Too Soon

Christmas in the post-War United States
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Yesterday I went to the hair salon to have my hair highlighted and cut.  Someone had decorated the salon for Christmas already.  Everywhere.

OH MY.

Some of the decorations I recognized– like a fake pine garland with bulbs and bows draped over the top of the mirrors.  I recognized the canned Christmas songs playing endlessly.

But I couldn’t figure out what the large objects suspended from the ceiling were– nor why they were hanging over each stylist’s work counter.  In their way.

J, my stylist, saw me looking at one of the large Christmasy objects and said:  “You don’t know what that is, do you?”

Me:  “No.”

J:  “It’s a Christmas tree, fully decorated with bulbs and icicles, hanging upside down.  The ornament on the top– or bottom depending on you perspective– is supposed to twirl around in a circle all the time.  But mine’s broken right now.”

Me:  “Huh?  That’s… well– OH MY!”

J:  “You did a nice job of saying something pleasant.  Most people aren’t that nice about these trees.”

Me:  “Why do you have them anyhow?”

J:  “The owner was an interior decorator before he did hair.  He thinks that all this Christmas decorating is stylish and trendy.  He thinks that it’s clever.”

Me:  “Huh?”

J:  “I know.  Don’t even try to think about it.  It’ll make your head explode.  It’s ugly and it’s too soon.”

Me:  “Yes it is.”

After paying for my highlight and cut, I gave J a big tip.  She’s going to need all the help she can get to make it through a holiday season with an upside down rotating Christmas tree dominating her work space– and confused, outspoken  customers commenting on her boss’s stupidity cleverness.

OH MY.

“You’re Taking This Well”

Last Thursday during routine furnace maintenance, the technician found a hole in the 2nd chamber from the left of the heat exchanger & a crack in the inducer transition of our 13-year-old gas furnace.

[You’re thrilled, right?  Scintillating first sentence.]

He immediately turned off the gas & electric on the furnace and put a red tag on the front of it.  The red tag said:

THIS UNIT HAS BEEN DISABLED DUE TO THE FOLLOWING UNSAFE CONDITION Hole in heat exchanger

Then he very politely asked me to go with him downstairs into the basement to talk about our furnace.  I knew that this wasn’t going to be good.

[I didn’t just fall off the new homeowner turnip truck, ‘ya know?]

So, down we went.  The technician explained the problems, told me about my two solutions to the problems, and then stood there waiting for me to explode.

But I didn’t get mad at all.  I just started to laugh.  A crazy, silly laugh.  It was a laugh that a woman steeped in a life of irony would produce when told that her plans were once again being thwarted.

“You’re taking this well,” he said.  “Most woman yell at me when I tell them their furnace is dead– and needs costly repairs or to be replaced entirely.”

Instead, I stood there– laughed & smiled– basking in the self-knowledge that just that very morning I’d allowed myself to dream that we might actually get the new wall-to-wall carpeting installed on the second floor of the house by Thanksgiving.  That this year for the holidays our home might look tidy without 13-year-old skunky, dirty, original wall-to-wall carpet uglifying the place. 

[And let me interject here to say that wall-to-wall carpeting is something that I hate to my core, but I accept as a necessary evil of suburbia. Making this situation doubly ironic.]  

Yep, that’s what I was thinking as the technician started to tell me the price of a new furnace.   I didn’t listen very carefully to the rest of what he said.  It didn’t matter to me.  I knew that we’d be buying a new furnace, regardless of the cost, by the end of the day.

And that I could put my carpet samples back in the drawer where I’ve kept them for a couple of years.   Waiting for just the right time to buy wall-to-wall carpeting… which I’m beginning to believe is never.

Nancy Drew, Narcissism, and the National Debt

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “N.”

Me.  I started reading a Nancy Drew mystery this week.  I saw it on the shelf as I walked by the guest bedroom and thought “why not?”  Having read it decades ago, I don’t remember the plot of the story so it’s all new to me.  All I know is that I loved Nancy Drew.  Unlike Laura Ingalls who I knew I could never be, Nancy Drew’s example of “do good” behavior gave me hope that I could become someone useful and cool when I grew up.  Whether or not I’ve accomplished this goal, I don’t know;  but at the very least she showed me that attention to detail and an independent spirit could take you far in this world.

*Amen*

•  Us vs. Them.  I’ve never, ever seen so many narcissistic people on TV in one week as I have this week.  Hello, Washington!  How are you weasels doing?  Let’s review what narcissism is, shall we?  It’s shallow, self-absorbed behavior in which your need to be important trumps everyone else’s right to exist;  combine this behavior with being overly sensitive to perceived criticism, and we have an egotistical, whiny person who only focuses on himself or herself.  Sound like anyone in DC?  Oh, yes– I know, it sounds like everyone in the U.S. Congress.  It’s time for all you weasels children people to shut up… sit down… and do something productive.

*Capiche?*

•  We.  So we’re going to pay our bills.  Good idea.  That would be the responsible thing to do.  As WE have racked them up, now WE must pay them down.  I hope that there will be less bills in our future.  That would be an example of reducing.  And I pray that there will be more money in the coffers.  That would be an example of regulating & refining.  But I fear that until Americans understand that the U.S. Constitution starts with the words “WE the people” none of the common sense things that need to be done will be done.  And this nonsense will continue forever.

*Meh*

Oh, You’ve Got To Have Friends

I found this photo when I was going through some boxes of stuff that I’ve dragged around with me for years.  I’ve been in an organizing mood of late.  Most of the stuff in the boxes was of no value, but this photo– well, it’s a classic.  Worthy of note.

It’s a photograph of my third grade class.  I’m the girl in the middle of the front row holding my hands behind my back.  With long blonde hair.  Sporting a lovely pair of cat eye spectacles.  Tres chic!

Looking at this photo I have no idea why I’m not wearing a cute little plaid dress like the other girls.  I had lots of them, but for some reason I’m standing there in a shapeless jumper.  My mother worked when I was a kid, so maybe this was the only outfit that was clean that day for me to wear.  That could be it.  Or maybe I forgot that it was photo day and put the jumper on instead of something cute.  That’s probably more like it.

I have good memories of third grade.  Mrs. Bosh, our teacher, was enthusiastic and fun. The kids in my class were silly and goofy and friendly.  I remember adoring arithmetic & science, and that we did the coolest art projects.  I remember despising spelling tests, while thoroughly enjoying music class.

I also remember receiving my first Nancy Drew book that year.  It was a birthday present from the girl on the end of the front row nearest to the teacher.  I still have the book in fact.

But what I remember the most about third grade is that we played lots of games on the playground– and we included everyone.  No cliques.  No clubs.  No snobs.  That’s what was coming our way in fourth grade.

Of course, we didn’t know that yet when this photo was taken.  We were still just a bunch of happy kids.  Friends.  Wearing our best clothes and smiling for the camera.

Random Act Of Kindness Or Minor Misdemeanor?

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  Psalm 37:8

If a bumper sticker makes fun of, puts down, accuses, antagonizes, rejects, hates, pees upon, or whines about <any topic you can think of>, I’ve seen it on a vehicle in the last few weeks.

To say that I’m tired of these hostile, rude bumper stickers on vehicles would be an understatement.  Really people, get a clue.  Your bumper stickers are not contributing to the national discourse.  They add nothing of value to society.  They are a distraction while driving.  And they’re just plain tacky.

Nope.  I don’t like ’em one bit.  Which got me thinking…

How do I make this situation better?

And here is my solution: a mischievous plan that is delightful in its subtlety and entertaining in its message.  *bwha-ha-ha*   A plan so ingenious that I’m surprised that no one has thought of it before.  A plan so clever that it made the Lawyer Bean laugh and promise to provide legal counsel for me should there be a need.

First, I’d buy a couple dozen of this positive, upbeat bumper sticker and keep them in my car.  Only a cretin could not be charmed by the message: “wag more bark less.”

Then when I see one of these previously mentioned annoying bumper stickers on a vehicle in a parking lot, I’d wander over to the vehicle with one of my more encouraging bumper stickers in hand.  Making certain that I was unnoticed, I’d slap my sweet little oval sticker over the offensive, negative bumper sticker.

And *bam* just like that I’d have quietly neutralized the negativity and made the world a better place– while simultaneously ensuring that I receive one more brownie point in heaven.  Talk about your win-win situation!

So what do you think, gentle readers?  Good idea?  Couldn’t possibly be an act of vandalism with a court date and a fine, could it?  And if so, how much do you suppose I’d have to pay for refusing to let stupid get the last word in– or on, as the case may be?