Archive | December, 2017

Spare Tires and Old Friends

30 Dec

I took the Kia to work on Friday, and The Squire took my Nissan up to the garage to see about new tires. As it turned out, I had a huge screw in the tread, which involved a patch, a plug, and a $10 charge – a far cry from the $200 we expected to shell out for two new tires! The spare is back in the trunk where it belongs, and has also been checked for leaks and such. That’s one of the many nice things about having an old friend for a mechanic. He takes good care of his customers and doesn’t try to rob you blind.

We are trying to get things squared away around here for the Open House next Saturday. I have not baked a single cookie, and we finally decided to get somebody in to clean the downstairs, rather than try to tackle that ourselves. We still have to get things straightened up, heaven knows, but the actually dusting, vacuuming and wiping down will be done by a pro. And well worth every penny.

Of course, when you need things to go well, that’s when they all go backwards. We have carpet in the bathroom, and it was beginning to look grungy around the base of the toilet, so The Squire pulled it all up, so he could put down fresh. The floor has rotted, so we have to make some sort of emergency repair to tide us over until after the party.

We keep all of our first-aid stuff – tape, pads, hydrogen peroxide, and the like – in a large plastic bin which we store on the top shelf of the linen closet. This morning, while I was taking a shower, I heard a mighty WHUMP but I couldn’t see anything out of place. Very mysterious. To cut to the chase, the bin had fallen off the shelf and landed in the  clothes hamper!

Our bathroom is a fair size, but oddly arranged (like everything else in the house) and there was really no suitable place for a hamper. The Squire put a large box with a trap door on the inside of the linen closet. You toss the clothes in the top, and then dump them out onto the floor to sort them for washing. He is a most clever fellow, that one. To quote my sister, I’m going to let him keep me.

One, Two, Three, Four

29 Dec

On the way to work this morning my car began to make an odd noise. I thought I had run over a branch in the road, and it was dragging from the undercarriage, but no such luck. I’d run over a large screw and had driven the last mile on a flat tire.

That’s one.

Just as I pulled into my parking spot, the “need gas” light came on.

That makes two.

As I walked into the building I realized I’d left my company badge at home, and my cell phone right beside it on the counter. A fat lot of good they did twenty-five miles away!

And there we were with three and four. I hadn’t even gotten to my desk and I was ready to go home!

I called AAA, and got a message that they were running a 20 minute wait, so I called The Squire and asked him to take care of it all for me.  Triple A called my office and said they’d have a man at the parking garage before noon. And they did. He even brought a couple of gallons of gas, courtesy of my darlin’ husband. Whew! I directed him to my car, and dashed back inside.

A girl friend came over to meet me –  bearing lunch – and we had a really nice conversation. The building is almost empty during the week between Christmas and New Years, so the cafeteria, which is run by a separate company, is closed. I usually try to bring a sandwich or something, but a hot slice of pizza was a real treat. One year, the cafeteria was not only closed, but they had emptied all of the napkin holders and hidden the plastic cutlery! That only happened once; I think HR had words with them.

I was supposed to get off at 2:30 so I could drive The Squire to his follow-up with the surgeon at 3:30, but he called to tell me their office had asked if he could come in at half past two instead of the original time. At that point we didn’t know what the deal was going to be with my car, so he announced he’d drive himself. I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but it made sense. As it turned out, after both of us scrambling to get him there on time, he didn’t walk into the doctor’s office until 4 PM on the dot. He was not happy, and told them so. There was absolutely no reason for them to drag him in early when they were running late. I’ve worked in too many physician’s offices to get around that. Grr.

On Tuesday, The Squire had found a stew recipe online and gone out to get the ingredients so it was ready when I came home. We had it again last night and finished it off this evening. It was good but he suggested that next time  maybe he’ll just make half as much. Listen, when you have a husband who shops, cooks, and cleans up, you don’t ask too many questions!



A Letter From the North Pole

22 Dec

This is a reposting of one of my earliest entries.  The Squire and I wrote it back in the 1990s, when a fellow in his office passed around a paper offering scientific proof that Santa was impossible. Feel free to use it in your own church newsletters, or whatever.

Several years ago, a letter made the rounds, denying that Santa Claus existed. Obviously, he felt it was necessary to put this rumor to rest. 
It has come to my attention that it has been “proven” by scientific methods that I do not exist. Sadly, this sort of skepticism has become quite fashionable of late, and I feel I really must answer this latest attack.

Most of this “proof” is based on facts and figures which, impressive though they may be, don’t quite add up. There are a lot of good children, which is a miracle in itself, given the way things are going, and there is certainly a lot of territory to cover, but you don’t have all the facts. First of all, I don’t have to handle all the workload by myself and it doesn’t all get done at once. I have lots of help, and The Season, as we call it, runs from the 6th of December to the 6th of January.

My brother, St. Nicholas, delivers gifts to the good children of Germany, Holland and Belgium on December 6th. He is accompanied by his assistant, Ruprecht, a grumpy old man, who threatens naughty boys and girls with sticks and switches. I must say, however, that my brother usually tosses a gift from the back of the sleigh to even the naughtiest of children.

In France, my uncle, Pere Janvier, brings presents to all the good children on the first of the year. The same day, my brother Άγιος Βασίλειος (St. Basil to you) visits the children in Greece.
Two thousand years ago, the Magi stopped to ask our sister, Baba Yaga, if she might know where the Christ Child was. Too busy with her housework, she sent them on their way. Later, realizing the importance of their quest, she went after them. Now, every January 6th, she goes from house to house in Russia and Poland, looking for the Infant and leaving a gift for each sleeping child. The Magi themselves leave gifts for the children of Spain, Mexico and South America.

This still leaves December 24th, the biggest night of all. My dad, Father Christmas, and I share this one. He takes the United Kingdom, and I handle the United States. The rest of the world, Australia, Canada, Africa, we split between us.

As for our methods of transportation, Nick generally goes on horseback, and Baba Yaga walks, but me, I prefer the reindeer. Fast? Why would a generation that believes in “hyper-space” question my speed? Of course nobody’s ever seen a flying reindeer. Nobody’s ever seen the wind either, but there you are. From October until December, we give the reindeer special food which helps them get air-borne. Why, the term “eating light” started with us. Don’t worry about how it works – scientists have “proven” that bumble bees can’t fly, either.

Even after this, I understand that many of you will not believe in me. But, I still believe in you. I know that every year, in the name of Love you will continue to give unstintingly of your time and talent to bring joy, and gladness of heart, to children around the world. And in the name of that Christ we all seek, I will be there.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

S. Claus

Could I Have a Do-Over?

17 Dec

The funeral we attended on Friday was for a long-time member of Resurrection, and a former Navy man. Considering all of the planning my dad did for his own funeral, it amazes – and dismays – me that he didn’t tell us of the services available to veterans.

He had pre-paid the undertaker, selected the hymns, told us who he wanted to officiate, and who he wanted to preach, but he never told us that he was eligible to have a free marker, a flag for his coffin, or a bugler to play Taps.  He did mention he wanted somebody to play Waltzing Matilda, but when I asked him how I was going to arranged that, he just smiled and said, “That’s your problem, not mine.”

I had some poor soul from the local high school, standing in the rain, with a clarinet!

My mum refused to have a marker put on his grave. “God will know where to find him when He wants him.” And she made it sound as if she meant if He wants him.  Daddy had been dead several years when a fellow who was a member of his old parish told me the VA would give us a marker, and got the papers for me.

When my grandfather died, my mum had some men from the VFW – I guess – give a 21 gun salute, but she didn’t mention that we could have done the same for her husband.


Maybe I’ll just get all of his friends and family and do it over. Maybe I’ll wait until the 20th anniversary. People renew their wedding vows all the time. Why not a funeral?

In Sickness and In Health

16 Dec

The surgery on The Squire’s shoulder took place on Thursday morning. We had to be at the hospital at 7AM, and he had to shower with surgical soap both Wednesday night and again Thursday morning, so we were up at 5:30 to accomplish all of this and still get out of the house by 6:30.

I stayed with him until they took him back to get him ready, and then went over to get some bloodwork of my own done. I’ve had the paperwork for almost a month, but I’ve been working and there’s no lab anywhere that I can hit on the way in.  Stopped for a bagel and coffee on the way back; I don’t do NPO very well. What with one thing and another, we didn’t get home until about 2 PM, and both of us just collapsed into bed.

Because he couldn’t drive, I was elected to go down to Panera and get the Dough-Nation for this week. What a haul! We are the only group that picks up at night, and the group that was supposed to come Thursday morning didn’t show, so we got a double batch! The girl kept bringing boxes, and bringing boxes, and bringing boxes. We filled the back of the van, and I ended up stacking some in the front seat. They were so heavy the buzzer went off, and I had to fasten the seal belt around them!  We had a funeral yesterday and I took over two huge boxes of bagels for the reception, and pressed them on everybody who was there. “Take some. No, I don’t care if you don’t need them! Take ’em. They freeze!”

So – back to The Squire. The poor man cannot use his right arm at all.   Fortunately, he is pretty much ambidextrous, so he’s not as bad as I’d be in the same situation; I something think I only have a right hand so I’ll have something to hold on to when I say my prayers!  There are a lot of things that need two hands, so I still have to help him put on his socks and arrange his sweater over his shoulders.

He’s been sleeping in the recliner, as the one thing he absolutely must NOT do is roll over onto his right side.  he had a bad night Thursday, but said he slept solidly last night. Things were pretty rocky on Friday, as he was in a LOT of pain, but he seemed to be feeling better today. Lortab every six hours and aspirin in between . The doctor said the “artificial” stuff – ibuprofen, etc. – are OK, but if he can tolerate aspirin, it’s really more effective at fighting inflammation.

I had asked Fr. B to bring him Communion tomorrow, but he says he wants to go to church. He needed a shirt large enough that he could slip his left arm into the sleeve and still button it across his front. Our friend Mac is a bit heftier than The Squire, so I trotted over and borrowed a dress shirt from him. I don’t think The Squire hasn’t worn a “real” shirt since my mum’s funeral.

It is good to have such wonderful friends! They came and fed the critters when we were on vacation, helped us with the shop vac when the dishwasher over flowed, and now literally giving us the shirt off their back!


Reflections on a Snowstorm

10 Dec

Well, not exactly a storm. It started snowing about 10 AM yesterday morning, and kept at it until sometime after 8 last night. In spite of it all, we only got about two inches, if that.

While The Squire and I were checking email this morning, a fox came into the yard, checking and sniffing around the birdfeeders. I went into the kitchen and scooped up a  dish of dog food, which I carried out to the back forty. When I came back down the fox, of course, was long gone. I figured he’d headed back to the woods, sans squirrel, but The Squire said the critter nosed around and gathered up a mouthful of peanuts before heading off. “You could see his cheeks bulging out, and he was looking for more!”

Our church hosted a Quarter Auction last night. It was snowing great guns when we arrived and still coming down when I left the church. This morning, there was still a good bit of snow on the ground, but the roads and sidewalks had never accumulated anything more that puddles, and the temp had already climbed to nearly 40°F. After having about 60 people at the auction last night, braving uncertain weather, we had a grand total of 18 at the late service, when there was no likelihood of road trouble.

Sometimes I wonder about people.

And High Time, Too.

7 Dec

Courtesy of Randy Cassingham