiece. Only, I put it at only semi-checked off. I'd like it much better if I could figure out how to anchor it so it stands vertically on my head, with my short hair, rather then horizontally. It's too big and heavy, but it's just what I had in mind. Plus it's done, which may count for more in the long run. Still, if I can find the time, I'll go back, tear it apart (just the central frou-frou), cut it back down... and likely still be unable to anchor it vertically. Right now it's about twice the width of my head when it's on, including the tulle ruffle. The fear of looking ridiculous is the spur that will goad me into finding the time to put it back on the to-do list.

By now you're probably wondering why the silly title on this post and what on earth it might have to do with anything I've written thus far. Well. it's simple. Tucked in all those forms I had to sign for the loan was this little number. I missed it on the first read-through, looking only for places to sign and things needing to be dug out, copied, and included. Before signing, however, I did the every-word check. And there was that little number, sitting modestly on the page in normal type, right after the words "credit score".

Not bad for a single person with a decreasing income and still more debt that I care to disclose. It helps that I've reduced my credit card debt by over $10 grand over the last several years. It didn't help that I paid this place off early, taking it away from my record of debt-paying. It seems to make no impact that I'm paying above-and-beyond on the car each month. I'm told it should have damaged my credit score when I told U S Bank to go take a hike and destroyed their credit card and its $10 grand limit. I had no idea what the number would be. The last time I knew was when I financed the car: then it was 715. Good enough for a car loan, but for a home equity loan? I tried to check, but being the cheapskate that I am, I balk at every "free" credit score site on the internet that seems to require you to sign up for some plan or other which carries a monthly charge along with it. Not my idea of free. So I had no idea. Just hope.

Gee, 774. Cool!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NOT a Christmas Card

There are a number of people on my Christmas card list who unfailingly return a card to me every year, or even send theirs before I get mine out. Dick was one of those, and each year his card featured a red cardinal as part of the design. I didn't get one this year from him, so it was not a complete surprise when I opened the oversized envelope which came in the mail yesterday. Instead was a note from his daughter informing me of his sudden death last month, enclosing a copy of the funeral program, and letting me know they found my address in his address book.

He was a friend, and more than that, more than 20 years ago. I can date it because that's when I moved up here into this house, and became "geographically undesirable". Since our relationship had been more cozy than passionate, I had anticipated that. There had never been a possibility of more. He never really got over his divorce, for which he held himself responsible. Dick was a recovering alcoholic.

I was lucky. I got to know him in the context of a support group for re-singled people, long after his sobriety had been established. In fact, he did counseling for others with the same issues for many years. Though I pretty much lost touch except for the cards after I moved away, I suspect that happened as long as he was physically able to do so.

I also knew him as a gardener. In the spring his shady Mahtomedi yard turned nearly solid blue with scillas that had naturalized years before with some help from the local birds. It was so lovely that I determined to plant some in my own yard once I moved in. They've been growing and spreading, in my case with help from my youngest son, who delights in collecting seeds and scattering them in the newest designated locations or giving them away to spread the joy. Every spring as they pop through the snow they remind me of Dick. It's a fitting memorial, I think, to a very kind, caring, gentle man: Richard Rogers Sr., 1929-2011.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome to Chaos

So you think to dare to come in my door? OK, well, it's not so scary right now. I may be the only person who actually swept away the cobwebs around the front door before the trick-or-treaters came to call. Didn't want to scare the little ones with any realism, after all. The leaves are still there though. Not that they're the same leaves that were there a month ago. Those got swept away, but with no snow every breeze sends more into the black hole for leaves that is my entryway.

Once you get inside, you'll find every available surface is covered. Jackets, computer stuff, books, small blankets for people and/or dogs, magazines, beverage containers that haven't made it into the dishwasher since the last load.... Candy canes, having lost their perches since the tree got put away in its box, now adorn the arms holding my two wall-mount lamps over the futon. They disappear at a rate of about one a day. This tells me I'm the only one eating them. I'm trying to ration myself.

Those are just the upper surfaces. Look to the floor and there'll be shoes, rawhide chews that haven't yet gotten hidden by Fred where he thinks Koda can't find them, or ones that Koda has dragged out of Fred's hiding spots. Look closer and you'll find the dark green carpet is covered by light colored flecks, and perhaps a few wood splinters or even small chunks. (You removed your shoes when you came in why?) There are collections of X-mas wrapping that haven't made it into the recycling yet, but I could tell you we're not all that sloppy because the last present opening was just Sunday. I could tell you that but that wrapping pretty much got picked up at the time. What I see mostly goes back to the day, saved with the optimistic thought of "somebody" taking the time to refold the tissue for packing around next year's packages. "Somebody" hasn't. Yet.

The kitchen gets more interesting. The poinsettia is still thriving in the window, and the roaster pan just found its basement home again this morning. It had been keeping the poinsettia company. The table, once recently so very nicely cleaned off and scrubbed, is again cluttered with mail, tools, tax paperwork, boxes of apple butter in jars which finally used up the last of this fall's supply of apples when Paul showed Steve how to make apple butter. A few spots of glitter glue decorate the table from this weekend's project of decorating the flower girl's basket: I think they'll scrape off. Soon.

The counter by the stove is collecting boxes of ZipLoc bags in various sizes, waiting for me to find the next item to pack for the upcoming trip. I did 21 days of pills, each day's worth in its own snack bag. These are just the OTC ones. I'm waiting for next month to get the latest bottles of Rx pills to add into the lot, and then the whole bunch of them go into a gallon bag. Really, they fit into a quart bag now, but the little bags with the zippers that don't bend take up enough space that it won't quite close now, and adding stuff will just make it worse. There'll be a big bag of little bags of jerky, and one of dried fruits, and... and... and....

The kitchen sink is its usual: one semi-clean sink for using, and one filled with dirty dishes waiting for the next full load in the dishwasher. Really, it got run this morning, but the sink never stays empty. The wastebasket is mostly empty, but the recycle bag is splitting its seams. Lots of stuff has been running through recycling lately, and nobody but me seems to know how to squish cans and plastic milk cartons. Plus, we reuse the paper sack we collect the stuff in until it finally has no further use than to join the recyclables itself. Tomorrow, perhaps.

Once your eyes drop all the way to the floor - can you possibly have not noticed yet? - it really gets interesting. The linoleum is gone. Some of the plywood sub-floor is gone, leaving a lip where it still sits next to the appliances. It's harder to remove there, starting with the part where you disconnect the water or gas and actually move out the appliance so you can get at the floor. Then there's the part where you use a hammer and chisel and chop through the thin plywood so it's even with the front face of the bottom of the cabinets sitting on it. And of course when I say "you" I really mean Richard.

It's his job. I hired him after giving him three days to research the job and decide that he really could replace my flooring. In exchange for doing three rooms (just labor) he gets paid three month's child support. He needed some kind of off-season job, and this is it. He was going to hire out to shovel snow. It hit 52 today. That job idea just isn't working out for him.

The plywood which has been removed is sitting outside in the back yard waiting for warm weather demolition. The pieces which remain are covered spottily with what Richard thinks is glue from the linoleum. While they don't cling well to the plywood in spots, they seem to have no problem clinging to the carpet. The do, of course, cling so well in other spots that the only way to remove them is remove the whole sheet of plywood. I guess it's a good thing the job requires removal regardless.The linoleum has been cut into small pieces and fed out through the garbage system. So has the beginning of the carpet being removed. Padding too.

Oh, didn't I point it out? The hallway floor has been denuded. There is a pile under the table of wood strips with lots of little nails sticking out of them. (Why are we keeping these? Anybody?) The original idea was to hold carpet in place. It might have worked better had the carpet been stretched tighter in the first place. Or perhaps it should have been better, thicker carpet, able to adequately cover the strips so the bare foot putting pressure in a downward motion didn't acquire small puncture holes in the process. That happened mostly at the join between the living room and the kitchen linoleum. We learned to step over that area rather than on it. Eventually. There was a learning curve.

Anyway, strips of carpet in rolls or pad in rolls are also being fed out via the garbage can. Duct tape is great for helping them keep their shape enough that there is room for actual garbage in the can each week as well. And really, the guy at Home Depot suggested it. This was when I looked at their estimate for doing the job without including all the maybe extras like plywood under the linoleum or filling the hollow places, but did include their disposal of carpet and linoleum - and decided our own labor was better suited to my budget. And again, when I say "our own" I mean Richard.

So the chaos is just going to get worse around here for a while. Half my bedroom floor is filled with boxes of laminate. Things are starting to accumulate on top of them, like the laundered X-mas table linens awaiting folding and putting back in the closet till next year. It's the glue flaking off the plywood which is creating the spots on the carpet which nobody is bothering to worry about. They'll go away when the floor is cleared. Anybody who shows up is warned about the hazards of going barefoot, though I do it myself. Richard pretty well sweeps up after each bit of the job he does. No unwanted skin punctures yet. And empty boxes are collecting in the den so when it's time to empty a display cabinet or a bookshelf there's someplace to put the stuff for a bit.

It just needs to happen a bit faster. I can only stand so much chaos for so long.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Word Puzzle

Star: it's a simple word, yet with multiple meanings, and depending on context, its usage can be as different as a noun, adjective, or even a verb. All those different usages can have their own set of synonyms. For example, when used to identify a shape, a synonym might be the word pentagram.

One of its usages has multiple synonyms, two of which are each part of their own set of homonyms. Which usages of the word is it, what are the two synonyms, and what are all the homonyms?


New Year's Resolution: nope, not lose weight. Been doing that, thank you: 47 lbs. now. Nope, not exercise: been getting slightly more active without the weight, but the knees are still plenty quick to reassure me they're still there, still not fixed. This year it was Get Organized!

Better organized, anyway. With some things I'm very organized. In a house with likely over a thousand books, if they're not alphabetized by author, one can never find anything. The reason there are stacks of them on the windowsill is that we've not taken the time to rearrange the shelves to create more room so they can be folded into the existing system, aka organized. Of course the computer Dummies books are on the computer stand, the tropical aquarium fish books are on their own shelf, the field guides are in their own spot, and the very oversized books have their own book case entirely, but hey, it's a system.

With DVDs I have to be organized, doubly so. First they have to be registered on my computer list, which gets printed out regularly (not enough!) and tucked into my pocketbook so when I'm at the store I don't buy something I forgot I already have. It's been done. Happened yesterday, in fact. My list wasn't the most recent. Oops.

Second, they get their cases removed and get slid into albums with disc sleeves, again in alphabetical order. I do try to leave spaces in them so new DVDs can be added without having to pull everything out and re-file. However, yesterday it was time to file the three bagfuls of DVDs which had been sitting on the den floor where they had been waiting after getting computerized, and add into the mix all of Steve's DVD movies.

Well, most. I made exceptions for his John Wayne collections and a western movies collection that crammed 50 movies onto a few discs, no way to alphabetize. I also rejected the how-to DVDs. They don't really count as movies. Seriously.

Since I had been caring for my dad the last couple years plus, I brought a sharp knife to the task. Non sequitur? Just wait a sec, it'll make sense. With Daddy living his awake life in the living room and unable to really watch TV, we had to do our watching pretty much around his schedule so as not to bother him. That hardly left room for the regular TV programs, much less adding in movies. Thus, most of them were in their original packaging, unwatched. They needed that knife to break through the cellophane and the end tape.

I had stuff spread out all over my bed, and the packaging got dumped onto the floor until I paused in the task to round it all up and pack it into shopping bags for dumping in the garbage can. As a side note, something actually on the topic of the title, three bags of DVDs made 6 bags of trash.

There were three start-overs to the job, only one of which was due to needing to go to the store to purchase a new album, one promising to hold 342 discs. I have no idea how it'll go on the shelf, but that's another day's organizing task. The most frustrating one was after getting all the way into the Ls before Steve added his DVD collection into the mix.

And they weren't alphabetized yet.

I made him do it. I also had him write movie titles on half Post-It notes to put on those discs where the title is in the teeny weenie ring on the ring around the center hole. Having to squinch the eyes once to read it was twice too many times.

About four hours into the process, including the shopping expedition, having gotten to the "m"s for the first and last time, I came upon one particularly remarkable example of, uh, enthusiastic packaging. Yeah, that's it: enthusiastic. First was the cellophane. Then a sleeve, made of cardstock weight paper. Then a cardboard box, open along one long end. Out of that slid a single piece of cardstock weight paper again, plus a multiply folded cardboard folder holding the DVD. If course, it looked like several of the cases I had already opened which held several DVDs, opening first in the middle, and then each side having a flap which opened outward to finally reveal... just one disc.

"Meek's Cutoff". I wonder if it's a good movie. I'd never heard of it before picking it up, haven't heard anything about it since for that matter. It's a western. It was cheap. I figured at least Steve should like it, and maybe we can find a couple hours to watch it together.

And laugh at the packaging.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lesson Learned

Finally, snow! I mean, we weren't complaining that it had taken so long this season to get here. Not we who were beginning to plan how to avoid snow altogether for the rest of our lives by turning into snowbirds, oh, no.

It had come down Saturday evening, forecast for early in the day but dragging its winter storm feet as if as reluctant to arrive as we were to have it. As we were preparing yesterday morning to leave for the annual New Years Day Auction, we could acknowledge it even was pretty, clinging as it did to tree branches everywhere despite the stiffening wind, covering all the brown dead grasses and dirty everythings. Little clumps of snow on tops of brilliant red highbush cranberries were especially lovely. For kids, it was perfect snowman snow.

Of course, it also brought work. As the first to venture from the house, I had the job of grabbing the shovel and creating a path out to my car, last in line of the vehicles sitting on the driveway, and there to clear snow and ice from all the windows and car lights. I know, I know, I'm supposed to clear off hood and roof too, but that would have really been work, and with only so much time left before Steve and I were due to arrive to work, I needed to add in extra time for slow roads, which may or may not have also gotten ice removed well.

Finally finished with my chosen amount of snow removal, I found I had one extra unscheduled task ahead of me. It wasn't just brushing the snow off from everywhere I'd leaned against the car, plus pant leg bottoms. That's expected. No, I discovered that I thoughtlessly forgot to fold the pocket flaps out over the two wide pockets in the coat I was wearing! There they were, gapping wide, each now holding enough snow for a respectable snowball!